When people travel, they tend to leave behind a lot more than footsteps. The consequences of unfettered tourism in some parts of the world are becoming apparent in the careless consumption of privileged tourists, which threatens the natural and cultural beauty of many places. These problems are compounded by the economic disparities between tourists and locals.
Some organizations are taking up the banner against this kind of exploitation and promoting a new kind of tourism. One country that is taking active steps toward promoting eco-tourism and eco-conscious tourism is Colombia. Suffering from tenacious stereotypes about being a “violence-riddled” region, Colombia is taking strides to shake up what people think of the country by embracing the sustainable practices of eco-friendly tourism.
Eco-Tourism in Colombia
From the heavy beats of reggaeton in clubs in Medellin to the untamed wilderness of the Amazon, to the gentle wash of the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is a country that satisfies all the senses. Drawing visitors from all over the world, tourism in Colombia is characterized by a great diversity of environments. Home to deserts, grasslands, mountains, rainforests, and beaches, it only makes sense to protect this incredible natural heritage.
The government and population of Colombia has taken the lead in promoting ecologically conscious lifestyles and tourism. For example, the capital city of Bogota has built a world-renowned extensive bicycle path system allowing commuters and tourists to navigate the entire city with ease. In addition to minimizing harmful emissions, the use of these paths also provides the opportunity to take the time and soak in the spectacular beauty of Bogota.
In a revolutionary move to promote eco-tourism in Colombia, Bogota was one of the first major cities to close roads to cars on Sundays, encouraging people to walk, cycle, skate, and dance through the streets instead. For visitors, Sundays are the best days to get out and get involved in the community, joining people in the street celebrating car-free days.
Tourism opportunities like this help fulfill a growing need for authenticity. A sentiment echoing throughout the streets and the reaches of the internet is an irritation with the steady flow of pre-packaged, processed information, and experiences in the tourism industry. Travel experiences and products are becoming increasingly homogenized, and travelers are realizing that a shift in location is not what they were seeking—traveling is a way to challenge oneself to connect with new people, new environments, and new ideas.
In response, companies offering eco-friendly tourism experiences have sprung up. These organisations provide more in-depth opportunities for outsiders to experience the biodiversity and ecological beauty of Colombia. These eco-tours help provide economic support to workers in the tourism industry and the specific focus on conservation and preservation of natural resources and wonders. It also helps to promote awareness of consumption and the effect of tourism on the local environment and community.
An integral part of this push for conscientious tourism is a commitment to help lessen the economic disparity between the countries hosting and the countries providing tourists. By supporting the organizations behind eco-tourism initiatives, visitors can help people and the environment alike.
How to Get Involved with Eco-Friendly Tourism
Visitors can get a more enriching experience by volunteering in eco-tourism in Colombia. Ethical placements will let volunteers participate in conservation and community projects, supporting these projects while learning valuable lessons at the same time. Volunteer placements can include conservation, organic farming, and wildlife projects.
Eco tours are available for conscientious travelers who want to support a more sustainable form of tourism in Colombia. The county’s meg-diversity make this the ideal place for adventurous travel, with eco-friendly option such as trekking and camping.
Start Your Search - Check Out These Eco-Friendly Programs:
Put your best foot forward–with the lowest environmental impact, of course–and sign up for an ethical eco-tourism program abroad.
Become A True Meaningful Traveler
It’s a little more than just signing up for a program. Before heading off to explore eco-tourism in Colombia, commit to a new wave of travel by signing the Meaningful Travel Manifesto.
Prove to yourself and the world that you are more than just any ol’ traveler. You’re on a mission. You are passionate about travel, but don’t want to negatively impact communities or the environment. Eco-friendly tourism has your name written all over it. Supporting smaller organizations that care for people and the planet over profit could help ensure that destinations are preserved for future generations, and kept intact just as they are.