Sustainable Tourism, also known as Responsible Tourism, creates better communities to live in and better destinations to visit. It minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts.
With Responsible Tourism, travelers often enjoy otherwise remote locations while making positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. At times, there is even a volunteer component. To follow is my list of 52 Perfect Days of Responsible Tourism. These are my all-time favorites, sure to please.
1. Visit the remote villages at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in India to observe Nepalese folk dances, songs and skits showcasing an amazing local history.
2. Travel to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. With its 2000 feet high walls, you can expect to see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hippos, flamingos, jackals, rhinos, antelopes, many birds and other animals.
3. Visit the Katitawa Salasaca Community located near the village of Baños, Ecuador for volunteer work with children at local school. This amazing program was reviewed in the New York Times.
4. Check out the Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondawels in Mpumalanga, South Africa. This canyon consists mostly of red sandstone and is one of the largest canyons on Earth. The huge, round rocks, are thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels.
5. The Knuckles Mountain Range in Sri Lanka, a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for ecotourism and rare untouched beauty.
6. Enjoy a visit to Humacchuco in Peru for a day of untouched mountain beauty, authentic food and gorgeous vistas.
7. Observe coral reef evaluation on Pramuka Island, Indonesia followed by island exploration.
8. Make a trip to Qutab Minar located in Delhi. Built in 1192, it is the tallest minaret tower, Humanyun’s Tomb and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Visit Akchour Village, Morocco, for viewing the amazing waterfalls and hiking to the natural arch named God’s Bridge.
10. Travel aboard an antique train from Kandy to Rozella, both in Sri Lanka, to experience views of one of the highest concentrations of waterfalls in the world
11. Visit Freiberg, Germany known as the jewel of the black forest. The community is a “sustainable model district” and uses solar power is used to power many of the households. There is a farmers’ market every day except Sundays and Freiberg is a foodie heaven and most restaurant kitchens use local ingredients.
12. The shimmering, neon green curtain of the Northern Lights also known as the Aurora Borealis makes for unforgettable nights in Edmonton. Head north to Fort McMurray, Alberta’s northernmost city, to experience the mysteries of constellations that spellbind residents and visitors alike in the crisp night sky.
13. Travel to the Chimborazo Fauna Reserve Community in the Centre of Ecuador, volunteer with a local school at more than 10,000 feet in elevation; enjoy spectacular panoramas of the upper Andes.
14. Experience the grasslands of Gorumara Park in Dooars, India for sighting the Asiatic one-horned rhino. Gorumara offers great diversity of plants and animals as well as a large variety of flora and fauna.
15. Visit Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge with deafening perfection.
16. Kick around a fútbol with new friends in the soccer loving community of Vicos, Peru then linger longer with the school children.
17. Visit to the ancient and disappearing Sri Lankan tribe known as the Veddhas. These original hunters know the way to view the wild elephants.
18. Take a tour of Red Fort UNESCO World Heritage Site and Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque of India and a wonderful preservation of Indian heritage.
19. Check out Yellowstone in Wyoming for the charismatic wolves. Reintroduced in 1995, these amazing predators often make an appearance in Lamar Valley. Also, likely to be seen are elk, bison, coyote, bear, moose and deer.
20. Majestic baobab trees are an interesting feature in Arusha, Tanzania, dwarfing the animals that feed beneath them, even the up to six thousand elephants.
21. Travel to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Hoedspruit, South Africa to learn about local conservation efforts. Visit orphaned, injured and even poisoned animals, get an ‘up close and personal’ experience of these incredible creatures. Attend a guided tour during which they hear about these problems and the challenges associated with conservation and habitat protection.
22. Harvest your meal like a local at the Gomagoda organic farming project in Sri Lanka.
23. Visit the Galapagos Islands. The weather seems always perfect. 97% of the islands are protected and the fauna is truly “other-worldly” from pink iguanas, birds with blue feet, sally lightfoot crabs and armies of giant tortoises – most larger than your easy chair at home!
24. Travel to the National Reserve of Talassemtane National Park in Morocco. This location is currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the rare endemic species of fir trees. Moroccan Fir is unique only in this particular place.
25. Visit a Hawksbill turtle hatchery in Jakarta Bay, Indonesia to get hands on experience with these amazing creatures.
26. Try participating in building an adobe mud kitchen construction to include cooking source installation in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
27. Participate in a local Sri Lankan custom of an unforgettable river bath experience. Explore the riverbanks viewing amazing flora and extensive wildlife or enjoy a tuk-tuk ride back to the village of Kandy.
