Eco-Friendly Ways to Travel South America

Whether you’re into zip lining from trees in a lush tropical rainforest, skiing down Alpine passes on snowy mountaintops or indulging in amazing wine and food, South America has you covered. It’s a continent of geographical contradictions, but one thing remains constant throughout— traveling green in South America is easy, affordable, and totally fun.

La Salamora Horse Ranch, Uruguay

Idyllic landscape of Batovi Hill, Tacuarembo in north-central Uruguay

Idyllic landscape of Batovi Hill, Tacuarembo in north-central Uruguay

This working farm offers visitors a variety of horseback riding excursions, from afternoon-long trots around the property to days-long adventures through valleys, waterways and copper mines. You can also set off for hiking and bird-watching trips and even help the gauchos with their daily farm duties! The ranch also has a full-service restaurant with a killer cellar full of local wines, so you can end each day with a bit of luxury.

Rumi-Wilco Ecolodge, Ecuador

rainforest on napo river, Ecuador

rainforest on napo river, Ecuador

Located in a nature preserve, the Rumi-Wilco Ecolodge is a series of cabins. campgrounds and rooms equipped with solar-powered showers, full kitchens and direct access to the surrounding hiking trails, rivers and forests. Birdwatchers should take particular note: the lodge sits on 40 hectares of property, and they’ve counted over 130 species— so far.

Camping Paudimar, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil

Iguacu, Brasilien

Iguacu, Brasilien

The nearby Iguaçu Falls are reason enough to spend a few days camping at the Paudimar campsite; breathtakingly immense and only a short bus ride away, they’re truly something to behold. The campsite offers modern amenities like Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar and a swimming pool, so you can indulge in a bit of luxury when you’re staying there. While camping is definitely an eco-friendly way to travel, remember to still follow basic guidelines to make your stay in the wilderness as green as possible.

Tambopaxi, Ecuador

Tambopaxi Hotel and restaurant under Sincholagua Volcano, Cotopaxi National Park, Cotopaxi Province, Ecuador

Tambopaxi Hotel and restaurant under Sincholagua Volcano, Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Tambopaxi is a certified sustainable-tourism project, so you can be sure your vacation is super eco-friendly. The resort is heavily involved with local watershed and wildlife conversation projects and offers horseback riding, hiking and excursions to nearby attractions like Incan ruins, natural springs, lakes and waterfalls. And don’t forget the view: Tambopaxi is nestled in the foothills of the incredible Cotopaxi volcano.

Laguna Lodge, Guatamala

Cascades National Park in Guatemala Semuc Champey at sunset

Cascades National Park in Guatemala Semuc Champey at sunset

If you’re looking for something a little more deluxe, Laguna is a 5-star lodge located on the shores of Lake Atitlan and at the foot of a dense mountainous rainforest, offering so many different opportunities for outdoor adventures like mountain biking, zip lining, scuba diving and hiking through Mayan ruins. The lodge features only 6 suites, all made from local, sustainable materials. Additionally, the restaurant serves 5-star organic vegetarian meals and serves organic coffee that they grow and roast themselves!

Gorgona Island, Colombia

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia, Colombia

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia, Colombia

Originally the site of a high-security prison until the 1980s when it closed, Gorgona Island is now an uninhabited tropical paradise. The only people who live there are the handful of people who work at the tourist site; in fact, as a visitor you must request permission to visit as only 80 people are allowed on the island at once. Known for its whale watching and scuba diving, it’s definitely worth the time to try and snag a spot to visit.

Inketerra Reserva Amazonica, Peru

Amazon Jungle Village

Amazon Jungle Village

To get the full rainforest experience on your eco-trip to South America, you’ll want to visit the Inketerra Rainforest Reserve in Peru. The company has been building their sustainable tourism business for the past 30 years and has continually supported local scientific research on the neighboring land. The resort is all-inclusive with cozy, chic accommodations (they even have tree houses!) and offers a vast array of excursions and adventure opportunities for their guests.

About the Author: I’m Eric, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rainforest around my city!

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