We’ve traveled a lot and scoured the web to put together a list of the top green travel destinations. Traveling green isn’t just about packing light, shopping local, or sticking to direct flights. It’s also about choosing destinations that are already taking steps to be more sustainable, and supporting the economy in those communities.
And it’s about giving back to the community and the earth by volunteering. There’s a green travel destination on every continent – from Kerala, India to Slovakia to Luang Prabang, Laos. Choosing a destination is part of the fun of traveling.
5 Top Green Travel Destinations
Olivia at Brave New Traveler definitely has the right idea about green travel; she believes it’s “about finding and supporting destinations that have seen the light, and are already working to green-up their tourist offerings.” Her picks for the top green travel destinations include Belize City, Belize, Luang Prabang, Laos, and MjÃ¸lfjell, Norway.
Best Five Destinations for Ecotourism
Independent Traveler chooses their destinations “not only for their unique biodiversity but also for a local commitment to maintaining the beauty and integrity of these places through sustainable tourism.” They rank Palau, Costa Rica, and Kerala, India among their top five.
The Green Rooms
With all of the new green destinations during up, The Guardian tracked down 5 environmental and travel bloggers and asked them to rate their favorite green travel places. Among them: Keveral Farm in Cornwall, Hostel One66 in Singapore, and Venus Albir in Costa Blanca, Spain.
The World’s Greenest Countries
Newsweek reports on Yale’s 3rd annual green ranking of 149 countries. Rankings are based on “an environmental performance index (EPI)–a weighting of carbon and sulfur emissions, water purity and conservation practices.” It looks like Eastern Europe is the place to be, with Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, and Croatia all in the top 20.
photo credit: qronoz
America’s 50 Greenest Cities
Popsci uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide to find the best green U.S. cities. They based their ratings on 4 categories: electricity, transportation, green living, and recycling and green perspective. No real surprises among the top five: Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Oakland, and Eugene.
Beyond Green Travel: Top Ten Ecotourism Destinations
Originally published in a National Geographic Magazine article, National Geographic’s Adventure Blog lists the 10 best eco-destinations across the world and breaks them down into three categories:
Eco-Success: Where to Go Now (like Dubai and Kenya)
Tipping Point: Destinations Making Progress (like Gabon and Ireland)
Watch List: Eco-Challenges at Hand (like Turks and Caicos)
Luxury Ecotourism Destinations
As this article’s title implies, Suite 101’s info is geared toward high-end travelers who want to try out ecotourism, and addresses the fear that “green travel means no running water.” Destinations of choice include Madagascar and St. Croix.
Best eco-cruising destinations: Favorite picks for where to go to experience natural treasures
This MSNBC article is more about cruises that let you get close to nature than cruises that help you preserve it. But, as with all trips, you choose how green to make your vacation. Experience nature up-close and do your best to keep it in the same condition in which you found it – if not better.
Best EcoTravel Websites
Care2’s comprehensive collection of 15 ecotour resources and websites, complete with descriptions, is great place to start your green travel research.
Explore the World with International Volunteering
Volunteering during your travels is one of the best ways you can give back to the community. At the bottom of this Four Hour Work Week post, Tim Ferriss describes five awesome opportunities to volunteer abroad, most of which focus on disaster response and restoration.