It’s an amazing world we live in! Fertile, verdant jungles, multi-colored coral reefs, expansive grasslands, fabulous mountain ranges and mighty rivers, are all part of the planet we live on.
1. The Amazon Rain Forest
The Amazon jungle is often referred to as the lungs of the planet. It covers five million square kilometers (over two million square miles), and although most of it is in Brazil, it touches 8 other countries surrounding Brazil.
You can go spotting the fantastic wildlife like, the howler monkey, the brown-throated sloth, the blue poison dart frog and the jaguar. You can visit native villages or fish for the famous piranha. You can go camping in the jungle or stay at one of the lodges, spot an anaconda or a cruise up the Amazon River.
The most significant city in the region is Manaus which is accessible from most cities in Brazil
2. Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands in Ecuador are one of the must-see destinations for eco-travelers. Because of its unique flora and fauna, these islands were affirmed as the first Natural World Heritage Site in 1978.
These isolated islands allowed natural selection to take place, a process that allowed Charles Darwin to introduce his scientific theory in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species.” On the Galápagos Islands, you can retrace the footsteps of Charles Darwin, and this is one place in the world where human civilization has left a small footprint.
3. Costa Rica
Costa Rica will appear on many eco-travelers’ destination lists. Hemmed in by the Caribbean and the Pacific, this rugged country is famous for its volcanoes, biodiversity and beautiful beaches. Much of the jungle is protected, and this country hosts breathtaking rain and cloud forests.
In Costa Rica, you can visit volcanoes, go white water rafting, visit hot thermal springs, see amazing wildlife, or just smell the coffee at sustainable coffee farms.
4. New Zealand
Visit New Zealand in February for a warm and settled period of the year. On North Island, you can watch the seals sunbathe on Cape Palliser or visit the active thermal area at Waiotapu just south of Rotorua, or go Kiwi spotting at Kapiti Island.
Also on North Island, you can walk through Tongariro National Park where thermal lakes, alpine meadows, and hot springs surround large volcanoes with steaming craters, creating an environment of remarkable diversity making a memorable experience.
On South Island, you can tour the fjords of Milford Sound, kayak in Abel Tasman National Park, or go whale watching in Kaikoura.
One of the prime destinations for eco-tourists in Africa with its wide open spaces where there are 50 national parks with virgin rain forests. There are savannahs, Lakelands, the Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. And along the coast where the Indian Ocean laps against sandy beaches, there are coral reefs.
These varied landscapes mean there is a significant biodiversity of plants, animals, and birds. It is home to elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions and giraffes and the Maasai Mara Reserve is known for its vast annual migration of wildebeest every July and August.
In southern Kenya, the Amboseli National Park is known for its huge elephant herds and hundreds of bird species with magnificent views of Mt Kilimanjaro across the border in Tanzania.
There is more…
This list of the 10 best countries for eco-travel is probably as distinguishable by the destinations that are not listed here. Where can we place the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Pantanal in Brazil or the watery depths of great oceans or the waterless expanse of vast deserts? It’s all part of the richness and diversity of this beautiful planet.
But remember, wherever you travel, to do your part as well, as the areas of the earth with the most significant ecological diversity are often the most threatened. If you choose to visit, it’s more important than ever to ensure that these places remain beautiful and unspoiled for many years to come.