Ecotourism is a new travel ethic. The ecotourist seeks the kind of holiday that takes them to relatively undisturbed natural areas, making as little impact on the environment as possible. But an eco-holiday is not only for those to whom you could give a backpack, a tent and a pair of binoculars and they would merrily set off through the jungle. The variety of trips you can do as an ecotourist is vast – and comfort is most definitely allowed. Here is just a taste of some of the experiences you can enjoy, guilt-free…
1. Sea kayaking in Croatia: making no impact on the environment, sea kayaking is a fantastic way to be an ecotourist. With accessible coastline the world over, it is a growing sport with professional instructors and guides sniffing out the most beautiful spots in which they’d like to work. Take your family for a paddle along the Istrian and Dalmatian coasts of Croatia, and explore just a few of the thousands of islands that lie there; with only a few of them populated, you get a real sense of being in uncharted territory.
2. Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda: the mountain gorilla is an icon of conservation, and its continued existence is a true example of how tourism can effectively protect endangered wildlife. Using a spectacular lodge high in the hills as your base, trek through the misty Volcanoes National Park to gawp in wonder at these incredible creatures.
3. Tree hotel in Lapland: a super stylish, contemporary hotel, whose rooms are all up in the trees and have been designed to the highest ecological specs. In winter, enjoy igloo building and dog-sledging; in summer, go for a midnight horse ride. And, whatever time of year you go, the sauna in the wood awaits.
4. Wildlife safari, Isle of Mull: boasting one of the most diverse eco-systems in Britain, this beautiful island off the west coast of Scotland will attract any nature enthusiast. With tours available that eliminate the need to hire a car, and by getting there by train and ferry, you can keep your carbon footprint to a minimum. And once in this magical place, you can search for a long list of wildlife: dolphins, porpoise, minke whales, puffins, eagles, seals, otters and red deer to name but a few.
5. Italian cookery tour, Abruzzo: join a culinary tour and indulge in truffle hunting, saunter through olive groves, taste wine at leisure, participate in inspiring cookery lessons with local chefs, and meet local artisan producers. In directly supporting the local economy and learning about the food that shapes their culture, your taste buds can enjoy the ecotourism trend too.