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Fair Trade Adventures of a Lifetime – Small Group Tours to Latin America

Responsible Tourism

Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia

 

If you are reading this blog post, most likely you consume fair trade products on a regular basis. The fair trade movement has grown considerably in recent years, but tourism is one industry where it is failing to establish itself. It is pretty simple to find fair trade coffee or bananas in a supermarket, or fair trade handicrafts online. But it’s still quite difficult for a conscious traveller to find genuine fair trade holidays. In some cases, the approach can be patronising, for instance well-intentioned visits to projects where travellers can make donations or somehow help ‘poor’ local people. In other cases, the approach can be on the boring side, with travellers having to spend their holiday visiting social and environmental initiatives, when they could be visiting iconic sites, or simply relaxing by the beach instead.

Making fair tourism exciting: the origins

From the very beginning, fair trade principles have been at the core of our social business model. On this blog, I have already written about how local communities are using tourism as a tool for sustainable development in Latin America, and our #AdventureLust series highlighted several of the innovative projects that are part of our network. On a very small scale, we are achieving one of our main goals: to use tourism as a force for good. But we wanted to do more, and when we met with Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation last year, we thought it was time to go for it and create a series of fair trade small group tours to Latin America. So we joined forces to design new and exciting travel experiences that are genuine Fair Trade Adventures. These innovative tours take fair trade principles beyond the supply chain, and our responsible purchasing commitments, to give travellers a rare opportunity to meet many of the outstanding people behind popular fair trade products, such as artisans creating beautiful handicrafts or the farmers growing the organic coffee you drink every morning. But you will also visit iconic destinations, such as Machu Picchu, and off the beaten path locations that are truly stunning, like the Chicamocha Canyon. We are starting with Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia this year; so do go ahead and download the brochure to check the itineraries and dates.

Feeling alive again, while travelling in style

We have created these small group tours to give you what we think is the perfect mix of adventure, unique experiences, culture, wildlife, iconic destinations and a little rest and relaxation! You might be looking forward to starting the day with something other a commute by train, tube or car, so we’ve included boat trips, hiking, horse-riding, 4x4s, bicycles, canoeing, and even a 40m high suspension bridge.

Here are just a few examples of the kind of experiences our tours include – to hopefully whet your appetite and make you dream of travelling! You could enjoy a cup of freshly-ground Machu Picchu coffee before visiting the Inca citadel itself; take part in artisanal fishing on Lake Titicaca; visit organic farms along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastline; venture down the Yorkin River deep into the jungle to meet members of the indigenous Bribri tribe and hear their ancient stories; hop on an immaculate old Willy´s jeep through super-scenic Valle del Cocora in Colombia’s coffee region; venture completely off the beaten path in Northern Peru to taste the pulp of some of the world’s best cocoas and try your hand at making ceviche and mixing pisco sours; and last but not least, simply chill on pristine white sand beaches. These tours are not about passively visiting people and places, but actively engaging with them, and returning home feeling enriched, and alive again!

Supporting and promoting Fair Tourism

We launched the campaign last month, and the first results are promising. It has received positive coverage from several publications and organisations, such as Tourism ConcernThe International Ecotourism SocietyBlue and Green Tomorrow and Collectively.org. We hope these small group tours to Latin America will help raise awareness within the industry of the type of tourism we all should be aiming for. A fair trade approach to tourism is very much needed in the developing world, in particular in destinations where tourism is the main industry.

If you are tired of mass tourism and tourist traps, if you are looking for an unusual holiday where you can meet fantastic people, or if you would like to learn from some of the amazing producers behind our fair trade staples, these tours are for you. The type of activities and variety of experiences have been chosen to be as inclusive as possible, making the tours great for solo travellers, couples, groups of friends and families alike. They are 12 to 14 days long, but for those who can stay longer and have more specific interests (bird-watching, hiking, wildlife, adventure sports, lying on a beach!, etc), we have created special add-ons that can be easily included too. We are strong advocates of fair trade and sustainability, and would love to be able to show you that responsible tourism is not only the most rewarding option, but can be the most exciting one too.

For more information – and to start your Fair Trade Adventure of a Lifetime:

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WTM Responsible Tourism Tourism Concern Muchbetter adventures The international Ecotourism Society
Ethical Trekking The Travel Foundation Social Enterprise UK

We've signed up to the Travel Foundation's Forum and have committed to take action on sustainability within our business.