Environment and sustainability are all the hype these days. As awareness among the masses is increasing more and more people are inclining towards protecting the environment. Even when traveling, people tend to incorporate sustainability to protect the environment. Travelers opt for eco-friendly accommodations and take several steps in order to minimize the impact of their travels on the environment. These steps include, going for public transportation means instead of private ones, and shunning all and every form of plastic. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 best sustainable travel destinations that you can visit without compromising on your travel experiences and the health of the environment.
Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations – A Quick Glance
Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations – An Overview
Given below is a list of top 10 best sustainable travel destinations that are known for harbouring unique wildlife and diverse ecosystems. Give the article a read and pick out from our best sustainable travel destinations list your next vacation spot.
1. Costa Rica – The Most Successful Sustainable Travel Destination among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Costa Rica is the world’s leading environment-friendly place that has been bestowed with the honor of being the most successful among the best sustainable travel destinations. Home to the largest percentage of protected areas in the world, Costa Rica is renowned for its array of wildlife, pristine beaches, plants, volcanoes, rainforests, and incredibly mesmerizing natural beauty.
Its preservation of nature and wildlife makes it the only Central American country that is fit to be one of the biggest destinations for sustainable travel in the world. Costa Rica supports about 5% of the world’s biodiversity, harboring 20 natural parks, 800 miles of stunning coastline, and 8 biological reserves. Moreover, a whopping 98.1% of the electricity in Costa Rica is generated from renewable sources.
However, Costa Rica is not all environment and no play. The beautiful destination harbors eco-conscious boutique hotels that are equal parts luxurious as they are sustainable. Its pristine beaches are the epitome of beauty and allow vacationers to kick back and relax on the soft sand, basking in the warmth of the sun. Moreover, it also harbors three UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Cocos Island National Park, and La Amistad Reserve and National Park.
The reason why Costa Rica is named one of the most successful and best sustainable travel destinations is all thanks to the efforts of the Costa Rican government, its tourism industry, and locals. These three entities are working together diligently in order to promote responsible travel practices and conserve the environment. Not only are they successfully reducing plastic waste but are also encouraging locals and tourists alike to opt for sustainable transportation such as bikes and electric vehicles. In fact, the tourism board is striving hard to make electric vehicles the norm in Costa Rica by 2035.
2. Slovenia – The Most Underrated among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Slovenia borders the Italian Alps and is widely known for its breathtaking views; but, it is the most overlooked travel destination. However, it is a guilt-free destination, one you can visit without putting the environment in jeopardy. Slovenia is tirelessly working towards sustainability and about 75% of its electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. Moreover, due to its striving efforts to protect the environment, in the year 2016, its capital, Ljubljana was voted the European Green Capital.
Ljubljana is a green globetrotters’ dream, with city busses that run on natural gas, and an urban electric train. The green city has a huge no-car zone and its bike renting service is thriving, with locals and tourists alike ditching the pollution-emitting transportation means and opting for bikes. Moreover, the hotels in the city are also deemed green accommodations and play their part in keeping the city pollution-free.
Slovenia isn’t all about sustainability and conservation but is also a great tourism spot, albeit underrated. There, you can heed the call of the sea and swim with the sea turtles. Or you can learn about coffee, cocoa, and banana production. Outdoor lovers can go on a hike or two on its lush mountains or visit eco-friendly farms that offer insight into the local life of Slovenia. All in All, Slovenia is one of the best sustainable travel destinations that needs more hype and love.
3. The Galapagos Islands – The Most Isolated among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
The Galapagos Islands, which are completely cut off from the rest of the world, lie over 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Home to several species that are only native to the islands, the Galapagos Islands are as beautiful as they are sustainable. In the year 1978, the Galapagos were declared the first ever Natural World Heritage site, and as of this year, a total of 90% of the land is designated national park territory. The Galapagos Islands present a picture of a living, breathing, and thriving museum that tends to lure in nature and environment enthusiasts with the promise of rare wildlife, world-class snorkeling as well and top-notch diving.
