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When you think about the Middle East, news about oil and conflict that streams across the news channels likely comes to mind first. Then, you might envision the land’s desert sands and hot, dry climate. However, as with anything else, you’ll find quite a bit more if you dig a little farther beneath the surface. While you’re digging for a place to visit this year for vacation, you just might stumble across Jordan – an ecotourism gem worth a second look.
Jordan is about the size of the U.S. state of Indiana and is known for its strong history and desert sands. It actually is somewhat of an oasis in the middle of a land ravaged with political unrest, as it has been impacted very little by the politics of the region. Here in Jordan, leaders are striving to ensure that any money gained by promoting ecotourism actually goes to the nation’s protected environmental areas.
Aqaba – the only coastal city in Jordan – is an ideal spot for the adventurous ecotourism visitor who wants to visit the Red Sea and engage in some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling activities. You can even choose to dive at night to view the ecotourism area’s nocturnal sea creatures. Even a glass-bottom boat or submarine is available for those who want to explore the underwater world in Jordan without necessarily touching the water. The globe’s northernmost coral reef system further is available for captivating viewing.
You also can explore some of the great sites of history, including the oldest church in the world and the landmarks of nearby Saudi Arabia, Sinai in Egypt and Israel – no more than 30 minutes away. If you want to see how it feels to walk on the moon, just stop by Wadi Rum, which will show you firsthand how the earth could appear if not touched by humans. Enjoy hiking and viewing the great monoliths in this ecotourism country as well.
Tours and trails for the environmentally conscious are easy to find in Jordan thanks in part to Wild Jordan, a division of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. In fact, the country has even created its own National Tourism Strategy to facilitate sustainable vacationing options for tourists who are interested in ecotourism. It aims to restore damage done to the Jordan River and keeping Aqaba protected.
Jordan is growing on the radar as one of the hottest ecotourism spots to visit this year. Whether you are a nature, adventure or history “buff,” now is an opportune time to impress your significant other or family with a new ecotourism vacation spot and have a 2012 that is far from ordinary.
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