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Responsible Travel in Latin America

Responsible Travel in Latin America

 Featured Articles on Responsible Travel in Latin America
Guatemalan Eco-lodge Vacationing or Volunteering in an Eco-Friendly Guatemalan Mountain Lodge by Lies Ouwerkerk, Independent Travel Editor
Imagine waking up to the first rays of sunshine casting their spell on smoke puffing volcanoes and a lush valley just in front of you. And then realizing where you actually are: in a comfortable, rustic king size bed inside a secluded, window-walled tree house, with a hammock waiting for you on a private deck, your own bathroom with a hot shower just down the stairs, and a message pinned on the wall: "Welcome! This tree house is built into the oak tree. If the wind is strong, it will sway a little bit..."
How to Connect Locally while Traveling Internationally: Budget-Friendly Destinations in Central America by Amy E. Robertson
Responsible Travel and Ecotourism in Mexico and Central America by Ron Mader
Xochimilco Gardens: Tourism Maintains Jobs for Thousands of Worker by Ron Mader
Responsible Shopping at the Markets of Oaxaca by Ron Mader
Mayan Community Tours Enrich a Visit to Mexico's Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve by Alison Gardner
Tenjapa Homecoming in Mexico by Jim Kane
Life's a Beach: But There's Also Much More to the Mexican Communities You Visit by Michele Peterson
A Waterfall Lover's Paradise: Chiapas Community Group Preserves Eco-Trail in Mexico by Michele Peterson
Volunteer, Vacation and Community Travel on a Ranch in Chiapas, Mexico by Tim King
A Mayan Experience in Eastern Mexico by Robert Gosnell
Preserving Pink Flamingos: Visitors to Celestun, Mexico are Treated to a Colorful Spectacle by Gerhard Buttner
Conserving Sea Turtles in Mexico: Volunteer at an Eco-Friendly Resort by Jodi Helmer
Honoring Tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the Day of the Dead by Jim Kane
Community Ecotourism: Similar Opportunities and Challenges in South Africa and Mexico by Gerhard Buttner
Rafting to a Jungle Lodge in Costa Rica: Indulge in a Sustainable Adventure by Katherine McIntyre
Rural Community Tourism—Costa Rican Style: Get to Know the People, Their Culture, and Their Environment
Helping Out in Costa Rica
A Day in the Life of a Mayan Village: Community  Tourism in Guatemala by Volker Poelzl
Eco-Volunteering in Guatemala: Work for the Good of Others and the Environment.
Travel in Honduras, Naturally by Terry Redding
Ecotourism in Honduras by Michele Peterson
Train Nature Guides in Central America, Change Lives in Central America
South American Eco-Lodges for the Responsible Traveler
Trekking in Patagonia: Explore Argentina's Pristine Mountains and Support Native Communities by Volker Poelzl
The Other Brazilian Vacation: Studying the Jaguar in the Pantanal with Earthwatch by Marsha Johnston
Honey Island: A Brazilian Eco-Friendly Destination as Sweet as its Name by Dan Moore
The Coca Plant Paradox: A Simple Little Leaf With a Complicated History in South America by Tim Leffel
Saving Machu Picchu by Tim Leffel
Making a Positive Impact with Culture Xplorers by Jim Kane
Living Festivals: Getting Into the Local Spirit by Jim Kane
Eco-Volunteer in Argentina
Responsible Travel in Brazil: The Race to Save the Amazon by Volker Poelzl
Amazon Fantasies and Realities: A Responsible Traveler Takes a Magical Mystery Tour by Dianne Brause
Conserving the Iguassu Falls (Cataratas del Iguazú) in Brazil and Argentina by Isabel Eva Bohrer
Community Tourism in Ecuador: Development Model Is Transforming Villages
Man vs. Man: Saving the Galapagos by Tim Leffel
Galapagos Islands: Fragile and Fabulous by Alison Gardner
Galapagos Travel: Education Is the Key to Sustainable Tourism in the Galapagos

