Hello eco warriors! Are you looking for all the best ecotourism activities around the world?
Ecotourism activities are fast becoming the number one choice of travelers that are leading sustainable lifestyles.
Ecotourism is defined as a practice of responsible tourism, where tourists visit natural areas that:
- conserve the environment,
- sustain the well-being of the local people,
- and involves interpretation and education.
A union between conservation and sustainable traveling, ecotourism is about giving back to the communities and the land of the areas we visit.
By choosing ecotourism activities and holiday destinations, not only do we get to form beautiful memories, but we also have a direct role in preserving, developing, and understanding the planet.
Adila, WWB writer and sustainability enthusiast, will get you started on where to go and what to do there! This article will help you fill up your bucket list full of ecotourism activities and other places for your next adventure.
Here are the list of ecotourism activities that will be covered in this article:
- See the Great Migration – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- See one of the world’s natural wonders – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stay in a traditional Bhutanese home – Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Bhutan
- Cave exploring – Mulu National Park, Malaysia
- Birdwatching – Los Quetzales National Park, Costa Rica
- Explore the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu, Peru
- Explore a sustainable city – Ljubljana, Slovenia
- See the wonder of Aurora Borealis – Lapland, Finland
- Swim with jellyfish – Jellyfish Lake, Palau
- Take a walk in Mordor – Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
- Live the nomadic life – Terelj National Park, Mongolia
This article may contain some affiliate links which means I may earn some commission when you click on it, but at no additional cost to you. Hope you will find this article helpful.
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Ecotourism Activities: 11 Spectacular Options Around the World
1. See the Great Migration – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is 15,000 square kilometers of breathtaking open space containing a rich variety of wildlife housed in the sprawling savannah.
The main highlight of Serengeti National Park is the Great Migration. It is one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world.
Two million wildebeests, hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras along with their predators go on an annual migration in search of pasture and water in the vast plains of Serengeti National Park.
Watch the wild animals up close with these Military Binoculars with Smartphone Adapter
The best season to witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti would be during the dry season from June to October yearly.
The Serengeti National Park offers various ways for adventurers to enjoy the eco tour experience, ranging from the normal to the extraordinary:
- Walking Safari – Explore the Serengeti with your five senses and live as the nomads do, trekking freely through the National Park for several days, away from any roads and tracks.
- Wildlife Safari – See elephants, cheetahs and other animals roam free in the Serengeti. The wildlife safari experience enables you to go on game drives at any time from sunrise to before dark, with an option to go for an all-day drive as well.
- Balloon Safari – Experience the Serengeti with a romantic vibe, as you gracefully and silently fly over the plains filled with wildlife through the early morning mists.
- Wedding Safari – Add an interesting twist to your big day! Begin your day with a walking safari and exchange your vows with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background and local Maasai people as witnesses.
2. See one of the world’s natural wonders – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Forming a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the majesty of Victoria Falls is beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Described as “The Smoke that Thunders” in the local Tonga language, Victoria Falls is the largest single curtain of falling water in the world.
Here are the ways where you can best enjoy the breathtaking wonder of Victoria Falls:
- Victoria Falls Bridge Tour. On this tour, you could enjoy the sights of Victoria Falls on a guided tour which includes a walking tour under the main deck.
- Victoria Falls Walking Tour. Immerse yourself in the sound and sights of the rainforest as the mighty Victoria Falls thunders down. Be warned that you might get wet during this tour, so here are some recommendations on the best rain ponchos you can bring for this tour.
- Zambezi River Cruise. Floating lazily down the mighty Zambezi River is a fantastic way to enjoy the breathtaking sights of Victoria Falls. There are various options you can choose from, ranging from sunrise to sunset, and even a romantic Dinner Cruise, where you can enjoy the lovely night atmosphere with your loved one down the Zambezi River.
Equip yourself with a Disposable Rain Poncho
3. Stay in a traditional Bhutanese home – Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Bhutan
Wangchuck Centennial National Park is the largest national park in Bhutan, covering an area of 4919 sq km!
This park represents one of the best examples of the Himalayan flora and houses various wildlife species such as the snow leopard and the Tibetan wolf.
The park is spread across 6 different regions of Bhutan.
As Bhutan is a country that is fully committed to preserving the environment, man and nature live side by side in harmony.
One of the ways where you can immerse yourself in the full Bhutanese experience is to stay in a traditional Bhutanese home. Sure beats staying in an Econo Lodge!
Nasiphel, Bumthang is a village located within Wangchuck Centennial National Park. It has a homestay program where travelers have the opportunity to experience daily life in Bhutan’s countryside.
