How these destinations are helping to save the planet

While travel is currently off the table, that doesn’t stop us daydreaming about future adventures. And today – to celebrate Earth Day 2020 – we’re feeling inspired to plan a trip to the world’s most eco-friendly destinations. 

Here, Rachel Laidler rounds up five destinations that are helping to save the planet...


A narrow sliver hugging the western edge of South America, Chile is world-renowned for its spellbinding landscapes, whether it’s the pale crimson dunes of the Atacama desert or the sculpted mountains of Torres del Paine National Park. 

With such an abundance of natural beauty, it’s no wonder that the country is committed to protecting the environment. Back in 2018, the Chilean government decided to link together 17 of its total 41 national parks in a single land corridor. Covering 28 million acres in total – around three times the size of Switzerland – the Ruta de los Parques (“Route of Parks”) is one of the world’s largest stretches of continuous protected wilderness, and is home to an astounding 24 ecosystems. 

The best way to discover this conservation haven is via the 2,800-km (1,740-mile) scenic route which snakes along its whole length, from Puerto Montt in the north to Puerto Williams on Chile’s southernmost tip. Along the way, you’ll pass through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, from moss-draped rainforest and desolate volcanic fields to lush glacial valleys and vast grasslands. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you go, including sleek pumas, fuschia-feathered flamingos and elegant guanaco.


Best known for picture-postcard Lake Bled and the soaring Julian Alps, Slovenia is one of Europe’s greenest countries – literally. Almost 60 percent of this relatively uncharted destination is blanketed by sweeping swathes of unspoilt forest. 

But the country’s environmental credentials go far beyond trees. Slovenia has recently set up a 'Green Scheme' to improve ecotourism in the country where tour operators and accommodation providers can be awarded a “green” seal of approval if they meet certain sustainability criteria. Happily, this makes it super easy to enjoy eco-friendly travel in Slovenia – simply check that the tours and hotels you’re booking have this certification.

Even destinations can be certified in the scheme, with both picturesque Bled and the country’s student-filled capital, Ljubljana, coming top of the list for their eco-friendly policies and activities. So, why not take a pletna (traditional wooden boat) across Lake Bled’s shimmering surface? Or cycle along the car-free streets of Ljubljana before kicking back in one of the city’s leafy parks, which, amazingly, cover a third of the city.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is making incredible headway in tackling its carbon footprint. Almost all of its electricity is generated from renewable sources, and the country plans to be carbon neutral by 2021. 

Beyond tackling CO2, this lush Central American country is also one of the most biodiverse places on earth, something it safeguards by protecting a quarter of its land by law. A visit to one of Costa Rica’s national parks reveals an astonishing diversity of wildlife – expect to spy easygoing sloths and jewel-bright quetzals, hooting howler monkeys and eye-catching red-eyed tree frogs. With such a profusion of life, it’s easy to see why Ticos (Costa Ricans) greet each other with the phrase pura vida (“pure life”).

As a traveller, there are plenty of ways you can help protect and enhance Costa Rica’s biodiversity. Volunteer to tag nesting green sea turtles in Parque Nacional Tortuguero or help release endangered species back into the wild at Rainsong Wildlife Rescue Center in Montezuma. You can even give back when you’re chilling out, thanks to the country’s abundance of eco-friendly lodges.