Although we haven't traveled to Lebanon, we have had a Lebanese friend when touring through Syria. He told us that Lebanon was an advanced country and much different than the "time machine feeling" we were getting in Syria: It was 9 years ago, and the cars looked like they were from the 30s; people everywhere were dressed in traditional gear and it seemed that the environment was very low on the country's agenda (litter was everywhere and cars spewed fumes).
We never did get to visit Lebanon (mainly because getting a VISA would take too much time), but we have been able to see into what's happening there from an eco-tourism point of view, thanks to Green Prophet writer Karen Chernick.
Karen studied with the children of ambassadors from all over the world at an American School in Israel and has been using her ambassadorial skills to connect people from across the Middle East to build peace through the environment. In one of her recent posts she reports about green eco-tourism options in Lebanon. There is no system in place in the Middle East (unlike in Latin America) for verifying how green eco-advertisers say they are, but we can laud them for their efforts.
Now that we've eco-toured Israel and Jordan, let's move right along to another green tourism spot in the Middle East. Lebanon. And it's no surprise that a country that places a regional cedar tree in the center of its flag (colored in green) has lots and lots of eco tourism options.
Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy Lebanon in an environmentally-friendly way:
TLB Destinations: TLB is a tour company that offers sustainable tourism trips all over the Middle East. The small company is local and multilingual (they speak English, French, Arabic, and German), and promotes responsible tourism. This means that their tour guides inform travelers about local concerns regarding the conservation of natural areas, support local communities, and that the company itself tries to raise awareness about biodiversity and heritage. TLB offers a diverse range of trips in Lebanon, including adventure, biking, cultural, gastronomical, discovery, trekking, and hiking tours.
Eco Village: Eco Village is a spot in the Dmit Valley for educational eco tourism. While staying in one of their mud huts or camps, you can enjoy organic meals, learn about the environment, and help out on their farm. In addition to organic farming, fishing, hiking, swimming, and rock climbing, you can also do some yoga or tai chi at the Eco Village.
Lebanon Mountain Trail: The Lebanon Mountain Trail is a 440 km path that leads from the northern tip of Lebanon to the southern part of the country and goes through more than 75 towns and villages. It promotes environmentally and socially responsible tourism, and is the first long distance hiking trail in Lebanon.
Blue Carrot Adventures: This tour group brings together nature and adventure lovers to explore Lebanon's wilderness. Some of their adventures include snowshoeing, paragliding, amateur caving, and diving. Sign up for their mailing list to find out about their next adventure.
Other Eco-Tourism Options Around the World
Yachana Lodge in the Amazon