South America overland tour, Quito to Rio
Description of South America overland tour, Quito to Rio
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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.
PlanetOn this trip we stay at small, locally run campsites or 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. Camping, in itself, helps to conserve natural resources. There is no option to leave the lights, heating or aircon on!
In terms of water consumption our trucks carry a large supply of treated drinking water. We encourage our clients to bring reusable water bottles on their trip with them and to refill these from our truck water supply. Thus, eliminating the need to buy bottled water. We also offer a discount scheme for our clients to purchase water filtration bottles. This means that they can obtain drinking water when they are away from the truck too.
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.
We try to select campsites or hostels that share our environmental concerns. In Ecuador we stay at the Arajuno Jungle Lodge and Forest Reserve. This project not only runs its accommodation on sustainable principles but supports the local community in a variety of ways, including the development of small-scale fishponds in remote indigenous villages partly to stop villagers from fishing with dynamite in the rivers. They have also trained local people to become licensed guides. The forest reserve has a native species reproduction project for guatusas and capybara and are currently involved in trying to re-introduce turtles to the Arajuno River.
We spend one night of the trip as guests in the homes of a community of Uros Indian families on the islands of Amantani or Taquile. This gives our clients an opportunity to learn more about their hosts traditional lifestyles and also provides the families with an additional source of income.
One of the highlights of this trip is obviously trekking the Inca Trails to Machu Picchu. This trek offers opportunities of employment to large numbers of the local community. Porters, cooks and guides are required. However, much of this employment is poorly paid and working conditions are not good. The local company we use to organise our trails has a commitment to the welfare of their porters providing them with a professional wage and health insurance. They are also in the process of completing a house for the porters so that they have somewhere comfortable to stay the night before they start the trail, as many of them travel in from rural areas.
The numbers of clients we take on this tour are limited, to a maximum of twenty-four, thus reducing the environmental and cultural impact of a large group.
PeopleWe spend one night of the trip as guests, in the homes of a community of Uros Indian families on the islands of Amantani or Taquile on Lake Titicaca in Peru. This gives our clients an opportunity to learn more about their hosts traditional lifestyles and also provides the families with an additional source of income.
There are plenty of opportunities on this trip to support local businesses and guides. In Tena, in the Amazon Jungle, for example, we use experienced, knowledgeable guides to explore on foot and by motorised canoes this exotic environment for two days. We encourage our travelers to try local restaurants and local food sellers. Similarly, there are numerous options to take local guides on treks, horse riding treks - for example, in Patagonia.
On this trip we have plenty of opportunities to visit local markets and artisans. Otovalo, in Ecuador, for example is a popular destination, with it's colourful craft markets.