Ecotourism: responsible travel offering a more rewarding experience

May 23, 2023

ecotourism examples hiking

Say goodbye to the same old tourist traps and hello to ecotourism. Don’t worry – you won’t have to fly in a plane made of recycled paper or sleep under a tree (unless you want to). Besides being a responsible way to travel, ecotourism can lead to a more unique and fulfilling trip.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what ecotourism is, offer tips on sustainable transport options and share some of the best ecotourism destinations to add to your bucket list.

What is ecotourism?

Ecotourism is a form of sustainable tourism that focuses on experiencing and learning about natural environments and wildlife while simultaneously promoting conservation efforts and sustainable travel practices.

It aims to minimise the negative impact of tourism on the environment and support local communities.

Eco-friendly activities are typically led by local guides with in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna and are committed to responsible tourism.

The goal is to impact the environment and local communities positively while providing visitors with a unique and educational travel experience.

Let’s examine how ecotourism benefits you, the community, and our planet.

Benefits of ecotourism

Ecotourism is a win-win way to travel for all involved. Here are 5 of its main benefits.

  1. Environmental conservation

Ecotourism helps you minimise your environmental impact and support conservation efforts.

  1. Educational opportunities

You can learn about the natural world and the importance of conservation. Unique activities will teach you about the local flora and fauna and how to protect these species.

  1. Support for local communities

You can help locals make a living. Ecotourism benefits local communities by supporting small businesses, creating job opportunities, and providing a source of income for residents.

  1. Unique travel experience

Eco-friendly activities, such as volunteering and community-based tourism, can provide a sense of adventure and exploration that you won’t find in traditional forms of tourism.

  1. Personal fulfilment

You’ll feel a sense of personal fulfilment and satisfaction in knowing you’re positively impacting the environment and local communities. You can feel good about your travel choices and your role in promoting responsible travel practices.

Now that you know the benefits of ecotourism, let’s get down to the fun part!

Next is a list of some fascinating examples of ecotourism that will get you planning your eco holiday.

ecotourism example safari

12 ecotourism examples from around the world

Make your next vacation one to remember! Explore some of Earth’s finest ecosystems and participate in eco-friendly activities that leave a minimal footprint.

The most popular ecotourism examples are various forms of wildlife watching and hiking. But make sure you also consider unique ecotourism examples, such as voluntourism or sustainable agriculture tours.

Animal watching

Observe gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda, go on a safari in Kenya, or watch polar bears in Canada.

Bird watching

Spot toucans in the Amazon rainforest, observe penguins in the Galapagos Islands or identify bald eagles in Alaska.

Whale watching

Spot humpback whales in Alaska, observe killer whales in British Columbia or watch blue whales in Sri Lanka.

Hiking and trekking

Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, hike in the Swiss Alps or walk the Overland Track in Tasmania.

Canoeing and kayaking

Paddle along the Amazon River in Brazil, kayak in Halong Bay in Vietnam or canoe down the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.

Snorkelling and scuba diving

Explore coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, dive into the cenotes in Mexico or go snorkelling in the Maldives.

Volunteering in conservation and community development projects

Support turtle conservation efforts in Costa Rica, volunteer for a community development project in Thailand or participate in a wildlife rehabilitation program in South Africa.

Tree planting and reforestation

Join reforestation projects in Costa Rica, volunteer for tree-planting initiatives in Zambia or support forest restoration efforts in Scotland.

Cultural immersion

Learn about the Masai culture in Kenya, visit local villages in Bali or stay with indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest.

Sustainable agriculture tours

Visit coffee farms in Colombia, learn about sustainable wine production in France or tour organic farms in California.

Renewable energy tours

Visit wind farms in Denmark, learn about Morocco’s solar power facilities or tour Norway’s hydroelectric plants.

Green building tours

Visit sustainable buildings in Singapore, learn about eco-friendly construction in Iceland or tour green buildings in Vancouver.

Read more about the most popular locations from our list of the best ecotourism destinations below.

ecotourism example volunteering

8 of the best ecotourism destinations in the world

These incredible ecotourism destinations have captivated nature lovers for years with their spectacular array of activities and passionate commitment to sustainability. 

Tap on the locations to read more!

  1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations, best known for its conservation and sustainability initiatives, including many national parks, wildlife reserves, and eco-lodges.

  1. Borneo

Borneo is known for its rainforests and diverse wildlife, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and pygmy elephants. There are many initiatives in Borneo to support conservation and low-impact tourism practices.

  1. Iceland

Iceland is famous for its unique landscapes, geothermal activity, and conservation efforts. You can trek glaciers, visit natural hot springs, and explore stunning waterfalls.

  1. South Africa

South Africa has many initiatives to support wildlife conservation and ethical tourism practices, including national parks, game reserves, and wildlife tourism experiences.

  1. Brazil

Brazil offers vast wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and Amazonian ecotours. You can experience vibrant cities and pristine natural landscapes.

  1. New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its natural beauty and conservation efforts, including national parks, hiking trails, and wildlife sanctuaries.

  1. Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands off Ecuador are home to many endemic species and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The islands have strict conservation regulations to protect and preserve their unique wildlife and ecosystems.

  1. Antarctica

Antarctica is a pristine wilderness home to many unique species, including penguins, seals, and whales. Responsible tour operators in Antarctica prioritise conservation and sustainability by following strict guidelines to minimise environmental impact.

ecotourism destination Iceland

Green transport options

After you’ve chosen your dream destination and ensured your expeditions meet high ethical standards, it’s time to explore how you will be getting around.

About a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to the transport sector. So for eco-tourists looking to reduce their carbon footprint, how you move around is an essential piece of the puzzle. Fortunately, there are many green mobility options available.

  • Walking and cycling are immersive ways to explore your surroundings. They’re also affordable, healthy and sustainable.
  • If you’d like to save time and energy, try e-bikes or scooters. Bolt’s safe, affordable, eco-friendly e-scooters and e-bikes are available in over 260 cities across 25 European countries. All trips you take on Bolt e-scooters and e-bikes are carbon-neutral!
  • Public transport, i.e. buses and trains, is another affordable way to get around while reducing your carbon footprint, as it reduces the number of vehicles on the road.
  • A water taxi or a ferry may offer a new perspective on your surroundings while being a low-carbon mode of transport.

If your adventures are taking you further away, or you need to get there more quickly, try Bolt Drive car rental or Bolt’s ride-hailing services. Reduce your carbon footprint and save on travel expenses even further by carpooling with friends or other travellers and choosing a hybrid or electrical car.

With Bolt, you can be sure your trip is making a difference since we’re committed to becoming carbon net zero by 2040.

green transport cycling

Embark on a greener journey

We hope you got some great ideas for your next holiday and are willing to try a more environmentally friendly but exciting way to travel.

Get more tips on how to travel responsibly from our blog post on sustainable tourism, and download the Bolt app to help make a difference.

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