Like salt in the sea, we face some experiences that are forever entrenched in who we are. When it comes to the ocean, you never forget the sound waves crashing against the shore, the smell of salt brine lingering in the air, or the happy cool breeze that engulfs you on a hot summer day. The ocean is what unites us all, and recent research around the world has now made it alarmingly clear that our oceans have seen better days. Fortunately, several pioneers have revolutionized the way cities are committed to nature conservation and education for responsible tourism. With a large number of concerned citizens who want to do their job, eco-tourism, sustainability-oriented and thriving wildlife destinations have become a major place in the trends of travel reports.

Here in the United States, Florida Keys leads responsible tourism, offering everything from sustainable eco-tours to government-backed natural centers that emphasize local wildlife education. If you want to contribute this summer, we recommend planning a trip to Florida Keys, diving to the world’s third largest barrier reef and preparing for a vacation where you can return to the planet and leave knowing you left the place. better than you found.

Key Largo

The first stop of any trip to Florida Keys is none other than Key Largo. The Keys consists of a 125-mile stretch of islands that reflects an equally impressive coastline with the world’s third-largest barrier reef. As you can imagine, the reef plays an important role in attracting visitors near and far. Thus, businesses and locals are doing their part to invest in the maintenance and well-being of their ocean ecosystem.

(Photo by Fraser Nivens / Florida Keys News Bureau via Getty Images)

For example, Baker’s Cay Resort is a former pineapple plantation that has been converted into a 13-acre resort that not only has beautiful rooms, quality service, delicious restaurants and stunning natural trails with hidden beaches, but also makes its part. providing guests with eco-friendly options such as water in a box, biodegradable straws and an eco-friendly boutique that offers everything from sustainable fashion to safe sunscreen.

Monroe County is strongly encouraged to use reef-safe sunscreens as the county is currently working to make reef-harmful sunscreens illegal. Sunscreens containing harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and avobenzone have been shown to be deadly to corals, which have fallen by 97 percent since the 1970s. As the only barrier reef in the United States, Coral is one of Kisa’s most valuable players in this $ 2.7 billion tourism industry. According to Roxana Bunstra, coordinator of recreational diving and volunteers from the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, we need to start with coral. Without this they will not be marine inhabitants. Guests can visit the Coral Recovery Foundation to learn more about the future of coral reefs, as well as volunteer for scuba diving or scuba diving on artificial coral farms. Divers will even get a chance to contribute by helping to transplant corals to the reef.

Of course, if you want to have no access to the sea, you can relax and visit the Florida Keys Wild Bird Sanctuary, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rescuing local wild birds that have been affected or relocated. You can visit older birds that are no longer eligible for release due to long-standing medical illnesses, and learn about the importance of coexistence as well as the importance of preserving the environment for some of Florida’s oldest residents.

Marathon

Once you’ve completed your Upper Keys study, head to the Marathon, where visitors can visit one of the world’s first turtle hospitals, opened in 1986, designed for the health and well-being of sea turtles. The Turtles Hospital conducts daily educational tours to introduce visitors to sea turtle residents, the facilities that help them, as well as local stressors that affect marine life, and how we can contribute to them. prevention. Guests even have the opportunity to learn more about the process by assisting in the release of the turtle back into the ocean after rehabilitation, as regularly reported on the hospital’s website. Beth Zirkelbach, manager of the Turtle Hospital, excitedly exclaims that “6/10 of our calls [for sick sea turtles] from people who used to be in the hospital, ”making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed!

Once you’ve worked out your appetite for saving turtles all day, head to Castaway Waterfront’s restaurant and sushi bar to order a local catch of the day, a lionfish. Owner and chef John Mirabelle was one of the world’s first chefs to treat a lionfish after a poisonous bite made him “inspire” to cook sushi with lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic Ocean that poses a real challenge to Florida’s local ecosystem as they compete with local fish for food, habitat and dominate populations due to the lack of natural predators. As a conservationist, Mirabelle helps reduce the invasive population by doing what people do best, including lionfish on the menu. In the extensive Castaway menu you can find this fish, which is served in several different ways along with lots of other local fish and delicious dishes. Local favorites include fresh ceviche, stuffed avocados and lionfish sushi, which are humorously called the king of the jungle.

Key West

Crossing the infamous seven-mile bridge, you will eventually find yourself at the final destination of your journey, Key West. Naturally, you can’t mention Florida Keys without mentioning Florida’s largest wildlife player, the Dolphins. Key West is home to about 300 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, living in smaller pods that can range from 6 to 20 dolphins per season. Watching them in their natural habitat with Honest Eco Sustainable Nature Tours is something that both visitors and locals love. SQUID, the first solar-powered boat in Key West, uses an electric motor with a lithium battery that reduces fuel consumption, making it an ideal environmentally friendly option for day trips. The solar-powered battery reduces engine noise pollution, making it ideal for dolphin watching as well as for scuba diving in secluded places among the iconic turquoise-blue waters that are synonymous with Keys.

If you prefer to stay dry during the excursion, Key West Eco Tours provides kayaks or rowing boards on “country” waters, where wild mangroves provide a magnificent environment for young marine life and picturesque gardens. Led by local nature guides, this hands-on experience invites guests on a treasure hunt as they search the seabed to identify, classify and learn about the vast ecosystem that thrives in these clean shallows.

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(Credit: KDKA)

In addition to a variety of eco-friendly tours, Key West is also home to the novice culinary scene from sustainable sources. Locals can be found at any night table at The Stoned Crab. At this restaurant, private fishing boats deliver sustainably caught Florida stone crabs, lobsters, Key West shrimp and a variety of local fish that is as delicious as it is fresh. From lunch, stroll to the infamous sunset celebration in Mallory Square, where around 7pm the streets turn into a carnival celebration as Florida residents and eager guests watch the harbor and street performers, musicians and carts with food celebrate another day in paradise. From there you can head to the only eco-bar on Duvall Street, The Green Room, where this local center serves unique frozen cocktails, live music and a colorful rooftop deck overlooking the city center. Green Room’s commitment to being eco-friendly is echoed across the space with recycled décor, an extensive behind-the-scenes recycling system, a curb cigarette container that makes recycling these cigarette butts something boring, and an exhibition of goods for sale that donates a margin from its revenue to environmental aid reasons such as hospital turtles. After a long night of celebrations on Duval Street, you can relax at the Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, recently renovated villas on the waterfront – it’s a happy holiday with the highest amenities and friendly staff who will make your holiday heavenly.

As for leisure, contacting one of the safest destinations in America is more than once in a lifetime, it is a bright light into the future of sustainable tourism. This chain of commitment to the island to reduce the use of plastic, providing non-toxic sunscreen and a commitment to sustainably caught seafood is the lifeline needed to help seemingly sink. As the world works to teach future generations sustainable sustainability, Florida Keys is undoubtedly a pioneer in how sustainability can work hand in hand to enlighten locals and visitors on the importance of preserving our planet, making this place absolute. necessary for your next vacation.

Merissa Principe is a teacher and freelance blogger about traveling from New York. Teaching preschool gave Merisa the opportunity to travel around the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her on Citygirlriss.wordpress.com for everything related to travel, beauty, fashion and New York.

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