United Planet
Sea Turtle Conservation In Costa Rica
Volunteers work at various beach locations conserving sea turtle populations in Southern Costa Rica. The projects main objective is to protect the nests from human poachers and more recently from beach erosion. This helps to promote long-term survival of the population and includes the recovery of affected populations as well as critical habitat protection.
Sea Turtle Conservation In Costa Rica with United Planet Cost: Varies with duration of your stay.
Dates: Starts in August or January.
Contact: United Planet, 11 Arlington St, Boston MA 02116, USA.
Tel.:
800-292-2316 or 617-267-7763.
Email: quest@unitedplanet.org
Website: www.unitedplanet.org
Featured

Volunteer in Ecuador and Experience 4 Worlds
Lead Adventures are local specialists who know Ecuador & Galapagos intimately. Thirty volunteer programs offered throughout South America. Whether you are young or mature, shy or extroverted, laid-back or adventurous, Lead Adventures has something for everyone (individuals, groups, families). Live with like-minded volunteers and quickly make new friends. Four locations: Andes, Coast, Amazon, Galapagos with these featured projects: Galapagos Experience (3islands/3weeks, volunteer and travel); Animal Welfare & Rescue Ctrs. (Andes, Coast, Amazon), Humanitarian, Sports Coaching (Football, Tennis, Golf) and more!! Time off can be spent exploring the locality and furthering your adventures. Spending time on one of our eco-friendly projects or assisting in a humanitarian project will give you a unique travel experience whilst changing lives forever, including your own!
Volunteer in Ecuador and the Galapagos with Lead Adventures Dates: Year round. Most programs start every Monday of the year.
Cost: Depends but as local operators our costs are significantly lower than external agencies.
Contact: Lead Adventures Ecuador & Galapagos, Juan Leon Mera 1574 y La Pinta (2nd floor office 2A) Quito - Ecuador
Tel.: US/Canada 1 800 579 3905 or Ecuador 5 932 254 1633
Email: info@lead-adventures.com.
Websites: www.lead-adventures.com
Featured

Beyond Touring - BELIZE Eco Tours & Programs
Best of Belize Eco Tour
Swim, explore, climb, see exotic birds, relax, snorkel, dive, and truly help others less fortunate. This 8-day affordable high end eco tour covers the highlights of Belize, 1) Maya ruins, 2) tropical forests, 3) World Heritage Site barrier reef, and 4) cave tubing & exploring. Also included: Meaningful cross-cultural experience that truly 'gives back' to Indian Church Village, in northern Belize.

Visit: www.beyondtouring.com

Biosfera Brasil Eco-Social Tours
Biosfera Brasil is a tourism company specialized in receiving foreign tourists in the Brazilian best ecological destinations. We believe that tourism is much more than visiting famous monuments and taking beautiful photos. In our opinion, tourism is the best opportunity to learn about the world we live in and how to preserve nature. Biosfera Brasil is managed by Brazilians with a deep international experience and local tourism knowledge. Our programs are developed under the “Eco-Social Tourism” concept, bringing travelers to meet the local communities, contributing with local social and environmental projects.

Contact: biosfera@biosferabrasil.com, www.biosferabrasil.com/index_home.php

Birding tours in Guatemala, Cayaya Birding
Cayaya Birding supports with its tours various conservation programs in rural communities in Guatemala.

Contact: info@cayaya-birding.com, www.cayaya-birding.com.

Campanario Biological Reserve
Environmental education programs (all ages students), field trips, Rainforest Camps, Teachers' professional development programs.

Contact: info@campanario.org, www.campanario.org

Central American Service Expeditions
Service Learning Expeditions to Central America
Teachers! Design with us an innovative educational travel program for your students. We specialize in working with teachers to create custom service learning trips to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Explore topics in science, economic development, environmental conservation, and more! We will fit the program to your needs and your students will learn the value of service to others. 10% of the fee is donated directly to the local communities you visit and all participants offset the carbon of your travel. Experience Latin America in a totally new and responsible way as you and your students serve and learn from local people!

