LGBTQ Eco-Friendly Tours
Photo: EcoCircuitos Panama tour © ECOCIRCUITOS
AS MORE ATTENTION focuses on the need to protect, preserve and learn about the environment, the popularity of ecotourism — travel that highlights conservation, nature and sustainable practices — has grown. And that goes for LGBTQ travelers, too.
The options for LGBTQ travelers looking to explore the natural world in a gay-friendly atmosphere are surprisingly diverse. In South America, for example, lesbian-owned Brazil Ecojourneys offered sustainable and LGBTQ-friendly tours since 2003. Among its active adventures, wildlife watching in Pantanal includes visits to the largest wetlands in South America, with a two-night stay at a lodge and the possibility of spotting jaguars. The itinerary also features a visit to the town of Bonito, where participants can glide along rivers home to abundant marine life.
Also lesbian-owned — and equally well-established — is EcoCircuitos, a Panama City, Panama-based tour operator offering a full menu of group and individual ecotourism options for travelers of all orientations. Excursions range from one-day bird-watching outings to four-day treks along the famed Camino Real and a 14-day biodiversity tour that focuses on the Central American nation’s rich natural history.
Farther south, Out Adventures offers an Antarctica Gay Expedition with plenty of time for education about the environment and local wildlife, thanks also to the help of onboard lectures and expert guides. Penguins, seals and whales are just a few of the animals visitors can spot on this itinerary, which starts and ends in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Africa makes another natural choice for nature lovers and ecotourism, thanks to its legendary flora and fauna. Detours Travel is among the companies with a South Africa itinerary that includes an expert-guided visit to Kruger National Park, where visitors learn about wildlife while keeping their eyes open for lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, hippos and leopards. South Africa also features as a destination for a company called Out 2 Africa, which specializes solely in LGBTQ travel to southern Africa. The operator also fields group excursions to Botswana, with stays in a gay-friendly lodge at Chobe National Park, the nation’s second-largest game reserve and home to what’s described as the world’s largest elephant population.
Also ideal for LGBTQ nature lovers is famously gay-friendly Australia. Venture Out offers a 12-day Alternative Oz tour that focuses on lesser-known areas of this gay-popular destination, including the Australian Outback and the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, where exotic plants and animals provide great opportunities for education and photos.