For student travelers and backpackers with an interest in nature, there are ecotourism destinations virtually everywhere in the world. In addition to the below selection, Costa Rica, India, Ecuador, Nepal and Kenya (to name but five more) can all lay claim to the most incredible opportunities for ecotourism. However, we’ve picked out just a small selection of countries that offer even more than most and can be accommodated into the budget of the average hostel-goer.
Ecotourism in New Zealand
As a stunning country with an incredibly varied terrain hosting all manner of different fragile ecosystems, it’s hardly surprising that New Zealand would have a huge variety of ecotourism and eco-volunteer schemes. You can participate in a wide range of popular and highly worthwhile programs of reforestation, wildlife monitoring (including birds and dolphins), pest and predator control, and the reconstruction of sand dunes.
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Ecotourism in Australia
Like its antipodean cousin New Zealand, Australia, with its complex and fragile ecosystems and its many outstanding examples of natural beauty is the perfect destination for the budding ecotourist. As well as many vital conservation schemes in place to protect the under threat Great Barrier Reef, there are also plenty of other slightly less glamorous, but no-less important schemes, helping to maintain their national parks and other crucial sites of ecological interest and importance.
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Ecotourism in Trinidad & Tobago
In addition to programs for maintaining and monitoring the island’s rainforests, the tiny islands of Trinidad and Tobago are also home to Giant Leatherback Turtle conservation schemes. Every year between the months of May and October (but particularly around Easter time), the massive turtles come ashore, lollop up the beach, and deposit their eggs in the sand before disappearing back into the sea again.
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Ecotourism in India
Quite apart from the myriad community projects, India also has a number of volunteer conservation schemes in place to help balance the needs of the country’s rich and varied flora and fauna with its rapidly growing population. Amongst a host of other schemes, such as helping out on one of the country’s national parks, volunteer work at elephant sanctuaries has become extremely popular.
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Ecotourism in South Africa
South Africa has such a wealth of ecotourism and conservation volunteer programs and schemes it’s hard to know where to begin. Whether you’re looking to help out on the Kruger Park, or monitor lions or dolphins and whales elsewhere in this enormous and enormously beautiful country, there’s almost certainly something for you. In addition to ecological schemes, there are also a wide variety of projects available working with disadvantaged communities, particularly those suffering from the country’s great AIDS pandemic.
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