Off the Radar Destination: Bosnia

clouds_valley_switzerland_250402_l.jpgEco-travel may be Bosnia-Herzegovina’s meal ticket. Although it is still trying to find their economic footing while they recover from the war of 1992-1995, Bosnia’s tourism industry has been maneuvering to reap the same seasonal rewards that Croatia enjoys when hosting a horde of tourists that bring their curiosity and appetites to their doorstep.

Although it can’t offer the warm oceans or balmy climate, Bosnia may be able to compete with Croatia when it comes to untouched, unspoiled wilderness and picturesque mountain peaks.

Travelers have been slowly rediscovering Bosnia as a tourist destination and the most enthusiastic about Bosnia are those that enjoy pristine mountains and virgin wilderness.

Now, with the rising popularity of Eco-tourism and the growth of Green industries, eco-travel is the next big hope for this country that has been working to realize its former prosperity again.

The biggest name in eco-tourism in Bosnia is Green Visions. Started by an expat American who fell in love with the country and decided not to leave, Green Visions provides the necessary guides for a wilderness hike or walk and prepares itineraries for your group. (The wilderness of Bosnia is generally safe, but leftover landmines are still a fact of life and someone familiar with the territory must guide your walk through the woods.)

Green Visions also provides Green Adventures, which teach travelers how to survive in Bosnia’s wilderness. The site states: “What you take with you is what you have” and that the trip is about “pushing ourselves to the limit.” You’ll be dining on the best bugs that Bosnia has to offer on a Green Adventure, but the rest of Green Visions’ more tame trips are designed to support local farmers and stimulate Bosnia’s economy.

Other Green-travel options include the Teledoms, a network of 24 rural villages that have created accommodations for backpackers and travelers that resemble youth hostels. For 10 to 20 Euros a day, you can experience the local culture and immerse yourself in the eco-friendly lifestyle that the Bosnian people live everyday.

For the rest of us, who don’t want to eat bugs or pack all of our gear on our backs, the folks at ResponsibleTravel have a tour that takes the hurt out of Herzegovina and includes tours through many of the Balkan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sights and city centers. The tour supports many local farming economies and travels on all forms of public transportation.