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Great ecotourism destinations literally span the globe. On each continent there are so many wonderful options, it’s not easy for a single ecolodge or ecotour to stand out. But, there really are some gems worthy of highlighting, either because they are visually unique, are innovative in some way or are just plain surprising. Here’s the list!


Basecamp Explorer, Kenya

Basecamp Explorer is far more than the typical tented Safari Camp ringed with open savannah and teaming with wildlife (which is pretty great!). There are actually five base camps, each with a slightly different atmosphere. Going on safari here means you can string together each of the camps, to maximize the diversity of experiences and the diversity of wildlife. And, of course, all have a stellar eco-friendly reputation and are all completely run by locals in Kenya.

But now, this remarkable ecotourism operation is expanding with the addition of the Enjolaata Centre. The aim of the centre is to empower the Maasai people, connect like-minded people and facilitate collaboration and cooperation between communities and conservancies in key areas such as infrastructure, security and anti-poaching, capacity building, knowledge sharing, branding, and wildlife research. The hope is also to raise awareness locally and globally on issues related to the survival of the Mara ecosystem.


Bhutan Cycling tours, Bhutan Mahayana tours

Bhutan is one of those mysterious places, intentionally protective of their culture and their land,  rationing out only what they want to the outside world. That’s what keeps it from being overrun by tourists and makes it a great ecotourism destination. It seems fitting then, that it would be a place best explored more slowly rather than through a tour bus window. But trekking only enables you to cover so much ground. So traveling by bike, on tour, with the guidance of Bhutan Mahayana tours, may be a natural fit for you. Epic scenery, small villages, challenging climbs, and exhilarating descents are all part of the appeal.


Wildlife week, Falklands, Adventure life tours

If you aren’t sure you want to go the full distance to Antarctica, do want to fill up on wildlife, and need something a more affordable, this ecotourism experience might check all the boxes. You’ll spend your days watching penguins, looking for orcas, viewing albatross and seeing elephant seals lumber on the beach. The tour is spread out over several of the islands, where guests can experience a mix of wildlife watching, bird watching, walking, exploring the local culture and eating locally grown foods all while being surrounded by green grass and dramatic seas.


Instants d’Absolu Ecolodge, France

Imagine luxurious rooms, French food, spa services, a quiet setting, and all of it plunked down in the middle of the wildlands of Auvergne. Really. Instants d’Absolu Ecolodge is an eco-rehabilitated, 300 year old farm house whose intent is to offer a respite for guests while protecting the surrounding countryside and the bats, frogs and birds that live there. The restaurant uses local products, the cleaning crew uses biodegradable cleaners and you get to spend your days soaking up the sweeping openness by foot, bike, horseback, hot air balloon or ultralight aircraft.


Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, New Zealand

New Zealand has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Imagine staying in a treehouse, set in the countryside, between the ocean and the mountains in New Zealand then. Hapuku is in Kaikoura, and as a township, Kailoura was the first local authority in the world to become a Green Globe certified community. In addition to offering unique and eco-chic ecotourism accommodations, the family-operated lodge has also made it their mission to plant trees, re-introduce native birds, use responsibly- grown or recycled wood in their construction, install the most fuel efficient fireplaces, and they are well on their way to becoming a zero-waste community.

South America:

Huasquila Ecolodge, Ecuador

Honestly, there is no shortage of quality ecolodges in the Amazon. Ecotourism in the Amazon is truly a win-win for forest conservation, tourists, and local communities. The Amazon is truly special and staying there puts you in the midst of what can only be described as the pulse of the planet. But, Huasquila Ecolodge is doing something quite unique. They have made their property, and some of their tours, accessible to people in wheelchairs. They have seven bungalows with roll-in showers, extra wide doors, ramps, concrete pathways between buildings, a lift for the pool and Jacuzzi, and even have tours in the jungle that are accessible. All this, and it’s within the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, only four hours outside of Quito.

North America:

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Alaska

Picture Alaska. What comes to mind? Now picture a classic Alaskan Lodge and what do you envision? Log cabins, views on a massive scale, water, snow-capped mountains, grand wildlife and serene remoteness. Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge is the quintessential Alaskan wilderness adventure. It is the only lodge within Kenai Fjords National Park and is also within the native-owned, 1,700 acre Pedersen Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary. Chances are some of Alaska’s iconic animals will walk, fly, or swim right by, but you can also enjoy getting out on foot, by canoe, by kayak, or on a small, ocean, day cruise.

And if you decide you MUST go to one of these places, be sure to mention when you make a reservation. Each time there is a booking, it helps to support the website, and ecotourism (rather than one of the ‘big guy’ companies)!

Terry Lawson Dunn, Founder

To read an interview about Basecamp Explorer, see:

Doing Kenya the Right Way

For more about Bhutan Mahayana Tours, see the interview with it’s owner at:

The Scoop from Bhutan


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