Ecotourism Network

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IPS – Ecotourism Helps Amazon Jungle Communities Survive | Inter Press Service

IPS – Ecotourism Helps Amazon Jungle Communities Survive | Inter Press Service.

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Andes EcoTours | Colombia

Overview

Experience the best of what the Northern High Andes has to offer with Andes EcoTours. From páramos to cloudforests, urban wetlands and Andean deserts, the Cundiboyacense region has everything a visitor needs to experience the natural joys of Colombia. Discover the ancient treasures left behind by the Musica people, admire Spanish colonial architecture, magnificent cathedrals and streets adorned with colorful artisanal creations, and get to experience the daily lives of community members as you join them in the countryside to help milk cows, learn more about coffee production, sugar cane, potatoes and flowers – or simply to compete in a traditional game of ‘tejo’. Andes Ecotours specializes in day trips from Bogotá, but can also help to arrange weekend getaways, farmstays and trips to various festivals around the region.

Accommodations

Andes EcoTours has partnered with the non-profit organization, SieChitá, to provide accomodations for international travelers. The guesthouse is located adjacent to our office in the heart of the oldest and most historic neighborhood in Bogotá. There are three rooms available with a shared bathroom, each of which have been decorated to represent a portion of Colombia’s colorful, cultural and natural heritage. All proceeds gained from accommodation help to support SieChitá and its work within the community.

Activities

Our ecotours provide visitors with the opportunity to actively experience a wide range of activities, including nature hikes through a diverse array of ecosystems, birding, canoe rides with local fishermen, photography tours, visits to cultural heritage sites, gastronomic immersions, hands-on workshops with local artisans and much more! We can also assist visitors in acquiring various volunteer/internship placements with our partners throughout the region.

Getting There

Most major airlines offer flights to Bogotá.. From the El Dorado airport, visitors have various options for reaching our office and/or the guesthouse in La Candelaria. The best of these for first time visitors, is to wait in the designated taxi line upon exiting the building – this line ensures that you travel with a licensed, yellow taxi. The ride from the airport to La Candelaria is about 40 minutes and costs around US$20. AndesEcoTours can also help to arrange airport pick-up for travelers who prefer to use private transportation.

Making a Difference

Andes EcoTours works to ensure that the tourist’s experience goes far beyond being a simple observer to actively experiencing the land with its people. The communities we work with play a central role in all of our tours, allowing us to pave the way for a holistic visitor experience and better environmental stewardship. One of the ways in which we are making a difference is through our signature tours, a selection of well-thought out plans that have been designed to maximize community involvement and encourage activities that will ultimately lead to long-term sustainability within the region. Andes EcoTours has partnered with local community members, NGOs and other organizations to ensure that our tours leave positive and long-lasting impressions on both visitors and locals alike.

Contact Information

Carerra 3 #13-89, Bogotá, Colombia

Phone: (57) 310 559 9729

Email: andesecotours@gmail.com

Webpage (ecotours)

www.andesecotours.com

Webpage (guesthouse)

www.siechita.org


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Vanua Rapita Eco-Resort | Solomon Islands

Overview

In an area of bountiful reefs and marine life, Vanua Rapita overlooks the peaceful Marovo Lagoon on tiny Michi Island of the Solomon Islands chain. The Marovo Lagoon, a proposed World Heritage site, is the largest island-enclosed lagoon in the world. Author James Michener has called Marovo the eighth wonder of the world. The region is known for an extremely high concentration of coral species and the largest leatherback turtle nesting sites in the Indo-Pacific region. Guests are certain to experience unique and exquisite beauty in this idyllic ecotourism hideaway.

Accommodations

Overall, accommodations are rustic, yet comfortable and clean. There is no electricity or running water. The friendly manager claims to have never seen a television set! Three leaf houses built in local bungalow style overlook the water and provide housing for Vanua Rapita guests. Single, double or twin beds are available. Rates are about US$29 pp per night including all meals. Food, prepared in traditional island styles is served at an informal bar/restaurant on site.

Activities

Activities offered on Michi Island include relaxing on the beach, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing, scuba diving and more! The local villagers provide additional cultural activities for guests.

Getting There

Seghe airfield, located on a nearby island, is the closest commercial airport to Vanua Rapita. Solomon Airlines has almost daily flights from Munda, Giza, and Honiara. Guests then travel by motor canoe from Seghe airfield to Michi Island, which is about a 30 minute ride.

Making a Difference

Vanua Rapita Eco-Resort was established, with the assistance of the World Wildlife Fund, to provide sustainable, economic benefits from tourism for the villagers. In this way, logging is a less attractive option. The resort is operated by Michi village. Village members take shifts cooking, cleaning, and bartending and all the income goes the community and local business. The challenges facing the Solomon Islands are not to be underestimated. Endemic poverty and environmental degradation threaten this beautiful archipelago. Ecotourism remains a viable alternative to a bleak future.

