Welcome to the ultimate eco-traveler’s guide for 2024! As the world becomes more conscious about its environmental footprint, the way we travel is evolving. In this post, we’re diving into the top 10 sustainable travel destinations that are not just stunning but also leading the charge in green tourism.
From the lush rainforests of Costa Rica to the innovative urban landscapes of Japan, each destination offers a unique blend of breathtaking beauty and commitment to preserving our planet.
So, pack your eco-friendly gear, and let’s embark on a journey that’s as kind to the Earth as it is exhilarating for the soul. Get ready to explore the world’s most sustainable and inspiring places in 2024!
Best Sustainable travel destinations to visit this year
Here are our top choices for this year’s green travels.
1. Costa Rica
Let’s dive into Central America’s lush, green heart: Costa Rica! This gem is not just THE place for nature lovers; it’s a global leader in sustainable travel. Imagine zip-lining through a rainforest canopy, where the only “traffic noise” comes from howler monkeys and exotic birds. Welcome to the “Pura Vida” lifestyle!
Why Costa Rica is a top sustainable travel destination in 2024:
- Eco-Friendly from Coast to Coast: Costa Rica is leading the charge in eco-tourism. Over a quarter of its land is protected, and the country is on track to become carbon-neutral. That’s right, while you’re sipping that delicious, locally-grown coffee, you’re actually supporting their green mission!
- Wildlife Galore: Ever wanted to chill with sloths or gawk at a quetzal? Costa Rica’s biodiversity is epic. From turtle-nesting beaches to cloud forests brimming with hummingbirds, it is a real-life Animal Planet episode.
- Adventure Central: Surfing, hiking, rafting, you name it. If your idea of fun involves a bit of adrenaline, Costa Rica has you covered. And the best part? Most of these adventures are eco-friendly by default. Talk about a thrill without the guilt!
- Cultural Melting Pot: Costa Rican culture is a vibrant mix of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean influences. You will dance to the rhythm of calypso and learn about indigenous crafts. And yes, their food is as colorful as their festivals!
- Sustainability Is a Way of Life: Sustainability is not just about protected areas here; it is part of daily life. From farm-to-table dining experiences to eco-lodges that blend into the forest, every aspect of your trip supports the local community and environment.
Whether you’re a solo eco-warrior, a family of nature enthusiasts, or a couple looking for a green getaway, this place will steal your heart and maybe, just maybe, make you a bit more eco-conscious.
So, are you ready to pack your bags (and your reusable water bottle) for Costa Rica in 2024?
Next stop on our eco-friendly world tour: Norway! The landscapes here look like a masterpiece painted by nature itself. You will cruise through majestic fjords, watch the Northern Lights dance, and do it all in one of the most sustainable ways possible.
Why Norway is an Eco-Traveler’s Dream in 2024:
- Fjords with a Side of Eco-Consciousness: Norway’s fjords look like paintings. And guess what? You can explore them on emission-free electric ferries or ships.
- Chasing the Northern Lights: Sure, seeing the aurora boreal is bucket-list stuff, but in Norway, it’s also eco-friendly. Stay in a cozy, energy-efficient cabin or an igloo hotel and gaze at the green glows with a clear conscience.
- Hiking Heaven: Norway’s trails are perfect for those who love to explore on foot. The best part? You’re walking on some of the most well-preserved paths in the world. And yes, those mountain views are as jaw-dropping as they say.
- City Life, the Green Way: Oslo, the capital, is a champion in sustainable urban living. Electric public transport, bike-friendly streets, and green spaces make it a city where the future feels present.
- Local Food, Global Impact: Norwegian cuisine is all about fresh, local, and sustainable. Seafood lovers, rejoice! The salmon here is not just tasty; it’s responsibly farmed. And have you tried their cloudberries? Taste like candy!
Norway has this unique blend of ancient Viking history and cutting-edge technology. You can go from a modern art museum in Oslo to a traditional Sami tent in the Arctic. Plus, Norwegians are some of the happiest people around – must be all that fresh air and stunning nature!
Suggested Read: Top 10 Winter Gateways in the World
3. New Zealand
This island nation isn’t just famous for being the backdrop of certain epic fantasy movies. It’s a paradise where sustainability and breathtaking landscapes go hand-in-hand. In 2024, New Zealand isn’t just a sustainable travel destination; it’s an eco-adventure of a lifetime!
