This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Luxury Colombia vacation
Neighbourhoods in impoverished areas of Colombia are not provided with proper waste management services from the local governments. This has led to significant accumulation of trash and sanitary issues.
As a travel operator, we believe that it is our responsibility to carefully choose the providers we are going to work with, making sure they will also contribute to improve waste management and conditions of their local areas. For example, we expect our guides and transportation providers to never litter, to help pick-up trash that is found in nature trails, having exemplary behaviour in front of locals who do not respect waste management, and help dispose trash properly in areas with proper waste bins and services.
A concrete example would be the fishermen village of La Boquilla, located just 15 minutes from the Old City of Cartagena. The village is located in an extraordinary ecosystem of salt-water lakes and mangroves, home to countless bird and animal species, but it has been suffering from poor waste treatment for decades.
In that particular neighbourhood we made the choice of working with a provider who’s objective is to improve the conditions of the community from a social and an environmental perspective. The community has seen how ecotourism has attracted foreign visitors to their village, and pay money to experience their culture and natural surroundings. As they are receiving monetary benefits from preserving their natural surroundings, they are now more keen on managing waste better, recycling, and not littering.
The Sierra Nevada mountains have been inhabited by indigenous communities for thousands of years. Today, the Wiwa, Kogui, Arhuaco and Kankuamo communities continue to preserve their traditional way of life, a strong culture and a belief system based on Mother Earth. As the “Elder Brothers”, these indigenous communities are the guardians of the Sierra Nevada, as they help protect and restore the forests, water sources, and fauna of the area.
A percentage of the profits from Casa Galavanta, our cloud forest lodge in Sierra Nevada, are dedicated to supporting local indigenous communities’ and projects to revitalize traditional education where the preservation of nature is a priority. It is critical that the new generations in these indigenous communities continue upholding the importance of protecting the environment and preserving their ancient culture, traditions and beliefs. Additionally, by providing non-monetary support with food, materials and school supplies, indigenous communities won’t have to resort to giving away their land and resources in order to meet their needs. This minimizes the negative impact that landowners can have with deforestation for cattle, mass agriculture, and non-sustainable infrastructure.
Local Crafts & Culture
As part of the Galavanta experience, guests receive presents and surprises in each destination. These consist of local treats or handcrafts sourced directly from artisans and producers, in order to ensure they are paid properly for their hard work and to promote their skills and products. For example, we source colourful mochila bags directly from Wayuu women, hand fans from artisans in Usuacuri, hand-woven aguadeño sombreros from the women of Aguadas, chocolates from organic producers, etc. Our objective is to surprise guests at every point of their trip, while showing them the variety of products from Colombia, which they can take back as souvenirs. This is also motivating for the artisans and producers, as they are receiving better payment for their work, and are excited to see how their work is appreciated by foreign visitors.
Friends & Neighbours
In Galavanta, we truly believe that tourism can bring great benefits a country by including as many stakeho9lders as possible. This is why we tend to always promote modest sized business run by locals, including tours, hotels or restaurants.
For instance, we work with families who run Coffee Farms and hotels in the Coffee Region. Few of our partners are small family-run businesses that did not necessarily had any experience in the tourism industry. We still have taken the bet to work closely with them when developing tours, and we are now really proud to see them as some of the most established providers in the region. Also, the great majority of the restaurants we recommend throughout the country are owned by locals who have worked their way to renew Colombia’s gastronomic scene.
We do not only work with them but also provide them with strong feedback from us and our clients in order for them to be constantly developing and improving their product so they become solid players in the market. As being part of our value chain, it is our responsibility to choose well these partners and try to contribute to their constant improvement so they attract more clients and develop their business.