Many ecologically-aware people name the Galapagos Islands as the No. 1 place on their must-visit bucket list, and for good reason: Located off the coast of Ecuador, the islands are a wildlife lover's paradise. It's the only place in the world that some kinds of species call home, from iguanas, tortoises, and birds, including the blue-footed booby.
The seven-day iExplore Argentina Experience begins and ends in Buenos Aires, but the highlight is a four-day eco-tour to the Bariloche and Iguazú regions, where you can explore everything from the rainforest to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Waterfalls, jungles, and nature preserves are must-sees on the itinerary.
The Amazon River is quite possibly the most important ecological site in all of Latin America. Traveling more than 4000 miles through six South American countries, it is home to a vast tropical rainforest as well as fully one-third of the earth's wildlife.
Blue Osa Yoga Sanctuary & Spa, Costa Rica
At Blue Osa Yoga Sanctuary and Spa near Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica, each room offers a view of the sunrise and rainforest and uses solar power for the lights and electrical outlets. The spa uses holistic treatments made from plants that grow nearby while the food comes from local farmers.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
The tallest waterfall in the world is in Venezuela. Located in Canaima National Park in the southeastern part of the country, Angel Falls is more than 3,000 feet high and though it's not easy to reach -- a minimum of three flights from Caracas, two boat rides, and a two-hour hike -- those who have seen the falls say it's definitely worth it.
Estrella del Mar
Estrella del Mar contains one of Mexico's largest private Sea Turtle Sanctuaries, which hatches and releases more than 50,000 Olive Sea Turtles each year. Guests can help out by collecting eggs from its 3-1/2 mile private beach and then releasing hatchlings back into the sea.
Nature Air is the first airline in the world to become 100% carbon neutral. It flies mostly within Costa Rica, with regular flights to Managua and Bocas del Toro, Panama, and participates in reforestation and conservation programs throughout the region.
Macademia Nut Farm, Guatemala
At Lorenzo Gottschamer’s Valhalla macadamia nut farm in Antigua, Guatemala, you can nosh on macadamia flour pancakes slathered with macadamia butter and blueberry syrup -- both grown on nearby farms -- buy a bag of chocolate-covered nuts, and wrap up your visit with a macadamia oil facial. The money you spend will directly help Mayan farmers in Guatemala become self-sufficient since Lorenzo plows every quetzal – about 12-1/2 cents – and dollar into buying macadamia seedlings.
Pico Bonito, Honduras
The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras features more than 420 species of birds within its 400 acres of rainforest, as well as jaguars, kinkajoos, and a variety of indigenous monkeys. Trained guides can help point them out on hikes, kayak excursions, or whitewater rafting. The lodge even has a butterfly forest and a serpentarium.
Refugio de Potosi in Ixtapa, Mexico
El Refugio de Potosi is a popular nature reserve and wildlife rehabilitation center with a butterfly observatory, observation tower, and a variety of animals, birds, and reptiles who call the ecological park home, either temporarily or permanent.
As environmental awareness has spread like wildfire recently, the increase has naturally spread to the choices we make about travel.