Forgo the resort and get off the cruise ship to have a real traveling experience—explore some of the most exotic ecotourism destinations around the world.

Traveling is fun, but doing the same activities in different locations can get boring. The main challenge of getting out and seeing the world is deciding where to go. If the all-inclusive resorts and cruises are getting old, it’s time to try something else. Come back to Earth, interact with the locals, and have a real-life experience by embarking on an ecotourism vacation.

If you’re not sure what ecotourism is, that’s okay. As defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, ecotourism is “environmentally responsible travel to natural areas… that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

That’s a mouthful, to say the least. There are so many ecotourism destinations around the world that it’s hard to know where to begin. As this style of travel grows in popularity, ecotourists continue to find new destinations. Here is a small sample of possible choices for your next ecotourism vacation.

Panama

Panama is an untouched gem for ecotourists, with tons of exciting activities to discover. Outside the capital city, you’ll find lush tropical forests teeming with wildlife. Hidden among these forests are dozens of waterfalls and even an active volcano to hike. The country also has miles of coastline that’s home to marine sanctuaries and coral reefs.

Costa Rica

Costa rica is Spanish for “rich coast,” and one look at this Central American country will tell you why it bears the name. It has four active volcanoes, rainforests, hot springs, and over 700 miles of pristine beaches. Here you’ll find white water rafting, bird watching, scuba diving, and rock climbing.

Alaska

Alaska is still one of the most rugged and untouched places on Earth, and most certainly in the United States. You can truly be alone in Alaska, and you don’t have to venture far to get there. Massive glaciers, grizzly bears, soaring eagles, and snow-capped mountains await people looking for great adventures in the wild. Alaska’s grandeur and splendor make it a prime ecotourist destination.

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a mecca for ecotourism. UNESCO declared this archipelago the first World Heritage Site in 1978. Charles Darwin even crafted his theory of natural selection based on his findings there. You can swim with the penguins and sea lions here, but you can’t jet ski or use flash photography.

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