Too much tourism can affect a country in some negative ways. Travel can cause pollution, travel can push people off their desirable land in favor of large, foreign-owned resorts, and travel can bring unwanted change to a country’s culture. Islands in the Caribbean Sea along big cruise ship routes can attest to this phenomenon. While tourism brings employment and money, it’s not all necessarily good news.
The news broke a few weeks ago, but it will always be relevant. Lonesome George, the world’s last Pinto Island Tortoise and a recognized symbol of the Galapagos, died on June 24th, 2012. If you have ever been to the Galapagos Islands, there is a good chance you saw him. Discovered in 1971, he grew slower and more lackadaisical as the years came and went, but he was still a wonder. The last of his species, he was a living reminder of the dangers that accompany a human presence.
We’d like to take this week to acknowledge the species of the Galapagos that are still in critical danger of extinction. According to the Galapagos Conservancy, we know of thirteen vertebrate species that are now extinct, and of those, humans have witnessed seven of them cross the threshold into non-existence.
Despite the rather unfortunate conditions of today’s economy, tourism is growing closer and closer to becoming the world’s largest industry. Just from 2008, international tourist arrivals were up 6.5% in 2010 to 935 million, and that was after the country with the highest GDP entered a recession. With rapid development occurring worldwide, there is a growing concern for the negative impacts of mass tourism. Sustainability and ecotourism have become essential aspects of the travel industry. However, many times travelers are unaware of exactly what sustainable travel entails and how to incorporate it into their itineraries. As travel companies begin to jump on the green travel bandwagon it can be difficult to decipher which ones truly embrace sustainable travel, by not only minimizing the negative environmental aspects of travel but also contributing the local economy and communities, and which ones are simply claiming to be greener as a marketing plow. Through a series of ecotourism blogs, we will highlight some of the industry trends and changes currently occurring to give travelers a better understanding of what it means to travel sustainably.
Northern Baja California is one of the most extensive, solitary and naturally beautiful places in Mexico. With over fifteen years exploring the peninsula, I have found a wide variety of experiences and natural landscapes that are as unique and beautiful as any other in the world. If you are looking to get away from it all and find solitude, you don’t have to go so far or spend much to find that perfect beach or unique vacation experience. Remember that an ecotourism vacation starts with the destination you choose and what better way to reduce your carbon foot print than to skip the flight, carpool with friends or family (if you're close enough) and still find a natural paradise. In Baja, solitude, peace, relaxation and fun are all wrapped up in a beautiful pristine natural environment.
You should start by driving past Tijuana and Rosarito and continue south on the toll road to the port city of Ensenada, which can be your first stop. Known as a tourist town, Ensenada acts as a great base from where to explore the many options in northern Baja. The city has a wide range of affordable accommodations and a diverse mix of restaurants for any palate or budget.