Why New Zealand is a Place for Green Globe-Trotters:
- Stunning Scenery at Every Turn: From the misty fjords of Milford Sound to the volcanic wonders of Rotorua, New Zealand’s natural beauty is untouched and awe-inspiring. And the best part? They work hard to keep it that way.
- Hobbiton Isn’t Just for Hobbits: Fans of Lord of the Rings will geek out, but everyone can appreciate the commitment to preserving the natural beauty of these iconic movie sets. It’s like stepping into a storybook, eco-style!
- Adventure with an Eco-Conscience: Whether bungee jumping in Queenstown or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s adventure activities often come with an eco-friendly badge.
- The Maori Way: Embracing the indigenous Maori culture means learning about a deep respect for the land and nature. Engaging with Maori traditions isn’t just culturally enriching; it’s a lesson in environmental stewardship.
- Sustainable Sipping and Sampling: From world-class wines to farm-to-table cuisine, New Zealand’s culinary scene is as sustainable as it is delicious. Savor a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, knowing it’s produced with the planet in mind.
In 2024, New Zealand isn’t just looking good; it’s doing good. The country’s dedication to conservation and sustainable tourism means you can enjoy everything from the Great Walks to the glowworm caves without guilt.
Next on our sustainable travel hit list is Bhutan, a mystical kingdom nestled in the Himalayas. Known as the land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan isn’t just another travel destination; it’s a forerunner in eco-tourism and the epitome of a green utopia. In 2024, Bhutan beckons as the ultimate escape for travelers seeking a blend of culture, adventure, and sustainability.
Why Bhutan is a Breath of Fresh, Clean Air:
- Carbon Negative, Positively Amazing: Yep, you read that right. Bhutan isn’t just carbon neutral; it’s carbon negative! How cool is that?
- Happiness is a Place: Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness, not GDP. This holistic approach includes environmental preservation as a key component. Happiness and health of the planet? Double win!
- Trekking with a Purpose: Bhutan’s trails take you through pristine landscapes, ancient monasteries, and remote villages. The focus here is on low-impact, high-value tourism, ensuring that your footsteps tread lightly on the earth.
- Cultural Richness in Every Corner: From the colorful Paro Tsechu festival to the majestic Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on a cliff, Bhutan’s unique culture is deeply interwoven with nature and spirituality.
- Sustainable Living, Bhutanese Style: The Bhutanese lifestyle is a lesson in sustainability. Agriculture is largely organic, and traditional architecture and crafts are preserved, promoting a lifestyle that respects and protects the natural world.
Visiting Bhutan in 2024 is like stepping into a different world – one where the environment is revered, and cultural authenticity is the norm. Imagine waking up to the sight of the snow-capped Himalayas, breathing in air that’s among the cleanest on the planet, and knowing that your presence supports conservation and responsible tourism.
Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its natural and cultural heritage makes it not just an amazing place to visit but an inspiration for sustainable living. This isn’t just a holiday; it’s an enlightening experience that might just change the way you see the world.
Strap on your boots, we’re heading to Iceland, the land of fire and ice! This island nation is not just a bucket list destination for its otherworldly landscapes; it’s a frontrunner in sustainable travel. In 2024, Iceland is the go-to for travelers who want to marvel at nature’s wonders while supporting eco-friendly initiatives.
Why Iceland is a Green Traveler’s Paradise:
- Geothermal Wonders Galore: This is the land where hot springs and geysers are as common as coffee shops. Soaking in a natural hot pool while gazing at the Northern Lights? Yes, please, and it’s all powered by Mother Earth!
- Sustainability at Its Core: Almost 100% of Iceland’s electricity and heating comes from renewable sources like geothermal and hydropower.
- Epic Landscapes with Minimal Footprints: From the black sand beaches of Vik to the dramatic waterfalls of Skógafoss, Iceland’s natural beauty is preserved with strict environmental regulations. It’s like walking through a pristine, open-air museum.
- A Haven for Wildlife: Puffins, whales, Icelandic horses – the wildlife here is as unique as the landscape. And the best part? Wildlife tours in Iceland are all about respecting and preserving these wonders.
