Photography holiday in Picos de Europa, Spain

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Date
Price
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05 Nov 2017
£ 2300
excluding flights
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Photography holiday in Picos de Europa, Spain

Environment

We only use transport where necessary, most of the time we prefer to travel on foot. Vehicles such as quad bikes and motor bikes are becoming increasingly popular in the Picos mountains, they pollute the environment with noise and fumes, destroying fragile land...we urge you to please think twice before choosing to travel in the mountains this way. We will only use local agents who do not have any involvement in providing quad biking activities, for example Alfredo Gago UIAGM guide from Guia Trek Ojedo, Cantabria who offers many exciting activities such as Canyoning, Canoeing, Rock Climbing, Mountaineering and Trekking.

All of our service suppliers are informed of our responsible travel policy which is clearly visible on our website.

Out in the field
We encourage you to travel responsibly and to consider the following guidelines:

- When out in wild places we encourage you to keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on or picking native flora.
- Protect the environment Ė its flora, fauna and landscapes. We encourage you to use water sparingly particularly often in Spain it is a precious and expensive commodity. Additionally avoid buying plastic bottles of water and use your own metal or heavy-duty plastic bottle such as Nalgene to refil with water from a safe source, there are many Fuentes (water fountains) in the Picos.
- River water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free.
- Respect local customs religion and traditions. Adhere to local dress codes.
- Carry out some research about your holiday destination and being able to speak a few words of the Spanish language is always appreciated.
- Donít take photographs of local people and places of religious significance without permission.
- Keep promises! Send copies of photos to local people if this is what you have said you will do.
- Buy local products such as food and souvenirs so that money directly benefits the community.
- Minimize pollution, and carry out all litter. We stay often in remote mountain refugios and this principle is especially important here as most provisions are carried in by horse and in rucksacks on peopleís backs with maybe just one helicopter drop per season.

We recommend that you visit our links page where you will find comprehensive information on travel, health and the environmental environmental concerns, of the Picos de Europa, for example a business consortium, backed by regional government, is threatening the continued, precarious survival of the Cantabrian brown bear, already catalogued as in danger of extinction in Spain. An unsustainable project to build a ski resort in an important corridor of access for the last remaining bears in the region of the San Glorio pass in the Cordillera may still be given approval.

Wherever possible we work electronically, we are totally web based and our paper use is minimal.

Community

Knowing that tourism is an important source of income for the areas that we visit, our responsible travel policy demonstrates our active commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism. Our holidays visit places that are less frequented by tourists; both our departures to the area are outside the main tourist season so our economic contribution on both counts is especially welcome.

Local providers
Our transport will be local and we always use small family run hotels, guesthouses, hostels and mountain refugios are used. Many of our connections with these local providers of accommodation and transport go back many years. For example Sante and Aurora own the family hotel that we use in Espinama, they grow their own vegetables which Aurora uses in her cooking for the hotel guests. Alarge proportion of her meat and fish is from local providers, tourism is a relatively recent development. Aurora and Sante still have deep connections with the land.

Many of our other providers are from farming families, our taxi driverís family owns 200 cows and she knows the names of each one. The area is well known for its traditional farming methods; old meadows are scythed and livestock moved to the high pastures for summer so carrying out the age old practice of transhumance. The Picos de Europa are particularly famous in Spain for the production of many different cheeses and other dairy products, fruit trees proliferate and local shops and markets have a huge variety of local produce available. Each day we buy fresh local produce to make picnic lunches. There is always an English speaking local guide with a wealth of local knowledge leading the holiday.

Reviews of Photography holiday in Picos de Europa, Spain

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 23 Jan 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Sunrise hunting several mornings. One in particular in the mountains where I thought the clouds might block everything out, but we ended up with a rainbow as the sun came up.

A trek through Cavas Gorge was like no landscape I've ever seen before.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I tried to the sleep on the airport floor the night before the Spanish flight, and began the holiday sleep 36 hours without sleep. Don't do that.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All small local hotels, largely unused to a lot of foreign tourists, who don't get much trade at that time of the year.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great time.

