Ecotourism refers to a type of travel that involves visiting natural areas that are pristine, fragile and relatively untouched by mass tourism. It also pertains to visiting places where a specific cultural heritage is meant to stay intact. Ecotourism puts a strong focus on social responsibility, personal growth and environmental sustainability.
Ecotourism has been all the rage for the last few years, with younger travelers in particular being mindful of the effect that their travel has on sensitive areas. Down in the Turks & Caicos Island chain, the government has made a huge commitment to preserving the nearly pristine features that make up TCI. Indeed, they have enacted laws and statutes that are intended to protect the delicate ecosystem; for example, visitors are not allowed to stand on the fragile coral reef formations while scuba diving. Visitors are also expected to only interact with sea mammals and creatures in a safe and non-threatening way…..they are not expected to touch or alarm the animals.
The TCI government has also set aside 33% of its entire land and sea regions for preservation purposes; this will include the creation of National Parks, Protected Areas and Sanctuaries. It is this dedication to preservation and sustainability that has kept the Turks & Caicos so pristine, attractive and sublime over the years.
Travelers that are committed to ecotourism have several options while visiting TCI. Indeed, numerous tour operators run tours that truly take people off the beaten track and allow them to see and experience the beauty and diversity of the islands. For example, the Stand-Up Paddle-boarding Backcountry Wilderness Safari is a true wilderness experience that takes travelers through protected wetlands habitats. As visitors paddle through interconnecting mangrove channels, they are likely to see islands, cays, tidal creeks, brightly colored coral reefs, reddish egrets, pink flamingos and even small dolphins.
Visitors can also choose 1/2 day kayak ecotours that explore the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve and the variety of fish, manta rays, conch,
starfish, baby sharks and turtles that inhabit it.
So, should you be dedicated to exploring TCI in a safe, respectful and socially conscious way, you will be in luck! There are fantastic options to explore this nearly pristine island chain and you can be certain that you will not have left a giant footprint, but that you have done your part to ensure that the elegant and fragile beauty of these islands and beaches can be enjoyed for decades to come.