- Reykjavik: The Cool Capital: This city is not just cool cafes and art. Reykjavik is a leader in sustainable urban living, blending modernity with environmental consciousness.
Iceland in 2024 is more than a destination; it’s an experience. It’s where you can explore glaciers one day and relax in a geothermal spa the next, all while being part of a greater eco-friendly story.
This hidden gem tucked away in Central Europe is getting bigger in the scene of sustainable travel destinations. In 2024, Slovenia is a green fairy tale that comes to life, perfect for those seeking a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and eco-conscious travel.
Why Slovenia is a Must-Visit Sustainable Travel Destination:
- Ljubljana, the Green Capital: This charming capital isn’t just lovely; it’s been named the European Green Capital for its sustainable urban development.
- Lake Bled: Picture-Perfect and Eco-Friendly: Imagine a crystal-clear lake, an island with a church, and a medieval castle perched above. Add to that the commitment to keep it pristine with sustainable tourism practices. Yes, Lake Bled is real, and it’s spectacular!
- Hiking and Biking Paradise: Slovenia’s trails offer breathtaking views and are maintained with sustainability in mind. Whether you’re conquering the Julian Alps or cycling through the vineyards, you’re doing it with minimal impact on the environment.
- A Culinary Journey of Local Flavors: Slovenian cuisine is a hidden treasure, focusing on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. From farm-to-table experiences to organic wines, your taste buds are in for a sustainable treat.
- A Rich Tapestry of Culture and Nature: Slovenia’s cultural heritage, from its charming towns to its vibrant folk traditions, coexists harmoniously with its commitment to nature and sustainability.
Slovenia in 2024 is where you can unwind in thermal spas, explore caves and forests, and immerse yourself in a culture that values the environment as much as its historical roots.
So, are you ready to add a touch of green to your 2024 travel plans? Slovenia awaits with open arms, offering an experience that’s as rejuvenating for the soul as it is for the planet.
Next on our sustainable travel destination list is Rwanda, a country transforming its narrative to become a beacon of sustainability and conservation in Africa. In 2024, Rwanda isn’t just about its haunting history; it’s a forward-thinking destination offering a unique blend of wildlife, culture, and green initiatives. It’s where you can witness conservation in action and be a part of something truly transformative.
Why Rwanda is a Destination for Eco-Conscious Travelers:
- Gorilla Trekking with a Heart: Rwanda is renowned for its mountain gorillas, and visiting them is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What’s better? The country’s responsible tourism practices ensure that your visit contributes to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.
- A Commitment to Reforestation: Witness the “Land of a Thousand Hills” turning greener with extensive reforestation initiatives that are rejuvenating the landscapes and supporting biodiversity.
- Kigali – A Model of Urban Sustainability: The capital city, Kigali, is one of the cleanest cities in Africa. It represents Rwanda’s commitment to environmental protection and sustainable urban planning.
- Cultural Immersion in a Respectful Way: Rwanda’s cultural experiences, from traditional dance performances to community visits, are designed to be respectful and beneficial to visitors and locals.
- Wildlife Beyond Gorillas: While gorillas might be the stars, Rwanda is also home to other wildlife experiences. Think safari in Akagera National Park or bird watching in the Nyungwe Forest.
Visiting Rwanda in 2024 means being part of an inspiring journey of recovery and renewal. It’s about witnessing how responsible tourism can drive positive change, not just for wildlife but for entire communities.
Rwanda’s story in 2024 is one of hope, resilience, and the power of sustainable tourism.
Our next stop is Portugal! This sun-kissed European country, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is also making waves in sustainable travel. In 2024, Portugal isn’t just a holiday destination; it’s a haven for travelers looking to indulge in beauty and history while respecting Mother Earth.
Why Portugal is a Place for Eco-Savvy Explorers:
- Historic Cities with a Sustainable Heart: From Lisbon’s iconic trams to Porto’s rejuvenated riverside, Portugal’s cities embrace sustainability without losing their timeless charm. Imagine exploring centuries-old neighborhoods where tradition meets modern eco-friendly initiatives.
- Glorious Beaches with a Conscience: Portugal’s coastline is a paradise for beach lovers and surfers. The best part? Many beaches are embracing sustainable practices, ensuring these golden sands stay pristine for generations to come.
