We all want to travel to beautiful places. More importantly, we want those places to stay beautiful for many more generations of travelers to enjoy. Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing places out there which are upping their sustainability game, to help adventurers do the right thing. Here are some of the most sustainable travel destinations around the world to put on your next must-visit list…
5. The Azores – Portugal
This cluster of 9 volcanic islands off the coast of Portugal is one of the most spectacular places you’re likely to visit anywhere in the world. Blessed with a natural environment and wildlife like no other, the people of the Azores recognize what an asset that is, both to their own happiness and that of visitors. To help protect this, the Azores has a sustainable power grid that generates over a quarter of their needs from renewable sources, with a major aim of being the first 100% renewable system in the world. On top of that, there are no fewer than 23 registered protected areas on the Azores to help preserve both inland and marine habitats. For those reasons and more, The Azore Islands continue to win the most sustainable destination in Europe award, as well as often hitting to top 10 of global sites.
You can find out more about the sustainability of the Azores, and scope out things to do, on their amazing visitors’ site here.
4. San Francisco – USA
If you’re surprised to see an American city on this list, you shouldn’t be. The USA has plenty of sustainable destinations but, for us, San Francisco tops the list. They had the foresight to ban single-use plastic bags way back in 2007, initiated the country’s first large-scale urban food waste and composting program in the country (reducing their emissions by 12% in the process), and the cities agencies maximize their fair trade and organic food purchases from local farms that grow sustainable produce. They are also working to be a totally waste-free city and have a great public transport network to help reduce reliance on personal cars.
Aside from all that great stuff, it just happens to be full of incredible culture. The local wine and food are world-class, the pier is an amazing place to see seals up close, those who love history can visit Alcatraz, plus there is music, art, and festivals galore.
To discover the best of San Francisco, check out their visitors’ site here.
3. Bardia National Park – Nepal
This protected area in Nepal is one of the largest sanctuaries for endangered wildlife anywhere in the world. Primarily known for its tiger population, the park is also home to wild Asian elephants. The are also one-horned rhinoceros and a myriad of other mammals and birds. It was for this key reason the park was recently recognized as the best in Asia for sustainable tourism. Local culture in the area is also strong, with the Tharu people being the first to settle this ancient region.
If you’re up for a little mountain climbing, then the Himalayas are only a day’s drive from the park as well. To check out Bardia National Park in more detail, Lonely Planet has a great guide here.
2. Chumble Island – Zanzibar
This tiny island of Zanzibar is a private nature reserve, developed for the conservation and sustainable management of coral reefs in the area. That fact makes it absolutely incredible for diving, as well as relaxed island living. This year it won the ‘Best of Africa’ for sustainable tourism at ITB Berlin. It also won best in the world in 2013, making it a gem of global travel.
Aside from the coral gardens off the coast, there is also a forest reserve on the island. An education center helps spread the positive message of doing things the renewable way. A great way to unwind and support responsible travel at the same time.
To check out more on Chumble Island, head to their website here.
1. Guyana – South America
So far we’ve recommended islands, cities, wildlife parks and nature reserves as the best destinations for sustainable travel. Guyana is special in that it’s an entire country. The Caribbean vibe of the north coast mixes Latin dancing, food and culture into a melting pot of amazing experiences. Then there’s the spectacular mountains in the west and verdant rainforests in the South – complete with treetop walks and jaw-dropping waterfalls.
There is a wide range of community-based tourism activities which give a truly local experience. Many villages have even pooled their resources to invest in sustainable tourism as their main source of income. The official language of the country is English, making it easy for American and UK visitors to navigate with ease.
To find out more about Guyana as a sustainable destination, head to their visitors’ website here.
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