Top Eco Leaders

2015’s Top Travel Destinations

5 Ecotourism Experts Weigh In


The New Year brings with it an annual rite of passage as reliable as the swallows returning to Capistrano or the Great Migration of Kenya and Tanzania. Every travel magazine under the sun feels it their moral obligation to predict the top travel destinations for the coming year, while every travel blogger (including us) waxes rhapsodic about the wanderlust adventures that dance like so many sugarplums in their heads.


This year, instead of sharing our own 2015 travel wish list (which, if we’re being honest, remains much the same as it has in years past), we decided to consult a team of five experts on ecotourism to discover what they consider 2015’s top travel destinations. Their responses weren’t based on dreams, but on analytical data regarding the responsible, sustainable tourism opportunities each place has to offer.
Our panel consisted of five of the field’s most respected thought leaders:


Jeff GreenwaldFounder of Ethical Traveler 

Dr Martha Honey– Director of the Center for Responsible Travel

Soraya ShattuckFounder of Sustainable Tourism Solutions 

Jonathan Tourtellot Geotourism Editor of National Geographic Traveler and principal of The Destination Stewardship Center

Megan Epler WoodFounder of The International Ecotourism Society and Director of Harvard’s International Sustainable Tourism Initiative 


Although there were a few countries that appeared on multiple lists (including Costa Rica and India), we’ve narrowed their responses down to 15 sustainable travel destinations you should consider visiting in 2015…

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Sweden's Koster Islands

Big Smiles on Sweden’s Koster Islands

Our Top 20 Photos of 2014


In retrospect, 2012 was the year Green Global Travel blew up, and we traveled like insane people (more than 90 days on the road while holding down full-time jobs and co-parenting a tween). Then 2013 was the year we experimented with ways to monetize our site without selling out.


The story of 2014 was all about finding balance. We began the year by managing a huge campaign– #EcoCostaRica, a 6-blogger press trip highlighting the country’s myriad ecotourism offerings– and ended it by launching another. #JustOneRhino finds us overseeing 125+ bloggers, 25 sponsors and over $30,000 worth of prizes in an effort to raise money for rhino conservation.


In between these two busy bookends, there was a lot of travel, and more business growth than we’ve ever seen before:


MARCH-APRIL:  Southbound magazine sent us to Asheville for a 2000-word feature, and then to New Orleans for a cover story due out next year.


MAY:  Volvo reached out to us about their West Sweden in a Volvo campaign, making us (“The Ecotourists) one of four blogs chosen to participate.


JUNE: We started freelancing for Yahoo Travel, which has used 8 of our eco-travel pieces over the past 6 months.


AUGUST:  A USA Today Readers Poll named us one of the Top 5 Travel Blogging Couples in the world! Thanks to everyone who voted for us. We also launched Green Travel Media, our new business arm, which has already hired 20+ travel bloggers for various paid projects.


SEPTEMBER:  We were invited to be part of the Opening Keynote at the TBEX Travel Blogging Conference in Cancun, appearing alongside Center for Responsible Travel‘s Dr. Martha Honey to discuss Responsible Tourism. We also landed a HUGE client, with Green Travel Media hired to provide content, social media and branding services for International Expeditions.


Bret Love of Green Global Travel at TBEX Athens

Pleased as Punch By Standing Room Only Response to Our TBEX Talk


OCTOBER:  TBEX invited us to speak on Branding for Bloggers at their conference in Athens. The 16 days we spent exploring Greece and Turkey easily ranked among the most memorable trips we’ve ever taken– a dream come true for Mary– and we met some amazing bloggers we’ll be working with in the very near future.


NOVEMBER:  On our fourth blogaversary, we announced our new Staff and Contributing Writers– part of the amazing team that will be working on more big projects in the New Year.


DECEMBER:  This month has been all about the #JustOneRhino fundraiser, a donation to which makes a GREAT last-minute Christmas gift, giving the recipient a chance to win trips to the Galapagos Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa and more!


We’ll have announcements about all the incredible things we having coming up in 2015 soon (including 3 speaking gigs, 6 of our dream destinations, and more developments for Green Travel Media). But with the end of the year approaching, we thought this would be a great time to look back at some of our most memorable moments of 2014. We hope you enjoy it…

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Keel-billed Toucan at Macaw_mountain, Honduras

Keel-billed Toucan

Macaw Mountain:

The Park Of Living Jewels


In the city of Copán, Honduras, there are secret places: ancient Mayan ruins that rise on hills and grassy valleys of red clay and earth, one of the most well-preserved archeological sites in the world. But Copan is famous for more than its treasures from the past. It is also one of few places in Central America which showcases a park of living jewels.


The jewels are not of the cut stone variety. They are, instead, birds. A dizzying array of extravagant splendor, more than 330 varieties of wild native birds live on the edge of the Mayan ruins, in a cross between sanctuary and tourist park called Macaw Mountain.


At this part nature reserve for endangered and rescued birds, and part eco-friendly coffee plantation, visitors can walk among trails of lush plantings of tropical flowers and coffee plants heavily laden with red coffee berries. Rising above and in between the foliage of this green oasis are birds of every color and size, so close that one doesn’t feel like a guest so much as a bird, too. Continue reading

Christmas 2014 Gift Guide for Travelers

Christmas 2014 Gift Guide for Travelers


We’re not really big on “stuff” in general, but in the past 6 years of traveling together Mary & I have learned that there are some products that simply make traveling easier.


Since we tend to explore a lot of different climates, over time we’ve developed a different Travel Packing Checklist for  different temperatures and cultural norms. And of course there are certain things, such as our camera gear and luggage, that we always take with us everywhere we go.


With just 8 shopping days left to go before Christmas, we thought it’d be a great time to share our gift ideas on the Best Gifts for Travelers in your life, each of which come GGT-tested and approved. And don’t forget that you can make a gift donation to #JustOneRhino, contribute to a wonderful cause AND have a chance at winning more than $30,000 in prizes!

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Cajun Food Tours to Nunu's Fresh Market in Lafayette, Louisiana

Cajun Food Tours in Lafayette, Louisiana


One of the main reasons Mary and I work so well together as both romantic and business partners is that we had a lot of things in common long before we met.


Both of us have a deep-seated passion for immersing ourselves in other cultures, and did so through art, music and food long before we had the means to travel the world. Both of us have Acadian (or French-Canadian) blood on our maternal side– her mother’s maiden name was Coté, while mine was Beaudet. And though serendipity never led to our meeting at the time, both of us used to frequent a killer Cajun restaurant across the street from Emory University, which Mary attended.


Given our mutual love of cuisine and culture, I suppose it’s odd that we’d never done a food tour until we got to Lafayette, in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country. Lafayette was recently deemed “the tastiest town in the South” by Southern Living magazine. And our day with Marie Ducote Comeaux– the veteran Louisiana history teacher who founded Cajun Food Tours in 2012– offered an incredible overview of the rich culinary traditions of Acadian culture.

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba