For those who want to experience traveling in a sustainable way, ecotourism is the way to go. The term ‘ecotourism’ has been around for a while—and you’ve probably heard it a few times in the recent years. Over the coming years, you’re going to hear more and more about it.

As a long-time traveler and host of my own vegan tours, ecotourism and supporting local communities is very important to me. I learned a lot during my time working in responsible elephant tourism in Thailand and continue to thread that through in all of the trips I host.

What is ecotourism?

The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024)

Ecotourism means responsible travel to natural areas while conserving the environment. You will be traveling to destinations in a way that you make a positive impact on the environment as well as the local community. Ecotourism is usually done on a small scale (the opposite of mass travel). Even then, the negative impacts of traveling are minimized as much as possible.

Visiting ecotourism destinations is a great way to learn more about the environment, use sustainable resources, and help the local economy.

Where should you head for your ecotourism trip?

The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024). What is ecotourism?

The World Economic Forum ranks 136 destinations based on their natural sites and species, perfect for ecotourism. In this blog post, we list the 25 best ecotourism destinations in the world for 2024 and beyond—they’re sustainable and will give you a true feel of ecotourism!

  1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Despite its small size, Costa Rica hides plenty of natural heritage. It is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, making it one of the top destinations for ecotourism.

A rugged country famous for its natural landscapes, including impressive volcanoes and beautiful beaches, Costa Rica is truly Mother Nature’s best representation. In fact, almost a quarter of Costa Rica is jungle that preserves wildlife.

What to do in Costa Rica:

The best vegan-friendly resort in the country is Mother Earth Vegan Hotel in Tamarindo (an eco-boutique hotel). If you’re looking for a more luxury option, The Retreat is a great option!

  1. New Zealand

New Zealand is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Ecotourism enthusiasts should head to New Zealand, where stunning Alpine scenery and crystal clear lakes steal the show. New Zealand is also home to endangered species—including the New Zealand fur seal. You can also participate in activities to conserve the environment, such as removing plastic bags during beach cleanups.

What to do in New Zealand

One of the top eco-friendly hotels in New Zealand is Heritage Hotel, featuring a vegan-friendly restaurant on the premises.

  1. Ecuador

Ecuador is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

A small yet diverse country, Ecuador is one of South America’s hidden gems.

The country boosts a wealth of natural beauty as well as activities. Straddling part of the glacier-capped Andes, occupying part of the Amazon, and home to beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast, Ecuador has some of the most incredible terrain imaginable.

Plus, it is home to the Galapagos islands, housing unique plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. This makes it one of the best places for ecotourism.

What to do in Ecuador

One of the best vegan restaurants in the country is Vegano De Altura (their vegan ceviche is something you can’t miss) and Sativa Studio Cafe, featuring a great atmosphere for dinner.

  1. Brazil

Brazil is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

When I say wildlife, what pops up in your mind? Most likely the Amazon rainforest, situated in Brazil. Rightfully so—it is home to around 10 percent of the world’s species, including hundreds of thousands of different types.

As an ecotourist, you can explore the Amazon on guided excursions, where you can spot sloths, monkeys, and exotic birds. These excursions make sure they preserve the natural environment.

What to do in Brazil

For eco-friendly hotels, consider the Soluna Veg, a community based on permaculture and veganism, and Soul Vegan, a hotel that feels just like a friend’s home.

  1. Singapore

Singapore is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

For a technologically forward country, we love that Singapore is an ecotourism destination. In fact, it is actually known for its natural areas and wildlife. Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay are particularly famous, covering 101 hectares of manmade ‘SuperTrees’.

What to do in Singapore

  • Get close to nature—and look at migratory birds—at the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve

  • Get on a boat ride to see fascinating animals, such as the red panda, on the River Safari

  • Visit the only botanical garden to be certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens

For plant-based food options, head to the luxury resort of Grand Hyatt Singapore—they serve bites you’ll reminisce about forever 😋

  1. Iceland

Iceland is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

A nature lover’s paradise and ecotourism hotspot is Iceland: a playground for those who love the great outdoors.

From towering glaciers to the Northern lights, Iceland has it all. What makes it a hotspot for ecotourism is its commitment to protecting natural resources. If you visit during July, you can also experience the midnight sun—and 24 hours of daylight!

What to do in Iceland

As a bonus, Iceland is also one of the most vegan-friendly destinations in the world. Head to the award-winning restaurant, Glo, or the small, family-run restaurant, The Coocoo’s Nest.

  1. Norway

Norway is is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

With diverse natural habitats, Norway is one of the most breathtaking places on earth.

Glacier lakes, snow-capped mountains, and picturesque fjords just begin to explain this ecotourism haven. The government has done a great job at preserving Norway’s natural environment, too. For example, by preserving its coastline.

What to do in Norway

  • Take an incredibly scenic height at Trolltunga

  • Walk through Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of vibrant-hued houses dating back to 1702

  • Enjoy the jagged mountains, rocky coastlines, and white sandy beaches at the Lafoten Islands

For dining, consider DNT Gjevillvasshytta—and if you’re looking for vegan options, be sure to request these in advance.

