Ecotourism in Hawaii
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With millions of travelers coming to Hawaii each year, it’s important for everyone to do their part in preserving the fragile ecosystem and the cultural traditions while having a positive impact on the local communities. Taking a green approach to travel is as easy as it is vital to protect the places you will visit on Kauai, not just for yourself and for future travelers, but for the people who will continue to live here long after your vacation is over. From buying local to treading lightly, savvy travelers can use these simple steps to green their vacation and still have a trip of a lifetime.
How to make your stay eco-friendly and travel green in Hawaii:
Most visitors rent a car to explore and sightsee. To reduce your carbon footprint, choose a hybrid or car just big enough for your group. Decline free upgrades as larger cars use more gasoline, and SUVs or all-terrain vehicles are simply not needed to visit most of the attractions on Kauai.
Trips by car might include seeing The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, visiting the famed waterfalls, or basking on America’s top-rated golden sand beaches. Make these day trips greener by turning your motor off when idling and by encouraging tour bus drivers to do the same.
Responsible Kauai Traveler
Take only the number of brochures or maps necessary from information stands and recycle when finished. Most of the resorts, hotels and timeshares have in-room recycle baskets or recycle bins on-site. You can also help preserve the environment by committing to pick up a few pieces of rubbish at every outing. Most of the litter ends up in the sea where marine life is detrimentally affected including death by plastic consumption.
When snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles above colorful coral reefs, be careful to avoid touching the coral or stirring up sediment as these actions can damage the reef’s fragile ecosystem. Over 7,000 species of plants and bright colorful marine animals call the reefs of Hawaii home, in which 25 percent of all marine species can only be found in Hawaiian waters, so their protection is paramount. Please do not feed the fish as this disrupts the natural balance that is needed to keep our reefs healthy.
If you plan your own excursions, please ensure that you do not trespass onto private property and that the terrain is suitable for the activity level of your group. Be sure to pack snacks, plenty of water, a camera, natural bug repellent and first aid supplies. Brush off the bottom of your shoes before entering native forests, preserves or hiking trails. Note that many wilderness areas of Kauai have no cell phone reception; so in case of emergencies, let someone know where and when you plan to hike.
Whether you are hiking into the clouds in the wilderness of Alakai Swamp or taking the famed Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast, always stay on marked trails and maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter. Deposit your trash in marked receptacles or take it with you when you leave. Light campfires only in established fire rings and make sure the fire is completely extinguished before you leave.