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.
From the cloud forest at Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, eco tourism pioneer Inkaterra has an Amazonian adventure in store that the whole family can enjoy…
Most adventure treks suit sprightly adults, gap year kids or fitness junkies. But this seven-night adventure holiday in the Peruvian Amazon is just right for families.
With over forty years of expertise in sustainable tourism, Inkaterra‘s family adventure, reveals the breathtaking wonders of the Amazon, Sacred Valley of the Incas and meet the mists of the cloud forest at Machu Picchu. The trip also supports local communities through conservation programmes.
What’s in store – rainforest and wildlife
The trip starts deep in the heart of the Southern Amazon rainforest, the biodiversity capital of Peru. What a place to wake-up to a symphony of birdsong and monkeys swinging through the branches overhead. Situated in a 10,000 ha. private reserve, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica has much to discover – take one of the trekking trails and don’t miss the 344m high canopy walkway leading through the heart of the vast Peruvian rainforest and offering a (literal) bird’s-eye view of the plush forest canopy.
Accommodation – pick your own food at Pueblo Hotel
The adventure continues at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, high in the Peruvian Andes. Whilst discovering the historic wonders of the region, barbecues, bird-watching and twilight hikes await. Accommodation is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel set in farmland, home to an organic plantation, and shrouded by a majestic cloud forest.
Guests can truly immerse themselves in the local farming community by way of picking their own produce as part of the Earth to Plate concept, the brainchild of executive chef, Rafael Casin. The food guests don’t farm themselves is purchased from the association’s Andean Farm Project, where cutting edge agro-ecological techniques are used to grow organic produce and medicinal plants.
Protecting rare and endangered wildlife
Amidst the clouds, 372 native orchid species, over 200 species of birds and 111 variety of butterflies can be found along the miles of trails that wind through the forest. Also the spectacled bear which is the only bear species in South America – because of their rapidly dwindling numbers the Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project is essential to sustaining this rare and endangered native species. The Spectacled Bears Rescue Centre works to rehabilitate the bears, and bring them back into their natural habitat whenever possible.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel works closely with Inkaterra Asociación, an organisation that develops scientific, technological and cultural research projects aimed at managing and protecting the biodiversity and local communities of the Peruvian Andes. With strong ties to the local community, the property works with schools by hosting environmental conservation workshops and running fundraising campaigns for local villages.
The final leg – Cusco, capital of the Incan Empire
The last leg of this epic Peruvian adventure brings travellers to Cusco, the vibrant capital of the Incan Empire. Accommodation is baed at Inkaterra La Casona, a renovated 16th century manor located in the heart of the city. After indulging in Andean culture and cuisine, families can revel in the Spanish-colonial ambiance, exploring the ground that was once home to the elite army of the Incas.
Recommended for… Families looking for an adventurous and educational holiday
Be aware that… There is a distance for families to travel between each property
Wildlife photographer Charlie Hamilton James bought 100 acres of tropical rainforest on the edge of Manu National Park in south east Peru with the aim to conserve the area. The BBC documentary follows his journey into the forest and the difficult decisions he has to make when conserving his area of jungle. He learns that the conservation of the rainforest is not a simple issue to solve. To help understand the importance of regenerating previously logged or farmed rainforest and find out about the forest ecosystem Charlie and the film crew visited our PoD Amazon Conservation project location.
In the first episode Andy Whitworth, the scientific coordinator who works closely with PoD volunteers at our Amazon Conservation project in Peru, demonstrated the different research techniques which help the research centre to have a greater understanding of the importance and biodiversity area of rainforest. The team documented all the species found on a mahogany tree using a ‘bio-blast’ which was due to be cut down by a local logger. It was incredible to see that there were so many species of beetle, ant, butterfly, bird and frog on one single tree. Unfortunately illegal logging is a big issue in the reserve and during the second episode Charlie follows individual loggers and gold miners.