  1. Canada

Canada is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Canada is the second largest country in the world with a diverse landscape and encompassing mountains, glaciers, and lakes.

It has plenty of destinations with untouched nature reserves—waiting for ecotourists to explore them through sustainable travel. From the Niagara Falls to the Banff Natural Park, the natural wonders of the country are endless.

What to do in Canada

When it comes to vegan eating, Canada has plenty of opportunities. Two famous favorites are the Sugar Pine Vegan Resort three hours north of Toronto, and the Casa Madera in Toronto.

  1. Finland

Finland is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Respect for Mother Nature has been a part of people’s mindsets in Finland forever. So much so that the entire tourism industry in the country is considered ecotourism.

With forests occupying 70 percent of their landmass and more than 180,000 lakes, Finland is a popular destination for folks looking to fully enjoy Mother Nature.

What to do in Finland

  • Explore the Helsinki Islands — there are 300-plus, but visiting a few will give you a feel of the country’s immense and breathtaking nature

  • Feel festive year-round in Lapland’s Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa (and don’t forget to hang out with the gingerbread-making elves)

  • Dive in at the world’s biggest underground smoke sauna, Herrankukkaro

To satiate your inner foodie, devour delicious bites at one of Finland’s vegan-friendly hotels, such as the Haltia Lake Lodge.

  1. Belize

Belize is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

A small but mighty country in Central America, Belize offers breathtaking natural vistas and cultural richness. With coral reefs, savannas, and forests, the tropical wilderness in the country is diverse and incredibly accessible. As a bonus, the sustainable tourism in Belize creates more jobs — enhancing the overall well-being of the local people — and supports local businesses.

What to do in Belize

For dining and staying, the Serenity Retreats Belize is a crowd favorite among vegan travelers!

  1. Portugal

Portugal is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Portugal is one of the best places for ecotourism, with numerous sustainable programs in place.

The government has also invested in plenty of renewable energy resources. From its vineyard-terraced valleys to its rugged oceanside cliffs, Portugal has plenty in store for nature lovers. If you plan to visit, October is the best month as this is when there are virtually no tourists and the temperatures are moderate. It also tends to be less expensive than other countries in Western Europe.

What to do in Portugal

  • Explore the Tapada de Mafra Nature Reserve, a nature reserve that has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • Join a yoga surf retreat in Ericeira (the world’s only World Surfing Reserve)

  • Hike the Caminho Português da Costa from Lisbon, which is one of my favorite cities for vegan eats in the region, and enjoy protected areas, such as the Natural Park of the North Coast, along the way

For a vegan stay and dining service, head to the Hidden Valley Nature Retreat (it features vegan studio rooms!).

  1. Palau

Palau is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Never heard of Palau before? It’s an island nation on the Pacific Ocean. It’s little in size, but revolutionizing ecotourism! The best part is that if you visit the destination responsibly, you’ll be rewarded. The country has an app-based rewards system: you are rewarded for every effort you make to preserve its fragile ecosystem. For example, wearing reef-safe sunscreen and eating sustainably-sourced local food.

What to do in Palau

  • Explore the untouched beauty of Palau on a Rock Island tour

  • Experience stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking in Palau’s waters

  • Visit the stone monoliths, a sacred area for rituals dating back more than 2000 years 

For healthy eating, head to Katey’s Healing Garden—one of the island’s restaurants serving vegan food.

  1. Kenya

Kenya is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Kenya is one of the best examples of ecotourism across Africa. In fact, the government even created an organization called ‘Ecotourism Kenya’.

The country is home to more than 50 national parks, and millions of tourists visit yearly. This has encouraged the government to take steps against illegal poaching. You can also consider volunteering in the 150+ opportunities provided, including social media help for NGOs.

What to do in Kenya

  • Soak up the sea, sand, and sun at Diani Beach. (There are also many opportunities for watersports here)

  • Foster orphaned elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, one of my most favorite elephant organizations

  • Make crocodile friends at Central Island National Park on Lake Turkana—the world’s largest colony of Nile crocodiles

Ethos Organic and Soul Vegetarian are two of Kenya’s best places to satiate your tastebuds with plant-based meals.

  1. Philippines

Phillipines is is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Dreaming of swimming with turtles? The Philippines — especially the Apo Island — has endless opportunities for an ecotourist.

The island’s natural wonders range from Hershey’s Kisses-shaped hills to a pink beach, and make for some of the best ways to satiate your inner nature lover.

What to do in the Philippines

And if you’re on the hunt for a vegan-friendly hotel, take our word for the luxury experience at H Hotel El Nido.

  1. Australia

Australia is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Australia boasts one of the world’s largest coral reef system in the world — the Great Barrier Reef. It is home to diverse marine life, including over 400 coral species, over 1500 species of fish, and six (out of the world’s seven) species of marine turtles!

What to do in Australia

  • Dive and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef

  • Enjoy sustainable experiences at Port Douglas (also home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites).

  • Visit Australia’s most exquisite beaches and forests near the Margaret River

For a vegan retreat, head to the Beet Retreat—abundant nature and vegan food assured.