Interesting locations.

I got a lot of hands on time with the knowledgeable instructors. I ended up looking at certain things I'd never considered before, and have taken that knowledge home with me as I take photos here.

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Lots of highlights,even a day which would be negative in a normal holiday such as rain created highlights such as wonderful skies and rainbows.

Our guide Jose had a real passion for sharing photography and was always on the lookout for new locations to try.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Photography opportunities are excellent, not a holiday to go on if you want to laze around as there are early starts and late excursions to make the most of the best light. There is a fair amount of travelling over the week but it is during the difficult contrasty part of the day so doesn't spoil the trip.

Although they are more flexible, you don't need a DSLR to go on the trip, with Jose's excellent guideance you could get excellent results with a compact camera.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, hotels were small family run places, food purchased in local restaraunts or stores.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good, I learned a lot. The small group size was perfect for a photography holiday and despite being very full in terms of activities was also very relaxing. Food very large portions and good range of choice.

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The mountainous landscape of the Picos de Europa was stunning. The cable car to 1800m and the walk among high rocky crags, scree slopes, limestone pavements watching rebecos (chamois) and alpine choughs. The walk through the Cares Gorge in beautiful warm sunshine with spectacular limestone rock formations, tall peaks with jagged ridges and trees clinging to the sheer rock. Roaming over open mountain pasture land surrounded by glorious panoramas at Collado da Lesba at 1675m. Delicious picnic lunches!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for changeable weather and don't be put off if it rains. We had both warm sunshine and heavy rain. Look around you at the detail as well as the wider landscape - there is so much to appreciate at the smaller scale.

This trip would be good for anyone who enjoys exploring stunning landscapes in the company of others, whether a keen photographer or not.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely benefited local people as we stayed in villages at small family run hotels and ate at either the hotel or a local restaurant. We were often the only visitors as it was the end of the season so no doubt our custom was welcome.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A really good small group trip with friendly and inclusive leaders. Lots of photographic help and advice was available for anyone who wished to take it and each participant was treated as an individual at their own level of expertise.

We've already recommended this company to photographer friends.

Reviewed on 01 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The breathtaking scenery of the Picos de Europa as the sunrise illuminated the mountains, the wilderness and natural beauty of the area, and of course some wonderful photos I made.

The white knuckle ride down the mountain on a steep narrow miner's track in a 4x4 as the light faded was also memorable and I have the grey hairs to prove it!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you don't already, learn to love your tripod! Its a useful piece of kit, even if you do have to carry it to the locations it will be worth it to capture some of the stunning images.

Be prepared to be up before sunrise to travel to stunning locations for a shoot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


As all the accommodation we used and food we ate was from the local community, yes the local community benefitted. Geraldine ensured no litter was left in any of the locations, we took only photographs and left only footprints.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


An Excellent holiday.

Superb locations and expert tution made this a holiday to remember. Both Geraldine and Martin were friendly, approachable, knowledgeable and tirelessly patient. Geraldine's obvious knowledge of the area and all-round competence on the mountains made it feel very safe and I had confidence in her as a leader and mountain guide. Martin was a patient tutor who matched his tution to the individual needs of all in the group from novices like myself to the more accomplished and experienced photographer. I have no hestitation and every intention of booking another holiday with them.

Thanks to both of you, your enthusiasm for the locations and the photography was truly inspiring.

Reviewed on 30 Oct 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The ability to meet with like minded people, all with a keen interest in photography. The ability to travel to exceptional scenic venues, completely devoid from the trappings of commercial clutter. Able to get back to basics

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If interested in exceptional photography, just book and go for it. Will not regret it!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our group stayed at family run hotels, ate in the local restaurants and consequently benefited the local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I would rate the holiday with full marks! The organisers, (Geraldine and Martin) were extremely patient, always on hand to answer questions, and the trip was extremely well organised. Highly recommended!

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