Contact: info@serviceexpeditions.net, www.serviceexpeditions.net

Costa Rica Conservation Trust (CRCT)
Socially and Environmentally Responsible Travel to Costa Rica Program
If traveling to Costa Rica, make sure to support socially and environmentally responsible businesses. Support locally-owned green lodges and tour companies. Costa Rica Conservation Trust (CRCT) is compiling a list of hotels, lodges and tour companies that are treading lightly on the fragile ecosystems of this land, and that are contributing positively to the auto-sustainable development of Costa Rican local communities.

Contact: info@conservecostarica.org, www.conservecostarica.org

Culture Explorers
Immersive Argentina
Participate in the living culture of Argentina as part of this immersive small group journey. We'll explore the traditions, meet local friends & support important positive impact projects through our visits. Each departure coincides with an important local festival or celebration.
Immersive Guatemala
Participate in the living culture of Guatemala as part of this immersive small group journey. We'll explore the traditions, meet local friends & support important positive impact projects through our visits. Each departure coincides with an important local festival or celebration.
Immersive Mexico
Participate in the living culture of Mexico as part of this immersive small group journey. We'll explore the traditions, meet local friends & support important positive impact projects through our visits. Each departure coincides with an important local festival or celebration.
Immersive Peru
Participate in the living culture of Peru as part of this immersive small group journey. We'll explore the traditions, meet local friends & support important positive impact projects through our visits. Each departure coincides with an important local festival or celebration.

Contact: info@culturexplorers.com, www.culturexplorers.com

Eco Volunteer UP
Eco Volunteer UP is an Ecuadorian non-profit organization composed of a group of Ecuadorians who work through volunteers to conserve the forests of Ecuador, to improve the communities' economies and to give Ecuadorian children a better life. We offer volunteers real immersion in the various Ecuadorian ecosystems, and real opportunities for learning and sharing Ecuadorian cultures, customs and traditions, all the while helping different projects promote their development and changing lives.

Contact: ecovolunteerup@ecovolunteerup.org, www.ecovolunteerup.org

EcoLogic Development Fund
Forwards relevant resumés from students and professionals (written in Spanish) to partner organizations in Central America, looking for interns and volunteers in the fields of conservation, community development, and social justice. Minimum attachment is normally 3 months in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Contact: Harvard Square, 25 Mount Auburn St., Ste. 203, Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-441-6300; fax. 617-441-6307; info@ecologic.org; www.ecologic.org.

Ecology Project International
Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program (STEP)
This tropical hotspot and travel destination contains an amazing 5% of the worlds biodiversity. Costa Ricas Caribbean coast where Ecology Project Internationals program site is located is the fourth most important nesting beach worldwide for Leatherback sea turtles, a critically endangered species. Through our Sea Turtle Ecology Program, youth from Costa Rica and around the world work in partnership with the Pacuare Nature Reserve to conserve and protect these sea turtles from extinction.
Baja & the Sea of Cortez Island Ecology Program and Whale Ecology Program
The Sea of Cortez hosts 39% of the worlds marine mammal species and was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. From John Steinbeck to Aldo Leopold, Baja California Sur has captured the worlds imagination and become a unique travel destination. Through our Island and Whale Ecology Programs, Ecology Project International students from Mexico and around the world work in partnership with local institutions to conserve Baja California Surs desert and marine environments.
Galapagos Islands Ecology Program
One of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, the spectacular Galápagos Islands host a unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Through our Galápagos Islands Ecology Program, Ecology Project International students from the Galápagos and around the world work in partnership with the Galápagos National Park and local institutions to conserve the archipelago. Students travel to several locations on three different islands, studying and experiencing this magical place.

