Top 5 Green Travel Destinations for 2013

In the spirit of Earth Day, we've  selected our top 5 green travel destinations for 2013.  From the wind-swept plains of Patagonia to the short grass plains of the Kenyan savannah, here are our picks...

Belize

With 87 types of ecosystems, Belize is a paradise for green travel. It's the least densely populated country in Central America and more than 60% of its land surface is covered by forest. Its vast protected areas, both on land and sea, provide unparalleled opportunities for visitors.  You can spot crocodiles, scarlet macaws and howler monkeys at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.  Or you can explore the Belize Barrier Reef, the world's third largest barrier reef and one of the most diverse ecosytems on the planet (500 species of fish have been identified with only 10% of the reef researched so far). Find beautiful Belize vacation rentals from $20/night.

 Kenya

Kenya is well-known for its abundant wildlife, including zebras, giraffes and elephants roaming the savannah. Dozens of national parks and reserves make it a top destination for safari adventures. One of the most popular is the Masai Mara, home to all of Africa's "Big Five" animals - the leopard, buffalo, lion, elephant and rhinoceros.  The annual wildebeest migration, involving over one million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles (over 2 million animals in total) is a wonder to behold. Visitors who want to witness part of the migration should visit between July and October. Browse Kenya vacation rentals from €10/night.  

Poland

With forests covering about 30.5% of the country's area, Poland is one of the most forested countries in Europe. The richness of its forest is more than double the European average and continues to expand due to a robust reforestation program.  And with almost 10,000 lakes, Poland has the second-greatest density of lakes  in Europe, second only to Finland.  Its 23 national parks and 120 designated landscape parks, nature reserves and other protected areas provide miles to hike, bike, and kayak.  Wildlife which has since died in other parts of Europe, such as the European bison, can still be spotted, along with the Eurasian linx, moose, brown bear and dozens of migratory bird species. Pick your favorite from our selection of Poland vacation rentals starting at €10/night.  

Argentina

Argentina is home to a rich variety of natural environments.  Visitors can hike in the tropical rain forests near Iguazu Falls, trek the wind-swept plains of Patagonia or explore the stunning salf flats of Salinas Grandes. Adventurous travelers can also explore the Antarctic landscape of Tierra del Fuego and Glacier National Park, home of the renowned Perito Moreno, one of the world's only advancing glaciers.  And  like the wildly varying landscape, the diversity of wildlife is astonishing. It includes tapirs, pumas, tortoise, flamingos, armadillos, capybara, crocodiles,toucans,llama, giant anteaters, the Andean Condor and penguins (to name a few). Take a peek at Argentina vacation rentals from €10/night.  

Alaska

Both the largest and least densely populated of the states in America, Alaska offers travelers 119 state parks to explore. The state is home to half of the world's glaciers.  See 40 of them at their most stunning at the Kenai Fjords National Park. Or visit Glacier Bay National Park, with 3.3 million acres of glaciers, fjords, majestic mountains and even temperate rainforest.  It's part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site which is one of the world's largest protected areas.  Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy the opportunity to spot bald eagles, caribou, humpback whales, brown bears, lynx, blue whales and grizzly bears. Some of course are best seen from a distance.  Find Alaska vacation rentals from $70/night. These are our picks for this year's top 5 green travel destinations, but there are lots of incredible green travel spots out there. Have one to add?  Leave a comment!     Photo credits:  Photo 1 via CNN; Photo 2 via travel-the-world-and-enjoy.blogspot.com; Photo 3 via trekearth; Photo 4 via best-traveldestinations.com; Photo 5 via totalwallpapers.com
Post by Anis Salvesen.