Highlights of Colombia vacation, tailor-made

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Highlights of Colombia vacation, tailor-made

Environment

In order to ensure we protect the environment and minimise our ecological footprint we have a recycling system in our UK office, including the use of recycled ink cartridges. We also aim to minimise our waste by limiting the number of vacation brochures we print. Instead, we refer customers to our online resources and send most of our vacation information via email.

In the Coffee Region of Colombia, we always recommend locally owned haciendas in the countryside, where environmental practices help protect the beautiful surroundings, and ensure that local flora and fauna are well-preserved. One example of this is the Casa de Huéspedes Sazagua, which has strong sustainable beliefs, and encourages guests to minimise their environmental footprint during their stay, by switching off light switches and conserving water, among other things.

We recommend, where possible, that travel in Colombia be by land transfer, but understand this is not always possible due to the large distances covered. For example the drive from Cartagena to Pereira takes at least 17 hours, which is why we recommend flying in this instance. We suggest spending a few days in each location, rather than flying between many locations for just a night or two.

In Cartagena, we recommend our customers visit the nearby Rosario Islands, which are surrounded by protected reefs. Although it's possible to stay on the islands, we usually recommend day trips, because it's difficult to dispose of waste here and many tourists (either intentionally or completely by accident) end up littering in the sea and causing damage to the reefs. On our day trips the guides educate visitors about how to respect the natural environment, and ensure they take their waste back to the mainland to dispose of safely.

For customers with a keen interest in sustainability and eco-living, we work with the Biohotel in Bogota. The hotel generates sustainable energy and has water-saving systems in place, as well as encouraging guests to live a healthier lifestyle with their organic garden and kitchen. The hotel is endorsed by Colombia's Minister of the Environment.

Community

In order to ensure we have a positive impact on local economies and provide socially responsible vacations we only use local suppliers in Colombia. This helps keep the money generated through tourism within local communities, through employment of local guides, drivers and reps. It also means our customers get a very authentic experience whilst traveling in Colombia, and get to experience places through the eyes of a local.

We always recommend locally-owned restaurants and use local hotels where possible, aiming to support local communities and give tourists the opportunity to ‘travel like a local’. For example our hotel in Cartagena, the Don Pedro de Heredia, is located within the walls of the old town in a rennovated colonial building, helping to preserve the history of the area.

The hotel we use in Medellin, the Art Hotel, has a focus on celebrating local artists and traditional styles of the area. It does this through decor and it's small art gallery. It also has a community cinema, which shows Colombian films, both new and classics, and many indie films as opposed to blockbusters.

We provide pre-departure information on social and cultural issues in Colombia, including language guides, and advice on how to travel responsibly and respectfully. We encourage our guests to learn a few phrases prior to their trip, to allow them to interact with the locals and barter in a fairer way at markets. Our guides recommend authentic markets, where the money taken supports local communities, rather than tourist traps selling imported goods.

We are a member of Sustainable Travel International, a leading not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting awareness, appreciation and respect for local people and the environment through education and outreach programmes.

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