Posts Tagged ‘ecotourism’

Hawaii Sustainable Tourism Certified Operators

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is important. It is easy to think of ecotourism and being responsible to the land when the land is as breathtakingly gorgeous as the Hawai`ian Islands…now if we can think this way everywhere!

Today, celebrate the 2014-2016 Sustainable Tourism Certified Operators of the Hawai`ian Islands. These businesses choose to go above and beyond normal standards, committing genuine energy and education about conserving the islands’ ecosystems and culture. This list is compiled by Hawaii Ecotourism Association, a non-profit that has, for the past 20 years, held island tourism to a higher standard. They are true industry leaders–if you are traveling to the islands (take me with you!)–please look to and explore these businesses for tours and activities:

Island of Oahu, Heart of Hawaii
– Atlantis Submarines Hawaii (Atlantis Adventures – Oahu, Maui & BI)
– Bike Hawaii
– Holokai Kayak & Snorkel Adventure
– Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks
– Ko Olina Ocean Adventures
– Kualoa Ranch
– Pacific Islands Institute
– Wild Side Specialty Tours

Visit Maui
– Hawaiian Paddle Sports
– Maui Kayak Adventures
– Pacific Whale Foundation
– Trilogy Excursions

Big Island Visitors Bureau
– Big Island Divers
– Fair Wind Cruises
– Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (Hawaiian Legacy Tours)
– VolcanoDiscovery Hawai`i
– KapohoKine Adventures (pending)

Kauai Visitors Bureau
 Island Sails Kaua’i (pending)

See the Wild and Wild Hope Magazine

See the Wild is a conservation travel and ecotourism company promoting alternatives to destructive travel and activities, and inspiring new wildlife activists. Working with key travel partners, they will help you plan your conservation vacation responsibly, and in a way that supports the communities and regions you visit.

This inspiring organization started in 2008 with sea turtle rescue and conservation trips, and now offers trips across the globe in service to all sorts of species (including a whole category of wildlife volunteer vacations).

So many of us dream about taking a vacation that could prioritize wildlife encounters and experiences, while minimizing impact and helping support conservation…but we wouldn’t know where to begin. Tool around the site to get your brain running overtime, then peruse the inaugural issue of their online magazine, WildHope Magazine to really get your imagination flying.

Go Eco–to Green Up Your Voluntour

Photo: Go Eco

You’ve already decided you want to book a volunteer vacation, doing amazing work that propels you out of bed (or your hammock or sleeping bag) every morning, working in a community where you’ll be forever connected because of the difference you make…but even here, like at every turn when we book travel, we can make ever more responsible choices. Go Eco (“Volunteers for Ecological and Humanitarian Projects”) is helping you find green voluntourism and service travel options, where sustainability and planet stewardship are priorities. Lots of animal-focused trips here, as well as research and education trips, but also medical missions, development projects, teaching English programs, and more.

Photo: Go Eco

Go Eco has curated trips from other providers, helping you narrow down your search, and helping you keep your priorities straight. Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America are all represented, so take a spin around and see what trips your trigger. As I’ve always said, there is a volunteer vacation for everyone–if you haven’t found your inspiration and passion yet, we have to dig a little deeper. It’s out there, and they need you. Not just anyone…YOU.

Planet-friendly Planeterra

The start of this New Year is a time for new beginnings for all of us—travel planning companies included.

Planeterra is a global provider of volunteer vacations, mixing service work in fantastic locales along with some insider exploration of the regions you visit, so your experience with the community runs both deep and wide.

2010 has new offerings, including volunteering in Sichuan, China at the world’s largest panda preserve and also visiting the Great Wall, X’ian, Beijing, and Shanghai. Or you could opt for the new family-friendly volunteer adventure pitching in at a kid-friendly organic farm in Ecuador. There are eleven new projects in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, plus previous client favorites that are still available, some as group trips and some as private arrangements. Your housing (double rooms, shared accommodation, or sometimes living with a local family), most meals, ground transportation, training and equipment, orientation, and escorted adventure exploration tours are all included, and most volunteer vacations with Planeterra average about $85 per day.

Argentina, Peru, El Salvador, Galapagos, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, South Africa—each provides a new opportunity to help in community improvement programs, education, building projects, animal and habitat conservation, trail building, and more. Planeterra’s Director, Richard G. Edwards, said that more than ever “community development, environmental and wildlife conservation projects around the world need the support of active travelers who are willing to take the time to understand what is needed and how they can help. Our programs are designed with great care, so that everyone genuinely benefits while having fun learning about each other’s cultures.”