Contact: info@ecologyproject.org, www.ecologyproject.org

Ecotrackers Foundation
Volunteer Work in Ecuador
Ecotrackers works to preserve the cultural and biological diversity of Ecuador through the development of indigenous community in ecotourism and other projects. Volunteers are sent to 17 indigenous communities and 10 National Protected Areas, to stay between one week and 6 months and to carry out a variety of tasks that go from teaching English in children's school, until ecotourism and eco-production with patents, eco-development; and other projects such as reforestation, health & sanitation, and agricultural development. Ecotrackers is currently developing an experimental farm in the cloud-forest near Quito to demonstrate sustainable agriculture.

Contact: email@ecotrackers.com, www.ecotrackers.com

EcuadorExplorer.com
Useful information about working and volunteering in Ecuador with links to about a dozen organizations with volunteer programs.

Contact: www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/work_or_volunteer.html

Fundación Cabo San Francisco
Volunteers accepted on projects in the northern province of Esmeraldas to conserve flora and fauna. Placements last between 10 days and 3 months or longer. Participation fee is $300 a month.

Contact: Programa de Voluntarios, Casilla 17-15-73-B, Quito, Ecuador; 011-593-2-278 8061; volunteer@fcsf.org, www.fcsf.org

Galápagos Travel
Workshops in the Galápagos Islands. Specializing in comprehensive, educationally-oriented, professionally-led natural history tours of the Galápagos Islands. Each trip spends 11 days to 2 full weeks in the Galápagos, touring all the significant outer islands, and allowing for a maximum of wildlife observation. Three distinct itineraries available.

Contact: Galápagos Travel, 783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite 47, Aptos, CA 95003; 800-969-9014, fax 831-689-9195; galapagostravel@compuserve.com, www.galapagostravel.com.

Global Exchange
Responsible Travel in Colombia
In Colombia, meet with peace communities, union leaders, women's organizations, Indigenous and Afro-Colombia peoples, Fair Trade farmers, and union leaders as we strive to go beyond Washington's "War on Drugs" to meet the people struggling for peace and justice during Colombia's 40 year civil war. Join Fellowship of Reconciliation and Global Exchange on a human rights delegation to support the building of a culture of peace within an environment of conflict.
Responsible Travel in Cuba
In March, 2003 the Bush Administration revoked the "people-to-people" license that facilitated legal travel to Cuba. However this has not stopped Global Exchange. We currently offer the opportunity to participate in research delegations under the following categories: Environment, Education, Healthcare and Community Development. We also provide customized tours for humanitarian organizations, educational institutions and religious groups with a license that need program and logistical support.
Responsible Travel in Nicaragua
Explore Nicaragua and learn about the devastating impacts of IMF policies. Meet with women's groups, trade unions, and Fair Trade cooperatives. Visit Managua's infamous factory zones and learn about Nicaragua's culture of resistance. Global Exchange is also sponsoring several highly motivated individuals to travel to Nicaragua this harvest season and work with a Fair Trade coffee cooperative (CECOCAFEN). This is a unique opportunity to experience the other side of the struggle for social and economic justice.
Responsible Travel in Venezuela
Venezuela is at the center of a new, progressive model of socioeconomic development that is shaping Latin America’s future. After briefly being forced from office in 2002, President Hugo Chavez has embarked upon some of the most innovative social programs that the region has ever seen. We meet with journalists, oil executives and grassroots organizations to for a deeper understanding of the situation in Venezuela and why the U.S. is involved.

Contact: realitytours@globalexchange.org, www.globalexchange.org/tours

Ibike Tours / International Bicycle Fund
Ibike Ecuador Exploration
Small group, immersion, bicycle tours, designed to get you out of the box, enrich your life and introduce you to the rich diversity of the people, their culture and the environment of the area. IBF programs are designed to provide participants an opportunity to learn more about the world at a person-to-person level not usually available to tourist. Itineraries highlight the cultural, historical, economic and physical diversity of the area. Throughout the program there are discussions on history, indigenous culture, gender rights and roles, music, language, religion, geology, botany and ecology, great people to meet and scenic beauty to die for.
Ibike Guyana Many People, Many Waters
Gain a better understanding of the rich ecology, culture, history, politics, social institutions, sustainable development projects and beauty of Guyana.

