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Responsible Travel in Latin America

Responsible Travel in Latin America

 Featured Articles on Responsible Travel in Latin America
Central America Honduras locals
                        How to Connect Locally while Traveling Internationally: Budget-Friendly Destinations in Central America
How to visit budget destinations in Central America while connecting to the local people and culture
Guatemalan Eco-lodge Vacationing or Volunteering in an Eco-Friendly Guatemalan Mountain Lodge by Lies Ouwerkerk, Senior Contributing 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..."
Dominican eco lodge Seeing the Real Dominican Republic: A Stay at Tubagua Eco Lodge by Lebawit Lily Girma
An illustrated description of an off-the-beaten path stay at a magnificent and award-winning eco lodge in the Dominican Republic, far from the usual all-inclusive beach resorts.
Saving the Galapagos Man vs. Man: Saving the Galapagos by Tim Leffel
A story of the government and locals working together to manage the ravages of tourism using green energy and other more responsible alternatives.
Honoring Tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico, for the Day of the Dead by Jim Kane
Tenjapa Homecoming in Mexico by Jim Kane
Making a Positive Impact with Culture Xplorers by Jim Kane
Living Festivals: Getting Into the Local Spirit by Jim Kane
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
Ecotourism and Volunteer Conservation Work in Costa Rica: Monitoring Wild-Release Macaws Hatched to Fly Free
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
Discover Guatemala's Richness Through its People and Rituals by Jim Kane
Living in Nicaragua: The Eco-Travel Evolution by Randall Wood and Joshua Berman
A Day in the Life of a Mayan Village: Community  Tourism in Guatemala by Volker Poelzl
Travel in Honduras, Naturally by Terry Redding
Trekking in Patagonia: Explore Argentina's Pristine Mountains and Support Native Communities by Volker Poelzl
Travel to Study the Jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil 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
Eco-Volunteer in Argentina
Responsible Travel in Brazil: The Race to Save the Amazon by Volker Poelzl
Preserving the Flora and Fauna at Iguassu: The Border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay by Isabel Eva Bohrer
Galapagos Islands: Fragile and Fabulous by Alison Gardner

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
Custom Immersive Tours
Culture Explorers is an award-winning small tour operator that offers small tours in such places as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and other locations worldwide. Culture Explorers emphasizes participation in the living culture of the countries visited as part of immersive small group journeys. They will allow you to explore the traditions, meet local friends, support important positive impact projects through their 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

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

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, 6730 NW 7th St., SJO-826, Miami, FL 33126; 001) (506) 2225 0508; info@icads.org; 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

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; 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

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 and Volunteering with Kids 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.
We have been guiding hikes for 20 years to support the Hogar Abierto and Escuela de la Calle. These projects give housing and education to children in need.
At Quetzaltrekkers, we are all working as volunteer guides and we manage virtually all aspects of the organization. In our office you won’t find a boss or a supervisor but you will find a tight-knit team of dedicated volunteers. Working as a Quetzaltrekker guide is an incredibly rewarding experience and a lot of fun!

Contact: Quetzaltrekkers, Diagonal 12, 8-43, Zona 1, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala; +(502) 776-55895; xela@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

Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Education Center
Rancho Mastatal is a working farm and education center that provides the opportunity for hardworking, conscientious, and responsible individuals to immerse themselves in techniques and technologies related to natural building, animal husbandry, sustainable agricultural, permaculture, fermentation, homesteading, and community. For a thorough description of life on the Rancho, please see the website.

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.

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

Responsible Travel
 
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