Visit these five unique places that have put social impact or the environment at the center of their business. Proof that you can have fun and be socially responsible at the same time.
1. Norway. The Most Fun South of The Arctic Circle.
There are more than 6,500 reasons to visit the Vega archipelago in Norway – the number of islands, islets and reefs waiting to be explored. The UNESCO-protected islands of Vega, just south of the Arctic Circle, is a World Natural and Cultural Heritage site and has Sustainable Tourism certification. Locals claim that spending time in Vega means “living your life slowly.” Replace the rat race with a dog sled race for something different. www.visitnorway.com
2. Dublin. A River Runs Through it.
When designing The Iveagh Garden Hotel the owners set out to create the lowest carbon footprint possible when compared to other hotels in Europe. What they didn’t count on was the discovery of a massive energy reserve – an underground river – that has been harnessed for all their geothermal heating and cooling needs. Nature has become their greatest asset. www.iveaghgardenhotel.ie
3. Costa Rica. The World’s Best EcoCountry.
One of the world’s most successful eco-tourism destinations, Costa Rica is home to the largest percentage of protected areas in the world. Known for its array of wildlife, plants, pristine beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and incredible natural beauty – the Central American country is a fitting destination for one of the most sustainable on the planet. It hosts 5% of the world’s biodiversity with 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, 800 miles of beautiful coastline and an incredible 98% of its electricity generated from renewable sources. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of the happiest countries in the world, and spends nothing on its military. Situated on the edge of the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Costa Verde Resort (pictured) features an incredible hotel suite set inside a 1965 Boeing 727. We can think of no better place to unwind after a long flight. www.VisitCostaRica.com
4. Canada. Turn Dining Out in Helping Out.
The next time you notice a fork symbol alongside a menu item in Canada, you’ll know that a young person will get a meal. MealShare provides needy youth with a free meal every time a customer chooses that meal. They have partnered with restaurants across the country and have served 1.8 million free meals to date. www.mealshare.ca
5. United Kingdom. Prison Food Goes Upmarket.
The Clink is a restaurant in the U.K. entirely staffed by prisoners, offering an innovative approach to rehabilitation. It trains former offenders to get them back into the community. More than 800 prisoners have graduated from The Clink’s four training restaurants and the organization is now able to train up to 160 prisoners a day. Each prisoner works and trains for 40 hours a week, so by the time they graduate, they have all the skills needed to get back on their feet. www.TheClinkCharity.org