More than just a nature vacation, ecotourism is an approach to vacationing that, while often misunderstood, is beneficial to both society and the environment when practiced correctly. The Ecotourism Society defines it as “responsible travel to natural areas [that] conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people.”
Ecotourism has grown rapidly since the 1980s as awareness of humans’ impact on the environment has grown. For many destinations, such as Costa Rica, Nepal, Kenya and Antarctica, ecotourism is not merely a socially conscious fad, but a major industry driving local economies.
In South America, a myriad of options for ecotourism exist in the Andes, the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands. Watching gorillas in Uganda or birds in Kenya, exploring the snow leopard’s environment in India or swimming with humpback whales in Tonga are all intriguing ecotourism choices. Just be sure to find a responsible tour operator or guide.
With more than 100,000 of these ice masses, many in retreat, Alaska’s glacial wonders are hard to miss—for now.
Experience rural Belize and explore ancient Mayan ruins when you stay at these top jungle lodges.
Costa Rica offers an exciting yet safe entrée into exotic ecotourism and soft adventure vacations, from coast to coast.
Walk in the clouds and volunteer at a nature school in Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests.
Tortuguero, on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica, provides a wealth of opportunities to see a variety of sea turtles and other jungle life.
From scarlet macaws to leatherback turtles, Costa Rica’s unique biodiversity is a world all its own.
Find the greenest lodging with this round-up of eco-certified U.S. hotels that care about your well being and the planet.
After decades of exile, blue whales, the largest animals on earth, return to the coast of California.
Learn what a carbon footprint is and how to offset your carbon use when you travel.
Volunteer to help leatherback turtles on your next Costa Rican vacation with EcoTeach.
Farm stays are a growing trend: feed chickens, milk cows and get back to the quiet life on your next family vacation.
Ideas for great eco-conscious gifts this season that support elephants in Kenya, provide microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, adopt olive trees in Italy and more.
There is more to eco-travel than visiting a pristine location. Here’s a guide to make the going greener.
Want to color your travels green? Save gas money and possibly the planet by renting a hybrid car for your next vacation.
The city teems with eco-friendly hotels, restaurants, spas and shops. Find out where right here.
With opportunities from Montana to Malawi, there is a volunteer vacation to suit every family. Here are 5 organizations to consider when looking to plan your next family voluntourism trip.
Close encounters with these sociable mammals are educational and fun.
Best destinations for students or families for a memorable Spring Break getaway.
Travel without a car and reduce your carbon footprint by walking, bicycling, kayaking or taking a train on your next vacation.
Celebrate Mother Nature at top Earth Day fetes and spring festivals around the world.
Give back to local communities by participating in voluntouring projects on your next family vacation.
Family-friendly exploration is easy and affordable in Copán, Honduras, from gazing at Mayan ruins to getting up close with tropical birds.
Travel from cloud forest to rain forest in the Manu Biosphere Reserve to view the highest concentration of bird species in the world.
Sleep in one of these tree house accommodations—from rustic thatched huts to luxurious tree mansions—to reconnect with your childhood, and nature.
Explore the natural and scientific attractions of this laid-back Panamanian archipelago oasis.
Reduce your carbon footprint during your Portland vacation by staying at one these eco-friendly properties.
Portland, Oregon has plenty of parks to turn your urban vacation into a green space oasis. Here are some of the city’s best places to feel blades of grass between your toes.
The City of Roses has something for everyone: microbreweries, biking trails, and plenty of green spaces and places.
Alltournative’s tours are geared for the entire family. Our writer’s day-long adventure with her son featured kayaking, swimming in cenotes, a traditional Mayan meal and four-wheel fun.
Pristine beaches, ancient ruins and eco theme parks—there is something for everyone at this jewel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
After visiting this Mayan site rich in history, check out the nearby theme park Xel-Há.
San Diego isn’t just about surfing and Legoland. There are plenty of other outdoor adventures sure to excite the entire family—and they’re all less than an hour from the city.
Our young writer shares his excitement and avian finds while bird watching on a family vacation to Costa Rica.
New service Walk Score helps people find the most walkable cities in the United States, saving them the cost of rental cars and high gas prices.
Learn about marine life and help conduct sea studies through a volunteer program at VIERS, a research facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Enjoy the Caribbean paradise of the U.S. Virgin Islands—and help preserve it—with a stay at one of these luxury eco-camps.
Books that inspire travel aren’t necessarily intended as travel publications. Blue Planet Run is just such a product.
This guide, written by former Peace Corps members, will show you how you what you need to know to plan a volunteer vacation.
I came face-to-face with a poisonous snake during my visit to Costa Rica and was nearly attacked by a monkey, but I'd return in a heartbeat.
Greener, leaner power chargers let you tote your gadgets with eco-chic ease.