Often when discussing going on holiday, the beach comes to mind. Beach holidays are one of the most popular types of holiday to go on, there’s just something about the salty breeze and the sounds of crashing waves that draws people in.
Sadly though, because beaches make such a popular destination, they are at a great risk of overtourism. For instance, Boracay in the Philippines was closed for six months because the facilities could not deal with the number of tourists. Read our article The Consequence of Travel: Popular Destinations Impacted by Overtourism to learn more about overtourism.
Fortunately, there are lots of beaches around the world with staff that are making the effort to maintain their pristine environments, so that they remain as beautiful as when they were formed.
What is an Eco-friendly Beach?
An eco-friendly beach tends to be one that is as natural as possible. They are not developed on as this can cause immense damage to the environment and scare away wildlife. Usually, eco-friendly beaches only allow a certain number of visitors on the beach at a time and some even charge a preservation fee that goes towards maintaining the beach.
We’ve compiled a list of some countries that are known for their beautiful beaches and found examples of their most eco-friendly destination.
Australia, Whitehaven Beach
Imagine pure white sand that doesn’t burn your feet and crystal-clear waters as far as the eye can see. That is Whitehaven Beach. This pristine spot has earned awards for its beauty as well as its cleanliness and like many of the beaches on our list, it has rules in place to keep it immaculate. For instance, dogs are not allowed on the beach and there is a no smoking policy. The beach is also only accessible by boat, meaning that tourist numbers are naturally limited.
Hawaii, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
This beach has suffered from overtourism in the past and has been closed as a result, but now there are many procedures in place to prevent this happening again. In 2002, the Marine Education Center was opened at the entrance of the beach, and guests have to watch a video about conservation of resources before they are allowed to enter. This means that all visitors to the beach are well educated on the importance of being respectful to the land. As well as this, the bay is closed to tourists every Tuesday to allow fish to feed without interruption from swimmers. Sealife flourishes as a result.
Greece, Gerakas Beach
This stunning beach is part of a National Marine Park and as a result, all flora and fauna at the beach are protected. Water sports are not allowed as they can be very disturbing for sea life and there are no bars or shops on the beach, which creates a natural, tranquil environment. There is a wildlife information centre at the beach and visitors are encouraged to partake in conservation activities, such as beach clean-ups and turtle monitoring sessions.
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Nevis’ Beaches
Nevis is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, but it is perhaps less well-known for how eco-friendly its beaches are. The island has a commitment to preserving nature, which is why the beaches are so clean and natural. Furthermore, the island’s population is relatively small at 12,000, which means that development on this island has always been controlled and never gets out of hand. The beach itself is home to nesting hawksbills as well as green and leatherback sea turtles. These natural beaches create a safe space for the endangered turtles to lay their eggs and for the babies to reach the ocean without any obstacles.
Spain, Islas Cíes
These islands are an archipelago off the coast of Galcia and there are many rules in place to maintain the beaches here. These rules include no leaving rubbish, no campfires, no loud music, no fishing, no wandering off the path and many others. The general idea is that visitors are expected to treat the environment with respect, so the land is not destroyed, and the habitats of wildlife remain intact.
Brazil, Sancho Bay
Visitors to Sancho Bay are charged a preservation fee before they are allowed to enter the beach. This not only deters too many people from visiting the beach, but it also helps to fund conservation efforts as it is a marine ecological reserve. Beyond this, Sancho Bay is hard for the public to access. Visitors would have to reach the beach by boat, a ladder wedged into a rock crevice or they would have to scramble over the rocks from a neighbouring beach. The lack of visitors means that this beach has remained pristine in the absence of human activities.
How To Reduce Your Own Impact At The Beach
If you’re planning a trip to a beach anytime soon, there are always ways to make sure that you are being respectful to the environment
Choose Reef Safe Sunscreen
Not too many people know about the damage that sunscreen can have on coral reefs. Most products contain chemicals, such as oxybenzone, which can bleach young coral, damaging it. There are many sunscreens out there though that have been made to be reef friendly. Check out our article Is Your Sunscreen Damaging Coral Reefs to find out more.
Do Not Interfere with Wildlife
It might sound obvious, but it’s worth reiterating that it’s usually best to leave the native wildlife to their own devices. This is especially important when it comes to turtles, who go to beaches to lay their eggs. We have written an article on More Ways You Can Help To Save The Turtles at Home and on Holiday, so take a look at it to find out what you should do if you spot a nesting turtle.
Leave It as You Found it
A picnic on the beach sounds like a great idea, until you realise there are no bins around. Many public beaches have bins, but you can’t be certain so it’s best to be prepared to take any litter home with you. Any waste left on the beach will eventually end up in the ocean, which adds to the already huge problem with litter in the ocean.
Life’s A Beach
There’s no better way to relax than at the beach, basking in the sun with the sand beneath your feet. It can sometimes be hard to remember that beaches are one of the biggest victims of human activities. Construction, littering and pollution all destroy the precious ecosystems at the beach, which is why it’s important to support beaches that are striving to be eco-friendlier. It’s also important for visitors at beaches to be genuinely kind to their surroundings as well.
Kiwano can help you towards the first step of becoming a green traveller, by providing a list of green accommodations for you to stay at and giving you further tips on how to stay green as a traveller.