My Top 5 Eco Destinations for 2017

Footprints and Photos - my top 5 eco travel destinations in 2017

Looking for inspiration to decide on your holiday destinations for 2017? We all often turn to those “what’s hot” lists, what’s cheap and what’s easy. It might be time to add one more thing to our decision-making checklist – what’s GREEN.

I’ve scoured the resources – so you don’t have to – and narrowed down the 5 best eco travel destinations for 2017. Read on to find your next perfect getaway.

5. Peru

Ancient ruins, stunning mountains and llamas – what’s not to love about Peru? Travelers have been heading to this South American gem for years to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Piccu or soar over the Nazca Lines. What’s more, access to the Peruvian Amazon gives nature lovers a taste of true wilderness.

Exciting news for 2017 though is the recent launch of the first luxury sleeper train in South America – the Spirit of the Andes – so this is one for the luxury travelers. Taking in the scenery by train not only gives us time to soak up the surroundings but by slowing down we can appreciate our world a little more. We can disconnect, be mindful and really enjoy our holiday. It’s the journey not just the destination right? And what’s more, train travel is a whole lot friendlier on our planet than flying. So I suggest taking the scenic route if you’re looking for a South American adventure this year.

Footprints and Photos - my top5 eco travel destinations in 2017

Who doesn’t love llamas?

4. China

Not known for being particularly green this may be a surprise inclusion for a few of you. And I must admit that I hesitated before including China on an eco destination list. Recently though, China has come through with the goods!

The recent announcement that China will completely ban all trade in ivory by the end of 2017 had me jumping for joy. The Chinese have also revealed that they will aim to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2020. This is a massive boost for the renewable energy sector and the end of our carbon reliance. With a massive population, China’s power demands outweigh the rest of the planet. Having them switch to renewable energy is exciting but there is still a way to go.

Footprints and Photos - my top 5 eco travel destinations in 2017

A reduction in the use of coal will definitely improve the air quality for Chinese residents and visitors.

3. South Africa

South Africa is home to vibrant cities, the breath-taking Garden Route and some of the best safari drives in all of Africa. This region is also home to one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots on the planet. During spring an extraordinary array of endemic flora species bloom and turn the area into a wildflower lovers paradise.

Looking for somewhere to stay to witness all this gloriousness? Check out the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve,  listed in the Top 10 World’s Best Ecolodges by the National Geographic. Located in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa, and nestled on 18,532 acres of UNESCO-protected habitat, it is home to over 100 ancient rock art sites and an abundance of flora and fauna. Not only does the Wilderness Reserve tick the box for ecotourism, it also works hard to benefit the local community – now that’s a responsible travel destination to get behind!

Footprints and Photos - my top 5 eco travel destinations in 2017

Home to Kruger National Park, South Africa is a great place for spotting the Big 5.

2. Finland

Finland has been listed in the top 10 destinations of 2017 by the Lonely Planet. It also turns 100 next year and the Finnish are ready to celebrate! A new National Park has been declared – Hossa – and an official Nature Day will be held every 3 months. If that’s not enough of an eco reason for you, then how about the fact that Finland topped the EPI list this year.

Not familiar with the EPI – it’s the Environmental Performance Index; a method used to quantify the environmental performance of a countries policies. The EPI covers ecosystem vitality (eg climate + energy, biodiversity + habitat, fisheries, forests, agriculture and water resources) and environmental health (eg health impacts, air quality and water + sanitation). Finland came in Number 1 in 2016 with an EPI of 90.68. Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia rounded out the top five.

Footprints and Photos - my top 5 eco travel destinations

With views of the Northern Lights to rival those in Sweden, I definitely need to head north again.

1. Canada

With stunning forests, epic train journeys and the powerful Niagara Falls, Canada has it all. Those snow bunnies out there will be heading for the slopes in winter or enjoying a horse-drawn sleigh ride across the snow. As an Aussie, I loved visiting in winter for my first white Christmas, but this fabulous country can delight in summer as well.

Watching killer whales, bears and the annual salmon run are second-to-none Canadian wildlife experiences that will leave you wanting more after the snow melts. With free entry to all National Parks across Canada for 2017 – this country has topped my list. Summer or winter; book your trip to Canada today.

Footprints and Photos - the top 5 eco travel destinations in 2017

Canada – my top pick for 2017!

The Footprint Scale

Footprints and Photos - 2/5 on the Footprint Scale

Eco Destinations: 2/5

As a destination, the above list is a great start to an eco-friendly holiday. To really have an impact though, we need to ensure we shop locally, avoid those flights where possible and say no to plastic.


So that’s it folks – my top 5 eco-friendly destinations for 2017. Have I missed anything? Have you uncovered a gem I need to know about? Let me know below!