Although it can be easy from an outsider’s point of view to blame the illegal loggers or illegal gold miners for the deforestation and the negative environmental impacts, the documentary follows individual loggers and miners which illuminates the complex issues. The illegal loggers and gold miners are desperate to make an income to support their families and there are often limited other options for them to pursue. It is incredible to see the juxtaposition of Beto, the illegal logger, who has strong love for nature and the rainforest, yet he cuts down 150 year old trees to pay for his daughter’s education.
How volunteers help the project
The PoD project in Peru has a real passion for helping to conserve the rainforest by working alongside the local communities. Volunteers at the Amazon Conservation project work alongside local communities to develop bio-gardens and agroforestry plots. Volunteers help develop food gardens with local mothers on wasteland which provides nutritious food for the families and even produces enough for the families to gain additional income by selling the vegetables at the local market. The biogardens provide healthy meals for 360 children at the local school, and since 2009 has increased local families’ income by 35%. This reduces the pressure for the local community to log illegally and helps to preserve the forest.
The impact of the project
The agroforestry project works with local farmers to harvest sustainable woods and bananas. This is an environmentally sustainable alternative that protects the surrounding forest from illegal logging activity, encourages species diversity, increases soil nutrition, and creates carbon credits that can be sold to further support the project. Volunteers have helped turn 17 hectares of abandoned and degraded land into agroforestry plots, which have subsequently seen increased biodiversity, help plant over 10,000 plantains and 3,000 trees, and created the first program in Peru to ever commercialize carbon credits on behalf of a local community.
It is fantastic to follow the BBC series in the jungle – you get a real flavour for the rainforest and project location. We hope that this will encourage more volunteers to join the project and do their bit to help conserve the Amazon rainforest.
To celebrate the launch of its first ever collection of the world’s best hotels, travel experts Lonely Planet have revealed its 10 best eco-friendly places to stay.
The list features a diverse selection of eco accommodation, as chosen by a panel of travel experts, from Lapa Rios in Costa Rica and Maison Anglaise in Morocco, to Bunlungula Backpackers in South Africa and Earthship Rentals in New Mexico, USA. All 10 of the outstanding eco-friendly places to stay have made impressive strides to minimise their impact on the environment and have made positive contributions to their local communities.
Lonely Planet’s collection of the world’s best hotels, also includes a top 10 ‘Extraordinary’ places to stay, and a top 10 ‘Best Value’ places to stay list.
LonelyPlanet.com editor Tom Hall was part of the expert panel who selected the finalists. He said, “We’re delighted with our first ever list of top hotels. This collection is one of a kind we believe, as it is put together by the most well-travelled people on earth. At Lonely Planet we’ve been giving recommendations to travellers about where to stay for 40 years. Our guidebook authors provide their honest opinion and never take freebies in exchange for positive coverage, so you can trust our reviews.”
The Lonely Planet ‘Eco’ list in full:
1. Lapa Rios, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica – This lodge lies in a private nature reserve that serves as a buffer for Costa Rica’s remote Parque Nacional Corcovado. It consists of 16 gorgeous bungalows with four poster beds, garden showers and private decks. Simply put, this is the promised land for nature lovers. (Read our Lapa Rios review here).
2.Bulungula Backpackers, South Africa – Feel like one of the family at this community-driven lodge. Bulungula Lodge is nothing more than a group of traditionally designed rondavels owned in partnerhsip with the adjoining community, but a stay here is an immersive experience. This is a place to unwind and disconnect, completely solar and wind-powered, and where a menagerie of animals wander the unfenced property.
3.Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania – Get back to nature with a treetop stay at Chole Mjini. This lodge is like nowhere else along the Tanzanian coast. Accommodation is in imaginatively designed tree houses – simple, chic and nestled amid the vegetation for maximum privacy. A short walk away are vine-covered 19th-century ruins, and beyond that, a lively village.
