I couldn't resist not to share with you my latest travel experience under the DestiMED Plus programme.  For those of you who are not aware of this, DestiMED Plus is an Interreg Med Programme for sustainable tourism, aiming to improve integration between regional tourism and conservation policies in Mediterranean protected areas. A sustainable tourism model designed by the MEET Network is being used to support projects of selected protected areas in order to develop high quality ecotourism experiences that will benefit conservation and local communities. DestiMED PLUS offers to regional and national governments, mechanisms for tourism and conservation policy integration to maximize the benefits of ecotourism.

Guided tour to the protected Lavezzi island

I feel so lucky to participate in the team of ecotourism experts chosen by DestiMEDPlus Project and MEET network to test and discover Bonifacio's (South Corsica) treasures and traditions. The unspoiled Mediterranean scenery of Bonifacio with protected parks and cultural landscapes, trails and ancient paths well maintained, local products and tastes, and a variety of activities in the low tourism season of October was totally worth being experienced.  

Daily activities, guides and spots were carefully selected by the Tourism Office of Bonifacio, in order to balance and integrate this authentic experience. Sustainable practices in the natural, cultural, social and political environment were remarkable.  

  I could write a short book based on the experience and knowledge I have gained from that trip. Here, I will focus on the last day of our visit, in Lavezzi island, where among others I have learned that the Office of The Environment of Corsica, administrator of the Reserve Naturelle des bouches de Bonifacio, has developed a mapping of buoys which regulates the nautical activity within the safety zone (up to 300 m from shore) to control the impact of human activity onto highly frequented fragile areas especially those with Posidonia. Posidonia oceanica, an underwater flowering plant generates up to 14 litters oxygen per day per m2 by photosynthesis! Yes, this is the Amazon of the Mediterranean Sea! In addition, Posidonia is a niche for some aquatic fishes, and at the end of its life protects the coastlines from erosion by being accumulated on the beaches. Did you know that there is an app in France called Donia that raises awareness for the preservation of the environment by providing extremely accurate maps of marine ecosystems that are used to guide anchoring outside of seagrass beds (especially Posidonia), in compliance with the law? Well, I didn't!

Speaking about boats, the Reserve Naturelle des bouches de Bonifacio has a hybrid custom boat. Solar panels and electric motors power the boat in absolute silence and completely free of petrol/oil residues in the most fragile coastlines and caves, while a common motor is only used in the middle of the sea for more speed.

However, the highlight of the trip were the passionate and inspired people we have met who lead the activities offered.  Bonifacio in autumn, is a worth living ecotourism destination. Can't wait to visit this amazing area and its people again! 

Street of Bonifacio
Lavezzi protected island
Trinity Chapel
Campu Rumanilu Path, Bonifacio
My balcony view on the garden full of herbs and vegetables in the 4* hotel “A Cheda” that made our stay – and dinners (!) – absolutely exceptional
Reaching Bonifacio on foot
Campu Rumanilu Path, Bonifacio
Yes, we had the ultimate E-mountain bike experience!
The amazing Lionel's Kitchen in A Cheda restaurant (organic and local products)
Snorkelling in Lavezzi island.
Here, our passionate guide Pierre tasting edible flowers in Marc’s permaculture garden
Learning about monks seals
This is Nada from Costa Rica, one of my co-travellers/testers ready for wine tasting
Coastline covered by posidonia debris
Traditional Corsican polyphonic concert in Saint Dominique Church
Hiking from the Chapel of the Trinity to Bonifacio