Contact: ibike@ibike.org, www.ibike.org/ibike

ICADS Field Course in Resource Management and Sustainable Development
The Institute for Central American Development Studies, (ICADS) offers an interdisciplinary semester program in Costa Rica focusing on development from ecological, socio-economic perspectives. Semester includes: 4 weeks of intensive Spanish and social issues, 5 weeks in the field in managed and natural ecosystems learning methodologies of field research in social and natural sciences (banana transnationals, traditional agriculture, community cooperatives; cloud forest and watershed management); 5 weeks of independent research - working in rural communities. Fall and spring semesters with academic credit.

Contact: Institute for Central American Development Studies c/o ICADS, Dept. 826, P.O. Box 025216, Miami, Florida 33102-5216. Email: info@icads.org. Website: www.icads.org.

Iracambi Atlantic Rainforest Research and Conservation Center
Located in the Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil we are offering people the chance to learn how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a beautiful, but little visited part of Brazil. GIS is increasingly used in a number of different disciplines to collect and manipulate data - this course will provide the opportunity to learn about this in the context of land management planning. Learning the new skill will provide you with a way to learn more about Brazil.

Contact: iracambi@iracambi.com, www.iracambi.com

La Confluencia
Patagonia Voluntourism and Adventure Travel
La Confluencia ecolodge and farm runs voluntourism programs throughout the summer (Nov-Feb.) in Patagonia, Argentina. Participants will help with an number of projects within the Rio Azul Protected Area (part of the world's largest UNESCO Temperate Rainforest Preserve) such as trail maintenance, footbridge construction, and selective eradication of invasive species, as well as social assistance projects involving the local community, such as vegetable garden development, greenhouse construction, and home repairs. Depending on individuals' interest and fitness levels, various wilderness adventure options can be combined such as whitewater rafting and kayaking, trekking, horseback riding, and climbing / rappelling.

Contact: www.laconfluencia.com

Maquipucuna Foundation, Inc.
Cloud forest reserve near Quito in Ecuador which accepts paying volunteers.

Contact: Baquerizo #238, P.O. Box 17-12-167, Quito, Ecuador, fax. 011-593-2-250 7201. Also: c/o Inst. of Ecology, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602- 2202; 706-542-2968; volunteers@maquipucuna.org; www.maqui.org

More Local — Colombia Travel, Adventure Tours, and Excursions
All-new More Local offers innovative trip itineraries that take you deep into the daily life of rural Colombia. This is not your average coffee tour or Amazon trip! Through unique workshops with local people and involvement in local development and environmental projects, More Local is travel in its most experiential form. Meet local people, get to know about them and their livelihoods, and maybe even learn a few new skills along the way. It doesn't get more local than this!

Visit: www.morelocal.co

Mundo Verde Spanish School
Spanish school has links with development project in the rainforest and with many other voluntary projects to which students can be assigned (no fee).

Contact: Nueva Alta, 432-A Cusco, Peru; 011-51-84-221287; info@mundoverdespanish.com, www.mundoverdespanish.com

Parallel 41 Patagonia
Offering specialized ecotourism programs through the Argentine and Chilean Patagonia for individuals, families and small groups. Stay in unique lodgings surrounded by nature with access to wildlife observation, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities. Spend time with field specialists and researchers that study local flora and fauna of Patagonia. Enjoy an authentic cultural experience. Eco-programs for all ages and interests.

Contact: info@parallel41.com; 1-858-764-1896; www.parallel41.com.

Piedra Blanca Community Ecotourism Project
A community ecotourism project providing alternative sources of income whilst sustaining the local rainforest. Volunteers are needed to teach English to local guides, service providers and school children. Other volunteering opportunities are also available.

Contact: ecopiedrablanca@hotmail.com, www.piedrablanca.org

PRETOMA (Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas)
San Jose, Costa Rica. Qualified Interns and Volunteers walk the 4km beach on a nightly basis looking for nesting sea turtles. When found, turtles are measured, tagged, and checked for general health conditions. Nests are then taken, monitored, and protected in a project hatchery. Hatchery duties include monitoring for hatching baby turtles and releasing them into the ocean, as well as post hatching nest excavations to determine success rates.