As the Galapagos Islands are one of the most beloved natural, sustainable travel destinations not only for nature lovers but also for adventure junkies and luxury travellers, measures are in place to preserve the ecosystem of the islands that restrict the number of tourists who visit the islands. Moreover, energy conservation, recycling, and water conservation practices are also in place in order to ensure that the incredible biodiverse region remains in pristine condition for many years to come.
4. Borneo – The Best Preserved among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Borneo is a land that is widely recognized for its rare species, biodiversity, immaculate reefs, and lush vibrant ecosystem. It is the kind of place you read about in children’s pirate books, a lush rainforest island, where the air is heavy with humidity, muffled by the ceaseless sounds of wild calls and screeches. Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is a popular tourist destination, which is why preserving it and promoting sustainable practices in the area is of utmost importance. Known for its diverse cultures and stunning landscapes, the island is divided into three countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, with each country offering a plethora of attractions for vacationers to explore.
As the island is a popular and most frequented destination, sustainability is at the top of its agenda. Eco-goods and services are used as a way to boost the local economy all the while protecting the environment. Moreover, tourism companies like Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Borneo Eco Tours, and Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies Society, have all adopted the 17 United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals as guiding principles.
If you are thinking of visiting this island that is one of the best sustainable travel destinations don’t forget to say hello to the 100,000 orangutans it houses. Also, go scuba diving, or snorkeling in its pristine waters, or just take in all of its beauty by trekking through its lush landscape.
5. Bhutan – One of the Safest Places among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
In case you have heard about this sustainable travel destination, Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom that lies on the eastern edge of the Himalayas. The reason why most of you reading this article might not be familiar with the place is that this tiny island is the least visited country in the world, and tourism there is being developed slowly and deliberately in order to preserve the natural resources and protect its culture. This last Vajrayana Buddhist country harbors a colorful cultural tapestry among which are woven deep-rooted beliefs. The area houses countless revered religious sites from roadside stupas to monasteries, nunneries, and temples, and also harbors one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
In order to preserve its culture and natural resources, the hidden green getaway implements a set tourism tax. The tax money goes back to the communities via the employment of local family stays and local guides. Travellers visiting Bhutan have to pay a hefty fee of $250 per day, however, don’t sweat as this fee covers food, transportation, and accommodation as well as the expense of an official guide.
If you thought that was the end of Bhutan’s sustainability practices, then you are wrong. Bhutan has a law in place that states that at least 60% of it must remain forested for future generations, and currently about 70% of Bhutan is covered in lush forests. Due to this Bhutan is regarded as the lungs of the earth, acting as an air purifier and absorbing more carbon than it emits.
6. Peru – The Most Frequented among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Peru is a destination that is on the top of many travelers’ vacation bucket lists and rightfully so. Peru is so much more than just Machu Picchu and harbors a dense flora and fauna. It is home to about 25,000 plant species among which about 30% are only native to Peru. The country’s lush landscape also possesses the world’s largest rainforest areas in the world, namely, the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and the Tambopata National Server. In order to preserve these areas, the government regulates the entry of tour groups. However, unfortunately, deforestation is a battle that the country is still fighting.
Therefore, when you visit the place, make sure to take extra care to preserve the pristinity of Peru. Educate yourself on the environmental problems the land is currently facing and play your part by opting for sustainable travel and green accommodations. Being able to travel to such wondrous places like Peru so easily is a stroke of luck. Having the opportunity to experience not only different cultures and traditions but also being able to see a literal heaven on earth is nothing short of a privilege. So, make sure to preserve this beautiful place by adopting eco-friendly traveling practices.
7. Patagonia – The Most Fascinating among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Patagonia is located at the end of South America and is bordered by Argentina and Chile. This enchanted land at the end of the world harbors dramatic mountain peaks, vast nature, bewitching glaciers, and an array of unique wildlife that acts as a siren call to nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers. However, the one major element that Patagonia harbours, the Torres del Paine National Park definitely takes the crown. The national park is applauded for its blue bright icebergs, soaring mountains, and rare wildlife.
