Are you seeking more from your travels? Do you want to get more out of your vacation than just a tan and some souvenirs? It is possible! More and more people are choosing to go on “eco-friendly” or a “green”vacation. This new trend in travel is called eco-tourism.

What is Eco-tourism?

Eco-tourism is socially responsible travel. The eco-tourist usually visits pristine or protected regions and makes an effort to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. The eco-tourist travels in the “greenest” ways available and strives to “give back” to the area being visited. Pristine, untouched destinations are favored by the eco-tourist. Eco-tourism is often educational, and the eco-tourist treats the flora and fauna respectfully.

The Top Three Eco-tourism Destinations: Hawaii, Costa Rica and Belize

While there are countless eco-tourism destinations all around the world, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Belize are three great choices when traveling from America. All three places have been described as “paradise” or “heaven on earth” by many travelers, and they are very conducive to socially responsible travel:

1. Costa Rica

The Costa Rican terrain, scenery and foliage combined with the kind and pleasant demeanor of the Costa Rican people all add up to an amazing vacation experience. Costa Rica has renowned rain forests, exotic animals, beautiful beaches, rejuvenating hot springs and vast, untouched stretches of nature to appreciate. There are even some “green” hotels to choose from.

2. Hawaii

Hawaii is bursting with lush foliage, bright flowers and near-perfect temperatures year round. You will see incredible vistas, stunning skies and glorious sunsets over the Pacific ocean. There are pristine white sand beaches and even some red, green and black sand beaches. The fragrant air is kept fresh and clean by thetrade winds.

While Hawaii caters to mainstream tourism, remote beaches and inland rain forests can be found on each of the eight islands. If you had to choose just one to visit, Kauai would probably be your best bet. “The Garden Isle” features Waimea Canyon, a fern grotto, Mt. Waialeale and the Wailua River. Take an Eco-adventure helicopter tour or zip line through the rain forest. There is a wealth of things to see and explore, and since Hawaii is a U.S. state, there’s no need for a passport.

3. Belize

Belize features beautiful beaches, landscapes and scenery. You will see exotic wildlife and lots of tropical foliage. Explore ancient caves or snorkel around abundant, pristine reefs along the coast. You can visit ancient Mayan ruins and historic sites around the country, preserved through the centuries. The official language is English, making your eco-tourist experience even easier.