Contact Information

Michi Island | Seghe Postal Agency | 677-22-442 (telephone) | 677-23-986 (fax)

Web Page

http://solomonvillagestay.8k.com

 


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Pacaya Tours | Nicaragua

Overview

Centered in one of the most picturesque regions of Nicaragua, the Apoyo Lagoon trail offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The trail was opened by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism and is located only a short drive from either Managua, Nicaragua’s capitol, or Granada, Nicaragua’s tourist hub. The Apoyo Lagoon is bordered by the smoldering Masaya Volcano. A pleasant hike on the trail takes approximately an hour and a half. Concessions and a gift shop are also available.

Accommodations

Visitors can easily find accommodations in this tourist destination. Hotels and hostels are available in Managua and Granada. A few resorts surround the lagoon. Trips to the trail will be a day trip from your hotel. Price per room ranges anywhere from $25 to $125 a night. Camping areas are also available with tents accommodating up to three people. Package tours including food services are also available.

Activities

Walking the Apoyo Lagoon trail takes about an hour and a half with a fee of about $6 per per- son. Fifteen tourists per group is recommended. While walking the Apoyo Lagoon trail, there are opportunities to view wildlife such as howler monkeys and squirrels, and tropical flora including 70 species of trees. Several swimming beaches are also available for cooling off after a hot day hiking around the lagoon. The nearby town of Manay is known for its moderate climate and is a village that still engages in traditional practices, such as raising horses and creating artisanal items. One of Nicaragua’s most popular open-air markets is located nearby in Masaya, where Nicaraguan handicrafts can be purchased at exceptionally low prices. Catarina is another nearby town and is one of Nicaragua’s famous traditional towns, where ornamental plants and flowers are grown. Granada, located just four kilometers from the Apoyo Lagoon, is known for its colonial architecture and is the number one destination in Nicaragua for international travelers.

Getting There

About 45 minutes away from Managua, the Pacaya trail is accessible by a modern, paved road. Buses leave every two hours from Managua to Masaya and then on to Apoyo Lagoon. Otherwise, buses are available to Granada and then on to Masaya. Taxis are also available from Granada. Public transportation is available to Diriomito and Pacayita, two small villages situated in the upper northern part of the lagoon. The last bus back from the lagoon leaves around 4:30 pm.

Making a Difference

Pacaya Tours is one of the business development projects of World Vision Nicaragua. World Vision is one of the world’s largest economic development and advocacy organizations. Its Nicaraguan affiliate works to empower children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. All income generated through Pacaya Tours is invested back into the local community. One of the main goals for income generated by this ecotourism project is to provide health care to underweight children in Pacaya.

Contact Information

Kenia Pavon, Guide, Pacaya Tours Comunidad de Pacaya (frente a las Oficinas de ACADISMA)  | Masaya, Nicaragua | (505) 675-9090/670-1961/883-5024


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Panabaj Village | Guatemala

Overview

Nestled in a lush volcanic valley, the Tzutuhil Mayan villagers of Panabaj offer day tours for a unique look into their story of hope. The Asociación Nuevo Amanecer de Santiago Atitlán (ANADESA) is a cooperative of 16 artisans and their families. These indigenous people are dedicated to a positive future for themselves and their Mayan neighbors. This local community development organization is supported by the Mennonite Central Committee.

Accommodations

The ANADESA families invite you to stay in a Tzutuhil home and experience traditional Mayan life. The rate for the homestay option is Q90 (pppn) and includes 2 meals. The homestay option is rustic and consists of block houses with bunk beds and blankets. In addition, travel guides list lodging in nearby Santiago and Panjachel. If prior arrangements are made, lunch is provided during the ANADESA tour and for an additional charge.

Activities

“Walking in the Wake of Disaster” tour is 5–stop, 75 minute, 2.5 kilometer walking tour situated in the valley of Panabaj. The tour stops include:

Peace Park– A monument commemorating the 13 Tzutuhil indigenous people murdered by soldiers and long-awaited exit of Guatemalan military.

Coffee Forest- Some of the best coffee in the world is grown around the Lake and is a vital part of the local economy.

Volcano Canal– Example of the efforts being made by local government and international aid agencies to prevent future weather hazards from developing into disasters.

Ground Zero– A formerly bustling residential area buried after the fatal mudslides of Hurricane Stan.

Product Show & Lunch Site–Over lunch, get a change to relax and chat with the members of the cooperative themselves. In addition, you may browse their beautiful handmade crafts.

Tours cost about Q40 (about US$5) per person. Lunch, if provided, is an additional charge from Q25 (less than US$3) per person. The tour is in Spanish, but English translation is available by prior arrangement through the Connecting Peoples Program (see below). The translation services charge a Q75 fee per tour group.

The Lake Atitlán area is scenic and the tourist hub for Guatemala. While the ANADESA tour takes only a day, there are many more sights to see in the region!

