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As we draw ever-closer to the prospect of a freer, more exciting year of travel that might, just might,
happen, it’s more important than ever to consider how we can reboot that wanderlust after a break
from travel which has, undeniably, helped the planet heal.

When you do go back to travelling, and we will, it’s vital that we travel carefully and in a way that
minimises our impact on the environment – or indeed, in a way that benefits it.

With that in mind, the team at Not In The Guidebooks has got together to curate our top 7 eco-
friendly travel destinations for 2021, to offer you some inspiration and help you consider the ways in
which you can experience the world again this year, in a way that benefits everyone.

7. India

india as an eco-friendly travel destination

India was one of the countries that enjoyed one of the most tangible, and widely shared,
environmental impacts of lockdown, when residents of Punjab Province saw the Himalayas gleaming
on the horizon for the first time in decades as air pollution lifted.

Ecotourism in India is a booming industry, as the developing country acts to protect it’s truly
incredible natural environment which, after all, is a huge part of the reason the country attracts so
many visitors.

Whether you embark on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the magnificent Himalayas to drink in the
spectacular scenery, or aim to hit the streets of one of India’s many impossibly vibrant cities, there
are opportunities to travel sustainably everywhere, if you look.

6. Iceland

man looking at winter canyon in iceland

When it comes to living sustainably, there are few nations more innovative and successful than Iceland.
In 2021, the land of fire and ice utilised renewable energy resources to provide 85% of its entire energy
supply, and is also at the forefront of the ecotourism movement.

You can find incredible tours that get you into the depths of Iceland’s wilderness and allow you to
explore stunning glaciers, all whilst minimising your impact on the environment.

Or how about setting out to spot majestic whales on a carbon-neutral tour based on the breath-
taking north Iceland coast? Iceland’s main attractions are its stunning natural phenomena, so when
you travel there, you’ll find most tours and attractions are run in a really eco-friendly way.

5. Cambodia

cambodia as an eco friendly destination

You might ask – is there a way to travel and experience the world not only in a way that minimises
my impact upon the environment, but in a way that actually helps it and protects it?

In Cambodia, one of Not In The Guidebooks’ newer eco-friendly travel destinations, you can do just
that.

Explore incredible ancient temples, visit rural fishing villages on immense lakes, and visit and
volunteer at an elephant sanctuary, all whilst staying in environmentally and economically
sustainable accommodation – locally run, comfortable homestays.

This tour offers you the unique opportunity to make a tangibly positive difference in this gem of
South-East Asia, as you help the vital work of sustaining and protecting Cambodia’s elephant
population, all whilst enjoying the memorable experience of getting up-close and personal with one
of the most incredible animals on earth.

Eco-Friendly Tours and Experiences

Wild Swimming with Dolphins

Portugal, The Azores

View Experience

6 Days in Temple Town – Angkor, Elephants and Tonle Sap

Cambodia, Siem Reap

View Experience

Highland Railways & Hills

Scotland, Scottish Highlands

View Experience

Yoga Retreat in Oleiros

Portugal, Central Portugal

View Experience

4. Scotland

eco-friendly travel in scotland

You can’t ignore that the way you travel from A to B does have a huge environmental impact on the
planet. Whilst flying remains an essential way to travel and see the world in order to bring about the
benefits of travel, it is far from the perfect way to explore.

Our fourth eco-friendly travel destination, for our UK customers, offers incredible landscapes, great
food, magical villages and wild coastlines, right on your doorstep.

And thanks to the fact that Scotland boasts some of the most beautiful railways on earth, travelling
around the country in an eco-friendly way is actually highly recommended, as you take in breath-
taking mountains and lochs from the comfort of your carriage.

3. South Africa

three elephants and a tree silhouetted in south africa

South Africa as an eco-friendly travel destination was always going to feature wildlife, but you’d be
hard-pressed to find a tour that gets you as hands-on with conservation as an unforgettable trip to
this haven for nature.

Explore the magical Drakensberg Mountains, spot the Big Five on world-class safaris in the Kruger
National Park, and join conservationists in helping them protect the local wildlife. You’ll embark on
elephant collaring expeditions, rhino dehorning, or wild dog or lion collaring, for a truly unique, once
in a lifetime experience that makes a hugely positive impact on the continuation of South Africa’s
richly varied and stunning animals.

2. Costa Rica

waterfall in costa rica

The little tropical paradise sandwiched between the Atlantic and the Caribbean regularly makes it
onto the list for eco-friendly travel destinations, and it’s no different in 2021.

Running entirely on renewable energy, it’s been the poster boy for ecotourism since the concept
was thought up, and any trip you make here is sure to be entirely responsible and sustainable.

Get off the beaten track in Costa Rica and meet the local people who still use sustainable farming
practices, making the most of the incredibly fertile landscape to grow incredible coffee and sugar
cane. For a truly authentic Costa Rican experience, it doesn’t get much better than this.

1. Portugal

blue lake surrounded by green mountains

Whilst it may not be the first country that springs to mind, Portugal is one of the most progressive,
liberal and forward-thinking countries in the world, and whilst it may have fallen behind a little on
the ecotourism trend when it overdeveloped its southern coast, the concept has taken hold and is
growing rapidly.

Whether it’s on mainland Portugal, staying on a beautiful yoga retreat in sustainable
accommodation and drinking in the peaceful landscape, or in the incredible Azores, swimming with
wild dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean and bathing in geothermally heated pools, there are a growing
number of eco-friendly travel experiences.


As 2020 comes to a close and a glimmer of hope for exciting travel experiences starts to gleam at
the end of a long, dark tunnel, it’s our responsibility to spend our money in the right places and with
the right people. After a year where travel has been taken away, we’ve been given a glimpse of what
a world without travel looks like. Without travelling responsibly, that could be a world future
generations have to live with permanently.