On this trip we stay at small, locally run campsites or family run hotels/ hostels and buy our food locally, thereby directly supporting local communities. We use local companies to run all our excursions. They, in turn, employ local drivers and guides-supporting the local economy. We encourage our clients to eat out at local restaurants, shop for souvenirs at local markets and to try the local beers en route!
Before the trip commences clients are sent detailed pre-departure information which includes advice on responsible travel. This information is re-emphasised by the tour leader at the start of the trip. Clients, for example, are advised about respecting local customs, conservation of natural habitats and wildlife, litter disposal etc.
Clients are also given the opportunity, before the trip commences to attend a Spanish language school in Santiago. This involves staying with a local family for a week, sharing their home and meals and one-to-one language tuition. The school also organises a programme of cultural activities. This project helps provide local families with an additional source of income and is a fantastic opportunity for our clients to experience life in Chile at first hand. It also obviously enables them to get more out of their entire trip as they are, hopefully, more able to communicate with the Spanish speaking South American people they meet en route. (All of our crew attend this language school before they run their first trip with us).
The numbers of clients we take on this tour are limited, to a maximum of twenty-three, thus reducing the environmental and cultural impact of a large group.
In South America we support a small, Peruvian charity called Pachamamas Children, based twenty minutes outside of Cusco, in the community of Tika-Tika. The charity is in the process of reconstructing a derelict school in an impoverished community. The children of the community currently have no access to formal education. Once completed the school will not only provide education to the children of the community but the plan is also to provide adult education and a basic Medical Centre. We make a regular monthly, financial contribution to this project and once the building work has been completed we hope that our clients will be able to visit the school and that we will be able to offer volunteering opportunities there.
We also support a variety of other small charities across our area of operation. We support Childrens Homes in Egypt and Zimbabwe, schools in Egypt, and Uganda and a wildlife conservation project in Kenya.