Earth Changers

You love travel, but care about its  impact. You want new places to go, away from the ‘usual tourist thing’. Meet the specialists in sustainable travel to help you do just that

Jicaro Island, Lake Nicaragua
In the middle of Lake Nicaragua, just a short boat ride from the UNESCO World Heritage City of Granada, with stunning islet shores and views of inactive Mombacho volcano, is El Jicaro. Nicaragua, the ‘country of lakes and volcanoes’, is lush, like its neighbour Costa Rica. Also found on the ecological bridge connecting North and South America, volcanic islands and rainforest erupt from lakes and biodiversity is immense. El Jicaro is one such island; in fact, one of 365 tiny islands dotting the waters of Lake Nicaragua known as the Granada Islets, created by a violent explosion of Mombacho Volcano 20 thousand years ago. Over time, the Islets populated and are now home to over 1200 people, some islets remaining uninhabited except for lush flora sheltering wildlife such as Nicaragua’s native monkeys and some its 703 bird species. If Nicaragua hasn’t been on your travel list in the past, Jicaro Island Ecolodge might just change that! It’s a magical island experience filled with peace and tranquillity; a beach and jungle trip that is quite extraordinary.

Jicaro Island, Lake NicaraguaJicaro Island, Lake Nicaragua

Chumbe Island, Tanzania
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a small island off the coast of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. The first privately established and managed Marine Protected Area in the world, usually fully-funded through ecotourism, Chumbe Island was set up by Sibylle Riedmiller who lived and worked in Tanzania and Zanzibar, where she witnessed no education, awareness or environmental protection for some of the most diverse coral reefs in the world, and little interest from the government for its value or tourism-generating opportunities. Explore the island’s stunning coral reef sanctuary and coral rag forest, relax in the exclusive eco-bungalows, savour traditional Zanzibari cuisine, all the while supporting conservation and education efforts. Education, understanding, belonging and pride
all support the sense of purpose created by founder Sibylle Riedmiller and diffused to each and every visitor to the island with honest heartfelt hospitality.

Lapa Rios, Costa Rico
Lapa Rios was built by pioneering founders John and Karen Lewis, more than 20 years ago when eco-tourism existed in few travellers’ minds. Named after the ‘River of Scarlet Macaws’: Lapa (meaning scarlet macaw) Rios (river), it bears witness to the beautiful birds that stream across the rainforest canopy between the lodge and the ocean, affording stunning views. Lapa Rios is a 930 acre private nature reserve located at the southern-most tip of the Osa Peninsula, Central America’s last remaining lowland dense tropical rainforest. On the western Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it acts as a wildlife corridor to Corcovado National Park. It is home to 2.5% of the biodiversity of the whole world, probably – it is not even known exactly how many unidentified species there may be, the primary forest being so dense. Costa Rica is certainly known for its living laboratory of nature with its 850 species of birds (319 in Lapa Rios!), 200 mammal species, reptiles, trees and plants.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
An award-winning, sustainable travel business offering guests an unrivalled luxury experience embedded in one of the world’s most unique and beautiful ecosystems. Grootbos (meaning ‘big forest’) Nature Reserve sits on the vibrant, fynbos-clad hills overlooking Walker Bay in South Africa’s Western Cape. Thanks to the work of the pioneering owners, this is one of the richest concentrations of flora in the world. The 6,170-acre reserve is home to 817 plant species and is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to see the ‘Marine Big Five’. The five-star Grootbos experience is embedded in its conservation and community mission. Activities include whale watching, horse-riding, floral safaris, the floriligeum art gallery and taking in the staggering views.

Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco
The Kasbah du Toubkal is a warm, welcoming mountain refuge not a hotel: an important distinction and considerate cultural reflection. It allows guests to engage with the real, unpretentious extension of the hospitality that stems from the homes of the Berbers who run and manage the Kasbah. The Kasbah du Toubkal is an award-winning unique mountain lodge just 60km from bustling Marrakech in the stunning peace of the Imlil valley of the High Atlas mountains. For groups, it’s also a conference and retreat centre: a venue that inspires, provides peace in a remote location, and the best of modern equipment. It’s a flagship development for sustainable tourism in a fragile mountain environment: A hospitality centre of excellence and business, to enhance the life and culture of the High Atlas Berber local community. The education for girls charity is rebuilding its 6 shattered boarding homes after last year’s earthquake to facilitate higher education. Any bookings contribute to this and other social and environmental projects.

Travel with Earth Changers

If you’re looking for tourism which truly has a positive impact, unsure where to go, Earth Changers highlights the most sustainable tourism around the world. Example destinations are shown on their site but do enquire for anywhere.

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