Contact: info@tortugamarina.org, www.tortugamarina.org.

Proyecto Asis Spanish Institute
Spanish language courses,learn in ecological reserve in rain forest, near volcano Arenal, small groups. Asis Job Volunteer: Ecological work in different areas.

Contact: info@institutoasis.com, www.institutoasis.com.

Quetzaltrekkers
Eco-Friendly Adventure Trekking in Guatemala
Quetzaltrekkers is Guatemala´s only all volunteer managed, non-profit trekking/hiking organization. Quetzaltrekkers offers multi-day adventure treks and one day excursions in the highlands of western Guatemala to an international clientele of outdoor enthusiasts. We follow locally sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices. Volunteer guides are always needed.

Contact: Quetzaltrekkers, Casa Argentina, 12 Diagonal, 8-37, Zona 1, Quetzaltenango; 011-502- 7765-5895; info@quetzaltrekkers.com, www.quetzaltrekkers.com.

The Rainforest Education & Resource Centre (CREES)
Fauna Forever is a training, team building and environmental monitoring initiatives located in important biologically and culturally diverse habitats. There are currently two programs based in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, a conservation area in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. The programs are an adventurous yet professional way to experience and learn first-hand about humid tropical ecosystems and indigenous Amazon cultures whilst contributing to valuable on-going research.

Contact: info@crees-manu.org, www.crees-manu.org

Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) in Costa Rica
Located on the beautiful Sarapiqui River, the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to link the community with conservation. We are currently looking for a volunteer to run our Environmental Education Program. This includes leading weekly ecology clubs to students at local schools and at the Center, supporting the community in conservation projects, and helping community members build on their ecotourism projects.

Contact: info@learningcentercostarica.org, www.learningcentercostarica.org

Sustainable Bolivia
Our mission is to promote economic and environmental sustainability, while offering global citizens with valuable volunteer opportunities. Sustainable Bolivia partners with over 30 organizations in the Cochabamba area, which vary in the work of health, education, human rights and the environment. We work towards providing these organizations with much needed human and financial support. In addition to facilitating both internships and volunteerships, we offer accommodation, 24-hour staff support, language classes, international phone calls, internet use and much more.
Energetica
Energetica seeks to improve the quality of life of rural and marginal urban populations by promoting development through the rational use of energy. At present, only 17.2% of rural families have access to energy sources. Energetica aims to change this by offering alternatives such as solar power which would cover up to 98% of a family’s energy needs. See www.sustainablebolivia.org/ENERGETICA.html for more.

Contact: Devan Colley, Assistant National Director, Sustainable Bolivia, Calle Julio Arauco Prado #230, Zona Las Cuadras, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Tel. +591 4233786 / 415-513-5582. Email: information@sustainablebolivia.org. Website: www.sustainablebolivia.org.

Witness for Peace Delegations
WFP delegations combine international travel and education with the struggle for peace, economic justice, and alternative development. Delegates witness firsthand the effects of global economic trends on the people of Latin America and meet with local partners and community members in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, or Nicaragua to explore cross-border advocacy.

Contact: Delegations Associate, 3628 12th Street NE, 1st Floor, Washington DC 20017, USA; Tel. 202-547-6112; delegations@witnessforpeace.org, www.witnessforpeace.org.

WWOOF International (Willing Workers on Organic Farms)
Many countries in Latin America participate in this unique worldwide exchange organization. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF organizations link people who want to volunteer on organic farms with people who are seeking volunteer help. Each country works slightly differently, but generally a very small membership fee is charged in exchange for a listing of available opportunities.

Visit: wwoofinternational.org

Yarok Green Tours
Ecotour in Costa Rica
Total immersion ecotours in Costa Rica for families, groups and students interested in exploring the nature and wildlife of Costa Rica.

Contact: info@yaroktours.com, www.yaroktours.com

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