4.Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Aguas Calientes, Peru – In the heart of a patch of restored Andean cloud forest, is this hotel in the form of whitewashed cottages, scattered through a 12-acre site. The rooms are full of Peruvian fabrics, ceramics and art, but the real enchantment is the forest itself, a stupefying ecosystem of butterflies and birds, not to mention the world’s largest collection of native orchids.
5.EcoLodge Chepu Adventures, Chiloe, Chile – Perched on an overlook peering out onto three rivers and 140 sq km of sunken forest, is EcoLodge Chepu Adventures. The owners have designed everything at this eco-fierce property with the end goal of complete self-sufficiency, from infrared solar showers, to wind-generated electricity. Green-conscious travellers cannot get enough of the mystical kayak trips at dawn, the views and the barbeques.
6.Maison Anglaise, Taroudant, Morocco – Watch the sunset from the roof terrace of this tall medina house in the walled market town of Taroudant. Maison Anglaise is an excellent place to learn about Berber culture – the English-speaking staff organise visits to rural villages and schemes the guesthouse supports, including soap-making and beekeeping. It has been awarded the Green Key eco-label for its sustainable practices, such as using solar panels to heat water and serving locally grown produce.
7.Earthship Rentals, Taos, New Mexico, USA – If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live completely off the grid, then this is your chance. In the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos, lies a small collection of buildings that seems equal parts Gaudi masterpiece and Dr Seuss whimsy. These are the so-called Earthships, radically designed buildings made from recycled materials (think old tyres and glass bottles) and boasting impeccable green credentials.
8.Dana Guest House, King’s Highway, Jordan – Jordan’s top bolthole is also home to one of the Middle East’s most amazing views. Dana Guesthouse blends into the sandstone cliff face sitting on the 1,200m-high tip of Dana Nature Reserve. The guesthouse is run by Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, and the staff are highly knowledgeable about the reserve’s natural wonders. The simple stone-clad rooms are designed to invite you to watch the sunrise light up the gorge below.
9. Nuli Sapi, Papua New Guinea – Nuli Sapi is located in a pristine area of mountainous rainforest-covered islands, tiny traditional villages and teeming aquatic life. The bungalows themselves are simple but comfortable and made entirely of bush materials, with a veranda perched over the water. Aside from admiring the tropical beauty, there’s much to do here. Nuli Sapi is deeply committed to the surrounding communities – locals can take you out bushwalking, snorkelling with manta rays, fishing, canoeing or simply for a village visit where you can learn about traditional cooking techniques.
10.Baikaler Eco-Hostel, Listvyanka, Russia – Siberian log cabin-style dorms, yoga and chill-out decks await you at this hostel. Russia isn’t exactly celebrated for its eco-friendliness, but the country’s only purpose-built hostel on the shores of Eastern Siberia’s Lake Baikal bucks the trend, big time. The enlightened owner has crafted a green sanctuary complete with solar-heated water, triple insulation, an electricity supply generated partially from solar panels, and energy-saving lighting and electrical devices throughout.
For more on the Lonely Planet’s top eco stays for 2014 click here
Have you stayed at any of the Lonely Planet’s favourite eco-friendly hotels and hostels? Tell us what you think…
Guest blogger Ellie Cambridge, of NGO Frontier, profiles a new conservation project that takes you to the heart of the Peruvian jungle.
The mighty Amazon rainforest has long been seen as one of the ultimate destinations for adventurers – but with its fragile biodiversity in danger, it needs dedicated teams of conservationists and their volunteers more than ever.
NGO Frontier has launched a new volunteering project – Peru Amazon Rainforest Conservation. By working in a unique region of the Peruvian Amazon, Frontier and the volunteers work in partnership with leading international universities on the project to carry out research and education, to promote a model for sustainability that could be replicated by other communities throughout South and Central America. And it couldn’t some sooner…
The Amazon Rainforest boasts half of the world’s species of plants, animals and insects, and holds one fifth of the world’s fresh water and produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. Due to deforestation, the rainforest is losing 137 plant, animals and insect species everyday. This project aims to lead by example and help protect the rainforest as a valuable resource that should be sustainably looked after.
The work – butterfly identification to tree phenology
Volunteers can get involved in several practical tasks and surveys, and take part in community work such as promoting the project’s work, and new sustainable ways to use the rainforest, in local schools. Practical projects may include camera checks, biomass projects, butterfly traps, tree phenology, agroforestry projects and night transects.
Accommodation – a fabulous eco lodge in the heart of the rainforest
Volunteers stay in a fabulous Eco-Lodge which boasts a solar-powered internet connection, an environmentally sound septic system and gravity-fed water pumps; all helping to minimise the centre’s impact on the environment. The lodges consist of six thatched buildings with two single beds in each pod. All food is provided, which includes three meals a day of pancakes, omelettes, fruit, rice, beans, meat, potatoes and cheese. Other food and snacks, if required, can be purchased once a week from a nearby town.
Recommended for… Anyone who wants hands-on conservation work that will help protect a vital and biodiverse rich area of the world; and who wants to see what it’s really like to live and work in the rainforest.
Be aware that… This project means total immersion in the rainforest so volunteers can gain the best possible understanding of conservation, climate change, and poverty. It is for those that want to get stuck in to the conservation effort and do as much as they can to help, and will potentially involve a four day expedition into the rainforest sleeping under the starts if volunteers stay for longer than four weeks.
Base data gathered by volunteers provides the local community with crucial information, helping them grow the local economy, alongside supporting natural resources to protect the environment
Frontier aims to create international connections linking industries (including agriculture, tourism, timber) to a network of responsible organisations and communities to ensure continued sustainability
About the author: Ellie Cambridge works for Frontier, an NGO dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, and building sustainable livelihoods for marginalised communities in the world’s poorest countries. Find out more about Frontier’s volunteer projects, ethical adventure trails and gap year planning
Non-profit organisation PoD Volunteer (www.podvolunteer.org) has announced a new education project in Peru and is now calling on willing volunteers to join and support their work.
The partnership, with a local community education initiative, is in the Peruvian town of Huaraz in the Ancash region and will provide educational and emotional support to children from low income families. If you want to join them in Peru, here’s a flavour of what you could be experiencing…
The project encourages a holistic approach to education combining homework tuition, emotional well-being classes, recreational activities and daily nutritious meals in a family orientated environment. The community school was established in 2006 to support a low income area where many children were struggling to achieve in the school system. The school runs two daily sessions to compliment the state school system;
9am – 12pm: Secondary school students attend the community education project, they then spend the afternoon at state school
3pm – 6pm: Primary school students attend the project following their morning classes at state school. This is a big help also to many single parents who would not be home to look after their children in the afternoon.
The objective is to provide the children within extra support in their studies. Volunteers act as mentors offering help with homework, education on health and wellbeing and emotional support for students from difficult backgrounds.
Volunteers are involved with a number of tasks which can include:
Helping with homework; Spanish, English, Maths and other subjects
One-on-one tuition with children who are struggling
Creative activities; music, arts and crafts
Active games and sports
Help on the nutrition awareness program, healthy living and hygiene education
Building and maintenance at the school
If you have any specific skills or interests then the community education project are always eager to involve this in the volunteer work. Especially if you have experience in social work, psychology, art, environmental sustainability, literacy and numeracy intervention, health education, fundraising, or languages and translation.
Volunteers stay in a basic but comfortable volunteer apartment, located in the centre of Huaraz and about 10 minutes’ walk from the community school. The apartment has a fully equipped kitchen where volunteers can cook. Bedrooms are shared with shared bathrooms.
Recommended for… Anyone with an interest in education, community development and working with young people and volunteers who want to immerse themselves in Peruvian culture.
