You’re ready to book your ecotourism adventure, but with the whole world as your metaphorical oyster, how do you go about choosing the destination? We’ve got you covered. All of the below trips include the amount of carbon you’ll be emitting through your return flights.
We used the myclimate calculator.
If there is an alternative to flying, take it. Trains, cars and ferries all pollute less than aviation, with train travel coming out lowest in terms of carbon emissions. Don’t take cruises, cruise ships are so polluting they make flying look greener than Greta Thunberg dressed up as a Poddington Pea (the average cruise emits four times more carbon per passenger than an economy class flight).
If flying, fly direct wherever possible; take-off and landing release far higher emissions than any other part of the flight. Fly in economy and pack lightly, every extra kilogram means that your plane has to use more fuel to get off the ground.
If booking through an agency, use an agency with good sustainability credentials. Read our piece on ‘what is ecotourism’ to learn how.
When in the wild, remember to follow the principle of ‘leave no trace’.
With some of the ecotourism essentials now dealt with, it’s time to discuss some of the best ecotourism adventures you can go on. Whether you want to stay close to home or travel to the other side of the world, you’re sure to find something to your liking on this list.
Go sailing and beach cleaning on the Helford River, Cornwall
Cornwall’s rivers and beaches are world class, bu the battle against litter is incessant. Join Steve and Monika of Clean Ocean Sailing on board their schooner, the Annette, as they clean up waterways and beaches whilst educating passengers on how litter affects fragile marine ecosystems. Longer sailing trips are sometimes available, to the Isles of Scilly, Brittany and Galicia.
How to plan:
Camp at Mount Pleasant Ecological Park (from here it’s an easy drive/bus ride to Gweek via Helston). Mount Pleasant Ecological Park hosts tri-weekly vegan feast nights with live music.
Don’t fly. We mean it, unpack those travel miniatures right now, there is no excuse to fly domestically to Cornwall. And even if you do, you’ll end up on the wrong side of the county as the Helford River is on the south coast and Newquay Airport is on the north.
Return train tickets from London Paddington to Redruth: 0.01 tonnes of CO2.
Summit volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Kamchatka is somewhat of a legend in the trekking community, spoken about with reverence as the Holy Grail of mountain hikes. A guide is mandatory, but when there’s so much to learn about local flora and fauna, why would you want to go without? In the Kamchatka region, hunting is in the culture and salmon poaching and trophy hunting (particularly of brown bears) are huge problems. It’s best to travel with an open mind, but to ensure that your money goes to the right place, book with a reputable company.
How to plan:
Secret Compass operates small, group tours working with local guides. In the eight days of trekking you’ll cover landscapes of fire and ice that would put Game of Thrones to shame. Fly to Moscow. From here you can catch a connecting flight to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Return flights from Heathrow to Petropavlovsk: 2.7 tonnes of CO2.
Hike or bike the Maramureş Heritage Green Road in Maramureş, Romania
With pixie hat haystacks and wooden churches straight out of a Grimms’ Fairy Tale, Maramureş is the land that time forgot. The wildlife is fantastic (lynx, bears, wolves and wild boars), but for adventurers the 88km Maramureş Greenway is a must. Cover the whole trail in a day by bike, or over several days on foot. It isn’t an overly taxing trail and can be easily split into day hikes.
How to plan:
Stay at Babou Hostel and Campsite, Breb. Fly direct to Cluj-Napoca, or make the journey part of the adventure and travel by train. You’ll go through seven countries and the views are spectacular. Trains go from Cluj-Napoca to Baia Mare, from where there are infrequent bus connections to the village of Breb. There’s only one very limited shop in Breb so it’s worth stocking up in Baia Mare beforehand.
Return flights from Heathrow to Cluj-Napoca: 0.7 tonnes of CO2.