Old Faithful's dependable glory has thrilled generations of visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
I just learned about a company that's taking ecotourism seriously. It's called Greenloons
and it guides travelers to sustainable vacations.
Irene Lane, Greenloons' founder, is always on the lookout for exceptional ecotourism
operators who can meet the demand for green travel, a vacation trend that's estimated to be growing 5% annually worldwide.
Greenloons has an extensive process of vetting and qualifying a tour operator before adding them to its list of distinctive travel experiences.
For example, here are five opportunities Greenloons suggests if you want to experience eco-certified green travel this summer. They represent a broad range of eco-opportunities from small-ship cruising in Alaska, to cycling through California wine country, to adventures in three National Parks and stays in green accommodations.
: (5 days, $2,200 per person) With a naturalist, guests explore Prince William Sound via a small ship, with sightings of sea otters, Dall's porpoise and whales. Opportunities abound for kayaking, hiking and photographing the massive tidewater glaciers of Barry Arm backed by mountains to 13,000 feet, as well as Harriman and College fjords and the serene waters of Eaglek Bay and Cascade Falls.
Yellowstone Active Escape
: (6 days, $1,999 per person) Lots of options for the active traveler to enjoy - hiking in Yellowstone National Park, biking in Jackson Hole Valley, kayaking on Yellowstone Lake and hiking the upper Geyser Basin to Old Faithful. A wildlife float trip on the Snake River overlooking the Teton Mountain range precedes a bike tour of Grand Teton National Park.
Yosemite & Monterey Active Escape
: (6 days, $1,999 per person) The best of the San Francisco Bay Area and Yosemite National Park offers kayaking the Monterey Bay shoreline, biking 17-Mile Drive and hiking in Yosemite National Park.
Bike the Napa Valley
: (6 days, $1,999 per person) Biking just might be the best way to explore the wine country of California's Napa Valley. Included are wine tastings at family-owned and operated wineries in Coombsville and the biodynamic winery of Quivira Vineyards (with 200 solar panels on the roof).
Canyonlands Active Escape
: (6 days, $1,999 per person) Travelers from around the world are in awe of Arches National Park. This eco-option offers hikes and a cowboy dinner in Moab. Guests can go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, explore Bryce Canyon National Park and have options for horseback riding, scenic flights and attending a rodeo.
Greenloons' goal is to connect adults and families to unique but meaningful nature-based travel experiences - all over the world. Because they only work with third-party eco-certified tour operators and sustainable tourism accommodation providers, they can provide a level of assurance to eco-conscious travelers that their small group vacations not only offer distinction and quality in pristine natural surroundings, but also emphasize conservation education, respect for local cultural traditions and support for local communities.