Curly Guide Tours

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Altus Mar Travel provides travel and tourism related services in Romania by promoting ecotourism in a responsible way. We like to lead hikes, trekking and camping trips and combine them with cultural places. Our guides are trying to focus on local culture, wilderness adventures and are trying to teach travellers how locals are living of the land around them. Usually we travel in small groups to make as small impact as possible on the environment and to provide traveller a real experience.
Member since: 18 Mar 2020

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

Altus Mar Travel is a small company that collaborates only with local guides and with small local businesses in order to give back to the local communities. We are trying to involve as much as possible the local guides to make sure that we offer a genuine experience. We believe that locals can better show tourists how we lucky because they live. The accommodations that we are choosing are people run guesthouses. We always try to buy local food and in Romania people grow their own vegetables and have their own animals. Moreover by involving them we contribute to the local wealth of people.

For the moment we are volunteering in a local NGO that fights for the social inclusion of disadvantaged children. By our involvement, some of the disadvantaged children from around Cluj are having a chance to better education. Another way that we are supporting local projects and people is by using their products. We plan that in the future to volunteer in a planting tree association.

Environmental responsibility

Protecting nature is our goal. In our daily activities Altus Mar Travel aims to reduce at maximum the waste in order to protect the nature. In the office as well as in the nature recycling methods are used. So far no printed brochures were used. Tourists are encouraged to not print their booking ticket, but rather to show it directly on the phone.

We guide tourists to appreciate animals and nature in a new way. Often, this means using bikes and hiking boots instead of cars, rowboats, and canoes instead of motorboats, and touring parks out of season, to lessen the stress visitors have on natural environments. We prefer to travel in a smaller group.

Romania is a country with many lakes and rivers and we are among the few countries in the world where tap water is good to drink, but we think globally, so our water-saving tips for tourists are:

Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – “this can save 6 liters of water per minute”
Take a shorter shower. Showers can use anything between 6 and 45 liters per minute.
Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge. This will mean you do not have to leave the cold tap running for the water to run cold before you fill your bottle for hiking.
Drink water from the mountain spring. In Romania, we have many springs in the mountain area. We encourage tourists to use them to hydrate during the hike. It’s the best water that they can drink (and free too). This is how we save energy because tap water consumes energy to be filtered.
If for example, they forgot their bottle with water in the sun, we give water to an animal or plants instead of pouring it down the drain.
In our travels we recommend tourists to buy food from the locals and not from fast food, for example, the sunflower seed needs very little water while a hamburger consume the equivalent of 25 showers in the preparation process.
Manufacture hiking equipment companies use a lot of water, we do not ask tourists to buy new equipment, we rent our equipment. “this is how we save water and energy”

In case the tourists forgot their water bottles or if they have plastic bottles we offer a nice reusable one as a gift.

e encourage tourists to visit our national and natural parks outside the season to prevent overstraining resources. We only hike on the marked paths; we do never leave the hiking paths. For us, safety comes first in our activities either if we talk about people, either about plants and animals. We emphasize the importance of limiting the the impact that the tourists/tourism can have on the environment and explain them that even a small path can destroy the habitat of certain species, by interrupting their access from one way to another.
The the way we travel inside the protected areas, using bikes and hiking boots instead of cars, rowboats and canoes instead of motorboats are also to respect nature and protect the environment and avoid pollution.

In our activities we are very often asked by the tourists about recommendations. We are trying to offer suggestions for destination visits that are following our mindset. If we are speaking about direct environmental benefits, thinking here at Bear Sanctuary (bears were saved from zoos or circles and since they could not adapt in the wild they were rescued here) or about the planting trees campaigns that are in organized in the area. We like to recommend the tourists the agro-tourism to find out more about nature, but also about the real Romanian life. In Romania, most of the guesthouses in the countryside have their gardens and they usually show the interested tourists how they are growing their food only by using natural fertilizers without pesticides. If we are speaking about indirect environmental benefits, we are encouraging them to visit different handcraft local projects.

We are not using or we are limiting at maximum our use of plastic. As mentioned previously we are not using plastic bottles for water. In case the tourists forgot their water bottles during the hikes or if they have plastic bottles, we offer a nice reusable one. If we offer sandwiches, we are not using plastic wraps, but we prefer paper bags. If we are camping, we are not using plastic plates or cutleries. We do believe that the self-example and the discussions about the damage that plastics are causing to nature are helpful in the fight against the single-use of plastic.
Due to the fact that our office is only two km away from home, we walk daily.
We do support local food as much as possible mainly when we are going with tourists on the trip, by recommending them the places where they can buy local fruits, gems or other handmade food. When meals are included, we like to take them to local restaurants that are very often growing their food. In the van, we are always having a basket of local fruits for the small breaks that we are making.

Social responsibility

Before the trip we are informing tourists about the most important aspects connected to our program. They should be aware of the basic rules that they will need to follow in a protected area or when meeting a local. For us it is very important to manage to transmit how they should minimize the impact on the local communities and how to transform their experience towards sustainable community benefits. We are trying to involve local craftsmen; local people who are preserving the customs and traditions or local organizations that are taking care of the animals.

Romania, one of the EU countries, is considered to be a safe zone and no prerequisite preparation is needed. The basic rules that have to be respected in any other country from the world are to be followed. Before the trip, we are informing tourists about the safe political situation and the most important aspects connected to our program.  

Travelers are informed due to the trips on particular customs and traditions that Romanian people have or about things that can be considered disrespectful in some places. We are informing them even about some language aspects that can cause conflicts (very offensive words in English that in Romanian language are common words or opposite). Generally, we are trying to predict the aspects that can have a negative impact and we are addressing them before the damage can be caused.

Most often both of us are directly involved in the guiding around Transylvania, being ourselves locals. There are situations when we collaborate with local guides to give back to the local communities. We are trying to involve as much as possible the local guides to make sure that we offer a genuine experience. We believe that locals are always able to show tourists how they live.

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