A broad-billed Tody (Todus subulatus) near Pedernales, Dominican Republic. Photo by: Tiffany Roufs.Finding true ecotourism companies isn’t easy. While the tourism industry worldwide has latched onto the term ‘ecotourism,’ in many cases it’s more propaganda than reality. Especially in heavily-touristed areas—like the Caribbean Islands—it’s difficult to find efforts that are actually low impact, sustainable as possible, and educational. However, some companies are beginning to make headway in a region known for all-inclusive resorts and big cruises. One such company is Explora! Ecotour in the Dominican Republic, run by passionate young naturalists, Manny Jimenes and Olyenka Sang.

“We originally started out as well, explorers, just as our name says. We loved nature and wanted to get out and explore everything that our country had to offer, it wasn’t until we started seeing the amazing natural resources and biodiversity, that we automatically felt a sense of responsibility,” Jimenes and Sang told mongabay.com. “A responsibility to put these places on the map for locals (believe it or not most Dominicans don’t get out and see the rest of the country) and to help preserve them or turn back the time, if possible, on some of the damage already caused.”

Explora! Ecotour, which was recently named one of the top 50 green brands in the Dominican Republic, offers over two dozen day trips that explore the wide variety of the Dominican Republic’s ecosystems, as well as overnight and custom trips. Visitors have the chance to see some of the 30-plus endemic bird species on the island, explore the rich marine life, spot rare reptiles, and encounter a stunning variety of landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »