Read up about local culture, politics, geography, religion and customs. That way you can intuitively show respect for local traditions and culture. This is one of the principles on which Journey Latin America was founded and we’re grateful to you for being mindful of this during your travels.
On your journeys within Latin America, you will probably explore a few of the ubiquitous street markets. Shopping at artisan markets is an excellent way of supporting local craftspeople and injecting money directly into the local communities. However, avoiding purchasing anything made using endangered plants or animals (for example hardwoods, shells, exotic feathers, furs or eggs) will help prevent their extinction.
EATING AND DRINKING
Journey Latin America makes a point of seeking out small, authentic local restaurants, bars and cafés for you to experience when travelling on our group tours, and as part of our portfolio of recommendations. Patronising them will result in your directly supporting those local farmers who produce the items on the menu.
Many of you give gifts to children during your visits to Latin America. Fruit, crayons and balloons, colouring books and footballs can elicit delight and add extra satisfaction to your adventure. However, you have to bear in mind that if you give to one child and not another, problems resulting from envy might ensue: you might choose to make donations to local schools or conservation and charitable organisations rather than giving money to directly to children begging on the street. Ask us, or your guides, for specific advice.
When you intend to take photos of people and events, in particular of religious processions, you should ask permission first. This sensitivity can result in a better photograph too. You might also take the addresses of the people you photograph. Many of them may not have any photographs of their families, so sending them a copy is a payback for the photo you get to keep.
Learn a little of the local language. Being able even just to say the basics ‘hola’, ‘gracias’ or 'obrigado' is usually well appreciated and can help colour a Latin American’s perception of you. You’ll almost certainly get a warm welcome which will enrich your experience and interaction with the local people.
Stick to paths and walkways on treks in the jungle, on a mountain, or at archaeological sites. This helps preserve wildlife and avoids erosion of the landscape, as well as being advantageous to your own safety.
Be conscious of how much water and energy you use. Take showers instead of baths in areas with problematic water supplies; refill plastic water bottles; avoid leaving air-conditioners or heaters on while you’re out during the day; advise your hotel if you don’t need your towels or sheets laundered every day.
If you have any feedback about your holiday with Journey Latin America, or with any other operator about aspects relating to sustainable travel please let us know. – If we’re doing something right we can do more of it, or where we or our suppliers are falling short we can make changes to improve.