Sustainable Travel Trail Blazer Greenloons Offers Opportunities To Be Mindful of Aug. 9, 2012, when U.N. Honors Indigenous People
Greenloons http://www.greenloons.com/, which guides travelers to sustainable vacations around the world, highlights three, among many, destinations where visitors will interact with local peoples, and where, in so doing, they assist the goals of the United Nation’s The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (Aug. 9, 2012).
“It’s one thing to meet with locals only from the customer side of the counter when you’re traveling but it’s quite another experience to connect with people of a different culture as they work, live and play,” said Irene Lane, Greenloons founder. “Insofar as possible, our itineraries always consider how eager many Americans are to understand and experience indigenous cultures.”
Following are three Greenloons trips that maximize cultural interaction with indigenous peoples in a thoughtful manner and help to secure sustainability for both the community and environment. The experiences are found in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, on Jamaica and among the Maasai in Kenya.
Peruvian Amazon Rainforest Family Program– Families stay at an eco-lodge owned by indigenous people along the Tambopata River in Peru. They visit the neighboring community of Condenado and talk with its manager, Don Manuel, who explains the purpose of each of the Amazon crops the community grows. The lodge has also partnered with an educational NGO to set up two short hiking trails based on the story of a six-year-old girl, Ania, living in the rainforest. Kids jump into Ania’s story following maps, solving riddles and finding clues to her favorite spots, enroute understanding the value of the relationship with the Earth. The itinerary includes a visit to a Parrot Clay Lick to witness the many species of birds and mammals in the region. The per person cost for five days is $847 including accommodation, meals, activities, transfers and guides.
Jamaica Rasta & Reggae– While hiking through lush wilderness, guests see a Jamaica few outsiders experience including meeting Rastafarians and learning about the island’s original peoples. Guests visit a Rastafarian indigenous village and take drumming lessons, learn about indigenous fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants, and partake in a delicious lunch. They learn about the Maroon people’s history in Jamaica. The Maroon tribe, who were slaves that ran from plantations to the mountains, epitomizes the evolution of an island that also allowed an indigenous people to retain their culture. At the foot of Blue Mountain sits a prime Maroon colony, Charles Town, where guests hear their stories and meet the Medicine Man, who will discuss native cures boasting centuries-old potency. Evening brings a Maroon feast and participation in indigenous dancing, with singing and drumming by the community members. There’s also time to enjoy the white sand beaches. The per person cost for a 10-day trip is $1,649 including accommodation, transfers, most meals and most activities.
Maasai Conservation Safari– A community project with the local Maasai on their Kuku Group Ranch of 400 square miles, this Kenya eco-rated, Gold-certified eco lodge (built by the Maasai) shelters only 16 guests in the solitude and adventure of true wilderness. Guests stroll down the foothills of the savannah, visiting families at their homes, schools and medical clinic, learning about the traditions of this famous nomadic warrior culture and participating in dancing and singing at nights by a fire in the hills or in one of the famous lava caves where Maasai warriors used to hide stolen cattle. The ultimate goal of the lodge is to protect the land and preserve the wilderness, wildlife and cultural heritages of the Maasai. A stay here protects Maasai culture, employs Maasai elders and assures that Maasai lore is transmitted to younger generations. The per person cost of an 8-day trip is $4,550 per adult including full board accommodation, beverages, all safari activities (game drives in open Land Rover, escorted game and cloud forest walks, bush breakfast/picnic/dinner, Maasai cultural villages visits, bird watching), Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust program visits, laundry and airstrip transfers.
Each of these trip examples have been third-party eco-certified, meeting a set of 37 minimum standards developed by the U.N. Foundation’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) of which Greenloons is a board-approved member of the Market Access group. These universally accepted criteria serve as the basis for most eco-certification standards worldwide and have effectively established the GSTC as the global authority on sustainability in tourism. See: http://new.gstcouncil.org/