As a member of AITO, we adhere to the AITO Sustainable Tourism Guidelines and as such, we aim to protect the environment and minimise pollution both by on-tour practices and procedures in our offices around the world. On this tour through Colombia, we visit several sites of natural beauty such as Tayrona National Park and the Rosario Islands, as well as the historic centres of important colonial cities such as Santa Marta and Villa de Leyva. When visiting these areas, our tour leaders make sure that our travellers respect signage, follow the instructions of the local guides and do not leave any litter. They also ensure that they do not take any rocks or plants away with them, or buy souvenirs made of endangered materials. In Cartagena our tour guide also recommends to people that they should not use the horse and carriage that is advertised. The horses here may not get treated well and we are strongly against any form of animal cruelty. Thus the guide will strongly advise against passengers choosing to do this. On this tour we travel around Colombia using public transport, principally local buses. By sharing this widely-available form of transport, we are able to reduce our impact on the local environment by sharing vehicles and thus reducing carbon emissions. Travelling on public transport also means that we can interact authentically with local people as we travel around the country.
Community -One of the principle aims of our responsible travel policy is to support local economies. We ensure that our tours provide maximum opportunities to engage with local people, so that local economies benefit directly from our business and our travellers gain a genuine insight into a region and its people. The optional excursions that we can help to arrange while on this tour, such as a trip to the Totumo Volcano or a city tour of Cartagena, help to support jobs and the local economy because they are run by local operators. We also recommend that our travellers eat and drink at locally-owned restaurants or bars to ensure that local businesses benefit as much as possible from our tours travelling through the region.
Travelling with Respect – On our website’s responsible travel pages we provide a list of tips on creating good relationships between our travellers and the local communities that we visit on our tours. For example, for this tour we would recommend that clients learn some Spanish to try and connect with the local people, and we would advise researching the history, religion and local traditions of Colombia to help them appreciate the architecture and culture of those countries and thereby get the most from their trip while respecting local customs.