December 15, 2008


Beyond Green Travel

with Costas Christ
Top Ten Worst Green Travel Destinations

Text by Global Travel Editor Costas Christ

When NBC’s TODAY Show Travel Editor Peter Greenberg asked me to contribute a list of the top 10 places people should avoid when they travel, to include in his new book, Don’t Go There! (, I was a little reluctant at first. I am a firm believer that travel, no matter the destination, can be a powerful learning experience. In fact, some of my worst trips have been among the most interesting. They are the places I still tell stories about. But when looked through the lens of sustainable tourism principles—being environmentally friendly, helping to protect cultural and natural heritage, supporting the well-being of local people—there are some places that stand out, and its not for the better.

So here is my top 10 must-avoid travel destinations list

(or at least consider this warning so that you know what you are getting into before you go).

#9 Costa Rica’s Over-Developed Coast – There is a battle going on in Costa Rica, once the darling of ecotourism. The battle is between those who are working overtime to make the country a true green travel destination, and unscrupulous developers who like marketing the green label, but couldn’t care less about practicing the principles. The latter are winning in Tamarindo, Jaco, and a string of other coastal areas that have succeeded in carving up the landscape into large condos and megahotels. Your travel choice makes a difference in this struggle. The Costa Rican Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST)  helps identify the good guys.