  1. Malaysia

Malaysia is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

From crystalline seas to rainforests, Malaysia offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for eco-travelers.

It not only has a tropical climate, but is also home to some of the world’s best ecotourism hotspots. Borneo, specifically, is known for its rainforests and animal species, as well as native Borneo orangutans. Plus, Malaysia is rich in culture—you’ll have a lot to learn!

What to do in Malaysia

For your stay and dining experience, consider The Danna Langkawi, situated right on the beach with a jungle background. It’s a luxurious beach resort, perfect for vegan travelers.

  1. Jamaica

Jamaica is is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

You’ve probably heard about Jamaica for its turquoise blue waters and white sand beaches. But, the best thing about this destination (that few people know of) is its potential for ecotourism. In addition to its natural landscapes, it provides endless activities that don’t cause harm to the environment.

What to do in Jamaica

When in Jamaica, relax in over-the-water bungalows at the Sandals Resort. (When you meet with the Culinary Concierge upon arrival, you can discuss your vegan menu picks).

  1. USA

USA is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Why go far when many ecotourism hotspots can be found right in the USA?

There are plenty of places that are great for eco-conscious travelers, such as the popular attraction of Yosemite National Park, one of my favorite national parks. At these destinations, you can enjoy activities that have a positive impact on the environment.

What to do in the USA

There are plenty of vegan hotels in the country — a famous pick is The Yucca (located near the Joshua Tree National Park).

  1. Panama

Panama is is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Bordering Costa Rica is Panama. It’s hands-down one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world.

Panama is known for its beautiful islands and plenty of outdoor pursuits. Taking an eco-tour of these islands is one of the best activities for your eco-friendly travels.

What to do in Panama

Stay at the Coconut Lodge for an intimate stay in Panama—vegan options included.

  1. Tanzania

Tanzania is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

A paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, Tanzania has a lot to offer for ecotourists.

In fact, 25 percent of its land is protected for wildlife conservation. From the towering Mount Kilimanjaro to the world’s largest intact ancient caldera, Ngorongoro Crater, the country is home to plenty of natural areas.

What to do in Tanzania

  • Marvel at the annual great migration at Serengeti National Park, where millions of wildebeests cross the Serengeti plains

  • Splash in the waters of the Indian Ocean at the Nungwi Beach

Environmentally conscious travelers should head to Zanzest Vegan Hotel, which offers a unique vegan lifestyle.

  1. Nicaragua

Nicaragua is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

If you’re after a less crowded destination, Nicaragua is where to go.

It is rather undiscovered, waiting for you to explore its natural landscapes—and is much cheaper to travel to as compared to hotspots like Costa Rica.

What to do in Nicaragua

Enjoy plant-based healing cuisine at the Apoyo Lodge, a wellness hotel.

  1. Spain

Spain is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Many areas of Spain have received the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, offering eco-responsible touristic activities. Unspoiled landscapes and ecological richness make Spain one of the best places to satiate your inner eco-traveler. As a former Madrileños, Spain has a soft spot in my heart.

What to do in Spain

For a holistic-style, vegan-friendly accommodation, consider the Cal Reiet Holistic Retreat!

  1. Botswana

Botswana is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Botswana is home to a variety of landscapes and wildlife, making it Africa’s top safari destination.

Its ecotourism industry aims to protect the country’s natural treasures, translating into nature conservation programs.

What to do in Botswana

Vegan food items can be found at various hotels across Botswana, such as the Sedia Hotel.

  1. Nepal

Nepal is one of The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Experience authentic culture and a slow pace of life in Nepal—particularly the Himalayas of the region.

Famous for peaks such as Mount Everest as well as local food, this country is one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world.

What to do in Nepal

Also, if you’re looking for vegan-friendly accommodation during your trip, consider the Pokhara Grande.

  1. Vietnam

Vietnam. The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024).

Vietnam is a beautiful country that will award you with plenty of breathtaking scenes — and has a deep and heroic history. If you’re hoping to visit during nice and cool weather, September is a great month to book your trip.

What to do in Vietnam

  • Enjoy views of limestone islands and take a boat ride at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay

  • Walk through the Cu Chi tunnels (these were dug in the 1940s)

  • Marvel at the biosphere reserve of the world’s largest cave, Phong Nha

Also, enjoy a vegan-friendly, luxurious stay at The Nam Hai in Hoi An, which features high-end villas.

Are you ready to go?

If you’re passionate about preserving nature, responsible tourism is for you! Eco-tourism is something all of us have a part to play in. It’s all about realizing our impact on nature and making efforts to minimize it — including working against the effects of climate change.

Throughout your travels to the best ecotourism destinations, be sure to make responsible choices. For example, visit where there’s usually a small number of visitors, eat and stay local, and respect the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. When you can, take a walk instead of public transport and be mindful of your activities. And if you choose tour operators, make sure they prioritize having a good environmental impact. With these little changes, we can make this world a better place—one step at a time.

Some links in this post are affiliates, meaning I may make a small commission if you purchase through them. This does not impact your price and it helps to support Vegans, Baby’s continued work.

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The 25 best destinations for ecotourism (2024)

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