A selection of the top ecotourism destinations

James Cortez is an independent travel writer, based in Cannes

With more and more people travelling, we as travellers need to look for ways and means to protect and preserve the world we live in. Although travelling and eco-friendliness do not often go hand in hand, somewhere the stakeholders have to find a balance. This is where ecotourism comes in, which is mainly directed to support the conserve the ecology and the wildlife. And no tourism can be sustainable without the involvement of the locals. Meeting the gorillas in Rwanda, an island escape in Panama, climbing glaciers in Chile and much more. Check out the top ecotourism destinations to visit!

Ready to pack your bags? Some wanderlusting going on here!


Visit Rwanda, Africa’s home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas and a place where you will be warmly welcomed by smiling locals. Rwanda has bravely risen from a tragic past and stands proudly as a representation of Africa’s irrepressible beauty. Be awe-struck by the profound power of the endangered mountain gorilla. The main attraction are the gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, which were made famous by late primatologist Dian Fossey. There are 10 habituated gorilla families open to tourist visits, so trekking permits are limited to 80 per day. Being surrounded by mothers, babies, and massive Silverback gorillas is an experience you’ll never forget.


Jungle jaunts and coastal chill in a tropical paradise. Introducing your new amigo – Costa Rica. Thanks to a longstanding tradition of preserving its natural assets, much of the country’s primary rainforest still stands, opportunities for nature-based adventures are endless and the beaches on both coasts are nothing short of picturesque. Kick back in the rustic beach town of Quepos, explore the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde, and get to know the locals by lending a hand on a rural farmstay near Santa Rosa de Pocosol. Explore the depths of this colourful and vibrant country with plenty of time to make this trip your own.


Home to more than 500 species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on Earth. The remote island is also proud to be surrounded by a Category VI Marine Protected Area. St Helena also directly link its tourism practices with vital environmental initiatives like the St Helena Cloud Forest Project, facilitated through local and overseas partnerships. Clear, warm waters, wrecks and fascinating marine life make St Helena Island an enticing snorkelling and scuba diving destination. Dive site habitats vary from rocky reefs with caves and areas of boulders to cobbles and sand, all teeming with marine life and all within easy reach of the wharf in Jamestown. The wrecks dotted around the coast present popular dive and snorkelling sites. For their continued diligence and excellence, and in recognition of their innovation, expertise and services, WCR is proud to award St Helena the WCR Best Eco-Location and Sustainable Tourism Destination 2022.


Chile, not just for mountain lovers. Chile can be divided into four different ecotourism areas: North and the Atacama Desert, Santiago and the Central Valleys, Lakes and Volcanoes district and Patagonia. In the north, the bohemian San Pedro de Atacama is a perfect jump off point to explore the geysers, salt flats, flamingoes and volcanos of the region. Near Santiago, wine tasting, skiing, and hiking in the Andes are on tap. Heading to the lake district, there are plenty of areas to get off the beaten path including Pucon, the world heritage site of Chiloe, and the azure waters of Chile Chico. Finally, and probably most famously, is the Chilean Patagonia. Here, you can undertake numerous ecotourism trips including cruises on iceberg busting vessels, galloping through the pampas on horseback or hiking in the Torres del Paine National Park. Being one of the best countries for ecotourism in South America, Chile most certainly has something for you.


Lahaul Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh is the extension of the landscapes of Tibet with challenging terrains and adventurous roads. It is a dry desert with the towering Himalayas in the background and the emerald River Sutlej and Spiti feeding the area. The valley has calming vibes and is a visual treat for every tourist, traveller, photographer, and adventurist. Lahaul Spiti is a nature’s paradise and is one of the best ecotourism destinations in India. It is a place to relax and enjoy the changing colours, terrains and the beauty of Himalayas.