Is it possible to have fun and help heal the planet at the same time while on vacation?
Many well-known travel destinations have taken some serious action in providing great tourist attractions and accommodations while at the same time lessening the impact of non-friendly tourism policies and activities that may be harmful to the environment.
So, the answer appears to be a resounding, yes! Now, these locations do not necessarily consist of faraway places that are hard to reach or require one to “rough it” to stay planet-conscious. Many of these destinations are already famous for their accommodations, breath-taking sights, and fun activities. They still remain luxurious, relaxing, and fun despite encouraging an eco-friendly atmosphere within their borders.
The following five destinations have been selected by Lonely Planet, one of the largest travel guidebook publishers in the world, for their fantastic tourist-friendly atmosphere and their dedication to providing eco-friendly initiatives such as energy-saving hotels, local-community assistance, and wildlife conservation.
Destination 1: Lake Garda, Italy
Out of all the lakes in Italy, Lake Garda is the largest. Situated North of Verona, this destination caters to families and those who like sports and the landscape consists of beaches and hills in the south and mountains and cliffs in the north. There is no shortage of activities at Lake Garda, especially for sports enthusiasts. Here one can partake in windsurfing, sailing, mountain-climbing, mountain-biking, hiking, and many more outdoor activities.
The following are some of Lake Garda’s eco-friendly features: Green Hotels, Renewable Energy Source Spas, and Local Flora & Fauna Promotion.
What is more, many visitors can leave their cars in Milan, helping to cut down on vehicle pollution, as there is a direct rail connection to Lake Garda from there.
Destination 2: Galapagos Island, Ecuador
The birthplace of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the Galapagos Islands, consists of 19 major islands situated 620 miles off of Ecuador’s Pacific Ocean coast. This destination is obviously a perfect fit for those who love nature as there are many species of animals located here which do not appear anywhere else in the world. This is a product of very little to no predators near or around the islands. The landscapes of each island are as varied as their wildlife. In some places, one can find black, volcanic rocks and at other places clear, blue waters and golden, sandy beaches. It would seem that this destination is already an eco-friendly paradise; however, as it resides in a remote location, the most common forms of transport options available are not. To combat this, the Galapagos National Park Services, along with select hotels around the islands, have come up with ways to preserve the sanctity of the islands so that it remains as pure and natural as possible.
The following are some of Galapagos Islands’ eco-friendly features: Carbon-Neutral Hotel(s), Reforestation Program, and Water Conservation Efforts.
On top of all this, many of the Galapagos Islands tourist operators abide by the eco-friendly initiatives laid down by the island’s governing bodies and come with the credentials to prove it.
Destination 3: Catalonia, Spain
Although part of Spain, Catalonia prides itself on its colonial culture and landscapes. This seaside city is a mix of medieval designs along with modern architecture combining the historical and the new. Thus, creating a vibrant and alive culture unique to this destination. One of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona, resides within its borders. Yet, it has many other cities with equally impressive resumes. In Catalonia, tourists can visit former Roman capitals, medieval towns, quiet villages, and bustling seaports. On top of all this, Catalonia was the first tourist destination to receive the Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification by Unesco.
The following are some of Catalonia’s eco-friendly features: Eco-Friendly Products/Services, Renewed Cultural Destinations, and Renewed Environmental Area.
Of particular interest are the Fígols-Vallcebre Fumanya coal mines, which were converted into a paleontology site and the Cardona Salt Mountain Cultural Park, where visitors come and learn about the area’s fascinating geological contents.