Ecotourism Network

Do something wild. Do something wonderful.


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Ecotourism: Ethical Operation or Cultural Exploitation? — The International

Ecotourism: Ethical Operation or Cultural Exploitation? — The International.

Check out this insightful article that discusses the benefits and drawbacks of ecotourism ventures run by outside companies, and presents an alternative: community-based ecotourism.


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La Vega del Volcán | Guatemala

banner-la-vegaOverview

Find yourself surrounded by green mountains and dig into a plate of fresh trout and organic veggies as you share with the innovative small farmers of La Vega del Volcán. The Cooperative of La Vega del Volcano is made up of rural men and women committed to finding new ways to support their families without leaving home or harming the environment. This local development organization is supported by Mennonite Central Committee.

Accommodations

Guests can stay in the newly-built lodge with views of the whole valley, equipped with 16 rooms and hot water. There is also the option of staying in the home of one of the co-op families.

Both options cost Q30/$4 pppn; with the families, the guests have the option of trying out a traditional Mayan bath called the chuj or tamascal for an additional Q10/$1.50.

Meals are also available and range between $3-$5.

Activities

The “Trout Trail” Tour is 1.5km, 2 hour (light) hike, which includes the following stops:

Testimony of a Successful Producer: Froilan talks about turning the mountainous terrain into trout ponds and how he’s expanding his work.

Vega’s Natural Riches: Lisandro shows his land filled with Calla Lillies and the beautiful views of the Tacaná  Volcano and the Cambaj mountain.

Hurricane Stan, Disaster, and Opportunity: Urbano shares how his family’s livelihood was threatened by Hurricane Stan, as well as how he has learned to take advantage of natural resources to support them.

Agro-ecology and the Future: Arnulfo and Mari give a tour of their organic farm and explain why it is so important to implement agro-ecology in the community.

Vega del Volcán sits at the feet of Tacaná Volcano, the second highest volcano in Central America. Apart from the “Trout Trail,” coordinator Gustavo Ramos can organize a hike up the volcano.

Getting There

Add information on contacting MCC and the Connecting Peoples program for phone numbers and emails of local leaders of the co-op.

Guides from La Vega will meet guests in Sibinal, about a 2 hour bus ride from San Marcos, the head of the department.  Visitors can easily find buses to San Marcos and the same for San Marcos to Sibinal.  From Sibinal to La Vega, there is the option of taking a pickup (Q350/$45 for up to 10 people per truck) or hiking (three hours, moderate-difficult hike).

Making a Difference

Cooperative members receive income through acting as guides, cooks and housekeepers. Money from the tours is used to support the workshops and trainings in agro-ecology, trout production, nutrition, and community organization.

Contact Information

Gustavo Ramos:  502 5581 6055 |  ramosgustavo50@gmail.com

Connecting Peoples: connecting@guatemala.mcc.org

Blog:  www.connectingpeoplesguatemala.blogspot.com


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World Responsible Tourism Day 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012, marked “World Responsible Tourism Day,” a day intended to encourage the thoughtful behavior of tourist in ways that would minimize the harmful economic, social, and environmental effects of tourism. Please take a few minutes to check out the following links:

WTM World Responsible Tourism Day: http://www.wtmwrtd.com/

Child Safe Tourism: http://www.childsafetourism.org/


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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