The homestay program is a unique eco-tourism experience that will certainly leave a lasting impression.
An easy way to arrange this unique eco-tourism experience would be through tour operators. The Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO) has a curated directory of members who are committed to helping you check Bhutan off your bucket list.
4. Cave exploring – Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia
Located in Sarawak, Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its limestone karst formations and some of the most spectacular caves on earth.
Thanks to the heavy annual rainfall in Sarawak, the limestones that make up Gunung Mulu were shaped into a gigantic labyrinth of exquisite beauty and mystery.
Gunung Mulu National Park is home to one of the world’s longest networks of caves, the Clear Water Cave. It is also the home of the Sarawak Chamber, the world’s largest enclosed space, and the Deer Cave, which is the largest cave passage in the world.
Altogether, the vast underground system of cave passages measures nearly 300km long.
There are various tours and activities that can be done in the Gunung Mulu National Park, exploring the various cave systems that are there.
One of the favorite spots to explore is the Deer Cave, where you can witness the Bat Exodus, where millions of bats leave the Deer Cave in great swarms in the evenings.
Cave exploring can be quite a dangerous activity so it’s better to prepare yourself for anything that might happen. Here is a guide to help you get the most suitable adventure sports travel insurance for your trip.
5. Birdwatching – Los Quetzales National Park, Costa Rica
Los Quetzales National Park was formerly known as the Los Santos Reserve until Costa Rica established it to be a national park in 2005. It is one of the most popular ecotourism activities and holiday destinations as it is one of the top spots to experience the best of Costa Rica ecotourism.
Los Quetzales National Park is a part of Costa Rica’s famous cloud forest system. There are three different types of rainforests and 14 unique ecological zones all within the same park.
It is renowned for various types of birds and animals, many of which don’t exist anywhere else in Costa Rica. More than 200 species of birds have been spotted in the park, the most famous species being the Resplendent Quetzal, which the park is named after.
The best time to visit the park if you want to see the Resplendent Quetzal will be between March to June. During these months, they will venture to the lower forests for breeding and nesting.
There will be a lot of hiking involved when you’re spending time in the company of nature. Here are some recommendations for the best hiking pants you can get on a budget.
6. Explore the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu, Peru
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu is the testament of the greatness of the Inca civilization. Located in the scenic Andes mountain range, the city is surrounded by beautiful cloud forests and gorgeous mountain scenery.
As Peru experiences heavy rains during its rainy season, July to October is when the weather is typically dry and pleasant. However, it is also the busiest time of year to visit Machu Picchu.
April to June would be the best time to visit to avoid the worst of the crowds without risking too much rain.
To explore and experience Machu Picchu, hiking is the most popular way to get there. One of the famous trails to take is the Inca Trail which will take you on a four-day trek through the mountains directly to the spectacular ruins.
For those who would like to enjoy a less crowded experience, the second most popular hike to Machu Picchu is the Salkantay Trek, where you will go around the massive Salkantay Mountain, measuring an imposing 20,569 feet high.
Do note that in order to get into the ruins themselves, you must have an entrance ticket purchased in advance as tickets are not sold at the entrance gate.
You can purchase the entrance ticket directly from the Peru Ministry of Culture website where you can choose a ticket to enter the Machu Picchu ruins only or add on entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.
Bear in mind that there are different entry time slots for the locations and the tickets sell out fast. It is best to book your tickets at least three months in advance before your trip.
7. Explore a sustainable city – Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ecotourism sites aren’t restricted to only national parks, let me introduce you to an urban spot for responsible tourism. Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia which is also the country’s largest city.
One of the greenest cities in Europe with over 542 sq m of public green areas, the Ljubljanica River flows through the vibrant charming town.
Ljubljana boasts an exciting mix of nature, culture, and history.
The food scene there is thriving, with chefs recreating and reinventing cuisines from all over the world but still keeping their traditional cuisines intact.
An urban ecotourism destination, Ljubljana is best enjoyed on foot, where there are a lot of green pockets around town and shops that you can drop by to browse ecotourism products and maybe bring a piece of Ljubljana back with you.
Here are some local artisans that you can check out when you are in Ljubljana:
- Lectarija Museum Shop – located at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, this shop is a reconstruction of Ljubljana’s original Lectarija arts and crafts shop where it stocks a vast range of traditional local crafts.
- Kraševka – Named after the Slovenian region of Kras, Kraševka sells homemade products from all Slovenian regions, particularly from its regional namesake.
- Atelje Dobnik – Alteje Dobnik is one of the first boutique chocolate shops in Slovenia.
