Colombia walking vacation

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2017: 9 Jan, 5 Feb, 2 Mar, 5 Nov
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Colombia walking vacation

Environment

This 19 day program, modules and all tailor made itineries are offered by Colombia’s best tailor made operator who are guides themselves on special nature trips and take care of Colombia’s natural reserves. When staying in nature we use eco-friendly hacienda’s and local families that respect nature. We stay at the ecolodge Juan Solito at Hato la Aurora. It is all constructed of local materials maintaining the local architecture with materials as palm leaves on the roof to keep the rooms fresh. It has no airconditioning and the light is only 4 hrs on at night. The staff, local guides, the cooks and housekeepers are all people employed from nearby villages. They are born and raised with the Llanos culture of the savannas & wetlands. Hato la Aurora is a private reserve owned and preserved by a farmer's family, that has decided to dedicate themseles also to the preservation of the flora and fauna. This is an exception on its own in Colombia. There is also a project going on with the study of wild cats and images of night camera's have shown that there is luckily a population with new borns. With your visit we make an example to other Colombian farmers and the government that ecotourism can provide a way of living together with preservation of wildlife and stimulate more local particular initiatives to be taken off from the ground. The BBC and Animal Planet have been filming here indicating that the long journey to get here is more than worth all the efforts. The visit is not only a wildlife experience but also an insight in the daily life of the Colombian cowboys in this wetland savanne biome. When we enter the National Park of Cocuy we only make use of horses and local porters to bring our supplies and luggage to our mountain lodge, we all do by walking. Transfers by car only bring us to the entrance. At the National Park of Tayrona we make a trekking through the tropical forest and the luggage is brought by horses to our beach cabins which are all constructed of simple local materials. When we visit National Parks or reserves a part of the income contributes to preserve wildlife and flora and gives income to local guides and families. All local guides on your excursions are well trained to take care of you and the natural surroundings, besides giving you all information. Group trips will be guided by a Latin American expert on nature and culture with certification for Tourleaders on European level and University degree.

Community

All suppliers are small and local Colombian owners, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution to its people and country that has started to make improvements in infrastructure and social reforms. We treat our suppliers fairly and with respect, they are an important key to a great vacation which is our success when we succeed. Working together with our Colombian partner is an ongoing relationship and our shared affection for this marvellous country benefits everyone involved. When local tribes are visited this all done with the highest respect for local traditions and the people in such way that all parties involved have a learning and inspirational experience. In this itinery we show one occasion in which you can learn about a social project with children at Cartagena de Indias. If you are more interested this can be extended of course with more possibilities at eg Bogota. In Cali for instance we organize on request a salsa show in the hotel with professional salsa dancers and children from poor neighborhoods who participate in salsa concours to try to create a better future (the money we pay for this salsa show is donated directly to these children and their families). In Medellin we also work with a social project for children that can be visited. Our Colombian partner offers also special programs for foreign parents who adopted children from Colombia (in former times) to bring the now grown up children in contact again with their Colombian roots and biological families if the children wish so. In some cases the families will have to be sought as all contact has been lost. At last but not at least we offer homestays / B&B throughout Colombia of Spanish speaking families, is an authentic Colombian experience in which you directly support these families. Traveling through Colombia will be an enriching experience and it won’t stay with only one travel !

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