Be aware that…The language barrier can be tough, we recommend volunteers try to pick up a few phrases before you travel and consider lessons when in Peru. You will find you pick up many phrases naturally whilst volunteering! Also, accommodation is not private – bedrooms and bathrooms are shared with other volunteers on the project.
Help fight poverty and child labour in Peru by providing educational and emotional support to children and adolescents from low income families.
Build self-esteem through helping plan and execute personal and emotional development workshops, crafts, and sports.
Support an ongoing local community initiative which has been operating in the region for seven years.
Guest blogger Renee Dodds shares her experience of volunteering with orphans in Peru
Traveller Not Tourist is a small organization set up by a lovely young couple who were determined to give visitors to Peru the opportunity to travel responsibly and help the local community. As the name suggests, Traveller Not Tourist is all about helping people have a positive impact on the community and environment rather than mere ‘tourism’ without thought or care.
I discovered the organization while doing a web search for free or low-cost volunteering. My husband and I had decided we wanted to volunteer overseas, but were a bit disheartened by the exorbitant fees being charged by many organizations, with no guarantee that the money paid would be used for the local community. Traveller Not Tourist appealed to us for this reason, they only charge a small administration fee ($100 USD at the time of writing this).
I expected to hang out with some cute kids and feel like I was doing some good in the world when I signed up, but I wasn’t prepared for such an emotional and intense experience. There were days when the work was exhausting, or I would be overcome with sadness for the situation these kids were in, or I was just plain sick of nappies! But the smiles and hugs from the children every day when you open the door and they pile into your arms is the most precious thing on earth. And watching the babies learn to clap and crawl and knowing you helped them in their development is just incredible.
Our time at the orphanage was life-changing and memories of the children will stay with me forever. On our last night with them they performed a concert to say goodbye, and each gave us handmade letters they had written to say how much they would miss us.
Traveller Not Tourist know how much the volunteers bond with the children, so they send a newsletter out with updates and photos of the kids, it makes my day every time I get one!
Work: They have two projects available to volunteer for, an orphanage and a school – the one we were placed with was the Casa Hogar Luz Alba Orphanage. The orphanage is a home for children who, for a whole range of reasons, are unable to live with their parents. There were 23 children aged two months to 10 years there at the time we volunteered, including four babies under eight months old.
Volunteers do ‘half days’, either morning or afternoon, so you have the rest of the day off to yourself (we used the time to do an intensive Spanish language course). Volunteers are there to give the few orphanage staff a much needed break (they are all local full time volunteers who live at the orphanage). So you will be asked to play with the children, provide some general care (bathing/eating etc), clean the living spaces and wash clothes. I was generally asked to spend most of my time in the tiny nursery caring for the four babies so it helps to have some experience changing nappies and caring for very young babies.
They ask for a minimum volunteer commitment of one month, but they also offer a ‘volunteer for a day’ program, where travellers just passing through can offer their services for a day or two.
Accommodation: Traveller Not Tourist has a self-contained volunteer house with rooms available at very low cost to accommodate volunteers. It is around the same price as local backpackers but luxurious in comparison, with a big loungeroom, hot water, great kitchen! It’s really lovely to live with all the other volunteers in a communal space and you will make some great friends.
Recommended for… Anyone who loves working with children
Be aware that… The orphanage staff don’t necessarily speak English and you need to communicate with them regarding the children so make sure you have some basic phrases in place before you start.
It’s not all cuddling babies and playing peek-a-boo, it can actually be extremely physically demanding work, there was no washing machine when we were there and the babies were mostly in cloth nappies, so large chunks of the day were spent on hands and knees scrubbing clothes. My knuckles were red raw by the time I left.
The orphanage staff ask for all tattoos to be covered and piercings taken out or hidden and for dress to be conservative.
Traveller Not Tourist are a tiny, grassroots organization and have a very simple formula of only asking for volunteer time, not large payments of cash, so there is no need to worry about where your money is going. It’s all very transparent, you donate time and see the immediate benefit.
