Madeira small group vacation, wildlife & nature

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Madeira small group vacation, wildlife & nature

Environment

Madeira is known for its stunning natural environment and rich cultural heritage, both of which have been at the forefront of our minds when this vacation was being created.

Working with a dedicated, locally-owned specialist supplier, we have crafted this vacation to ensure that our guests witness the best of the island, but also ensure that the landscape is preserved for future visitors.

This vacation offers an insight into some of the most pristine and wildlife-rich areas of the island and its surrounding waters. All the guides who lead the trips work on a leave-no-trace basis and this is enforced throughout the vacation.

There are two key wildlife highlights.

Guests visit the Desertas Islands which are protected as a nature reserve for a colony of rare Mediterranean Monk Seals. The only human presence on these islands is that of the wardens and geologists at the research stations there. Visitors are given strict instruction on the ‘dos and don’ts’ here and are provided with a real insight into the conservation techniques being employed. Tourists visiting the islands are an important way for conservation funding to be generated.

Another key wildlife encounter is swimming with dolphins. This is about as far removed as it is possible to get from a marine park. Dolphins are plentiful in the waters here but there is no push from the boats to chase them, our team simply keep an eye out for a pod and let the dolphins approach them. During this trip, you will actively try and avoid the presence of other boats to ensure the dolphins are not overloaded with visitors. Our team will only allow swimming with Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and the expert guide will identify the correct species to swim with. Only between four and six people are allowed into the water and there are strict rules with regards to behaviour. The dolphins’ behaviour should in no way be impacted negatively by the presence of our guests and the boat will let them come and go as they choose.

Community

As with all of our vacations, we choose our accommodation and our local suppliers very carefully. We always try and work with local people and independent accommodation wherever we can in order to ensure that money spent locally benefits the local community. We want the money that our vacations bring to Madeira to remain there and not be leaked off the island by multinational hotel chains.

Our hotel for this vacation is of significant historical importance and has been lovingly and sympathetically renovated. It is comprised of a number of historical buildings from differing ages. The hotel ensures that this journey through the history of Funchal is clear. The hotel has used period features, original features, and reclaimed materials where possible to ensure that it represents the history of the buildings and maintains their future.
The hotel has a waste reduction policy in line with what we would expect from modern accommodation and limits water-waste and linen usage where possible.

Our team of local suppliers in Madeira is also a family-run operation and, whilst it is now a large company, they still have a passion for Madeira and a real dedication to responsible travel.

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