The Best Eco-Friendly Beach Destinations
With a record snowfall already in our little corner of the world and more than a month of winter to go, we can think only of the sun’s rays beating down on our bathing suited bodies. (Yes, a few more weeks on the elliptical will help that fantasy be a little more appealing.) Here are a few potential destinations for your next eco-friendly beach vacation:
With over 900 miles of coastline on the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and with it being probably the most well-known eco-friendly destination, CR is an obvious choice for a responsible beach vacation. Take your choice from such popular places as Manuel Antonio National Park or Mal Pais; or venture a bit off the beaten path to Corcovado or Manzanillo.
While organizations like Wildlife Fund Thailand are mobilizing local communities to spread the word that killing exotic animals—especially to utilize just one part—is unacceptable, this alone does not make an eco-friendly country. Yes, the country is now home to many eco-resorts that are constructed out of mostly or only natural materials, like straw, bamboo, and palm but there are some beaches that are much better than others if you’re interested in a socially conscious beach stay.
According to our friend over at Calypso Island Chronicles, here are the most eco-friendly Thai beaches:
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Jum/Koh Pu
- Ko Lipe
- Koh Libong
Alternatively, here are their picks for Thai beaches to avoid:
- Phuket and Koh Samui
- Phi Phi Island
- Koh Chang
The West African country of Gabon boasts a pristine 550-mile coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The country, roughly the size of the state of Colorado, is home to only about 1.5 million inhabitants.
In 2002, President Omar Bongo led the effort to convert about 11,000 square miles of Gabon –10% of the country–into 12 national parks in order to diversify the nation’s economy and preserve its natural resources. Ideas for your beach vacation to Gabon include:
- Point Dennis
- Ekwata Beach
- Nyonie retreat
- Cap Esterias
- Setté Cama Reserve
According to Away.com:
“Fiji’s preponderance of pristine coral reefs, lush tropical rainforests, year-round sunshine, and sand-gilded shorelines presents something of a double-edged sword. Namely, how to balance the obvious boon of mass tourism with preservation of some of the South Pacific’s finest environmental treasures.
“Fortunately, for those looking to avoid the imprint of the ever-present luxury travel industry, Fiji’s scattered, isolated islands offer a brimming palette of environmentally sound options. The government has established six national parks, four of them on the main island of Viti Levu. Moreover, efforts to preserve Fiji’s landscape extend beyond the natural to the country’s cultural heritage.”
To start your search, check out Qamea Island and Savusavu, a town on the island of Vanua Levu.
Finally, New Zealand has truly emerged as a leader in ecotourism and again, with close to 10,000 miles of coastline, there’s almost too much beach to choose from. Some eco-friendly ideas include:
- d’Urville Island
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Kaikoura Peninsula
- Punakaiki Beach
We could have just as easily written about Belize, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Kenya, Australia, Bali, South Africa, Chile, Israel, and many others. Excellent beach-based ecotourism opportunities number in the thousands. Where’s your favorite?