Being in a sustainable city, you would definitely want to avoid leaving a substantial carbon footprint while shopping and enjoying the amazing food. Here are some recommendations for eco-friendly travel products that you can get for your trip!
8. See the wonder of Aurora Borealis – Lapland, Finland
Lapland, also known as the Land of the Midnight Sun is situated in Finland.
It is an area in the Arctic Circle, where thanks to its location, you get to see a spectacular natural light show – Aurora Borealis – across its skies.
The Northern Lights season in Lapland is from September until April, but the best time to view the Aurora Borealis is at the beginning and end of the season.
In order to see the Northern Lights dancing in the skies, it is best to embrace the outdoors and walk around in the dark. Lapland is a vast winter wonderland best explored by skiing, walking, or even on horseback.
Being out in the snow and the cold, you will need sturdy boots to stay comfortable. Here are some recommendations for snowboarding boots that you can get to prepare for your trip.
There is also the option of experiencing the Northern Lights in the warm comforts of your accommodation. Here are some places in Lapland that offer a unique viewing experience:
- Inari Wilderness Hotel – located right beside Lake Inari, this hotel is one of the great places to see the Northern Lights.
- Giellajohka – a warm and cozy holiday village in the heart of the Northernmost Lapland, it is located away from all the light pollution, making it a perfect place for viewing the Northern Lights.
- Arctic SnowHotels & Glass Igloos – a unique place that offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience such as the snow sauna, it also has glass igloos where you can view the Northern Lights right from your bed.
9. Swim with jellyfishes – Jellyfish Lake, Palau
Palau, an island in the South Pacific, is an archipelago that is home to over 500 remote tropical islands, making it the ideal place for a beautiful and quiet escape.
Palau is one of the leading nations championing sustainability where it became the first country in history to declare 80% of its territorial waters a marine protected area. Palau also has a sustainability pledge that tourists have to sign before coming there.
Palau is known for some of the most gorgeous seascapes that you can experience.
However, Palau’s wonders aren’t restricted to its seas, it is also known for the Jellyfish Lake, a saltwater lake filled with stingless, bright orange jellyfishes.
Jellyfish Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only place in the world to enjoy the otherworldly experience of floating among a million squishy jellies.
Since you will definitely be spending time in the water, here are some recommendations for the best wetsuits for your trip.
Make your experience a whole lot more enjoyable by gearing up with a set of snorkelling equipment
10. Take a walk in Mordor – Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
New Zealand is famous for its beautiful landscapes where the Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot.
Tongariro National Park is the place where Mordor was brought to life, from the slopes of Mount Doom, the seat of Sauron to the plains where battles for Middle-Earth were fought.
One of the gems in Tongariro National Park is Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is deemed to be the best one-day hike in New Zealand. Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4 km trek across the North Island’s active volcanic area.
On the Tongariro Alpine Crossing trek, you will get the chance to see Mount Ngauruhoe, the site of Mount Doom. There are also the famous Blue and Emerald Lakes, their colors vibrant thanks to the mineral deposits from past volcanic activities in the area.
The trek would be quite challenging as some places are steep and the alpine altitude would take some time to get used to.
To fully immerse yourself in the Lord of the Rings lore, Red Carpet Tours offers a selection of tours where they will cover various locations shown in the movies, one of which being Mordor.
It’s advised to carry food and water along with other essentials to make the trek. Here are some recommendations for the best eco-friendly backpacks for the trip to carry all the essentials for the trek.
11. Live a nomadic life – Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia
Mongolia, known as the Country of Blue Skies, a landlocked nation that is rich in history and wonder, both natural and manmade. It also makes the list of ecotourism activities as the final option!
The people of Mongolia have a long history of living a nomadic lifestyle, stretching back to the Bronze Age. Mongolia is one of the places where the people embrace being part of the land, even when modern life comes knocking.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of Mongolia’s renowned national parks and one of the places in Mongolia where you can fully immerse yourself in nature and culture.
Staying in a ger, you will get to experience the daily lives of nomads who live by the philosophy of living in harmony with the natural environment.
Here are some trusted locally-owned travel companies that offer packaged tours for you to experience the nomadic life and directly benefit the local community.
Being constantly on the move outdoors, you will have to keep your phones charged so you can capture all the memories made during this unique experience. Here are some recommendations for the best power banks to bring during your trip.
Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on ecotourism destinations you can go to and the ecotourism activities you can do there.
It is helpful to remember that the key to responsible tourism is to always explore the ecotourism attractions available in your chosen destination. With these ecotourism activities listed down, hope that some will make it onto your bucket list!
Do share this article with your fellow sustainability-minded wanderers. If you know of any other ecotourism activities not listed here, do let us know in the comments section below!