Every year on April 22 since 1970 we reflect on Earth Day. By now, more than 190 countries are working together to do something positive for Madre Tierra (Mother Earth). Even as travel enthusiasts we all want a better future for our planet, while getting to know it better and experiencing the most spectacular places ourselves. Combining traveling and sustainability – is that even possible? Can I go on a trip without harming the nature and without worrying about environmental issues?
At Sapa Pana Travel, we are convinced that it can be done. From our end at least, we do everything we can to make sure your ecological footprint is as small as possible. Local partners are carefully selected and instructed on sustainability, as are hotels and guides. We are constantly looking at how we can improve our service even more in this area. What can you do? With a few simple tips you can already make a huge difference!
1. Reduce the use of plastic
This is probably one of the most commonly used suggestions when it comes to acting more environmentally friendly – for a good reason! Just like in our supermarkets, you can bring reusable bags, nets or a backpack from home to carry your locally bought fruit or souvenirs. If you are offered a plastic bag kindly reject it and at the same time you will raise some awareness among the local population. From us you will receive a dopper (drinking bottle) to use during your trip for this very reason. If you are offered a drinking bottle at the destination, you can also politely decline the offer. If you want to go a step further, consider buying a water filter. There are drinking bottles with built-in water filters on the market, which you can easily fill with tap water in your hotel.
2. Support the locals
When you book a particular activity through Sapa Pana Travel, we make sure you get good, but also well-paid guides. This way you will not get the cheapest option, but you can be sure that you will get the services of a quality guide, who will do his best for you, also because he gets a fair wage for it. Locally, guides (or other service providers) are sometimes underpaid. If you want to book an activity on the spot, ask our local partner where you can best buy this service. They can inform you well about this, and make sure that no one is exploited.
3. Question your consumption
If you stroll past a store full of colorful ornamental products that you would like to put on your bookshelf, think twice before taking them. It seems logical that protected species of animals and plants are not allowed to be brought in, but beware: those kinds of products are sometimes surprisingly easy available in some countries. With preserved butterflies or snakes it is obvious, but not in all cases you can see what the product is made of. For example, figures made from animal bones, shoes, bags or watch straps made from snake or caiman leather, ornaments made from coral or turtle shell, and other things.
4. Save water and energy
Especially when you are on vacation, you want to spoil yourself. For example, by taking a hot bath, or a relaxing massage followed by a visit to the sauna. Bear in mind that as a tourist traveling in developing countries, you may use more water in a day than a local in a week. Something to think about, especially in places where water is not always available. By taking shorter showers, reusing your towel and not using electricity unnecessarily, you are at least doing your small part.
5. Try a vegetarian meal
Vegetarian and vegan food can be just as good as what you are used to. At the same time it has a huge positive impact on the earth and can safe immense amounts of water, trees and CO2. Although Latin America is known for its meat eaters, as a vegetarian or vegan you can certainly visit a variety of restaurants. Below we list five of our most popular vegetarian (friendly) restaurants:
- Mexico City, Mexico: Forever Vegano. Made it in the list of best vegetarian restaurants in the world
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: Naturaleza Sabia. Vegetarian food in Argentina: it is possible! Thanks to Naturaleza Sabia serving excellent dishes.
- Santiago de Chile, Chile: El Huerto. Try their Burrito Vegano, with pineapple and a spicy bite.
- Cuzco, Peru: Greens Organic. Reserve in advance because the restaurant is extremely popular with travelers and Cuzceños alike
- Bogotá, Colombia: Casa Leyte, for, among other things, excellent vegetarian pizzas and a cozy atmosphere
6. Travel slow and off the beaten track
We understand that you travel to specific countries to see as many highlights as possible. This is also where we find the largest gathering of tourists, most of the restaurants and fast food chains adapted to tourists’ tastes, and a multitude of (cheap) service providers. Consider traveling around at a slower pace, and also visit the more obscure places. You may see fewer places, but other than that the advantages are numerous. If you stay longer in one place you will get to know the local customs, nature and people better. You will make more intense memories, which will last longer. If you visit lesser known places, you will experience the destination without masses of other tourists, in a much purer way. At the same time, you need to travel and move around less and the income from tourism is spread more evenly over the destinations!
Usually, we would suggest to offset the CO2 you have emitted during your trip but fortunately we already took care of that. The Black Jaguar Foundation is a reforestation project in the Brazilian rainforest. This project creates a corridor along the Araguaya River, among other things by (re)planting trees. In total, an area of more than 10 million hectares is involved, with 1 million hectares of forest being regenerated. Since the beginning of 2021 we have been working together with them to compensate all the CO2 emissions that are caused by trips booked through Sapa Pana Travel. In fact, we are investing at least 1% of our annual turnover in this project. That way, we are hoping to make a positive impact and to give back to the planet. Read more about the Black Jaguar Foundation.
Would you like to know more about sustainable travel ? Then please visit our page about sustainability. Do you want to know more? Please call +31 73 610 62 04 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help you.