Guianas tour, small group
Description of Guianas tour, small group
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThis tour focuses largely on the natural wealth of Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana concentrated in parks, reserves and conservation areas. By visiting these regions we contribute to crucial conservation and research projects designed to ensure the long term well being of the wildlife that lives here. We work with local guides in the parks who know the areas well – these are from the communities that surround the parks and this therefore ensures that these vital areas are seen not just as the preserve of wealthy western tourists but as a valuable source of employment and income for local people, thus further contributing to conservation and acting as a discouragement to unsustainable use of the parks’ resources. We issue guidelines to our travellers about the importance of leaving these parks as they were, and taking all litter out when we leave.
At Iwokrama we stay at the research station, set up to conduct research on rainforest environments. Again, this allows money to be channelled towards an important project.
Where appropriate and feasible we will always incorporate walking tours of cities rather than being reliant on private transportation - not only reducing our carbon footprint but we believe leading to a more enjoyable and intimate experience for our clients.
The Eco-Lodge we stay in in Suriname is a community initiative that has been set up to allow local people to benefit from tourism, and the villagers take an active part in all aspects of the lodge, from managing it to acting as guides along the nearby trails, meaning they are experts on how to best manage and preserve the area.
PeopleOur philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
On this tour we visit a local school in Surama. In this region, children rarely see Western visitors, and visits to the local school are highly welcomed and encouraged by teachers. The visits are arranged during school time as part of a lesson which is focused on interaction between travellers and students. The teachers encourage the children to ask questions and learn about different cultures supporting their education and development, as this is one of the main ways, if not the only way, the children will experience wider culture and interact with travellers. Tourists are accompanied at all times by a teacher or representative of the school.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Our local partner in Guyana is particularly passionate about helping remote communities realise some of the benefits that tourism can provide and has been instrumental in pioneering community led projects within the country.
On this trip we spend two nights at Surama. Surama is a village inhabited by Makushi Amerindians on the edge of the rainforest – it is very isolated and many miles from other settlements. The Eco-Lodge here is a community initiative that has been set up to allow local people to benefit from tourism, and the villagers take an active part in all aspects of the lodge, from managing it to acting as guides along the nearby trails. While here we are taught about the customs of the indigenous people of Guyana and shown their local traditions – not only is this a fascinating experience but it shows younger generations, who previously might have been tempted to leave the village and migrate to the capital, that there is value in maintaining these traditions. The employment that this lodge provides means that it is now a more viable option for younger people to remain in their home community.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.
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