1. Eco-adventure, Costa Rica
The country’s 26 national parks cover more than 25 per cent of its landmass and offer an incredible range of eco-friendly tours. Below the smoking tip of the Arenal volcano (above), there are activities to suit every level of fitness, from gentle hikes and horseback riding on the mountain’s slopes, to rafting and canopy tours. The beaches of Tortuguero National Park are the perfect places to witness nesting sea turtles and to tour canals by boat, gliding past caimans and viridian rainforest walls.
2. Deep-sea restoration, Fiji
There are 110 inhabited islands in this vulnerable South Pacific archipelago nation, where community-based conservation initiatives are making a change. Take for instance the locally managed Marine Area Network, which helps preserve overfished areas by isolating them to restore marine life. Conservation also inspires accommodation: Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort (below) offers a five-star experience peppered with awareness workshops and underwater discovery adventures led by marine biologists.
3. Forest rescue, Malaysia
Thanks to social enterprise Kobest Berhad, in 2016, 66ha of primary rainforest in Sabah’s Ulu Telupid Reserve opened its waterfalls and canopies to eco- tourism. This rescued the area from illegal logging and poaching. The benefits are mutual: locals earn livelihoods from managing homestays, providing guide services and conservation work; travellers can have a taste of authentic Telupid life by helping villagers (below) plant rice and tap rubber trees, and engage with the jungle’s natural beauty.
4. Heritage preservation, Italy
Perched on rocky crests jutting towards the sea, the five Ligurian villages of Cinque Terre (below) are on many must-visit lists. But when tourist arrivals started to become a problem for sustainability, locals made changes. Today, one-, three- or seven- day cards regulate entry to the area’s paths, botanic gardens and birdwatching areas. Accommodations such as Hotel Ca’ d’ Andrean have become eco-friendly, using water- and energy-saving techniques, and encouraging guests to tread lightly on the fragile ecosystem.
– TEXT BY MARCO FERRARESE
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, KOBEST BERHAD, JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU RESORT
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.