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Ecotourism in Cyprus
Bird watching in Cyprus
If you want a holiday in Cyprus that doesn’t cost the earth, then an ecotourism break in Cyprus could be just what you are looking for. Hiring the right type of car would be essential for your trips to the mountains.
Ecotourism in the Mountains
The Cypriot organisation Support Abandoned Villages and their Environment (Save) organises small minibus tours of mountain villages well off the beaten track. The villagers have nearly all moved to the coast to jobs in the major resorts, but save aims to help those who remain to keep their villages viable. Tours include stops at family-run businesses such as the local bakers, as well as tourist sites en route, for a taste of the real Cyprus. Lunch is included, and is usually taken at a local inn, where the chef has probably not only cooked your lunch but grown it as well.
The Laona Foundation also works to preserve traditional village life in Cyprus, and you can stay in one of their village houses in western Cyprus, for a real taste of country living. Find out more at
Keeping the Akamas Peninsula Wild
The Akamas Peninsula lies to the west of Paphos, and currently is one of the last truly wild areas of western Cyprus left. The locals want it to become a national park, but that is constantly under threat from developers. Help keep the Akamas wild by joining an environmental education course run by the Cyprus Conservation Foundation, an ideal introduction to the Akamas Peninsula.
If you are looking for more information about Paphos, Troodos and Akamas, Foxy's holiday guide to Cyprus is worth a look with lots of photos and interesting writing style.
Save the Animals
As coastal developments creep ever inland, several Cyprus residents have found their traditional homeland diminishing. The shy mouflon, or Cyprus goat, is normally found perched high in the Troodos Mountains, and a reserve at Platania aims to help keep their numbers at a sustainable level.
Equally at risk at the rare green and loggerhead sea turtles that come ashore to nest on the sandy beaches of Cyprus. Confused by the onshore lights of developments, the danger is that the tiny hatchlings head for the nearest disco rather than the fluorescent rim to the waves. Various turtle conservation projects operate in both North and south Cyprus, and welcome visitors to information centres set up on the edge of nesting beaches.
Cypriots have no love of snakes, but the rare reptiles have found a champion in Hans-Jörg Wiedl, commonly known as ‘Snake George’. His Reptile Park at Coral Bay is helping restore populations of the rare Cyprus grass snake, a harmless snake previously believed to be extinct.
Bird Watching in Cyprus
Cyprus is a major stopping point for migrating birds, and there are ten species of bird found only in Cyprus. From magnificent Griffin vultures, to more modest songsters, the island is an ideal location to spot birds amongst the forest of the Troodos Mountains. Try to join an organised bird-watching trip if you can, since the more people that come to watch, the less the locals might be inclined to shoot the birds, a favourite national pastime.
Ecotourism in North Cyprus
Interestingly, North Cyprus is also heavily promoting ecotourism, by sharing the delights of a simpler lifestyle. The village of Büyükkonuk on the Karpaz peninsula is offering eco-friendly accommodation and activities, including cycling and walking tours.