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Ecotourism In Ecuador

Ecotourism has risen to become the new, more socially and environmentally conscious method of travel, and Ecuador has a unique geographical advantage.

In this small country with four strikingly diverse ecosystems, responsible tourism is omnipresent. But because this stamp increases the credibility of a company, there are fa├žades galore.

The Asociaci├│n Ecuatoriana de Ecoturismo (Ecuadorian Ecotourism Association, URL: decided to define the branding, grounded in the belief that many companies tend to market any type of tourism that involves nature as ''ecotourism''-and, being Ecuador, there needed to be more strict regulation. Ecotourism is now defined as tourism that benefits the community, the wildlife, the ecosystem and the traveler. In the ideal situation, a majority of the profits collected by an ecotourism company is funneled back into environmental conservation and restoration projects. The easiest way to know if a venue is actually eco-friendly is if it's owned by the local community.

The Gal├ípagos, being the most highly chosen destination in Ecuador, has specialized in ecotourism and set a benchmark for others to meet. But there are fa├žades there, too.

The idea of ecotourism has become more deeply ingrained in the Amazon. Indigenous cultures are using ecotourism as a way to spread awareness about their culture in an attempt to preserve their land and way of life. The Achuar people, for instance, are running an eco-lodge in order to fend off oil exploration and exploitation in their region, using the income from the lodge to fund their political struggle.

So while you're planning your trip, if your goal is to remain as eco-friendly as possible, do your research. ''Eco'' in a company's doesn't necessarily mean the company uses just practices. Check the company's philosophy, research their eco-practices, read reviews and act accordingly.
You can also download the Ecuadorian government's Ecotourism Standards (in Spanish) or visit the National Ecotourism Portal of Ecuador (URL: for more information.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Parrot Fish, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Where to Book a galapagos Trip, Responsible Tourism, The Waved Albatross, Holidays and Fiestas, Lava Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Geography of Ecuador and Shore Birds - Galapagos.

12 Sep 2012

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