Nellie Day – NuWire Investment Magazine
Interest among a growing number of travelers, eco resorts have popped up everywhere, from Florida to Fiji. In fact, the ecotourism industry is growing so quickly that it would be nearly impossible to map which countries have become the greatest eco-destinations, especially when the terms "eco" and "green" are thrown around so readily that it can be hard to tell what is genuine and what is simply a marketing ploy. Ecotourism at its heart not only preserves natural habitats and indigenous cultures and species, but actually works in favor of conservation by bringing additional resources that the local economy would otherwise not have, so the applications of the term can be quite different, which makes ranking such locations even more difficult—if not impossible.
Instead of ranking these destinations, NuWire decided to recognize five countries whose efforts in particular realms of ecotourism have gone above and beyond the norm.
Belize ranked top among them for: Appreciating Marine Life
Though Belize has many natural wonders, one of its biggest ecotourism draws is its vast bodies of water and exotic marine life. "Its coastal areas are a huge draw due to their remarkably beautiful water and coral reefs," Jampol said. Visitors to Belize can observe three species of sea turtles, three types of dolphins, river otters and one of the largest manatee populations in the world. These animals can be spotted on sailing, snorkeling and kayaking excursions, all of which allow tourists to enter the animal’s native habitats with little to no disturbance to the wildlife and pollution to the water.
In fact, many organizations encourage visitors to explore Belize through its series of lagoons, caves, waterfalls, rivers, wetlands, channels and reefs. Eco-friendly tourists can explore Belize’s large reptile and bird populations by traveling down the Burdon Canal, which leads them into the Burdon Canal Nature Reserve. They can experience the 150-mile Belize barrier reef system and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which allows visitors to enter many of its waters. The Aguas Turbias Reserve consists of 7,000 acres of immense flora and fauna that come from Belize, as well as nearby Mexico and Guatemala. A viewing station in Mountain Pine Ridge allows for ample views of Hidden Valley Falls, where waterfalls disappear into the jungles below. Clarissa Falls and Blue Hole also offer opportunities for swimming and guided tubing tours.
With all that said. Let’s just preserve Belize’s natural beauty for generations that follow to appreciate what we have today.