Accommodation & Meals:
We use predominantly locally run accommodation, which contributes directly to the local community as local staff are employed and locally produced or sourced goods are bought for the accommodation benefiting the wider community. Where meals are not provided, clients are encouraged to buy locally grown produce and try the abundance of fresh food being made. For example, your tour leader will point out the best food markets in Chicicastenago, San Cristobal de las Casas and San Juan Chamula and will be able to advise you on which dishes to pick and what they contain. We will have the chance to visit a traditional restaurant called ‘Halach Huinik’, which we have been supporting for years for slow cooked pork and chicken with achiote paste and wrapped in banana leaves.
Local Crafts & Culture:
Mexico has such a deep and rich culture and this is reflected in the variety of handmade crafts on offer. We try to engage with these cottage industries as much as possible- for example, we visit San Juan La Laguna, where we will visit the home studios of local painters and a textile cooperative where women are engaged in hand weaving and natural dyeing processes. The cooperative was formed in 2005 after hurricane Stan and so the income generated by travelers buying jewellery and embroidery here goes to re-building the community. Here there is a real opportunity for cultural exchange as clients can even learn to make their own tortillas by hand and then eat with beans or spicy chili (if you are brave!)
This small group tour has a maximum of 15 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to its limited size e.g. Casa Don David, which has its own botanical gardens where clients can learn about the ancient Mayan plants which grow there and their uses.
We actively work with local communities and non-profit organizations with missions based in conservation & sustainable development to make good on the promise of ecotourism as a catalyst for sustainable development. We are an active member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and sit on the Board of Advisors of Oceanic Society. We are also working with Grupo Tortugero and RED Sustainable Travel to operate travel experiences that protect the local environment, gather information about the state of the environment, and provide alternative economic activities to traditional resource depleting activities.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.