Getting There

The Connecting Peoples Program of the Mennonite Central Committee may provide some assistance in help you meet the villagers of Panabaj. Their contact information is provided below. Guests travel to Panajachel city in southwestern Guatemala. Once at Panajachel, take a boat trip across Lake Atitlán to Santiago. Because the region is popular with tourists, there are many options for crossing the lake. The trip takes about 30 minutes and generally costs about Q25 pp (about US$3) one way. The tour guide will meet guests in Santiago and arrange transportation from Santiago to Panabaj. At the end of the tour, guests can stay in the village or return to Santiago, a distance of about two kilometers.

Making a Difference

ANADESA creates income generation opportunities by pooling the skills and resources of per- sons with similar talents. All profits generated by the tour are distributed among cooperative members and support the group’s activities. The cooperative uses your tourist income to run an adult literacy program, a children’s art and an environmental education program for its members and other at-risk persons living near Panabaj.

Contact Information

Juan Ramirez, your Spanish speaking tour guide in Panabaj | 502/5359-4302 Mennonite Central Committee office headquarters Guatemala City, Guatemala 502/2475-2870 | mccrep@guatemala.mcc.org Connecting Peoples Program — connecting@guatemala.mcc.org

NOTE: The village Panabaj is pronounced “pahn-a-bah.”


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Latigo Ranch | Colorado, USA

Overview

Latigo Ranch is a five star “dude ranch” located in the Arapaho National Forest. Nestled in the Colorado Rockies, it is a place to experience the natural beauty of the American West. Awarded the honor of the best dude ranch in Colorado, Latigo Ranch provides guests a taste of western life along with the comforts of modern amenities.

Accommodations

Latigo Ranch offers the option of one to three bedroom cabins to meet the needs of the lone traveler, couples, groups or families. Each cabin has its own entrance, porch, and fireplace or wood stove. Wireless Internet is available at specific hotspots around the ranch.

Summer visitors typically stay for a week (7 days, 6 nights). Rates are all inclusive and vary per season. During peak summer seasons, a weekly adult rate is about US$2500. Winter rates are US$175 ppp night.

Activities

Summer activities include a variety of horsemanship instruction, riding trips including an over- night horse packing adventure, river rafting, children’s programming, archery, fly fishing and much more. During the winter months the main activities include cross country skiing, snow- shoeing, sledding and tubing. Most activities are included in the fees.

Getting There

The nearest full-service airport to Latigo Ranch is Denver International Airport. The airport is about 130 miles or a 3 hours drive from Latigo Ranch. Most guests either rent a car from the airport or catch a commercially operated shuttle to Kremmling. Latigo staff will pick up guests from shuttle drop-offs with prior arrangement.

Making a difference

Latigo Ranch demonstrates great care and stewardship for their mountain lands and streams. The ranch has a proactive relationship with National Forest Service and has pioneered a new environmentally friendly method for horse corralling on overnight horse packing trips. This corralling technique reduces impact on fragile alpine ecosystems and eliminates siltation in stream beds. The National Forest Service has now adopted Latigo’s method.

Contact Information

P. O. Box 237 | Kremmling, CO 80459 USA | (970)-724-9008 | (800)-227-9655 info@latigotrails.com

Web Page

www.latigotrails.com


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Los Pinos | Honduras

Overview

Los Pinos Environmental Center is nestled in Cerro Azul Meambar National Park. The park, located in the heart of Honduras, offers one of the highest cloud forests in the country, reaching 2080 m (6656 feet). Visitors enjoy jungle wilderness, clean air and amazing biodiversity of flora and fauna. The park covers an area of 312 square kilometers.

Accommodations

Los Pinos offers a wide range of accommodations to visitors including full cabins, bedrooms and camping facilities. Conference accommodations are available for up to 110 people. Prices are reasonable for an overnight stay. Cabins are about US$5 pp per night and camping is about $1.50 pp per night. A dining facility is available; kitchen services can be arranged for about US$3-5 per meal with advance notice.

Activities

Visitors can enjoy watching exotic birds, studying plant and wildlife and hikes to the many beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking views. Facilities also include a small food store on site.

Getting There

Most guests will fly in and out of San Pedro Sula, a full service international airport. A tourist promotional office opened in San Pedro Sula in 2007 to provide reservation and transportation services for national and international tourists who come to Honduras looking for enjoying high quality ecotourism experiences. A four wheel drive vehicle is necessary to travel to Los Pinos.

Making a Difference

Los Pinos is a part of a new movement of socially-responsible tourism which has as its mission the care of the environment, local culture and community development. Operated by Proyecto Aldea Global, Los Pinos employs 24 people full time from the local community. The organization uses paid and volunteer staff from local indigenous Lenca villages to carry out its ministries of creation care and poverty alleviation.

Contact Information

Proyecto Aldea Global | panacamtours@paghonduras.org | panacam@paghonduras.org | 011+ (504)-608-5510

Web Page

www.paghonduras.org