While Jamaica is well known for its stunning beaches and reggae vibes, the island has a lot to offer the eco traveller…
Here are three top picks:
Something interesting to see and do…
As the home of Rastafarianism, few experiences are as unique, or immersive, as a visit to Jamaica’s Rastafari Indigenous Village. This is one of the best ways to learn about the life, skills and experiences of Rastafari people. Visitors can take a tour of the village, participate in organic farming, learn to make traditional crafts and receive music lessons.
Something delicious to eat…
Next up, it’s time to explore the very best natural foods that Jamaica has to offer. One of the big trends in rural food right now is the ‘farm to table’ experience, and a trip to Stush in the Bushis a great example of this. Set on a 15 acre organic farm in the cool hills of St Ann, things move slowly here, and everything is connected to the earth.
Join Chris, the owner, for a walk of the farm. He’ll talk about his ancestral origins, when plants were medicine, and the earth’s bounty was the only source of food. You’ll sample herbs, spices, fruits, birds, flowers and ornamentals, and even get to plant a tree. And, after taking in the sweeping views of Jamaica’s north coast, you can sit down to a lovingly prepared meal featuring freshly made preserves, sauces, dressings and breads.
Somewhere lovely to rest…
Finally, after so much exertion, what’s needed is a visit to the Zimbali Retreats, for some much needed R&R. Located in a tropical mountain valley, complete with river and spring, this farm retreat has achieved almost 100% off-grid status.
Amid more than 500 fruit trees, guests enjoy modern technology infused with an ancient and natural way of life. There are a range of properties to choose from each with their own distinct personality. All are surrounded by the beauty and peacefulness of nature.
Frankly, the hardest part is choosing whether to kick back, relax and do nothing, or explore and sample the 700 odd varieties of fruit available, from pineapple to banana to plantain…
Love your morning cup of fairtrade coffee? Now you can visit the actual producers on these brand new tours to Latin America with responsible travel specialists Sumak Travel. Founder Felipe Zalamea explains what to expect on their new Fair Trade Adventures…
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. From the very beginning, fair trade principles have been at the core of our social business model. When we met with Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation last year, we thought it was the time to go for it: a series of fair trade small group tours to Latin America. So we joined forces to create new and exciting travel experiences, Fair Trade Adventures.
These innovative tours give travellers the rare opportunity to meet many of the outstanding people behind popular fair trade products, such as the artisans behind beautiful handicrafts and the farmers behind the organic coffee you drink every morning.
12 days in Peru, Costa Rica and Columbia
Travellers will also visit iconic destinations such as Machu Picchu, and off-the-beaten path locations that are truly stunning. We are starting with 12-day trips to Peru (departing 22 April), Costa Rica (departing 14 May), Colombia (departing 20 August) and Northern Peru (departing 16 Sept) this year. Download the brochure for the full itineraries.
What to expect on a Fair Trade Adventure
We believe these tours are the perfect mix of adventure, culture, wildlife, iconic destinations and a little rest and relaxation! And if you’re looking forward to staring the day with something other a commute by train, tube or car, we’ve included boat trips, hiking, horse-riding, 4x4s, bicycles, canoeing and a 40m high suspension bridge!
You could…kick-start the day with 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!
Where you’ll be staying, what you’ll be eating
Homestays are an important feature on many of Sumak Travel’s existing tours, and our Fair Trade Adventures are no exception. To find out more about the concept, you can read about homely homestays in Lake Titicaca, on our blog.
You could be staying with Ticos in San Jose, Costa Rica, or the Ashaninka Native Community San Miguel, in the Perené Valley, Peru. You’ll also be able to stay on farms and coffee plantations – and try your hand at milking cows, cutting sugar cane, making artisanal cheese and catching your own fish for dinner! But don’t worry, you can also sit back and enjoy the delights of a traditional Caribbean food, Andean recipes with a modern twist, Puma coffee, banana creams, tropical fruits, and some of the world’s best cocoa.
Supporting and promoting fair tourism
A fair trade approach to tourism is very much needed in the developing world, and 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, and if you would like to learn from some of the amazing people behind our fair trade staples, these tours are for you.
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.
The type of activity and variety of experiences included 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, beaches etc), we have created special add-ons, that can be easily included too.