The Organic Holidaying Experience
The idea of ecotourism is to promote travel to places that have stayed relatively untouched by human intervention over the years.
Defined as “responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people”ecotourism focuses on the nature and traditions of a country rather than the commercial additions that have been put in place to attract more visitors.
It is also called “Green Tourism” with the emphasis on looking after the environment, conserving natural areas, learning about the local people, their activities, lifestyle and welfare.
North Cyprus is a prime spot for ecotourism due to its unspoilt nature and prominence on local life, and a destination that truly takes you far away from the hum of fast paced western culture.
Find below a guide of some ecotourism hotspots, providing an insight of what to expect from a green holiday to NCY.
Whilst luxury hotel resorts are the dominant accommodation on the island, major transformations have been made in recent years to boost offerings for visitors who wish to experience a more traditional type of existence whilst on holiday.
Where visitors want to be part of the landscape and watch as nature works her miracles, visitors will not find large hotels but instead village accommodation away from the hustle and bustle of town life – small family run pansiyon’s and eco holiday villages specially designed to cater for their visitors.
Buyukkonuk – Eco Gateway to the Karpaz Peninsula
A real-life example of a sustainable community, the village of Buyukkonuk has benefited from ecotourism. Nestled in the foothills of the Five Finger Mountain range and positioned midway between the two coasts of the Karpaz Peninsula, it is central to an area abundantly rich in flora and fauna, surrounded by verdant fields, lush greenery, olive groves, citrus orchards and farm pastures.
Buyukkonuk offers the experience of traditional Cypriot life with spontaneous and scheduled activities and tours, the area abundant with kilometres of undisturbed walking territory and nature to spend your days exploring.
Visitors have the opportunity to learn traditional crafts like cotton weaving and basket making from local reed. Another local expertise, woodworking uses sustainable natural resources like pruned olive branches. There are olives to gather and process for their oil at the village mill, goats and cows to be milked, home-made yogurt to be prepared. Workshops on bread and cheese making, especially rewarding after sampling your very own finished Cypriot produce.
Old stone-made Cypriot buildings in this unique village have been restored using traditional techniques and used as guesthouses, popular with the alternative holiday seeker.
Given the diversity of its historic, social, cultural and natural resource assets, Buyukkonuk also known as Komi Kebir, is the pilot project for a scheme that will develop ecotourism in the Karpaz region and eventually become part of a “Global Eco-Village Network.”
In the month of October each year, it hosts the most frequented event of the year, namely “Eco Day.” Only a one-day festival, it incorporates as many village traditions as is possible to find time for, including traditional folk dancing, local music and plentiful stalls selling local goods and produce.
Kormacit – Combine Eco with Agritourism
Situated between the Mediterranean and Besparmak mountains, the village of Kormacit is another great spot for NCY ecotourism, nearby activities including botanical excursions combined with walking or biking tours, where specific local flora such as orchids and tulips can be observed.
Kormacit is one of the rare spots in North Cyprus where you can also find agritourism at the same time, with activities including fruit picking, bread baking in mud ovens, Zivania distillation, making Hellim at the mini-farm amongst domestic animals, and becoming one with nature, amongst the 700-year old olive trees in the nearby village of Kalkanli.
Combined with decent accommodation opportunities next to the fields and village, Kormacit is yet another unique destination where fresh local produce is still used in ancestral recipes.
Eco visitors can also use the many village restaurants and enjoy the very best of Cyprus cuisine, truly indigenous and home-made dishes that use locally farmed meat and poultry, freshly caught fish and in-season farm grown vegetables from the area.
A Green NCY Holiday
Ecotourism is a fantastic way of broadening people’s minds and promoting treasure like locations that have managed to maintain the traditions of their country. When done properly, green tourism enhances the local population’s cultural integrity whilst protecting the fragile environment in which they live.
Ecologically and socially conscious travellers visit North Cyprus each year, learning new ways of living without consuming the resources of future generations.
Persons promoting ecotourism have a motto: “only take photographs and leave nothing behind but your footprints.” This may seem a very simplistic view but even if you are a visitor to North Cyprus who has only come for the sun and sand in summer, there is a contribution to be made.
For those however who want to take back memories of a holiday with a difference, now is the time to speak with one of our recommended tour operators which offer accommodation and itineraries for a more nature and environmentally orientated experience.