Various land-based outfits observe many of similar self-imposed rules. For example, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), part of the Grand Circle Corporation family of companies, connects customers with the people and cultures of destinations around the world (such as Ecuador's Galapagos Islands (top), working to convey knowledge of and respect for local communities as well as supporting a variety of enterprises, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship projects. And when it comes to natural areas, OAT stresses sustainable transport, with an emphasis on environmental conservation and improving the well-being of the locals; among other things, in communities it visits, the company supports water and sanitation projects, co-ops, orphanages, and other organizations (to cite just one example, it helped fund construction of a women’s center in Morocco).
The website TravelStride.com is a great source of information about group tours and other trips, and a search for eco, sustainable, and green travel tours and travel packages turns up hundreds of compelling options. For example, Global Basecamps takes participants to Costa Rica (above) - considered the birthplace of environmental travel, dating back to the 1980s - from bird watching to seeing tiny turtles hatch and race toward the water to experiencing the magnificent Monteverde Cloud Forest. With such experience, visitors gain a greater appreciation of the world in which we live, and added impetus to protect it.