Montenegro yoga vacation

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Montenegro yoga vacation

Environment

We want our vacations to be high impact in experience but low impact on the environment! Once you’re at the villa, transport will be mostly on foot, kayak or bike, with car transfers provided to starting points for excursions or restaurants if needed.

Lake Skadar is a National Park and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and your visit and National Park fees will help promote and sustain responsible tourism and protection for this area. As such, our tour guides will encourage you to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times by supporting the Leave No Trace principles – traveling where possible along marked water channels, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find (unless it’s other people’s rubbish!), respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors and the local community.

We are committed to local conservation projects and have contributed actively as well as financially to local initiatives, most notably a CZIP (Montenegrin RSPB) project to help repair and maintain nesting rafts for the local, endangered Dalmatian Pelican colony. As the leading sustainable tour operator in the country, it is up to us to lead by example, protecting the National Parks from over-development and ensuring their beauty can be enjoyed by the next generation. When needed, we campaign to protect local wildlife reserves under threat of development, such as the nearby Ulcinj saltpans most recently.

The accommodation for this vacation, Villa Miela, has been sensitively restored by its British owners, drawing praise from the local community and visitors for conserving historic architectural features such as the solid stone archway in the "konoba" (ground floor), once used for storing wine and smoking hams and carp, or the tiny original windows which help maintain a naturally cool interior. As the first such renovation in the area, it is hoped that the villa will encourage more regeneration along these lines and deter less scrupulous investors from knocking down such buildings and replacing them with cheaper concrete structures.

With metre-thick stone walls, air-conditioning is neither needed, nor provided, and guests are encouraged to use fans only when necessary and to turn off all electric fans/lights on leaving the room.

Guests are also asked to keep water use to a minimum, especially important during the dry summer months. The village has no mains water connection and while Villa Miela's water reservoir is fed by mountain-spring during winter, this source dries up in the summer.

Community

We have built strong links with local communities at Lake Skadar and support their maintenance of threatened traditions – from bee-keeping, fishing and carp-smoking to the making of wine, cheese, olive-oil and flavoured brandies. By visiting home-producers and buying their wares, you will build pride, contribute to the local economy and encourage the development of eco-tourism in an area where tourism needs examples of how to develop sustainably. You’ll meet local people like Hassan Muratovic and his wife Nada at remote Murici beach and learn about their ethnic Albanian culture and traditional way of fishing. English isn’t widely spoken round the lake, but your guides will be able to translate to make each interaction create a valuable cultural exchange between you and your host community. Your visit really counts in a remote, beautiful and unknown Balkan destination which is still suffering from decades of impoverishment caused by urban migration and the 1990s Yugoslavian war.

Every year we are also actively involved in clean-up operations both on the lake and in the National Park at large. We have campaigned for and obtained several large refuse containers for villages that had previously had no way to dispose of their garbage , and every spring we help to clear hiking trails so that remote villages can also benefit from the growing tourism industry.

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