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5 Top Sustainable Travel Destinations for 2024: Eco-Friendly Adventures Await!

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the environmental impact of travel, more destinations are prioritising sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Here’s a guide to a few of the top destinations that support green initiatives and enable travellers to adopt habits that minimise their environmental footprint


1 | Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a pioneer in sustainable tourism, with a significant portion of its land protected as national parks and reserves.

Costa Rica's natural beauty awaits

What Makes Costa Rica an Eco-Friendly Travel Destination?

Over a quarter of Costa Rica's land is designated as protected national parks and reserves, offering travellers the chance to explore pristine rainforests, cloud forests, and diverse wildlife habitats. Conservation efforts are evident in the impressive array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, toucans and over 500,000 species of plants and animals.

Toucans are among the thousands of indigenous wildlife in Costa Rica

Visitors can engage in eco-conscious activities such as bird watching, hiking in national parks, visiting organic coffee farms, and participating in turtle conservation projects.

Get up close to sea turtles in Costa Rica

Many lodges and hotels in Costa Rica are certified by sustainable tourism programmes due to utilising renewable energy sources, waste reduction strategies and supporting local communities.

Cross a bridge into a natural fairyland at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Don’t miss: The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve for a chance to see unique wildlife and support local conservation efforts.

Go Here with Sure! Experience the eco-wonders of Costa Rica with a 7-Night Eco-Adventure package. Full details here. Or how about a 6-Night Costa Rica package? Full details here. 


2 | Iceland

Iceland’s pristine landscapes are a testament to its commitment to sustainability, and the country is a global leader in renewable energy, with nearly 100% of its electricity and heating needs met by geothermal and hydroelectric power.

Iceland's northern lights. Need we say more?

What Makes Iceland an Eco-Friendly Travel Destination?

The country’s tourism industry emphasises sustainability, encouraging responsible behaviour among visitors through the "Icelandic Pledge", which promotes environmental stewardship and respect for nature.

Get your spa on in one of Iceland's geo-thermal hot springs

Visitors can enjoy eco-friendly activities like whale watching, exploring glaciers volcanoes and waterfalls, and bathing in natural hot springs, all while supporting Iceland’s green initiatives.

Behold the splendour of Iceland's waterfalls

Many hotels and guesthouses are eco-certified, implementing practices like energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures and waste recycling programmes. Plus Icelandic cuisine often features locally sourced and organic ingredients, with many restaurants and cafes prioritising sustainable food practices.

Iceland's Thingvellir National Park is a must-visit

Don’t miss: Thingvellir National Park, located in the Þingvellir Valley, is home to the Silfra Fissure, a rift valley that is popular for diving and snorkelling.

Go Here with Sure! Get a taste of Iceland's natural wonders with this 6-Night Scenic Iceland and Northern Lights package. Full details here



3 | Bhutan

This southern Asian country, located between India and Tibet, has implemented a “High Value, Low Impact” tourism policy, which limits the number of tourists and ensures that tourism contributes to the conservation of its natural and cultural heritage.

Nestled between India and Tibet, Bhutan offers a sustainable travel experience

What Makes Bhutan an Eco-Friendly Travel Destination?

Bhutan measures success through Gross National Happiness (GNH), emphasizing environmental conservation, cultural preservation and sustainable development over economic growth. Plus the nation’s "High Value, Low Impact" tourism policy limits the number of tourists through a daily fee, ensuring that tourism remains sustainable and beneficial to local communities.

With half its lands protected, Bhutan is a nature lover's paradise

Over 50% of Bhutan's land is designated as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and protected areas, preserving its rich biodiversity, including rare species like the snow leopard and Bengal tiger.

Get up close to Bengal tigers in Bhutan

Bhutan also places a strong emphasis on preserving its cultural heritage. Traditional architecture, customs and festivals are maintained and celebrated, providing an authentic cultural experience for visitors.

Dress like a local in Bhutan

Many hotels and lodges in Bhutan follow sustainable practices, such as using locally sourced materials, implementing energy-efficient systems and supporting community-based tourism initiatives. Plus Bhutan promotes organic farming and aims to become the world's first fully organic nation. Visitors can tour organic farms and learn about traditional farming techniques.

Secret sights are everywhere to be found while trekking the Bhutanese Himalaya

Don’t miss: Trekking through the Bhutanese Himalayas for breathtaking views and a deep connection with nature.



4 | New Zealand

New Zealand is renowned for its natural beauty and commitment to sustainability. The country promotes eco-friendly travel through its numerous conservation projects and sustainable tourism practices.

New Zealand's vast protected nature reserves offer a bounty of hiking

What Makes New Zealand an Eco-Friendly Travel Destination?

New Zealand is dedicated to protecting its native wildlife and ecosystems. Initiatives such as Predator Free 2050 aim to eradicate invasive species and restore natural habitats. And of course the country boasts numerous national parks and conservation areas, including Fiordland, Tongariro and Abel Tasman National Parks.

