Responsible travel is all about ensuring that experiencing another country and culture is a two way beneficial process, while minimising the impact upon the environment. Having lived and worked in Latin America for many years we were adamant from the start that our trips should benefit local communities wherever possible and have a minimal impact upon the environment. The ways in which we put this into practice are detailed in our Responsible Tourism Policy which you can download here. In addition we ask everyone who travels with us to help us achieve this goal by following the tips below;
How you can be a responsible traveller:
- Buy water in glass bottles where possible, these are reused. Some cafés, restaurants and hotels now allow you to refill from large containers for a small fee.
- Do not pick flowers or remove rocks, if you like the look of them take a photograph!
- Do not buy butterflies or insects, or products made from animal skins
- Learn a little of the local language; we will send you some words and phrases in your final travel itinerary. People are generally very friendly and a few words go a long way in creating a positive interaction with the people you meet along the way.
- Do not give children sweets or money, they often do not have access to dental treatment especially in rural areas. By travelling with Into Latin America you are already contributing to local projects. If you would like to contribute directly to the area where you are travelling, please ask us or your local guide how.
- Do not take photographs of people without first asking their permission.
- You can bargain in markets and shops but do so with a smile on your face and don’t expect a huge discount, prices are generally not inflated to begin with.
- Use water sparingly, taking showers not baths
- Have you offset your flight? If not click here to find out how.
- Leave packaging at home where possible and take home empty sunscreen bottles etc where they can be recycled – there are generally not the facilities to recycle such materials in Latin America
- Visit our recommended local restaurants, shops and projects and buy souvenirs, or enjoy great food while helping the local community
- When trekking whatever you take out with you for the day must be kept with you and disposed of properly, including biodegradable waste like banana and orange peel that take a very long time to decay
- Tipping is a recognised part of life in Latin America, in return for good service. See our guidelines in your final itinerary for tipping amounts for guides, drivers etc.
- Wash with biodegradable soap, especially if you are trekking. Baby wipes are handy but create a lot of waste.
- Donate good quality clothing or camping equipment to your guide or porter at the end of a trek
- On treks and in fragile environments like the Galapagos, always keep to the paths.
To ensure that our trips take our clients deeper into Latin America while benefiting the local community and having the least possible impact upon the environment we:
- Only ever travel in small groups
- Donate 10% of our profits to a nominated local charity. This year’s charity is Living Heart Peruin Cusco, Peru.
- Insist that our suppliers employ local staff wherever possible and pay them a fair and timely wage.
- Provide adequate shelter and food for porters used on treks and comply with local rules on how much weight they may carry.
- Insist that pack animals that are used on treks are well looked after and not overloaded.
- Provide our passengers with a list of recommended locally run restaurants, shops and initiatives that they can support while on their trip
- Arrange visits to local communities where appropriate (so as not to overload the community in question)
- Use locally owned and run hotels where possible
- Know the local customs and traditions of the region and aim to educate our passengers in these so as to be respectful to the people they meet during their journey.
- Use vehicles appropriate to the number of people and terrain.
- For every Galapagos trip we donate £10 to the Galapagos Conservation Trust
Our awareness of the environment does not stop in Latin America. In our own offices in the UK and Cuenca we:
- Avoid office printing where possible and where possible always send electronic itineraries to our clients rather than on paper
- Use vegetable based ink and recycled paper for promotional material whenever possible
- Drink fair trade tea and coffee (from Machu Picchu of course!)
- Offset our flights to and from Latin America and avoid short, frequent trips.
- Feel lucky to be able to drink clean water straight from the tap and never buy bottled
- Travel on foot, bike or public transport
- Recycle paper and plastic
- Are constantly on the look-out for new projects that we can support in Cuenca and Cusco by visiting them ourselves in our free time.