Residents of the Northeastern U.S, were subjected to some pretty harsh breathing conditions, with smoke from Canadian wildfires turning the sky in New York City (and other places) a shade of apocalyptic orange. It sounds like taking a break from the smog could do wonders for their health. Here are seven clean air vacation spots where they–and you, no matter where you live–can enjoy cleaner air quality this summer.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the jewel of sustainable tourism in Latin America. The country continuously puts huge commitments to going green. Due to these efforts, renewable energy has become the nation’s source of power and electricity.
Eco-tourism in Costa Rica is more than eco-lodges and taking nature hikes. They also see the importance of supporting and encouraging local communities and their economy. In addition, many, if not most, of their tours around the country promote conservation.
In 2021, Costa Rica became the first carbon-neutral country, providing tourists with better air quality than other countries. Some activities to consider when visiting are volcano hopping to over 60 volcanoes in the country, including Arenal Volcano, and coffee and chocolate tours in San Jose, Puerto Viejo, and Sarapiqui.
2. New Zealand
Many cities in New Zealand hold the cleanest air quality in the world and are one of the frontrunners to sustainable tourism. In addition, the country aims to reduce tourist carbon footprint before 2050. These efforts allow the nation to protect the environment, giving their natural wonders similar rights as its residents, preserving cultural Maori heritage, and boosting their economy.
The South Island and Fiordland boast wild, rugged places filled with high mountains and sparkling fiords. In addition, they have cleaner air quality than New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Nature walking tours and hikes are available within the area, where you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and breathe in the fresh Antarctic air.
Rwanda quickly rose to many people’s must-see destinations in the past year due to its commitment to conservation and responsible tourism. This nation in East Africa shows the world how eco-friendly travel destinations can drive the economy while saving the environment.
Many tourists describe Rwanda as green, literally and figuratively. The Rwandan government upholds a plastic bag ban and projects for reforestation. Many of the tourist destinations in the country feature mountains and valleys of lush forests and greenery, ensuring direct contact with nature and clean air quality.
The Akagera National Park has two off-grid, plastic-free havens for wildlife lovers. The eco-lodges in the area provide travelers with close encounters with leopards and lions. In the south, Nyungwe National Park offers intense green landscapes like a scene out of Jurassic Park. The oldest protected mountain rainforest in Central Africa, Nyungwe gives off a magical feel and an awe-inspiring view of Mother Nature’s power.
Bhutan- the world’s last Buddhist kingdom, is a tiny, carbon-negative nation. The country practices sensitive tourism, meaning it only allows a restricted annual number of visitors and charges them daily visa fees.
The Bhutanese view on sustainable tourism follows the less is more approach. They believe that limiting tourist numbers benefits the guests and their people, with higher chances of making a meaningful connection to the country and its environment.
In addition, to clean air quality, tourists in Bhutan can visit the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the Gangteng Valley and learn about the Black-necked Crane conservation.
Unlike many countries worldwide, Iceland’s main tourist attraction is the land. This Nordic country is rich in thermal energy and other renewable sources, making them at the front of sustainable energy production. In addition, their commitment to sustainability adds to the rewarding experience of visiting the place.
Their capital city, Reykjavik, is one of the cities with the cleanest air quality worldwide. Besides that, it provides numerous attractions to explore nature without leaving any damage. Tourists can go on whale-watching tours, horseback riding excursions, glacier hiking, and even sleep under the northern lights.
In 2022, the United Nations reported that Finland is the most sustainable country in the world. One of its cities, Lahti, won the European Green Capital award in 2021 for its energy-efficient homes and UNESCO-certified groundwater systems.
When it comes to eco-tourism, Finland offers 40 national parks for tourists to visit, all providing landscapes of snowy mountains, lush hills, and numerous outdoor activities. The Finnish Lapland is a favorite for its various activities, like reindeer sleighing, husky safaris, and cross-country skiing.
If you’re looking for urban places with cleaner air and streets, then Switzerland’s biggest city, Zurich, should be on your list. Zurich is the world’s most sustainable city, boasting fresh mountain air and the cleanest streets.
The city uses a sustainable public transport system to get tourists around the area without driving cars. Visitors can wander through the Old Town area around the Limmat River, which takes you to many iconic landmarks like the Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches.
Bold Eco-Friendly Travel Destinations to Breathe Cleaner Air
The stressors from living in urban areas and concrete jungles can take a toll on a person’s general well-being. Spending time away from home helps you relax and decompress, but having a vacation in eco-friendly travel spots can put the experience to the next level. These seven places are the best areas with clean air quality and stunning views that could make your trip more memorable than ever.
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