According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism is defined as, "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education."

Anyone who travels must face it--tourism can have a huge impact on the environment, whether from excess emissions, disturbance to natural wildlife, or tourists engaging in irresponsible behavior (i.e. littering). Those who travel in the 21st century must remember how important it is to do so responsibly, and as a result, there has been a rise in ecotourism in recent years. The next time you travel, try one of these enchanting ecotourism destinations.

10 The Burren, Ireland

The Burren, located in County Clare, is one of Ireland’s most unique geological locations. The area was formed 350 million years ago during the Lower Carboniferous period. At this time, Ireland was covered mostly in water, which lead to the build-up of sedimentary rock and the area’s unique moon-like landscape.

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Burren, meaning “rocky place” in Irish, is an accurate description but fails to portray the immense diversity of flora, fauna and natural land formations from rivers, lakes, and woodland. Free guided walks are on offer at the Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, best taken during the summer months for the optimal experience.

9 Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia

Malaysia doesn't seem like your average tourist's go-to destination, but it should be on any ecotourist's top 10. One of the most underestimated countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is home to national parks, prehistoric rainforests, and owns part of the island of Borneo.

Gunung Mulu National Park, taking up a corner of Borneo in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is known for its vast network of caves and many entrances. Perhaps not for claustrophobic visitors, you can also take in the jagged limestone pinnacles and cliffs, all closely monitored to ensure tourism doesn't damage the landscape.

8 Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Better known as Mordor, Tongariro National Park is the oldest of its kind in New Zealand, and one of the oldest in the world. It was established in 1887 after the Maori people donated it to the government in order to protect it.

These days, Lord of the Rings pilgrims flock to Tongariro, but you can still enjoy the natural landscape without disturbing the ecosystem. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, go waterfall hopping, or even look out for Kiwis, New Zealand's national bird.

7 Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Long famous for its extensive list of ecotourism activities, Costa Rica is an ecotourist's paradise. The country has reserved a quarter of its lands for national parks, reserves, and protected land. Costa Rica has done a wonderful job of establishing a thriving tourism industry without damaging the environment. Its president even wants to rid the country of fossil fuels!

The first thing any traveler should do is hike through Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where you'll find a number of indigenous plant and animal species. There are also activities for adrenaline junkies, like zip lining and bungee jumping.

6 Yosemite National Park, USA

Created by President Lincoln in 1864, Yosemite was the first ever U.S. land to be set aside by the government for preservation. Located in the Sierra Nevadas, the park is roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island.

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Yosemite has a Mediterranean climate with heavy rain during the winter, but only 3% during the rest of the year. It is home to a wide variety of natural features such as cliffs, lakes, mountains and meadows with 95% of the area being designated wilderness. Its flora accounts for more than 20% of all of California’s species existing solely within the park. Parkgoers are encouraged to leave their cars, take bikes around the park, and have the option to rent a ranch inside the park.

5 Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Famous for their iguanas and lizards, the Galápagos Islands attract thousands of tourists each year. These volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador are rich in biodiversity. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was inspired by a visit to the Galápagos, and many modern tourists follow in his footsteps when visiting.

The islands have a very delicate ecosystem, so tourism in the area is very strict. The number of visitors is restricted per day, and you must travel with a guide. Proceeds from admission fees and boat licenses also go back to park funds.

4 Geirangerfjord, Norway

Formed by a succession of ice ages as glaciers cut out deep fjords, Norway’s Geirangerfjord is a testament to the natural beauty of Norway with its near-vertical waterfall drops: The Seven Sisters, The Suitor, and The Bridal Veil. Sightseeing trips are available to experience the natural splendor, or you can opt to go kayaking, fishing, cycling, or hiking.

Enter the area through the Trollstigen Mountain Road, another marvel with its narrow lanes and roadside waterfalls. The area is in the process of becoming a certified Sustainable Destination, Norway’s official stamp to reduce the negative impacts of tourism.

3 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Some people dream of exploring the African Savannah, and you can do just that at Serengeti National Park. Like Costa Rica, Tanzania is one of the leading countries in ecotourism, designating 25% of its land to conservation.

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Many safari excursions and lodges offer ecotourism packages, where local guides teach visitors about the importance of preservation. Ecotourism is even helping the local tourism industry, bringing more tourists and developing Tanzania's economy.

2 Great Barrier Reef, Australia

There's no question that Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in extreme danger, with pollution, overfishing, cruise ship crowding, and rising ocean temperatures threatening the world's largest coral reef. But the Great Barrier Reef can also benefit from its immense popularity if those who visit proceed with caution and respect.

Many of the islands along the reef are environmentally friendly, from resorts and hotels to snorkeling and diving. Tourists can book coastal cruises along the shore of Queensland that educate and protect the marine ecosystem. If all tourists to the Great Barrier Reef focused on sustainability, the reef would be in a much healthier state.

1 Þingvellir National Park, Iceland

One of Iceland’s three main national parks, Þingvellir (pronounced Thingvellir) highlights some of the country’s best natural beauty. Being so small and pristine, Iceland is treated more as one large national park than as having them. The volcanic island is littered with geological wonders, from volcanoes to hot springs, caverns to geysers. Volcanoes and dried lava fields have created fissures, subterranean tunnels, and hot springs.

The park is managed and maintained by Iceland’s environmental agency, the Umhrerfisstofnun, who maintains the ecological purity of the park, manages the use of sustainable resources, and offers advice to travelers

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