New Climate-Neutral Sailings Offer an Epic View of Tropical Paradises

Switch out a cruise ship for a smaller vessel and go places with fewer crowds and more nature.

Two of my resolutions for 2023 are to reduce my environmental footprint and to travel more. Unfortunately, those two objectives are often diametrically opposed. But there are ways to keep the environment in mind and still see more of your world. Aurora Expeditions, a climate-neutral travel company, is expanding its offerings to warm-weather destinations in 2023.

Sailings include trips to Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and the Azores. Aurora Expeditions offers an alternative to large-vessel cruises. The ships each hold a little more than 100 passengers, and each is named after famous conservationists. Here are details on these trips, which depart in April of this year.

The Costa Rica and the Panama Canal trip runs from April 20 to May 30. The ship will depart from Costa Rica, stopping in Cartagena, Colombia, with stops in Manuel Antonio National Park and opportunities to see sloths, spiders, and other rare wildlife. Fares started at $11,130.75 for this sailing, which has already sold out for 2023. 

The Cape Verde, Canary Islands & Azores trip is between April 16 and 30. The journey will take travelers through volcanic islands, where they can whale watch, hike, bird watch, and visit multiple UNESCO World heritage sites. This sailing departs and ends in Lisbon, Portugal. This trip is already sold out for 2023, but prices for the journey began at just over $9,000. 

Other cruising itineraries offered by the company include trips to Iceland, Antartica, the UK, Ireland, Patagonia, Greenland, Norway, and the Arctic. You can choose between taking an expedition or a discovery tour, and on nearly all journeys there will be chances to participate in citizen science. 

Traditional large cruise ships release high volumes of harmful pollutants into the ocean, which can cause oxygen depletion, the spread of bacteria and viruses and an increase of nutrient levels within the ecosystem, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Many large cruise companies have announced efforts to reduce their negative impacts on the environment, but it will be a long and slow road for meaningful change.

Aurora Expeditions has already implemented expedition ships with smaller environmental impact in terms of design and efficiency. The company has already reached 100% climate neutrality, which means that their net impact on the environment is not actively harmful. In coming years, the company is aiming to further reduce its impact and phase in more initiatives that will reduce its carbon footprint.

The new discovery voyages Aurora Expeditions is offering will allow you to engage with some of the world's most stunning wildlife without actively causing it harm. While these definitely aren't budget trips, if you're looking for a more unique experience that you haven't already seen 500 times on your Instagram feed, this might be the type of trip to consider this year.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.