This is no token volunteerism – volunteers make a huge difference in these children’s lives and the orphanage relies on their help. The orphanage gets no funding from government, so has no way of obtaining much needed support.
These children so badly need the attention that the few, overworked women at the orphanage just don’t have time to give them.
Date of visit: April 2008
About the author: Renee Dodds is a freelance writer and public relations professional living in Perth, Australia. (Photos courtesy of Renee Dodds)
Wildlife specialist Naturetrek’s new 2013 brochure contains 14 new tours, including four new UK options.
Those 14 new offerings (see factsheet below for details) include a spring birdwatching trip to Sicily, a ‘Killer Whales & Northern Lights’ tour of Iceland, puma-watching in Chile, a visit to India’s little-known Satpura National Park and an exploration of Baffin Island in Canada.
Wildlife watching around the world
Elsewhere, the vast array of existing trips includes butterfly-viewing trips to Hungary and Greece; birding tours from Sri Lanka to Florida; jaguar-watching tours in Brazil; flora-themed visits to Kazakhstan, Norway and Ecuador; whale-watching in West Greenland and Monterey Bay; tours observing bears in Spain and Finland; and other itineraries themed around snakes, snow leopards, wolves, dragonflies, red pandas and much more.
In total, Naturetrek now offers around 350 tours to nearly every corner of the world. That includes the ever-expanding range of UK trips, which takes in the Shetland Isles, the Scillies and the famous Somerset Levels starling murmurations.
Most tours are open to enthusiasts of all levels, although some will suit a more experienced and knowledgeable traveller. New for 2013, Naturetrek is launching a range of Beginners’ Birdwatching Tours, aimed at those who are keen to go birding, but fear looking foolish amid seasoned veterans sporting well-used binoculars!
Small groups and solo travellers
The majority of Naturetrek trips operate in small groups (average 10-12 people; maximum 16); because these groups include many solo travellers, there’s usually a room-sharing option for those who don’t wish to pay a single supplement. Each group is guided by a leading, experienced ornithologist or botanist (often both), and each tour departs at a carefully-chosen time when the widlife-viewing experience will be at its most rewarding. Nearly all trips are also available (at a different cost) on a tailormade basis too, for clients who cannot make the set departure dates, or who prefer to travel privately.
For more information on any of Naturetrek’s wildlife itineraries or to request a copy of the new 2013 brochure, call them on 01962 733051 or visit www.naturetrek.co.uk. (If you’re in the UK, they’re based in rural Hampshire in a beautiful converted mill with a Site of Special Scientific Interest nearby!).
Run by wildlife enthusiasts with 25 years’ of experience – the founders are naturalists and conservationists turned tour operators
A commitment to sustainable tourism has been at the company’s heart since its inception
Tours involve small groups using local accommodation and facilities to help support the local communities
Naturetrek develops partnerships with local communities and naturalists, such as financing the regeneration of land in Nepal to create two ecotourism camps – Koshi and Suklaphanta
Some tours include charity donations to organisations such as Butterfly Conservation, International Animal Rescue and the Environmental Investigation Agency
They are currently developing other conservation and sustainable tourism projects around the world
They are expanding their range of UK-based (flightless) tours
NEW tours for 2013
Islay & Mull… In Style!: Your first stop is a four-night stay on Islay, popular with birdwatchers due to its numerous species of visiting Arctic wildfowl. Then there are two days spent on the smaller island of Mull, with its mountains, moorlands and vast sea-lochs, home to otters, birds of prey, rutting red deer and much more. Accommodation is on each island’s best hotel; that includes Mull’s wonderful Tiroran House Hotel.
Departing 31 October & 1 November; prices from £1,195 pp**
Wild Flowers of Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula: Enjoy coastal and inland walks during this three-night break in search of Cornwall’s botanical wonders. The Lizard Peninsula is one of the UK’s top sites for plant-life thanks to its diverse landscapes and geology. The trip includes Gew Graze Valley, known for unique outcrops of mineral-rich serpentine rock.
