Travel has an immense amount of power to transform, push us outside of our boundaries and leave us in awe. At its core, travel is an opportunity to explore our world, and discover unknowns – whether that be through experiencing the raw beauty of nature or shifting our own personal perceptions. And through discovery, we have the opportunity to learn respect. Below, a selection of some of the best awe-inducing, raw nature experiences around the world – each of which has a core focus on protecting and preserving Mother Earth.
Located amongst the rainforest – and secluded away from urban distractions – is the Tami Lodge in Santos Forest Reserve in the highlands of Costa Rica. Guests stay in bungalows that are set up glamping-style, so travelers are able to immerse themselves in nature while still enjoying comfortable amenities (did you see that bathroom view?!). Travelers staying at Tami Lodge also have the opportunity to participate in a bio-coffee tour to learn more about a local coffee farm dedicated to sustainable, organic production.
Run by Santos Tour, the community organization has a deep commitment to preserving the pristine nature of the land, and their program provides inspiration, education and environmental consciousness to more than 70 families who otherwise would not have opportunities to benefit from tourism due to the remote location of their communities.
For another off-the-grid experience, venture down to the Peruvian Amazon to visit Otorongo Amazon Lodge, a family-run eco lodge in the rainforest by the Amazon River. Travelers can opt for customized packages through Otorongo Expeditions, and each experience – from spotting Amazon River dolphins to adventuring into the jungle to camp by hidden waterfalls – offers a unique opportunity to bask in Mother Earth’s natural beauty. Otorongo pioneered the Fossil Creek rainforest reserve, and your stay supports the conservation of more than 1,000 hectares of rainforest. Their goal is to use the reserve to protect the unique flora and fauna of the area while simultaneously promoting sustainable development via ecotourism.
Of course, staying in an eco-lodge doesn’t mean that you have to rough it – quite the contrary. The Gal Oya Eco-Lodge in Sri Lanka is a stunning example of luxury living that promotes eco and sustainable tourism. Located in the heart of 20 acres of jungle, travelers have the opportunity to see elephants in their natural habitat, explore the rich area of Gal Oya, one of Sri Lanka’s most remote and least visited wilderness areas – all while setting up a home base at a beautiful lodge. The space has a stunning pool, gorgeous amenities and a restaurant that boasts an expansive selection of fine dining.
Gal Oya’s philosophy for protecting and preserving our environment lies at the heart of their design, which brings guests closer to nature. With a sharp attention to detail, the space is made up of locally-sourced materials, and also implements appropriate technology for energy conservation and recycling.
Promoting sustainable living and eco-friendly practices goes beyond where we lay our heads down at night, which is why, in addition to considering a stay at an eco-lodge, it’s important to include environmentally-friendly experiences in our travel plans. The Huasteca Potosina Nature Tour in Ciudad Valles, Mexico, offers travelers the opportunity to experience some of the country’s most spectacular natural wonders. From stunning waterfalls to dreamy cenotes and jaw-dropping surrealist gardens and sculptures… it’s not hard to start daydreaming about planning a trip. Each of the adventurous experiences with the local company has environmental consciousness at the forefront, with a core focus on respect and preservation for our environment throughout the tours.
Once touted and readily-accepted as the eco-friendly version of Cancun, Tulum is increasingly being scrutinized for their not-so-environmentally-friendly practices. But there are several local, reputable companies that are working hard to preserve and protect both the environment and local traditions of the region, one of which is Totonal Viajes que Iluminan. Wander off-the-beaten-path with their local guides for an immersive and environmentally-conscious tour of the Sian Ka’an biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage site and beautiful just south of Tulum. Snorkel in the cenotes, visit a sea turtle sanctuary and relax on the beach on their tour. Totonal Viajes has a community-based tourism approach, allowing them to connect travelers directly with locals and work in awareness of awareness and training for all parties involved, with the goal of building lasting, sustainable solutions.