Posts Tagged ‘ethical travel’

The Best Ethical Travel Instagram Feeds

I’m a huge Instagram fan (follow me here if you like—the aerial shot of the Golden Gate Bridge below is one of mine). Most days, it seems like there’s no better format for travel inspiration.

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Travel is, for me, about really experiencing a place—especially its natural areas and unique plants, animals and insects. So obviously, I LOVE those travel Instagram feeds that reflect the natural beauty of out-of-the-way and well-known destinations.

Forthwith, some of my fave travel Instagrammers that celebrate the planet’s gorgeousness, from urban to wilderness:

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Eric Muhr is a fine-art photographer who takes his shots using natural light. He also runs Idaho Explored and Oregon Explored Instagram feeds and has an incredible eye for nature’s loveliness.

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The Lion and the Lady features photos from a duo dedicated to “roving about South Africa”; you might be surprised at the incredible beauty of this southernmost African country—I was.

The Un-Cancun: Nizuc Resort and Spa Connects to Yucatan Peninsula’s Roots

Cancun is one of those places that I thought I might never make it to. Though I have an insatiable wanderlust, like Las Vegas, Cancun seemed like it just might not be for me, based on everything I’d heard over the years. And then I got a chance to stay at the Nizuc Resort and Spa (opened in 2013), located in Cancun, but away from the resort towers and well-known all-inclusives (and college-town spring breakathons). As the general manager told me, “We’re miles away from “Cancun” but yet in Cancun.”

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First, I now understand why Cancun has grown in size and popularity since the 1974 when it was designated an Integrally Planned Center by the Mexican government. The formerly tiny fishing village (now worldwide-known mega resort area) is in an absolutely gorgeous spot, with incredible Caribbean blue ocean (see my floating, above….that color!) and soft white sand beaches. But mostly the area is known more for its party-hearty atmosphere and chock-a-block hotel towers lined along the beach—but not at Nizuc Resort and Spa.

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That’s because Nizuc is located several miles away (and what feels like a totally different planet) from the main hotel strip in Cancun: Its private, quiet and altogether stunning location is no accident. It’s the former getaway residence for the Mexican President (like the United States’ Prez has Camp David for schmoozing outside of Washington, D.C.). The view above—over the adults-only infinity pool now—is approximately the same view as presidents of the country and their guests had from the original residence.

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So if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live like a head of state, welcome to Nizuc Resort and Spa, where they take this idea pretty seriously, making me—and all the guests I spoke with during my four days there—feel very well taken care of. The incredible modern design you see in my images above and below will give you an idea of how the space looks, but it can’t really capture how it feels to walk the grounds and buildings here. (And I love that you feel and know you are in Mexico via innumerable small design touches—there’s nothing worse than being in a pretty-but-soulless resort and forgetting what country you are in.)

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Nizuc is a truly inside-out resort, meaning that all the common areas are open to the cool ocean breezes—and attention has been paid to where both light and air come from, so that almost wherever you stand (even while waiting for the elevator), you can enjoy a glimpse of blue ocean, creamy sand, or green jungle. That’s great design: Location-specific, celebratory of the natural environment, mindful of light—where it comes from and where it goes—and beautiful to look at too. Nizuc’s main building, where I stayed, had the feel of a soulful, intelligent mind behind it, someone who understands how delightful a breeze across your shoulders feels as you walk down the hallway to your room. Turns out its one of Mexico’s premiere architects, Alejandro Escudero.


The World’s Best Ethical Destinations for 2012: “Travel is a Powerful Communicating Tool”

ethicaltraveller is a nonprofit that takes an unbiased look at the status of socially and environmentally responsible programs in developing nations. I was incredibly curious to see which countries they designate as being the ‘best’ to travel to, because I believe in not only seeing the world, but supporting companies, countries, programs and incentives that actively work to protect indigenous people, give good jobs, protect the environment, and support human rights.

As they state: “There are many ways to deliver a message and take a stand for human rights and the health of our planet. Social networks are critical—but travel is also a powerful communicating tool. Travel and tourism are among the planet’s driving economic forces, and every journey we take makes a statement about our priorities and commitment to change.”

And The Winners Are:

Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2012 list of The Developing World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

Argentina *
The Bahamas
Chile *
Costa Rica *
Dominica *
Latvia *
Palau *
Uruguay *
( * = also appeared on our 2011 list).

Check out all the considerations that went into putting this list together on the Ethical Traveller site, but the short list is below:

“Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of all the nations in the developing world. We then select the ten that are doing the best job of promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these destinations, we use our economic power—our travel dollars—to support these countries.”

So far, of countries on the list, I’ve gotten to visit Costa Rica and the Bahamas, and Chile and Argentina are high on my list of places I’d like to see in 2012. Where have you been and where do you want to go? (PS – I’m going to have to do some reading about Mauritius and Palau…have to admit I don’t know much about them!)