Santa has the eco-tour travel market cornered — every December his reindeer make an invisible carbon hoofprint as he visits countries all over the world. Taking our cues from the big man in red, we’ve gathered the five best, most diverse eco-tours suitable for the whole family. Our gift to you!
1. Unveil Wilderness Mysteries: Coastal Revelations
Vancouver Island is one of Canada’s premium eco-tour destinations, and no one is better
suited to guide you through the Canadian wilderness than Coastal Revelations. Local biologists lead interactive tours across the island, exploring natural lush forests and winding tributaries. Tours are led on foot —by boot, snowshoe, or ski — and are available for all fitness levels and age groups. Starting at $20 a tour, this holiday trip will keep your pockets heavy for New Years.
2. Dog Sled in Pristine Conditions: Muktuk Adventures
Gliding across the great, angel-white Arctic tundra with nothing but the low whistle of wind, the distant screech of an eagle, and the constant pattering of 64 paws has a profound effect on the soul. The folks at Muktuk Adventures near Whitehorse, YT offer just such a retreat into the wild. Tours involve feeding, rigging, and running a team of dogs, and span anywhere from half a day to two weeks long. Cozy country-style lodging powered completely by solar energy makes this outdoor experience the perfect eco-friendly getaway.
3. Wilderness by Kayak: New Zealand Kayak Adventures
Who says winter means frozen lakes and frigid oceans? December is summer in New Zealand and New Zealand Sea Kayak Adventures offers a range of wilderness adventures, including rock gardening, visiting sea caves, and kayak surfing. Weeklong tours have travellers exploring northern islands and inlets. This by-sea method of travel allows you to experience ecological reserves inaccessible by road, and truly highlights the archaeological beauty of New Zealand and its wildlife. Expect homemade meals made with local produce and fresh caught seafood – a Christmas dinner to remember.
4. Swing in the Jungle: Surama Village Eco-Lodge
Surama Village Eco-Lodge in Guyana is the place to get away and still feel at home. Known as a “community-based eco-tourism experience,” you can canoe the Burro Burro River, nap in the hammock camp, learn jungle survival training, and hike Surama Mountain. Stay in benabs (typical Guyanan huts) while experiencing the traditional culture of the Mukashi people. One of the highlights of this trip will certainly be the vibrant night sky, free from light pollution – you won’t even miss your Christmas tree.
5. Safari in Style: Robin Pope Safaris
If you see the holidays as a chance to do something wildly different than your ordinary routine, then Robin Pope Safaris was made for you. Co-winner of a Responsible Tourism Award and operated by Robin Pope, one of the most revered guides in Africa, they offer travel packages of varying length in Zambia and Malawi. Stay in style at game lodges and luxury houses while making trips to see local wildlife – all while supporting local economies and focusing on conservation. You get the best of both worlds with this unbeatable “bush and beach” vacation.
by Janis Letchumanan and Tim Focht
This series on living fantastic for the holiday season is a collaboration between Greenster and the students of the Langara Publishing Program, who as a team produce Pacific Rim Magazine. Enjoy!