5 Vacation Destinations That Allow You To Give Back Through Travel
Plant a coconut tree or save a coral reef
Guests at COMO Parrot Cay can plant a coconut tree in the largest coconut plantation in Turks & Caicos. Each tree is marked with a plaque so visitors can track the plants’ growth from year to year while the hotel utilizes the fruit in its restaurants. Visitors at COMO Cocoa Island in the Maldives can take part in a Coral Propagation Program by sponsoring a frame of coral. Through a partnership with eco-company Reefseekers, guests can track the growth online. Future visitors can also donate remotely, and COMO Cocoa Island will arrange for a complimentary snorkeling to their coral frame on arrival; comohotels.com.
Volunteer in Africa
Safari specialists can arrange any requests for those who wish to donate their time, expertise or physical labor to a variety of projects in East and Southern Africa, including volunteering in the conservation field, working in a medical clinic or helping to build a shelter or school. The motto includes, “Leave more than a footprint behind—leave a positive impact;” africantravelinc.com or 800.421.8907.
Donate to dolphins
Innisbrook Golf Resort now has a special package for marine mammal enthusiasts: Dolphin Tale Getaway, where proceeds benefit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This package allows guests to meet Winter and Hope, two rescued dolphins who became stars of the “Dolphin Tale” movies and now call Clearwater Marine Aquarium home. Treat the animal lover in your life (and if that’s you, treat yourself) to a wonderful weekend getaway; innisbrookgolfresort.com or 877.700.9087.
Support elephants and bears
India offers volunteering at Wildlife SOS’s rescue facilities, which make a major contribution to the welfare of elephants and bears in India. Program fees go directly to the center and provide a critical source of funding for future work. Guests have the opportunity to work alongside incredible animals and gain satisfaction from making a positive impact on their lives. Enthusiasm is the only prerequisite; wildlifesos.org.
Research a rhino
&Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve welcomes guests to join a team of conservationists, wildlife veterinarians and researchers on a rhino darting experience. During the excursion, a specific rhino is located and darted from the air. While the rhino is sleeping, the team gathers data that is crucial to keeping track of the rhino population. By participating, guests are funding &Beyond’s Rhino Conservation Program; andbeyond.com or 888.882.3742.