After a busy year of working daily with sleepless nights, it is always therapeutic to travel or go on vacation. This could include hikes, treks, and many other activities just to get your mind away from all your daily problems. Nothing is more beautiful than witnessing the best of nature in its most accurate form. This is how ecotourism takes place.
The question now is, what is Ecotourism? Ecotourism is a form of vacation where tourists experience the natural environment without damaging and distorting its natural habitats. Ecotourism focuses on traveling to natural areas like forests and jungles and conserving the environment and keeping in mind the well-being of the local people.
It can also be associated with sustainability and be called sustainable tourism. Its focus remains on wildlife, the natural environment, flora and fauna, marine life, and other forms of nature. Ecotourism also focuses on promoting measures such as energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling, and other economic opportunities for the local communities.
With the introduction of Ecotourism and Sustainable Ecotourism, people are now more aware of the environment. They want to reduce carbon emissions, become more eco-friendly, and work towards getting fresh water and greener earth. For such cases, the United States is one of the best destinations for Ecotourism. Ecotourism in the US is well known because of its many locations, which attract tourists.
Here are some of the best ecotourism destinations in the US.
- Colorado – Referred to as the “Rocky” city, with places like “Garden of the Gods,” Colorado is an extremely popular ecotourism destination in the US, and it attracts tourists from all over the world, focusing on building their small businesses there without affecting the city’s natural habitats.
- Hawaii – Another beautiful location in Hawaii. This island in the US is a member of the IES (International Ecotourism Society) and thus teaches its locals and the tourists from all around about sustainable Ecotourism and more eco-friendly activities.
- Lake Erie – Lake Erie of one of the most natural shores in the US, attracting tourists from all around. With its shores being eco-friendly, the focus towards preserving the natural element and focusing on sustainability remains throughout.
- Alaska – One of the most popular ecotourism destinations in the US, Alaska offers some events that aim to preserve the natural environment, recycling, and other activities like excursions, wildlife, and other adventures related to nature.
Costa Rica – An Exhilarating Destination
Another destination outside the US that focuses more on preserving the environment is Costa Rica. Ecotourism in Costa Rica is growing in demand year after year. Costa Rica has a wide range of extensive parks and protected areas that focus on Ecotourism and sustainability.
One of the primary reasons why Costa Rica is one of the best destinations for Ecotourism is because of its rich biodiversity, higher standard of living, and good ecosystem. An example of a popular ecotourism destination in Costa Rica is Cocos Island and the Poas Volcano Crater.
Here are some of the experiences that you can be a part of when touring in Costa Rica.
- Ziplining in Costa Rica – Ziplining is one of the essential experiences in Costa Rica. Fly through the forests and observe the wildlife, the flora, and fauna and see nature in its most accurate form.
- Organic Farming – For nature loves, organic farms in Costa Rica are among the most attractive locations where you will find fresh ingredients and crops.
- Nature Parks in Costa Rica – Since Costa Rica is one of the prime places for Ecotourism globally, you will find many nature parks that define Ecotourism in the best way possible. Parks like the Manuel Antonio National Park, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Tortuguero National Park will give you an experience of wildlife and the beauty of birds, marine life, and other elements of nature as well. Some of these parks are the most visited parks daily and also have various tree species.
Pros and Cons of Ecotourism
Though Ecotourism has focused on bringing about sustainable development and preservation of the environment, it is also known that there have been some negative impacts of Ecotourism.
Here are a few pros of Ecotourism:
- One of the significant impacts of Ecotourism has been to focus on preserving the environment. It has thus been working towards improving local culture and take care of the local environment. There is conservation of the local areas’ biological diversity and promising job opportunities for the local people through such measures.
- Ecotourism has helped preserve the environment and the culture of the local people and raised awareness about the social environment and its needs. Measures such as clean water and organic farming are some of the most critical factors raised by Ecotourism.
- Ecotourism is focusing on preserving the wildlife of the cultural areas and promoting more natural sources. Instead of spending more money on their luxurious vacations, people go for ecotourism trips to places like the US and Costa Rica in search of the beauty of nature.
- Ecotourism also works towards the preservation of endangered animals and keeping them safe for the future.
- The money that is involved in tourism goes to the local economy for the preservation of rainforests.
- With the increase in income, as the rainforest is preserved, the possibility of deforestation goes down.
- Due to Ecotourism, hunting for animals is also discouraged.
Cons of Ecotourism
- With Ecotourism, there is also a big risk of spoiling a region’s ecosystem. In many popularly known ecotourism regions, a huge number of tourists could unknowingly adversely affect the biodiversity of the region. This could happen by mistakenly stepping on the soil or crops unsustainable harvesting, which is not ideal for some areas.
- In those areas that are popular ecotourism spots, due to many tourists coming at a particular time, there could be encroachment that could affect the areas’ natural habitat. Fragmentation and destruction of these habitats happen due to other issues like pollution that can also affect the wildlife.
- There may also be instances where the local people of the economy may not be on board with the tourism sector. They may not want to do the necessary work that is asked of them, leading to a conflict between them.
- One of the more harmful impacts is that the wildlife can be affected due to Ecotourism. The local animals may get vulnerable and behave aggressively. They may also be indicated about poaching, hunting, and other activities.
- In Ecotourism, most of the money that goes to the local economy does not reach them. This leads to fraud, thus leaving the local people to fend for themselves.
Ecotourism has worked towards preserving the environment, encouraging the local community, and keeping alive their cultural, biological diversity. Now in places like the US and Costa Rica, Ecotourism is one of the most common forms of tourism. People want to go through national parks to experience the best of wildlife, marine life, birds, and flora, and fauna. Through these jungles and forests, you will experience what nature has become since the beginning of time and how beautiful it is now.