In Patagonia, a giant blue glacier, azure lakes, and trails that meander through forests come together to form one of the most pristine and unspoiled places on earth and a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve. In order to explore this natural ecosystem without damaging the land, tourists are encouraged to opt for either trekking or horseback riding.
8. Botswana – Houses Most Epic Wildlife among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Botswana is the green go-to destination for wildlife lovers as it offers some of the most epic wildlife-watching opportunities in Africa and harbours about 40% of Africa’s entire elephant population. About 38% of the total land of Botswana is devoted to national parks, wildlife management areas, and reserves. These reserves not only protect and conserve the region but also offer jobs to locals, which is imperative for the economy and livelihoods in Botswana. The stunning country offers its visitors a heap of lodges that provide conscious safari experiences.
In order to further boost its sustainable practices, Botswana uses solar-powered boats and electrical vehicles for game viewing, which facilitate an emission-free, and carbon-free experience. Moreover, this wildlife paradise also harbors eco-lodges, and solar lightning and uses recycled water in order to conserve the natural ecosystem.
9. New Zealand – Stunningly Beautiful among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
Fans of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit know just how beautiful this gem of a country is. Harboring never-ending landscapes, volcanic plateaus, subtropical forests, glaciers, fjords, and several other natural wonders, New Zealand seems like a fantastical land that jumped out of a fairytale. So, yeah, a journey to this country is a must for not only Tolkien lovers but also nature enthusiasts.
In order to preserve the appeal and beauty of this heavenly country, about one-third of its land has been set aside in reserves heritage sites, and national parks. For those seeking sustainable travel destinations in New Zealand that offer an insight into its unique history of legendary landscapes, a visit to the White Island, Mount Cook National Park, Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve, and Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve is a must.
To make travel a more positively impacting aspect, many places like The Resurgence near the Abel Tasman offer luxury eco-lodges to the visitors, and eco-tours like Driftwood, allow visitors to tour the beautiful land without having a negative impact on its ecosystem.
10. Vietnam – The Hottest Spot to Visit among the Top 10 Best Sustainable Travel Destinations
This year make a pact with yourself to visit Vietnam, which is the most trending destination to visit this year and is also one of the best sustainable travel destinations. With sunny climates, rich culture, and exotic food, Vietnam weaves an intricate and vibrant tapestry of tourism and travel.
Moreover, the country is also quite affordable to visit, so not only will you be protecting the environment on your visit to Vietnam, but also saving your wallet from the impending doom of going empty. The country is home to protected national parks, the largest lagoon in the world, and incredible coral reefs. Apart from visiting these natural reserves, tourists can also have a spa day at one of its many wonderful spas, go on a biking tours, go trekking, or visit one of its beautiful beaches for a day in the sun.
Impact of Travel on the Environment
As we all know, there is no planet b. No matter how much the scientists advertise Mars as an inhabitable planet, it is not the same as the Earth, and we should take all the necessary steps to preserve the environment, not just for ourselves but also for the future generations. Recently we have all noticed the extreme weather conditions and with those conditions comes a new report on climate change followed by repeated warnings and calls for immediate action. However, despite all the changes that are occurring around us, most of us tend to brush environmental concerns aside and continue doing what we do best, polluting the environment.
Setting aside our selfishness and taking in the world around us, will help us realize that humanity is hurdling toward an abyss, one that is currently impacting the ones at the bottom of the species hierarchy but will soon engulf the ever-so-mighty humans as well. Travel is one of the major contributors to environmental degradation, with every vacation having a direct impact on the environment. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, a total of 8% to 10% of global Carbon Dioxide emissions are caused due to the tourism and travel sector.
The majority of such emissions result from travel to and from the vacation destination. Needless to say, the length of the route and the choice of transpiration play a crucial role in impacting the environment. So, it is up to us to be the change the world is waiting for and take measures to preserve it.
If you are coveting a visit to the top 10 best sustainable travel destinations mentioned above, head on to the Expedia website, browse their packages, and book the one you like. From adult-only hotels to glamping options the rental site has got a lot in stock for travelers.