If vacations allowed the granting of impossible wishes, our trips would allow us to postpone each and every one of our worldly cares without consequence. But this is reality, so unfortunately, leaving home doesn’t stop our actions from having an effect on the environment. Travelers looking to keep their footprint to a minimum while globetrotting may well enjoy these five locations, not just for their picturesque beauty, but for the hosts’ efforts to provide a sustainability experience. These are not meant to be advertisements for particular commercial destinations, but they are a few examples of what thoughtful and well-meaning travelers can find around the world.
Kyrenia, North Cyprus
For three months each year, the island of Cyprus plays hosts to a visitors like no others. Alagadi Beach on North Cyprus is where endangered green and loggerhead sea turtles come to hatch their young. Only about 400 Green and 2,000 loggerhead females breed every year across the Mediterranean. People interested in spending their vacation helping save a species might want to volunteer with the Society for the Protection of Turtles. Be aware, however: volunteering can mean up to a three month commitment, and international volunteers must cover their own expenses.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The temperature of the mineral-rich waters at the Blue Lagoon’s outdoor spa is 40 degrees Celsius, and perfect for a dip. Bathing there is advertised as providing relief from psoriasis, and providing a host of other dermatological benefits. To heat its waters and power its facilities, Blue Lagoon draws 100% clean geothermal energy from 2,000 meter deep wells. Both the spa and resort are designed to blend seamlessly with nature, and the entire structure is surrounded by beautifully patterned lava rock.
Rancho La Puerta, México
Since 1940, Rancho La Puerta has taken pride in its status as a green destination. The resort boasts a massive compost garden that grows vegetables fresh picked and prepared in dishes served by the resort’s kitchen. Rancho La Puerta also doubles as a nature sanctuary where flocks of migrating birds gather among over 200 plant species. The resort’s eco-friendly initiatives benefit the community as well; for example, every year after Christmas, community members can drop off their Christmas trees to be turned into mulch for the property.
Sundance Resort, Utah
Sundance Resort is ideal for skiers seeking to hone their connection with nature. Its accommodations are inspired by a deep-forest aesthetic, and resemble a blend of wood cabin and Native American wigwam. Amenities are sourced organically; in addition, the resort assists with natural conservation by laying down erosion control blankets and restoring plant life. Glassblowers residing at Sundance also pitch in by turning old glass products into furnishings for the resort.
The Canadian Arctic
Those who dream of venturing into the wild may well enjoy a trip into the far reaches of the arctic, perhaps with a Nunavut based company called Arctic Kingdom, which does devote a portion of its income to local philanthropy. Its voyages consist of small caravans of 4 to 12 people guided by an expert, often a native Inuit, experienced in observing Arctic wildlife without intrusion, and connecting travelers with sights of a magnificence that few would ever otherwise see in person. One tour, for example, involves watching newborn polar bear cubs leave their dens for the first time. When night falls, guests who stay during the winter season, also have a good chance of experiencing the magical glow of the Northern Lights.