Highlights of El Salvador holiday
Description of Highlights of El Salvador holiday
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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.
PlanetEl Salvador has several natural reserve areas with a range of endemic wildlife, and as part of this trip we are taking part in a turtle-monitoring project in Jiquilisco Bay, run by the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (known in Spanish as ICAPO). This NGO operates throughout the pacific coast of Central America, monitoring the endangered Hawksbill population and making positive changes to give these animals more protection. The organisation is wide-ranging, from breed and release programs to educating local populations on the importance of looking after the animal's habitats; we will be travelling through the mangrove canals of the Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve with a biologist, measuring the turtles, monitoring their weights, vital signs and taking tissue samples. Aside from the biologists, the program is almost entirely staffed by volunteers so this is really essential work.
In addition to this, all of our leaders have been trained on how to promote responsible tourism, particularly focusing on reducing the use of single-use plastic. On this trip the leader will advise you where to refill water bottles with clean, safe drink water, therefore reducing the necessity to buy plastic water bottles throughout your trip. We also expect all of our leaders to practice responsible waste management practices along the lines of a 'leave no trace' policy, particularly in the national parks like Los Volcanes.
As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.
PeopleEl Salvador is a country that is packed with small villages and very rural communities, so it's impossible to travel through the country without getting a flavour for what life is like here. During this trip, we have a pupusa-making class at a family-run cafe, learning how to make the traditional Salvadoran specialty (a delicious snack of stuffed corn tortillas), and we visit a coffee farm that has been in the same family for 120 years. We also spend time on the Ruta de las Flores, a series of charming villages that have distinct artsy personalities - there are many local makers selling their products in craft shops here, from pottery to glassware. There is also a weekly food festival attended by locals from all the neighbouring towns, with various different food stalls and musicians adding some atmosphere.
Part of the tour is a visit to La Cinquera, a community led by ex-guerrillas who made the forest near Suchitoto their home after the civil war of the 80s-90s destroyed so many of the nearby towns. We really learn a lot from the guides, many of whom were guerrilla fighters during this time, and this excursion plays a key part in our understanding of this country's rocky history.
El Salvador doesn't have many big hotels, and as such the properties we use are small, locally run and we know that the money is staying within the community.
As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.