Engage with local Maori customs

The tourism industry in New Zealand further emphasises sustainability through initiatives like the Tiaki Promise, which encourages visitors to care for the environment, respect local culture and travel safely. Plus New Zealand promotes sustainable transportation options, including extensive public transport networks, electric vehicle rentals and well-maintained cycling paths, making it easier for travellers to reduce their carbon footprint.

Panoramas don't get more pristine than the Fiordland National Park

Don’t miss: The Fiordland National Park and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua while staying in eco-lodges that support local conservation efforts.

Go Here with Sure! Experience the best of New Zealand with a 9-Night Contrasts of New Zealand package. Full details here



5 | Slovenia

Slovenia is an emerging leader in sustainable tourism, with the capital city of Ljubljana previously being awarded the title of European Green Capital.

Say hello to Ljubljana, one of Europe's greenest cities

What Makes Slovenia an Eco-Friendly Travel Destination?

Slovenia actively promotes sustainable tourism through initiatives like the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, which provides guidelines and certifications for destinations and service providers committed to sustainability.

Slovania's 'Green Scheme' for tourism is clearly effective

Visitors can engage in a variety of sustainable activities, such as hiking, cycling and rafting, particularly in eco-conscious regions like the Soca Valley and the Karst region. In the capital city itself there are extensive green spaces, a pedestrian-friendly old town, efficient public transportation and numerous cycling paths.

Soca Valley, Slovania

The country also has a host of protected natural areas, such as Triglav National Park, which protects the stunning Julian Alps, Lake Bohinj and the Soca River. Numerous other protected areas and nature reserves across the country conserve its diverse landscapes and wildlife.

Triglav National Park, Slovania

Slovenia's culinary scene emphasises local, organic and seasonal ingredients, with many restaurants supporting sustainable agriculture by sourcing from local farmers and participating in farm-to-table initiatives.

Drink responsibly – and sustainably – in Slovania

The country’s wine regions, such as the Vipava Valley and Stajerska, focus on sustainable viticulture. Visitors can enjoy eco-friendly wine tours that highlight organic and biodynamic winemaking practices.

Tick Lake Bled off your bucket list

Don’t miss: Visit Lake Bled and Triglav National Park for an eco-conscious adventure.

Go Here with Sure! Experience the highlights of Slovenia with a 13-Night Eastern Capitals and Dalmatian Coast package. Full details here. 



Tips for Sustainable Travel

Choosing a sustainable travel destination is just the first step to being an eco-friendly traveller. Once in your destination, you should also follow these tips:

A green destination doesn't mean much unless you're prepared to commit to being a sustainable traveller...

Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Opt for hotels and lodges that have received eco-certifications and prioritise sustainability. Look for accommodations that use renewable energy, implement waste reduction programmes and support local communities.

Garonga Safari Camp is one of many eco-friendly lodges on offer in South Africa

Reduce Plastic Use

Carry a reusable water bottle, shopping bag and utensils to minimise single-use plastics. Many eco-conscious travel destinations now have refill stations and encourage the use of reusable items.

Ditch plastic bottles on your travels

Support Local Economies

Contribute to the local economy by purchasing goods and services from local businesses. Eat at locally owned restaurants, buy souvenirs from local artisans and choose tour operators that employ local guides.

Support local food trucks and restaurants for sustainability

Travel Responsibly

Limit your carbon footprint by choosing direct flights, using public transportation and/or renting eco-friendly vehicles. Consider alternative modes of transportation such as biking or walking to explore your destination.

Rent a bike to lower your carbon footprint while exploring your destination

Respect Wildlife and Natural Habitats

Avoid activities that exploit animals or damage natural habitats. Choose wildlife tours that adhere to ethical guidelines and ensure that your interactions with nature do not disturb the ecosystem.

Make sure your interactions with wildlife are via accredited operators

Practice the ‘Leave No Trace’ Principle

Follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle by taking your trash with you, minimising campfire impact and respecting wildlife.

A simple, yet effective rule

Conserve Water and Energy

Be mindful of your water and energy usage while travelling. Take shorter showers, turn off lights and electronics when not in use and reuse towels and linens to reduce laundry.

Use water sparingly wherever you go

Tread Lightly on Your Travels

By choosing eco-conscious travel destinations and adopting sustainable travel practices, you can make a positive impact on the environment and support the preservation of the world’s natural and cultural treasures.

Sustainable travel not only enriches our travel experiences but also ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of our planet.

Do your part to ensure the destinations you love will still be pristine for future generations

Travel Sustainably With Sure

Sure Travel and its partners offer travel packages to these top 5 sustainable destinations, and many others. Plus your trusted Sure Travel Agent can advise on how to reduce your travel footprint when booking your travel. Contact your nearest Sure Travel Agency today for details.

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