Sustainable tourism is a keyword that is being used, and overused, by travel companies time and time again. It has become a trendy buzzword for the millennial generation but what does it really mean? Essentially, it is tourism that is aware of its present and future environmental, economic and social impact and offers positive solutions for travelers and local communities. Eco friendly tourism is deemed by experts to be the future of travel and with so many destinations working on upping their green credentials, discover the best destinations for ecotourism in Latin America.
Why Experience Ecotourism in Latin America?
Latin America is one of the top 10 ecotourism destinations in the world. Places like Costa Rica and Mexico are trailblazing their way to being hubs of innovation for sustainable tourism companies and are highly coveted by the slow traveler. Volcanoes, beaches and rainforests are just a few of the major slow travel attractions that draw flocks of people to the Pan-American continent each year. Of course, some Latin American countries are suffering hugely from the effects of deforestation which is destroying ecosystems at an alarming rate. This has set alarm bells ringing on a global scale, putting the spotlight on the reasons why ecotourism trips are more important than ever.
Ecotourism in Mexico
Mexico is bursting with color and life, especially in the Riviera Maya. From mysterious cenotes to the impressive ruins of Mayan temples the symbiosis between the manmade and the natural creates an exotic oasis of beauty and calm. There is even an eco tourism park, Xcaret which allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature, swim in underground rivers and get up close with jungle animals such as iguanas and peccaries. When visitors get weary, the eco park is connected to a luxury hotel providing the perfect place to enjoy ecotourism in Latin America. Of course, the Mexican Caribbean coastline is also teeming with wildlife making it a hotspot for ecotourism and conservation projects. The Palancar Reef is a world class diving destination and is conveniently located off the shores of Cozumel providing easy access for those wanting to swim with dolphins and sea turtles in crystal clear waters.
Ecotourism in Guatemala
When looking at ecotourism in Latin America themed getaways, Guatemala is a sustainable destination perfect for a romantic trip away. Nature is never far away and the capital city itself features four majestic volcanoes, all of which are active and occasionally spurt out lava. Lose yourself in the vast coffee plantations of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua or dust off your hiking boots on a trek to volcanoes such as El Pacaya, one of the most accessible volcanoes. If getting up close with the flora and fauna is more your scene then a day trip to the Nature Reserve at San Buenaventura is the perfect place to experience the natural beauty of Guatemala. It is also possible to find locally produced handicrafts around the towns circling the national park giving travelers the ideal souvenirs to share with loved ones.
Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Much loved by American tourists, Costa Rica has been championing ecotourism in Latin America for decades, long before it became a trending topic on Instagram. Its expansive wilderness of untouched rainforest is a major attraction for those with the aim of making tourism more sustainable. But, the real bucket list worthy sustainable tourist attractions in Costa Rica are found when visitors discover new perspectives. Take to the treetops and discover the greenery of the Costa Rican jungle or let nature take care of you as you soak weary muscles in the famous Tabacon Hot Springs, on the outskirts of Arenal Volcano National Park. Wherever you choose to stay, you will not be short of ways to appreciate the magic of nature.
Ecotourism in Nicaragua
While Nicaragua tends to often be overshadowed by its neighboring countries it is certainly a destination to add to your ecotourism in Latin America plans. It used to be a secret, closely guarded by backpackers and digital nomads but now, more and more people are discovering the ecotourism activities on offer and the warm hospitality of the locals. Be sure to spend time cycling the streets of Granada to soak up the Spanish colonial architecture and then trek through fields of petrified lava in the Mombacho Volcano National Park to reach the very edge of the volcano’s crater. Just be sure not to fall in!
Ecotourism in Colombia
Made famous in recent years thanks to a resurgence in telenovelas, Colombia is a destination very popular for ecotourism in Latin America. Its rainbow-colored buildings that line the spaghetti like streets of the towns and cities add a playful charm to this enchanting country. There are so many types of ecotourism activities to enjoy in Colombia thanks to the wealth of intriguing places to visit such as The Lost City which provides friendly competition to Peru’s Machu Picchu or the Tayrona National Park. In the national park, guests are encouraged to enjoy the scenery on horseback and even stay a night or two in the campsite. It is a place with a rich ecosystem combining white sand beaches with dense rainforest hiking routes which makes it one of the best spots to enjoy ecotourism in the world.
Ecotourism Holidays Insider Tip:
For a real green travel experience it is worth looking into ways to offset your carbon footprint as well as making sure to stay away from single use plastics and non-eco-friendly toiletries.
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