With summer officially underway it’s time to start turning those vacation dreams into reality. This summer make a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint or book an eco tourism adventure. To put things in perspective a recent study indicated that a trip from Atlanta, GA to Orlando Florida, lasting seven days, produces 1.71 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Eco tourism adventures are a great way to travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strive to be low impact and small scale. These adventures help educate the traveler, provide funds for conservation, directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights.
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Below are 4 Great Eco Tourism Adventure Options
San Jose, Costa Rica
Travel to an exotic locale while saving the animals, the planet, and your sanity all at the same time. Your Costa Rican vacation starts with some beach combing and bird watching in the pristine Punta Islita. Next up, participate in some good old-fashioned treehugging in the protected rainforests of Costa Rica and be on the lookout for rare frogs and endangered species without disturbing their natural habitat. Try an excursion with Global Volunteers where you can renovate buildings, plant trees and other landscaping, work with the community, and leave a lasting (and non-toxic) imprint in the community. Finish off your trip with some unique adventure diving at Cano Island Biological Reserve, hiking along the inspired Tortuguero National Park and soaking in the all-natural hot springs of Tabacon.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Vieques was once the US Navy's practice ground for bombing until just a few years ago. Now this cool tiny island is known for its environmental efforts and eco-friendly activities. Rent a bike from La Dulce Vida and tour the island without leaving behind any polluting carbon dioxide emissions. Explore Isabel Segunda's waterfront and stroll in the shops, boutiques and restaurants for some authentic food. Take a swim at Sun Bay and walk out forty feet off Media Luna Beach. But perhaps the most magnificent reason to visit Vieques is Mosquito Bay's bioluminescent bay where the organisms light up the water and everything that touches it.
Perhaps it's Norway's plentiful fjords, forests, beaches, parks and nearby countryside that made Oslo home to this year's Global Ecotourism Conference. This eco-friendly city offers inexpensive bike rentals from Citybike where you can enjoy the urban surroundings without contributing any unnecessary emissions. After biking past Vigeland Park, Akershus Castle and Fortress and the open-air museum of the Norwegian Folk Museum, ditch your rental at one of the accessible bike returns and stroll through Karl Johans Gate. This pedestrian area takes you past boutiques, cafes and pubs before taking an organic picnic to the Royal Palace at the top of the gate. Try an alternative transportation option and take a boat tour up the beautiful Oslofjord. Horse riding vacations are very popular in Norway and many hotels keep horses for guests.
Pack lightly, recycle and patronize the local hotels and restaurants in the eco-friendly city of Boulder, Colorado. Take in some culture and art at Chautauqua Park before rock climbing, hiking and strolling through the gardens. Next, take a stroll through the pedestrian Pearl Street Mall where you can browse eco-friendly vendors, take in some live music, grab a coffee and buy locally. Stop off for some dinner at The Kitchen, where waste is discouraged, organic and biodegradable products are used whenever possible, and leftovers are either given away or turned into compost. Finish off your trip with a visit to Boulder Falls where the mere glimpse at this natural wonder will keep you green and environmentally responsible for life.