28. Visit perhaps the most famous and beautiful monument of love; the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his pretty wife Mumtaz Mahal and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
29. Travel to Jaldhaka, India famous for the Hydel Power Station. The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The hydroelectric complex produces no direct waste, and has a considerably lower output level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than fossil fuel powered energy plants.
30. Journey to the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles group for El Yunque National Forest. It is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System and offers a stunning example of immense biodiversity.
31. Visit the Mayan ruins in Altun-Ha, Belize then enjoy a nature viewing cruise down the Belize River for sightings of crocodiles, manatee, iguanas, exotic birds, bats and monkeys.
32. View elephants, buffalo, bushbucks, lions, hippos, crocodiles and a variety of bird species outside Kampala, Uganda.
33. Travel to Cotopaxi National Park is a protected area in Ecuador. The volcano that lends its name to the park is located within its boundaries and is among the tallest active volcanoes in the world.
34. Visit with Aboriginals at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. The area is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings.
35. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 5th century A.D. Sigiriya Rock Fortress in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. This unforgettable lion rock citadel is also renowned for its ancient paintings.
36. Take a panoramic seven hour journey to the remote Peruvian town of Huaraz. The spectacular landscapes along the way will amaze as you ascend to the 10,000+ feet altitude!
37. Lake Manyara in Tanzania is a serene and beautiful alkaline lake that hosts thousands of flamingos and a diversity of other bird life.
38. Travel to the historic Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage Site located in India. This was the location that four of the mighty rulers from the Mughal dynasty ruled their enormous empire in the Indian Sub-Continent.
39. Visit the ancient tea gardens and historic Buddhist monastery in Lava, India. The Dalai Lama, on his visit to Kalimpong in the year 1956 presented a set of rare manuscripts “Kangyur” of 108 volumes to the monastery.
40. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 1st century B.C. Dambulla Rock Temple also known as the Golden Temple. This still functional ancient edifice remains the best-preserved in Sri Lanka.
41. Walk the streets of Chefchaouen to visit the blue medina, observe local life of Berber people and contemplate the Andalusian architecture which still persists today. Meet local teachers and students eager to exchange stories. Assist with the school for garden beautification project then participate in bread making workshop. This is the life of typical northern Morocco.
42. Watch local artisans utilize recycled materials to make crafts, jewelry and other household items in Jakarta, Indonesia.
43. Trek the Mindo Tropical Rain Forest in Ecuador, locally known as “Cloud Forest.” There is community effort to restore forest areas between Mindo and the Nambillo River. You will learn about the tropical rain forest, experience new sights and sounds while visiting established environmental stations. This is the only growing forest in the world!
44. Tour the amazing Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is one of the greatest game reserves in the world; offering vast, unspoiled and beautiful wilderness. See the world as it was thousands of years ago, the Big Five safari will not disappoint.
45. The Elephant Pilgrimage in Pinnawala has been designed for nature lovers. 10% of the world’s elephant population is concentrated on the small island of Sri Lanka.
46. In Gorubathan, India, participate in various community awareness programs teaching on various subjects such as HIV/Aids, Human Trafficking, Child Labor, Drug Addiction, Medical/Eye Screening or other necessary community outreach.
47. Travel to the gorgeous island of Roatan, Honduras where eco-adventure awaits. Zipline through the jungle treetops, visit a monkey sanctuary and a farm for the protected black iguana, found only on Roatan. Later dine like a local on green iguana, an island delicacy.
48. Volunteer in New Delhi, India visiting homes in the slums to see the lifestyle and culture as well as to interact directly with the villagers, share ideas and experiences to educate locals to improved living conditions.
49. Soak up Polynesian Cultural Heritage in Laie on the island of Oahu, Hawaii for the ultimate display of the cultures, diversity and spirit of the nations of Polynesia.
50. Go bicycling in Copenhagen, Denmark a city with a rich history of maritime industry, business, culture, and tourism. This is It is perhaps the most environmentally conscious city on earth.
51. Travel back in time to the Ecuadorian Upper Amazon Basin. The area is home to several indigenous nations such as Secoyas, Huaorani, Shuaras, Sionas, Cofanes and Quichuas, each one with its own characteristic features such as language, customs and own vision.
52. Spin the globe and live your passion. The only boundaries are your imagination!
Miriam Olin loves travel, adventure and education. Her company, Go Mo Places, is all about sustainability. They offer various travel options from air, car and hotel to custom and prepackaged tours as well as volunteer vacations. Go Mo Places also specializes in sustainable tourism management, thus assisting others in creating responsible tourism worldwide. Miriam resides in Texas with her husband and both are always planning their next adventure.