Eco Tour in South America
The magnificent beauty and vast history of South America makes it a great destination for environmentally-friendly tourists. The growing contingent of travelers in search of options that take Mother Nature into account while supporting local industry are often drawn to this part of the world. The terrain, in and of itself, is a wonder to behold – glacier fields rest high atop Andean peaks while abundant wildlife thrives in the Amazonian rain forest. And, since many native cultures continue to prosper as Western civilization encroaches, you’ll have a chance to interact with age-old traditions adapted to the unique circumstances of high altitude and dense jungle.
When planning an eco tour in South America (or on any other continent, for that matter) you want to make sure you connect with companies built to be sustainable and responsible. Check with government agencies and Green Globe, an international organization that certifies hotels and businesses, to make certain a business is serious about protecting the planet and trading with indigenous communities. If one or both of these activities are ignored, do some more research. Though the industry is in relative infancy, chances are good you will find a reputable group to guide you through the area you wish to see.
If you are the type that enjoys a hike in the wilderness, then consider a trip to Patagonia, a massive region that stretches from the southern end of the Andes Mountains across western Argentina and eastern Chile all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Largely grasslands at the foot of snow-capped peaks, a trek to one of the many lakes in the region will provide breathtaking views. Desert Lake in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina is framed beautifully by granite mountains and the jagged summit of Mt. Fitz Roy. If not for being filled with frigid glacial snowmelt, it would be a picturesque spot for an afternoon swim.
The Amazon River basin is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world – more than 15,000 animal species exist beneath this verdant jungle canopy. Making up over 40% of Brazil’s territory, it is a popular destination for those looking for an eco-friendly adventure. The river is a mode of transportation all by itself, so visitors have the option of working their way down by boat and camping on its banks. A trip to the region will leave travelers with a sense of reverence for its splendor: it is estimated one-fifth of the earth’s oxygen while holding 10% of its biodiversity. Every year, more plants and animals are discovered to go along with the jaguars, monkeys and colorful flowers. An experienced guide will lead you through the best spots to spy wildlife and facilitate an encounter with local tribes, many of which live in concert with the forest as their ancestors have for hundreds or thousands of years.
Of course, there are beaches to visit, but why not take a trip to the Galapagos Islands and swim in the place Charles Darwin made his observations for The Origin of Species. This three-million-year-old archipelago is relatively young by geological standards, which makes it all the more intriguing as a destination for hiking and snorkeling. With a stunning assortment of flora and fauna, you will have plenty to see – everything from pink-scaled dragons and dolphins to giant tortoises and brightly-colored birds. For a nighttime treat, stretch out under the stars and see constellations from both sides of the equator twinkling against the velvet sky. Knowing your trip has been careful to protect Mother Nature, you’ll be even more glad you did.
Eco tourism is also called “responsible tourism,” and if you are planning to participate in this form of sustainable tourism need to keep in mind some of the principles listed below:
- It should minimize impact
- It should build environmental and cultural awareness and respect for the locals
- This form of tourism should provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
- Sustainable tourism should provide direct financial benefits for conservation and empowerment for local people
- It also should raise sensitivity to host countries’ social, political and environmental climate
List of top tourism destinations in South America
- Galapagos Islands