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Top 5 Eco-Friendly Tourism Activities that Everyone Can Enjoy

June 7, 2023 | Britnie Turner

If you’re an eco-minded person who loves to travel, you should plan your next vacation by choosing a destination that offers plenty of fun and exciting eco-friendly tourism activities—think wildlife viewing, scenic hikes, kayaking, scuba diving, and much more!

Eco-tourism is a form of responsible tourism that supports the preservation of natural resources and wildlife. Additionally, eco-tourism aims to minimize the negative environmental impact of tourism while promoting the well-being of local communities. By participating in eco-friendly tourism activities, you can help to preserve natural areas and support sustainable development. 

1. Go on a Scenic Hike

Scenic hiking and ecotourism go hand in hand. Hiking offers an environmentally friendly way for nature lovers to explore nearby natural landscapes and unique ecosystems, along with breathtaking views from specific lookout points. If you travel to a tropical destination in the British Virgin Islands, such as The Aerial, BVI, an all-inclusive resort on Buck Island, you will be able to explore miles of hiking trails on foot, enjoy some bird watching, and discover the native fauna and flora.

While your local guide may encourage eco-friendly practices while out on a hike, it’s equally important to hold yourself accountable for your impact. In order to ensure responsible travel practices while hiking, you should: 

  • Carry a reusable water bottle
  • Pack snacks in eco-conscious materials such as stainless steel, bioplastics, bamboo, and/or gelatin films
  • Never dispose of wrappers, napkins, or other waste on trails
  • Resist any urge to disturb wildlife. Try to be quiet, and give any animals you come across space.

As you can see, hiking is one of the simplest ways to experience the beauty of nature and a great way to foster a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders of the world without raising your carbon footprint.

2. Participate in Sustainable Tourism Ocean Activities

Whether you are looking to save turtles in Sri Lanka or participate in reef conservation and cleanup activities as part of a vacation crafted around ecotourism in the Caribbean, sustainable ocean activities—by definition—promote the conservation and protection of ocean resources. 

Many eco-focused resorts, including The Aerial, BVI, give you the opportunity to see marine life and give back to the community by participating in reef clean-ups, turtle tagging, and more. Other examples of sustainable ocean activities may include:

  • Sustainable fishing, clear-bottom kayaking, paddle boarding, and coral reef diving
  • Eco-friendly boating combined with whale or dolphin watching, or sailing excursions on a wind-powered sailboat 
  • Eco-trips to local beaches with ocean clean-up initiatives
  • Conscious hikes along the coastline to learn about marine coastal ecosystems

Most communities that live by the sea rely on the ocean for their livelihood. It’s important, therefore, to choose eco-tourism activities that not only aim to preserve the biodiversity of the ocean but also strive to support the local community. 

3. Visit Historical Landmarks for Environmental and Cultural Awareness

A fun and educational form of ecotourism can be to visit historical landmarks at your destination to understand the unique history of the local people. Visiting museums, cultural centers, and even tourist attractions is a great way to become acquainted with local history and heritage. Learning about a place’s traditions and habits can also help to foster an appreciation for a community’s way of life. 

These are a few other community-based activity ideas:

  • Visit historical buildings that tell a story and are an important part of a place’s history.
  • Take a walking or bike tour to visit historical neighborhoods, view street art, and visit various monuments and statues of significance. 
  • Shop local and purchase souvenirs and crafts from local artisans.
  • Join a community group or volunteer at a local event to build a sense of connection between you and the community you are visiting.

4. Eat Fresh, Locally Sourced Meals 

Whether you are traveling with your family, your significant other, or by yourself, eating fresh, locally sourced meals is an activity that supports local farmers and the community at the destination of your choice. Eating local also reduces carbon emissions by minimizing the distance between farm and plate.

As an added bonus, eating fresh-farm or island-to-table food has a multitude of benefits for your health. Research shows that regular consumption of organic food can reduce allergic diseases and obesity. That’s because local produce is often picked at peak freshness and local game such as fish, poultry, or beef is often sourced directly from unfertilized, pesticide-free land. 

island-to-table food at Aerial BVI

5. Choose Green Accommodations

In addition to participating in eco-friendly activities at your destination, you can practice sustainable travel by choosing to stay at eco-friendly hotels, resorts, or retreats that work in harmony with the surrounding landscapes and look after the natural world. 

Some of the most beautiful eco-resorts in the world offer a variety of amenities and features that support ecotourism efforts and natural environments. These are some of the key features of eco-friendly accommodation providers:

  • The property, ground, and rooms have been designed to blend harmoniously with the natural environment with the use of eco-friendly materials for construction and decor.
  • The provider uses renewable energy sources and implements efficient water and waste management systems.
  • The provider strives to reduce its carbon footprint by holding events or organizing initiatives that give you the opportunity to participate in local conservation efforts.
  • The menu features locally sourced, fresh organic food options.

From small-scale family bed and breakfasts to luxurious eco-resorts, green accommodations offer the possibility of an exciting and nature-filled sustainable vacation. 

Ecotourism Activities: Saving the Planet One Trip at a Time 

Participating in ecotourism activities is an exciting way to get to know a new place. As well, given the fact that ecotourism activities can greatly reduce the negative impact tourism has on the environment, it’s safe to say that ecotourism is the best option for traveling. 

Ultimately, small actions can make a big difference. You can help make that difference by planning a getaway that includes lots of eco-friendly tourism activities that help support local communities, creating a more vibrant and sustainable future.