Though the weather outside is frightful for many parts of the country still, it’s finally time to smile again because we’re going on spring break! If you’re anything like me, you have no idea where you want to jet off to; all you know is that you want it to be some place warm and with the friendliest people on Earth. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of cities you’ve never even considered traveling to for spring break to make your decision-making a little easier and a little more breathable. Why breathable? Well, these cities and resorts just happen to be of the most eco-friendly on the planet. You can travel in style and spread some good karma while you’re at it, knowing your trip won’t be entirely indulgent (even though we all know you totally deserve it).
Chumbe Island, Tanzania
A small, privately-owned island off the coast of Zanzibar, Chumbe Island is home to both a reef sanctuary and forest reserve, and is proudly a Marine Protected Area. As for their accommodations, there are only seven eco-bungalows on the entire island, which hold a maximum of two guests. If our math is correct, that means there can only be fourteen people on the island at once — we’re basically talking about your own private island where the snorkeling and forest walks are included in the price of your overnight stay. These bungalows are so cool, they turn rainwater into freshwater and even have composting toilets. Talk about a fresh experience.
Chaa Creek, Belize
Founded on a love of nature that encourages responsible traveling, Chaa’s unique history, ecology, and culture come alive in this “atmosphere of affordable luxury.” Their version of sustainable tourism is firmly rooted in their local community and provides lasting benefits. With several accommodations possible to rest your head at, such as the Spa Villa, Treetop Suites, and The Cottage Collection, Chaa Creek is guaranteed to make everyone in your group a happy camper.
Cape Town, South Africa
A bustling city and one of the fashion capitals of the world, it’s easy to overlook this place as too noisy or not relaxing enough for your spring break. Don’t be too quick to dismiss it, however, as Cape Town was named one of the most eco-friendly cities in recent years, and is easily the most green in all of Africa. The city plans to get 10 percent of its total energy from windmill farms by 2020, and many of the locals are avid bicyclists. There are dozens of hotels that also tout this green philosophy throughout the city as well, such as Magellan’s Passage and Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge. Experience another side of Africa.
Adelaide is perfect for those of you who want to experience Australia, but outside of the too-big cities of Melbourne and Sydney. Adelaide is only the fifth-largest city on the continent and is surrounded by the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges. This is the city to soak up some elegance with tits green parklands, bustling central markets, museums, and libraries. But Adelaide is known best for its association with the wine country of Barossa and Clare Valley. You can travel assured knowing that there will definitely be no shortage of alcohol, the essential ingredient to every spring break.
Santa Cruz Island, California, USA
Located off the coast of California, this large island falls in a similar area to Santa Barbara. The coast line is one for the books, with steep cliffs, gigantic sea caves, coves, and sandy beaches. It’s currently co-owned by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, and is often called “The Galapagos of California.” You can explore this place yourself on a limited basis, but will have to stay on a neighboring island or in coastal California. There are dozens of efforts being made to preserve the unique wildlife found on Santa Cruz Island; a trip here would be an educational experience for anyone lucky enough to explore it.
I was lucky enough to travel to Copenhagen for a few days, and it didn’t even come close to the amount of time I wish I could’ve stayed there. The unique location makes for a lively and dynamic culture, and one that runs almost entirely on bikes. It feels like the cleanest city on Earth, and has been ranked for having one of the highest qualities of life for the past several years. Though it can be pricey at times, its environmental policies sound impossible elsewhere: the city wants more open spaces, more activity on the streets, city planning in favor of bicyclists and pedestrians, and encouraging everyone to enjoy city life with an emphasis on community, culture, and cuisine. There’s so much history to explore and simply wandering around the city is a breath of fresh air.
I know what you’re thinking: a Nordic city for spring break!? It’s way too cold. But hear me out. Oslo is super accommodating for the green traveler. They list dozens of eco-friendly hotels right on their tourism website, as well as restaurants, sights, activities, and transportation. Take a relaxing guided bike or foot tour, island hop in the fjord, or play with farm animals in Bogstad. There are few cities on Earth that are this accessible and this Earth conscious. Oslo’s proximity to different kinds of nature contributes to varied and easily accessible outdoor experiences: it’s a city run with environmentally conscious enthusiasm. How could you not have a blast?
ABOUT THE WRITER
Marina is a student who finds most of her comfort in food and in cooking. She runs her own adventurous food blog, fondly called “Marinated” which you can explore at www.marinatedblog.com. While studying abroad in London, she realized that all she wants from life is to eat through all of the cities in the world and write about it. In between meals, Marina enjoys reading and writing poetry, playing her ukulele, and dreaming up the places she wants to travel to next. She’s currently finishing her degree in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College and is pretending the future isn’t happening yet.
Image of Cape Town via Shutterstock