Ecotourism is designed to make visiting a destination beneficial to the further conservation of the surrounding area and this can take a number of forms. The area can benefit from financial contributions from tourists allowing the local residents to maintain the area or remain independent of businesses that would compromise the areas integrity. Alternatively, ecotourism can simply be about raising awareness; making people realise why conservation is important by visiting places that could potentially be affected. For these reasons ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular with green-minded travellers and one country that has fully embraced the concept is Brazil.
It doesn’t need to be said that Brazil is a country with natural beauty in abundance but by the same token it is also a country that is expanding quickly and this presents dangerous ramifications for the environment.
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is a world heritage site and one of the best preserved group of islands on the Brazilian coastline. The locals are able to maintain this island paradise by limiting the amount of visitors to 450 a day and charging each visitor a small fee for each day they spend on the islands. This money allows the islands two main conservation groups The National Marine Reserve and Environmental Protection Area to prevent the area from being effected by human presence. In return for these expenses and limitations visitors will be able to see an abundance of wildlife, from dolphins to mabuya lizards, along with some of the most pristine beaches one could imagine.
This is one of the most bizarrely beautiful areas of Brazil. Gleaming white sand dunes surround greeny blue lagoons that are formed during the rainy season. Despite reasonable rainfall, the sand dunes prevent any vegetation from growing in Lencois Maranhenses; this gives the area the surreal appearance of a desert dotted with swimming pools. To maintain the impressive landscape the local authorities have declared the area a national park and no roads pass through it. The only residents are local fishermen who make their living from the lagoons. Visitors can only gain access to the area by 4×4 trucks operated by the park.
Another island destination, Ilha Grande will appeal more to hikers and adventurers than Fernando de Noronha. The Atlantic rainforest is less well known than the Amazon but, sadly, it has seen even more devastation and deforestation than its gigantic cousin; to the point where Ilha Grande is one of the few well preserved areas of Atlantic Rainforest remaining. The main town on the island, Vila do Abraao, has dedicated itself to tourism in recent years and the financial injection from visitors has allowed the residents to resist any major corruption to the island. This means visitors can experience one the most biologically diverse islands on the plant: Ilha Grande is one of the few places on earth you can witness coral reef and penguins on the same coastline.
These are a few of the destinations the ecotourist can visit in Brazil where your once-in-a-lifetime experience will make a massive difference to environment.