I love to travel, whether it be to New York or Jamaica, I enjoy going away. I love the feeling of excitement I get the night before leaving and waiting at the airport (I’m one of the few people that will arrive 3-4 hours early). I traveled to Jamaica with my wife and friends where we stayed in a great beach house right on the water. We got a great deal through one of our friends. The house was fantastic! We had a cook and a housemaid (local residents) to make us local food. The water was rich in life with coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangrove habitats with lots of fish and invertebrates. There were a number of beach houses along the water, but there was no water pollution in sight or problems with the habitats (coral bleaching, over fishing, etc.).
Last year, my wife and I travelled to the Caribbean twice: once to the Dominican Republic and once to Jamaica. We stayed at a resort on each island with 4 and 5 star ratings, respectively. The resorts were great with great service and great food; however, while I was there I couldn’t help wonder the impact the resorts had or have on the local environment, economy, and social infrastructure. The beaches looked clean and the water did look pristine, but was it all real? Was the beach man-made? Where was the sewage going? Were the owners local residents? I noticed that many of the workers (gardiners, maids, cooks, etc.) were local residents, but not the management. It makes me feel guilty that I support a place like this. Sure, I enjoyed laying out on the beach with friends enjoying the water, but I would rather know the local culture like I did in Jamaica 5 years ago and possibly participate on some local research, which would benefit the local residents and environment.
This brings me to why I wrote this article. Over the next few months, I am be researching how I can travel to places that benefit the local economy, environment, and possibly do some research while my wife and I are away. I also need something that is kid friendly, if possible. I will share my research with you so that you can also contemplate travelling to destinations that are considered eco-friendly. So stay tuned and I will do my best to bring you the answers of eco-tourism.
If you travel to eco-tourism destinations, please share your stories in the comments section!