If you are a seasoned traveler who’s tired of the usual destinations, why not visit these green places to help you become aware of the beauty that our earth has to offer. Two places on the list may seem obvious picks, the Galapagos and the Amazon, but there are plenty of new and yet-to-be-discovered places, such as Dominica, as well as the Blue Mountains in Australia and Africa’s Botswana.
If staying in one of the environmentally friendly lodges in the middle of a rainforest appeals to you, stay in Costa Rica or Borneo. But if you wish to get up close and personal with the glaciers and wildlife, Antarctica and Alaska will give you the opportunity to experience that from an inflatable zodiac, or just at a ship’s deck. For those who love sleeping outdoors and trekking to high plateaus, trek the Himalayas.
Himalayas in Nepal
Comprising the highest mountains on the earth, plus snow-capped peaks, the Himalayas will make sure that this will be an unforgettable journey. This kingdom, settled between China and India, gives access to the mountain peaks, and landscapes vary from alpine forests – home to yaks, to subtropical valleys – filled with banana trees.
Trail lodges will allow trekkers to hike at their own pace, with rests in between, and one can also join camping treks which are popular, ranging from 4 to 25 days. Here, you will get to know your guides, porters and cooks, an entourage who will familiarize you with the land. Hiking to the base camp of Mount Everest and Annapurna are two of the treks one should not miss.
Known as the Lungs of our Planet, the Amazon produces 20% of oxygen in the earth. The Amazon rainforest borders the world’s biggest river system, as well as supporting thousands of bird, plant, mammal, and aquatic species inside the 1.2 billion acres that it occupies. This destination extends across a number of countries in South America, while its densest area is along Brazil, where environmentalists are able to explore a wide assortment of ecosystems; one can walk among Bahia’s Atlantic forest’s treetops on a suspension bridge 66-foot above, while surrounded by spectacular views, sounds, and wildlife.
It’s the perfect tour for people who wish to understand how a rainforest works. One can also rent a small canoe to enjoy paddling down the river, going past people who live along the shore, go into bird-watching, or fish for piranha. At night, the Amazon is filled with beautiful sounds, which can be enjoyed while gazing at the stars.
Blue Mountains in Australia
For locals who reside near Sydney and are tired of the city life, they head up to the Greater Blue Mountains Area for some time to relax, as it is only an hour and a half ride away. In this place, there are over 500 square miles of swamps, narrow canyons, rocky outcroppings, and valleys, with a spectacular view of Australia.
Several reserve and national parks are scattered in the place, with lots of trails through terrain that’s filled with special flora and fauna – the Wollemi pine, which is the rarest specie in the world, and over 400 species like the koala. From mountain biking, rock climbing, rapelling, horseback riding, bushwalking, to canoeing, one has a vast array of activities to choose from. Naturally, breathing in the fresh air in one of the many lodges and environmentally friendly cabins is equally alluring.
Known as the Great Land, this place serves as home to sprawling tundra, snowcapped mountains, and the Arctic north, sheltering an extensive range of wildlife which is threatened in the United States. Brown bears, humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, lynx, blue whales and bald eagles are only some of the species that are vulnerable but protected in this destination.
There are even some places where the moose and caribou far outnumber the people who live there, and places where the grizzly’s roar is heard from afar. There are more than a hundred state parks one can explore, Alaska’s preserved wilderness draws naturalists who enjoy all that it offers: from sailing past huge glaciers, cruising the majestic Kenai Fjords National Park, rafting down Copper River as eagles fly overhead, to getting a glimpse of whale flukes in the waters.
Africa’s backcountry, Botswana offers savannah plains that are wide-open, riverine forests, sprawling deserts, salt pans, as well as a wonderful view of wildlife; making it known as the jewel of Africa. Safaris in the northern part have unspoiled wildernesses pretecting a wide range of wildlife: leopards, lions, hippos, zebras, white rhinos, elephants and chacma baboons will only be some of the many creatures you will enjoy seeing in this place. There are numerous eco-friendly resorts along the savannah, making it quite easy for tourists’ eco-fantasies to come true.
Almost completely dark, packed with ice, temperatures that go for as low as negative 90 degrees, and experiencing terrible blizzards, winter in Antarctica may not seem to be the ideal time and place for vacations. The seasons are reverse; winter there is summer in the White Continent. This is also the perfect time to travel in the last great frontier of the earth, as the warm climate melts ice barriers which block access to the savage landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica.
With nearly 50,000 tourists heading to the South Pole annually to bear witness to the large icebergs and glaciers, whales, and penguins. For those who wish to journey this way soon, cruising is still the popular option.
Around the year 2005, a rare catlike animal was seen in this area in Southeast Asia, making headlines all over the world. Borneo has plenty to offer; the thick forest trails in Barrio Loop are a favorite among hikers, including the slopes of the great Mount Kinabalu. Wetlands and mangroves give great aquatic vistas, and home to many researchers is the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
For a luxury retreat, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge is a perfect hotel, as it is self-sufficient, relying on solar energy and rainwater. There are plenty of wildlife and bird-watching decks, fishing platforms, a Hornbill boardwalk over a thousand feet long, and electric motorboats for guests’ use. One can also enjoy seeing the resident elephants which leisurely stroll just at the back of this lodge.
Costa Rica is known for its belief in going back to nature, practically making it synonymous to the idea of ecotourism. Its cultural and natural wealth explains why Christopher Columbus gave it its name: Rich Coast. There are four active volcanoes, rainforests—some that are so high that they are actually hidden partly by clouds, hot springs, over 750 miles of beaches that are not overcrowded, the Tortuguero National Park with its jungle lodges, as well as an abundant wildlife.
Whitewater rafting, bird-watching, biking, hiking, scuba diving, fishing, horseback riding, skydiving and rock climbing are only some of the adventures one can take in this majestic place.
For travelers who are attuned to the environment, going to the Galapagos is similar to a religious person’s pilgrimage towards Mecca. When Darwin visited this place during 1835, the unspoiled islands off Ecuador struck him so much because of the varieties of life forms that he saw, making him begin what we now know as the evolution theory. Almost two hundred years later, this place still serves home to some of the most unique and strangest creatures; in fact, this place was declared as the very first Natural World Heritage Site, back in 1978.
Environmentalists have dedicated their lives to preserve the ecosystems that are found on 13 of the major islands, including the 40 atolls and 8 smaller islands. 97% of this place is protected, so while you can swim with penguins and sea lions, you are not expected to use flash photography or jet ski here.
Between Guadeloupe and Martinique is the island of Dominica, where efforts of being eco-friendly started in 1997, participating in Earth Check. The island is best known for whale-watching, as it is visited by whales weighing 40 tons, who enjoy playing, mating and socializing off the shores of Dominica, giving visitors a 90% chance of getting a glimpse of one. The island’s pristine rainforests, plus being the best diving area in the Caribbean, draw people into this eco-friendly haven.
Trails in the rainforests lead to waterfalls, a boiling lake, and much more; after a tiring day of exploring, you can relax in one of the many hot springs, while staying in one of the rainforest lodges which are secluded, as you listen to the natural sounds of its jungles.
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