Green Living

January 26, 2012

Top 5 eco-tourism destinations in the world


This leopard is among the awesome sights in Sabi Sands, a reserve in South Africa with one of the world's top eco-lodges. (Julia Pelish photo)

Story by Staff

So you say you’re into green living. You’re an unabashed tree hugger who may go vegan one day and is so done with fossil fuels your cheeks do a slow burn whenever you catch sight of an Escalade or Hummer. But what about when you travel. Do you live up to the green ethos then? Or do you look for the best deal you can get and stay at the same old hotel chains because their rates and location are what suit you? Do you go to Vegas, hit London or soak up rays in the Caribbean like so many others, or do you go out of your way to pick eco-friendly destinations for your annual vacations?

If we truly are concerned about the environment, here are five places that deserve our holiday dollars because they’ve proven to be global leaders in sustainable tourism.

  1. Yasuni National Park, Ecuador — What happens when you find a motherlode of oil beneath your mostly uninhabited territory? If you’re a greedy Republican opportunist, you drill, baby, drill. Ecuador’s forward-thinking president Rafael Correa, however, has shown dogged restraint when dealing with the economic potential of his delicate rainforest in Yasuni National Park. Correa has banned any oil exploration in the rainforest and instead has found multinational cooperation to protect the Amazonian area while growing an eco-tourism industry. If you want to reward a government and nation for sticking with its promise to protect the environment, trek to Ecuador and enjoy its beauty, and its charming, fascinating people.
  2. Singita, Sabi Sands Reserve, Greater Kruger Park, South Africa — Singita has been named the world’s best hotel at one point or another by just about every major travel publication out there. But that’s not why you should go. The famed eco-lodge that attracts thousands of visitors each year is a solid steward of the environment. “The sustainable Singita model — where we highlight long-term dedication to local communities, wildlife conservation and eco-tourism — ensures that we touch the earth lightly while still offering our guests the best of Africa,” says founder Luke Bailes.
  3. Hotel Triton, San Francisco, California — In 1995, this hotel was certified by the Golden State branch of the Environmental Protection Agency as a model green hotel. Hotel Triton introduced North America’s first 100 percent “eco-floor” and also enlisted celebrities to create “eco-suites.” It was the trend-setting property used to establish Kimpton Hotels’ innovative EarthCare program. On top of that, it’s a pretty cool spot in one of America’s most enjoyable cities.
  4. Morgan’s Rock, Nicaragua — Named the 2011 Leading Green Hotel in Mexico & Central America, Morgan’s Rock includes 15 luxury bungalows on 1,800 hectares along the Pacific Ocean. That massive property includes a reforestation project, a protected tropical rainforest and dozens of unique animal species that help to make a stay at Morgan’s Rock even more fascinating.
  5. Daluyon Resort, Philippines — This exclusive resort is the 2012 winner of the Green Hotel Recognition Award by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On picturesque Sabang Beach in the city of Palawan, Daluyon Resort is within walking distance of Puerto Princesa’s Underground River National Park, recently named one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The property was one of the first Zero Carbon Resorts, successfully switching from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy.

About the Author

About is one of the fastest growing news and information websites, focused on sustainable living and environmental issues, around the globe and right here at home. Independently owned and produced by industry experts and award-winning journalists, draws on a wealth of knowledge, leading sources and editorial experience to deliver news, facts, features and opinions on wide-ranging topics, from science, technology and politics, to lifestyle trends, eco-travel, consumer products, how-to-guides and more.