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The whole team were phenomenal from Bir Singh through to the guides, cooks, kitchen boys, porters - everyone. They really made the holiday/adventure the best thing I have ever done.
Quite simply I can't say enough great things about them. FANTASTIC!!!
The Americas are home to some of the world’s most important natural environments, such as the Amazon Basin (often referred to as the lungs of the world), and some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and the Andes. The cultural diversity of the Americas is just as diverse including the indigenous Inuit people of Canada, the African Black ancestry found in North America, the Mayan culture of Central America and the European influenced cultures found in Latin America. So much to protect and safe guard … and World Expeditions’ operators in the Americas go to great lengths to consider and protect both these natural and cultural landscapes.
|•||Peru: We have a zero litter policy and several years ago took things further by introducing a unique and innovative system to reduce waste. Before the great influx of tourism, plastic bottles were virtually unknown in Peru. Nowadays however, water and most soft drinks are sold in non-returnable plastic bottles. There exists virtually no infrastructure or facilities for recycling plastic. Plastic bottles at best end up in landfill but vast quantities are washed away with other rubbish into the rivers. We actively support annual clean-up initiatives, however we feel that a far better way to address this increasingly serious problem is to drastically reduce the number of plastic bottles that are used by travellers. We operate a system, which we estimate, to date has saved over 100,000 plastic bottles from being used and discarded. We have invested in refillable water dispensers that have been installed in the reception areas of the hotels we use in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. These dispensers always have a supply of fresh drinking water for our travellers to fill their drinking bottles.|
|•||Chile: At the EcoCamps we use in Patagonia we have procedures in place that include studying, testing, purchasing and installing sustainable green technologies for renewal energy supply, heat insulation and waste management. Our Environmental Management System has been ISO14.001 certified.|
|•||Costa Rica: In order to minimise waste on tour, we use whenever it is possible, products that are recycled, biodegradable, returnable or recyclable. When possible, we provide our travellers with oxo-biodegradable bottles so they do not use plastic bottles and organic cotton bags so our clients use less plastic bags. Our standard group size does not exceed 16 passengers in order to minimise the footprint of our groups.|
|•||Galapagos Islands: In 2000, our Galapagos Islands operation became one of the first recipients of SmartVoyager, a voluntary environmental program developed by Corporacion y Desarollo from Ecuador and The Rainforest Alliance from New York. In order to comply with SmartVoyager, tour boats have to meet a strict set of conservation and social standards … standards that all our boats are currently awarded through the SmartVoyager certification.|
|•||Galapagos Islands: Our local operators helped to establish the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in 2008 in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with a common goal to support environmental education and marine conservation by strengthening local communities’ ability to manage natural resources.|
|•||Guatemala: When in natural environments we use accredited guides who are highly respectful of the environment. We encourage our travellers to remain quiet, to observe wildlife respectfully and take photographs considering the welfare of wildlife at all times.|
|•||Venezuela: The local culture is so removed from our ‘civilised’ world that they don’t have any knowledge of produce that doesn’t biodegrade and so we avoid sending rubbish (e.g. plastic bottles) in the trip supplies, that the Indians don't reuse. And we educate the Indians about how to deal with the rubbish that inevitably results from our consumer society.|
|•||USA: To help keep the national parks of America beautiful our local guides on our West Coast tours in America are trained in minimal impact principles and also provide a responsible travel code of conduct to travellers who participate. Each group size is a maximum of 13 people, which helps once again to minimise our impact on each visit..|
Galapagos Islands: Biodegradable soaps and shampoos are provided in each cabin. Great care is made during our landings to ensure that we do not disturb the wildlife, with reminders given at each stage. All meals are taken aboard the ship to avoid food being taken onto the islands to prevent the introduction of any rubbish to the pristine environment.
Social & Cultural
|•||Peru: We provide all our porters with basic life and accident insurance. In addition we provide any porter (or any member of their family) full coverage of any medical costs that they incur whether it be work related or not e.g. if they have an accident in their fields or if they get any kind of illness we fund their treatment until they are well again. We are one of the only companies in Peru to care for their staff to this extent.|
|•||Peru: All our porters earn well above award wages and can also access interest free long-term loans from us as long as they can clearly indicate how those funds will be used.|
|•||Chile: Wherever possible we use the services of the local people to support the local economy.|
|•||Costa Rica: We respect the cultural integrity, privacy, beliefs and values of the communities we visit and we encourage our travellers to do the same.|
|•||Galapagos Islands: Our operations employ Ecuadorian nationals; 65% are Galapagos residents and 25% are native Galapaguenos.|
|•||Galapagos Islands: We visit and support small communities and/or artisans in various parts of Ecuador. Our guides take our travellers to weavers, tigua painters, and other artisans, visiting their workshops and their homes. Our guides maintain a personal and respectful relationship with these artisans and help support and preserve their culture and traditions.|
|•||Guatemala: Our travellers are educated about suitable behaviour relating to rituals, ceremonies and conservation that are expected of them before visiting a community, church or archaeological site.|
|•||Venezuela: When building an itinerary our Venezuelan operation first identifies an area of outstanding beauty that the local ethnic groups also likes to visit, such as Ichun Falls or Angel Falls, and then asks the Indians to help guide the trip. If the itinerary proves successful and the travellers visit on a regular enough basis, then the operation funds the Indians so that they can buy their own outboard motors, which they then pay back with the profits made on the tours.|
|•||Venezuela: Each group of travellers to Venezuela benefits a staggering number of local communities, for example a group of travellers to Auyantepui will benefit the entire Indian community of Santa Marta and some families from Kamarata (where the porters come from), the Indians of Canaima when they visit Angel Falls, the locals at the beach town of Chichirivichi de la Costa as well as the tour leader's families.|
|•||USA: We support rural tourism by buying from local outfitters, Native Americans and small, locally owned family run hotels, restaurants, markets and transport providers. By visiting rural communities you are helping local rural development by as the majority of local people are invested in conservation as most towns we visit are attached to national parks..|
|•||Peru: We have completed numerous community development projects throughout Peru. In recent years we have constructed footbridges, water tanks and pipelines and renovated schools in the villages of Qelqanqa, Tastayoq and Huilloq.|
|•||Peru: We are one of the main donors for the Ollantaytambo Medical Centre, which provides medical services to a large region near the Sacred Valley where the majority of residents work in the adventure travel industry. We have worked on innumerable large and small projects over the years. Not only do we provide financial support, we also engage in active collaboration; we meet with members of local communities to discuss needs and ways to execute projects, and engage in detailed interactive planning. We maintain contact for the duration of the project and maintain an ongoing interest.|
|•||Costa Rica: We have developed several educational programs, to enable our travellers to participate in community activities with schools, beach cleaning, and other activities.|
|•||Galapagos Islands: In an effort to give back to the town of San Cristobal, our operation has pledged to sponsor the salaries for teachers and physical therapists that work at the Alejandro Alvear School for children with physical disabilities and adults who are hearing impaired. .|
Community Project Travel
The idea is that you travel to a village to participate in hands on community work – building, rendering, installing, landscaping, and painting – whatever is required to complete the project. A portion of your trip cost funds the materials and the wages of an experienced project manager who’ll oversee the works. Each project normally requires your commitment for 3-5 days of the greater tour, after which time you’ll set off to tour and enjoy the sights. We are consistently impressed by how powerful the experience of a community project is for our travellers, as they work side by side with the local community to complete the project goals. It’s a fun and positive way to enjoy The Americas and at the same time, make a meaningful difference. Please contact us to find out about our next project in The Americas.