- A Culinary Scene That Cares: Portuguese cuisine is a delectable journey through taste and tradition, and it’s getting greener by the day. Farm-to-table dining, organic wines, and seafood sustainability are on the menu here!
- Eco-Friendly Rural Retreats: Discover Portugal’s countryside where eco-tourism is thriving. Stay in a solar-powered Quinta (farmhouse), experience traditional farming practices, and connect with the rural way of life.
- Rich Cultural Heritage with a Modern Twist: Portugal blends its historical legacy with contemporary sustainability. Renewable energy, conservation projects, and cultural preservation go hand in hand.
Visiting Portugal in 2024 means stepping into a world where the past is preserved and powers the future. It’s where you can wander through ancient castles, enjoy a sunset over vine-covered hills, and know that your travels support eco-friendly initiatives.
Get ready to swap your hiking boots for flip-flops because we’re heading to Belize! This Central American jewel is a dream come true for eco-conscious beach lovers and underwater adventurers. In 2024, Belize isn’t just about the sun, sea, and sand; it’s a pioneering nation in marine conservation and sustainable tourism.
Why Belize is a Sustainable Travel Destination in 2024:
- Barrier Reef Brilliance: Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and it’s a leader in coral reef conservation. Snorkeling and diving here are not just breathtaking experiences but also support conservation efforts.
- Jungle Adventures with a Light Footprint: Beyond the beaches, Belize’s jungles are ripe for exploration. Eco-lodges nestled in the rainforest offer a perfect base for bird-watching, river tubing, and learning about local Mayan history.
- Sustainable Sea-to-Table Eating: Belize’s culinary scene is a feast of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and local flavors, all sourced with sustainability in mind. Enjoy a lionfish ceviche, knowing you’re helping to control an invasive species!
- Community-Based Tourism: Engage with local communities in meaningful ways. Many tours and activities in Belize are run by local groups, ensuring that your travel dollars directly benefit the people who make this place so special.
- Eco-Friendly Accommodations: From rustic beach cabanas to luxurious eco-resorts, Belize offers a range of accommodations that prioritize the environment, ensuring a stay as responsible as it is relaxing.
In 2024, Belize stands up as not just a tropical getaway but as an immersive experience in how tourism can be a force for good.
Suggested Read: Places that might disappear in the next decades
Tighten your obi because we’re jetting off to Japan! This island nation is a mesmerizing mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology, and in 2024, it’s also a leader in sustainable travel. Japan offers a unique journey where respect for the past meets a commitment to the future.
Why Japan is a Must-See for Eco-Conscious Travelers:
- Efficient and Eco-Friendly Transport: Japan’s public transport is a traveler’s dream. Bullet trains zip you across the country – fast, efficient, and way better for the planet than flying.
- Zen Gardens and Green Spaces: Japan’s reverence for nature is evident in its meticulously cared-for gardens and parks. These tranquil spots aren’t just for stunning Instagram shots; they’re a testament to the country’s deep connection with nature.
- Sustainable Eats, Japanese Style: Japanese cuisine, emphasizing fresh, seasonal ingredients, is inherently sustainable. From sushi to soba, your taste buds are in for a treat, and the planet will thank you, too.
- Eco-Friendly Accommodations: From traditional ryokans to modern hotels, many accommodations in Japan are embracing sustainability with energy-efficient practices and a focus on local culture and crafts.
- Cultural Immersion with Respect: Japan’s approach to tourism is deeply rooted in respect – for the environment, historical sites, and local customs. Engaging in cultural experiences here often means supporting preservation efforts.
In 2024, visiting Japan is like stepping into a beautifully balanced world where the future is green, and the past is honored. It’s where you can marvel at ancient temples in the morning and explore futuristic cityscapes by night.
So, are you ready to experience the harmony of sustainability and tradition in Japan? Pack your eco-friendly travel kit, and let’s say “Konnichiwa” to an unforgettable adventure!
Best Travel Insurance For Digital Nomads In 2024
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Editor of Yes, Summer! I am a Brazilian journalist, writer, and digital nomad. I have been traveling the world, telling stories, and tasting local beers since 2010. I am the co-founder of 360meridianos, a reference in travel writing in Brazil, and author of the newsletter Migraciones. On social media, I'm always reachable at @natybecattini.