Published on December 2nd, 2011 | by Guest Contributor


Eco Travel Destinations

It’s coming up to winter, which means we are all planning our warm-weather vacations – or at least I am! Though for the snow bunnies out there, I’ll try and balance between warm weather and cold weather locations .

Pink Flamingos in Celestun, Mexico

Celestun Special Biosphere Reserve, Yucatan, Mexico

The Yucatan is a pristine peninsula, and within that is the 146,000 acre park in which Celestun operates. The area is one of the most biologically diverse in the world – though it is perhaps most well known for the flamingos and diversity of other birds…over 300 unique species!

The guided boat tours are perhaps one of the most popular ways to see the region – you get into the actual lagoon, though a respectful (and safe) distance away from the wildlife of the reserve – flamingos bite!

The tours themselves are low impact, as are the accommodations in the area, one such being the Hotel Eco Paraiso – which seems to be the only accommodation, actually. Funds from the resort got to local conservation initiatives.

Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge – Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska

“They strive to have a low impact on the environment by using non-polluting alternative energy systems, by recycling, and by “leaving no trace” when out on the trails.They support conservation organizations, and believe in using common sense when viewing wildlife.”

From the Sadie Cove website, we can tell this luxurious home away from home in the rugged Alaskan wilderness is dedicated to an eco-friendly system of operation. Bring your hiking boots (or snow boots) and your thinking cap! Sadie Cove is a great spot for photographers, hikers and beach combers – a haven in the far North.

Sit around the fireplace (I’m assuming they have a massively cozy one) and listen to the tales of the owners, Keith and Randi – stories of modern day pioneers who have found their place in the world.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

Yes, Darwin’s Galapagos.The Galapagos are a very fragile ecosystem, so by default any visitor to the islands needs to be eco-conscious. Natural Habitat Adventures offers two different packages to explore the Galapagos, one of them being on a yacht owned by a local family – a yacht, you say? What about one that is fitted with sustainable alternative-energy technology – wind turbines an solar panels included?

Keep the paradise pristine, and enjoy your time on this striking World Heritage Site.

Burlington, Vermont

For those that are looking to stay a little closer to home on vacation – and want to migrate North for your relaxation this year, why not check out our very own Burlington? (Not like Alaska isn’t part of the US…it’s just a tad bit harder to get to). While it isn’t labeled as explicitly as some other locations are around the world, Burlington can be quite a thrill for that very reason. The area is taking upon itself the mantle of eco-friendliness, from citizen based groups to tackle any number of issues to the fact that more than a third of the energy of the city comes from renewable resources, Burlington is a great place to cozy up and enjoy.

Plus, it’s Vermont! Explore the various hiking trails (of course, make sure you have the right shoes…or boots) and maybe help with the maple farming – if you’ve arrived in the winter.

There are also a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you are eco-conscious when you are traveling –

  • Bring your own bottle
  • Reuse towels, etc.
  • Look for the Green Key and Blue Flag to determine which destinations are rated as sustainable and eco-responsible.
  • Consider a carbon offset when you purchase your transportation – Travelocity is one example that now offers customers the option to purchase a carbon offset when they book travel.

2 warm and 2 cold locations for the eco-conscious traveler, some close to home, others, not so close. Wherever you decide to go for your vacation this year, carry your green habits with you!

Jade Evans is a freelance writer who loves hiking and works occasionally a company that provides everything from hiking boots to the vegan and environmentally friendly Jambu footwear. She loves the outdoors and will always enjoy traveling somewhere new.

[CC Images by shazwan and Berkowitz via flickr and Pink Flamingo by Wikimedia]

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