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Uyani Salt Flat, BoliviaSocial enterprise Sumak Travel, the specialist in Latin American community-based ecotourism, has now added three new countries to its itinerary.

Responsible travellers can now join tours of Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia – alongside its existing tours in Argentina and Chile.  The tours, ranging from 7 to 15 days, are a combination of homestays within rural communities (with farmers, fishermen and other indigenous groups) and visits to Latin American cities and sites of special interest or outstanding natural beauty.

 

Transparent pricingChaxa Lagoon, Chile (courtesy of Travolution.org)

Sumak Travel works directly with community-based tour operators in their destination countries to ensure fair agreements (a breakdown of prices and commission fees are fully transparent so tourists can see exactly where their money is going). We like their easy-to-use website – a simple key shows you the ‘Comfort Level’ at a glance (something a surprising number of tour operators neglect to outline!), and what percentage of the overall holiday price goes to the local community (e.g. “at least 50%” of the £1,535 fee for 15 days on ‘Fascinating Brazil’ goes local).

Private groups

All trips are private and they can cater for groups of any size, promising “there won’t be anyone you don’t know travelling within your group” – they can even tailor trips for individuals who are looking for specific experiences. And all homestay hosts are verified by the team or local partners. You could find yourself trying your hand at ceramic crafts with your hosts in rural Argentina; staying with Aymara communities on Sun Island, Lake Titicaca, for a taste of traditional Andean culture; or sleeping in an eco-lodge run by an indigenous community in the Bolivian rainforest.

A sample of trips available:

Fascinating Brazil (15 days, £1,535) – Explore northeastern Brazil including the remote lands of the Tremembe people, the sand dune beaches of Prainha do Canto Verde, and the historical city of Fortezela. (Click for more)

Intrepid Colombia (14 days, £2,125) – Trek through flooded forest and jungle, reach the Colombian borders with Peru and Brazil along the Amazon River, and whale-watch and snorkel around Bahia Solano. (Click for more)

Essential Bolivia (12 day, £1,585) – Visit the Aymara communities of Lake Titicaca, journey to the salt flats of Uyuni, and stay with the Alcaya community, before trekking through Bolivian rainforest. (Click for more)

Other tours available include: ‘Mystic Chile’, two versions of ‘Rural Argentina’, San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), ‘Austral Chile’. View all tours here.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • As a social enterprise, Sumak Travel’s mission is: ‘To contribute to the empowerment of local communities in Latin America by running an ethical business that is also rewarding for responsible tourists.’
  • Partnered with Sustainable Pangea, a multilingual web platform that features community-based ecotourism destinations
  • Half of Sumak Travel’s profits are reinvested back into the social enterprise; the remaining half is invested in community-led projects within the Sustainable Pangea Network
  • The local communities they work with use tourism as a complementary source of income, allowing them to maintain their traditional way of life, while preserving their environment and community

 

Contact Sumak Travel via T: 0044 (0) 2036 424246, E: info@sumak-travel.org, visit the website www.sumak-travel.org, or follow on Twitter via @SumakTravel.

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Kerry Law (Founding Editor, Goodtrippers): I'm a PR and writer living in London. Since taking my first trip aged 2yrs (all the way from from NZ to the UK) I've loved travel. As a keen advocate of ecotourism and responsible travel, I decided to start Goodtrippers...

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