This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Tour of Patagonia, El Calafate & Torres del Paine
As a locally owned Argentine business, we strive to operate all of our tours in a responsible manner. We work with local tour operators, tour guides and properties to ensure that they understand the importance of protecting the environment as it is a finite resource that, if managed properly, can provide economic benefit to the local community.
We follow all local environmental laws and legislation, and work with local partners that minimally impact the natural surroundings to ensure that we protect the national parks and destinations that we visit for future generations.
National Park entrance fees are paid directly to the national parks by the clients to ensure that they directly support the parks´ maintenance and preservation.
During our trekking tours with overnight camping in a national park, local or wilderness site, we aim to minimize waste by using products with minimum packaging, leaving no litter behind, keeping all water sources clean and leave the camp sites cleaner than we found them. At the core of this effort is the desire to leave no trace behind and to minimize our impact on the beautiful lands that we visit.
We are working to keep our operations green and are utilizing web/e-communication to reduce paper consumption. We have taken the decision to no longer produce 75 page printed brochures and focus on web/e-communications. We utilize low energy lightbulbs in our offices, recycle paper/glass and try to minimize our water consumption. We also reduce our plastic bottle waste by providing refillable large water coolers. Additionally, we are constantly assessing our operations to see how we may partner with and support local communities, NGOs, wilderness areas, regional and national parks that we visit.
We are also looking into how we might implement a voluntary carbon-offset program for our clients.
As an Argentine owned travel business, we understand the importance of supporting our local partners during both the good times and the bad times. By partnering with locally owned hotels, activity providers, guides, restaurants and properties over the years, we not only ensure a high level of quality and that our clients' needs are satisfied, but we also develop long term relationships with local business owners and help them plan and prepare for the busy and slow times of the year. And this also helps our clients to better experience the local culture.
We hire local guides and pay them a solid wage (which is generally higher than the local average). We also train our guides and cover the associated costs with the training program.
We prefer small, family run operations to ensure that we help sustain the community economy, and actively seek them out rather than using international chains.
We donate each month to the Argentine not-for-profit organization, “Por los Chicos” and our support benefits poor and vulnerable street children in Argentina.
In addition, we also share our ethos of cultural and environmental respect with our local partners. Be it a small hotel, mountain lodge, kayak or hiking guide/outfitter, we ensure that they work their best to incorporate environmental and culturally sensitive best practice in their operations, so as to benefit the diverse communities in which we operate.
On this trip in particular, we work closely with the local Patagonian communities near Torres del Paine and Calafate, and in our pre-departure materials (and on tour) we recommend local cafes, restaurants and shops to ensure that our clients support the local businesses. In addition, we hire certified and local Argentine mountain guides to ensure that those clients interested in guided hiking will have the best local leaders available.
We also work closely with our local, family owned partners to ensure that we visit these pristine environments.
Reviews of Tour of Patagonia, El Calafate & Torres del Paine
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 29 Apr 2015 by Joanna Drzewieniecki
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
I loved traveling around Patagonia, visiting blue and greenish blue lakes, the steppes, the glaciers, the snow capped mountains, the unusual wildlife. An extra bonus was the view out of my hotel window directly in front of Lago Argentino, over which the skies constantly changed. For me, Patagonia was pure magic.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
The vacation company provides you with many options so take advantage of their services. They are also on standby should you need help, want to make changes, or anything else. Remember that you don't have to be a young trekker to go to Patagonia. If you can't walk much there are all kinds of tours by bus or 4x4 which will take you to many hauntingly beautiful areas.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
All guides were environmentally conscious and anxious to preserve the natural environment. Local people benefit greatly from tourism, the principal economic activity in the area. The interesting thing is that many of these people first came to visit and then feel in love with the area where one can live far from the hassles of big cities and in harmony with nature.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Five stars. I live in Peru and found the British site "Responsible Travel" completely by accident. I will certainly use this agency again.