Departing 31 May; prices from £395 pp** The Yorkshire Coast & Moors
This long-weekend birdwatching holiday starts at the chalk cliffs of Flamborough and Bempton, home to over 200,000 seabirds. Then follows a stop at Filey Dams Nature Reserve, a botanical hub for well known British birds such as the tree sparrow, before time on those classic North Yorkshire Moors.
Departing 25 & 28 June and 2 July; prices from £450 pp**
The Wild Flowers of Upper Teesdale Upper Teesdale sits in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This four-day expedition covers a variety of environments, from low-lying hay meadows to rough grazing pastures and summit heaths on high fells. Discover which species make up the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ while admiring the breeding birds of these remote moors.
Departing 21 June; prices from £450 pp**
Iceland – Killer Whales & Northern Lights: This five-day break centres on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula where, in winter, killer whale pods and seabirds congregate as large shoals of herring pass by. Watch the spectacle on land and out at sea, and then, after dark, look skywards to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights.
Departing 3 & 18 February; prices from £1,295 pp*
Lesbos in Autumn: Lesbos lies just a few kilometres from the coast of Turkey, and has a magnificent coastline that supports a diverse bird population. From a secluded-village base, this eight-day trip offers an opportunity to explore the island’s many migratory hotspots whilst enjoying some Aegean sunshine.
Departing 28& 29 September; prices from £1,295 pp*
Fjords, Arctic Birds & Northern Lights!… A Norwegian Coastal Voyage: Including a three-night cruise during which the Northern Lights will hopefully be seen, this six-day trip to the Arctic Circle observes the seabirds which occupy this most extreme – and scenic – region.
Departing 26 February; prices from £1,795 pp*
Spring Birding in Sicily: Within the beautiful setting of eastern Sicily, this seven-day adventure focuses on the spring migration of native birds such as the nightjar and hoopoe. From the 800-year-old converted farmhouse base, daily excursions are made to watch the birds amid the spectacular Sicilian landscape.
Departing 1 May; prices from £1,295 pp*
Inuit Adventure: Narwhals & Other Wildlife of Baffin Island: On a ten-day trip around Canada’s largest island, expert guides will lead daily expeditions on Inuit sleds to discover the Arctic’s most elusive wildlife. Baffin Island is the only place in the world consistently inhabited by the Narwhal, with its distinctive long, narrow tusk, while other sightings regularly include polar bears.
Departing 2 June; prices from £8,995 pp*
Eastern Canada – Whales, Bears & Fall Migration: Ranking among Canada’s most stunning landscapes, Quebec is home to large populations of wildlife such as beluga whales and black bears. This 12-day holiday features walks and cruises through the beautiful creeks and forests where these creatures are regularly seen.
Departing 9 September; prices from £4,395 pp*
Chile – Just Pumas!: This 11-day trip starts off in the Chilean capital, Santiago, before heading into the heart of the Andes. The route passes flamingo-lined lakes to reach Torres del Paine National Park and its glaciers and mountains – which provide a perfect habitat for the puma. Days will be spent devoted to exploring, and seeking out this iconic cat.
Departing 14 March & 4 April; prices from £3,995 pp*
Peru – Mountain Lodges Trek to Machu Picchu: The classic landmark of Machu Picchu is appreciated fully on this 12-day trip, with six days allocated to trekking slowly towards it across the Peruvian Andes. The route offers unique insight into the landscape and wildlife of the area while plotting a slightly different course to the classic Inca Trail.
Departing 10 November; prices from £3,695 pp*
Not Just Tigers! Satpura – Best of Central India: This is a ten-day exploration of one of India’s most scenic – and least-known – tiger reserves. While tigers are shy in Satpura National Park and thus rarely-seen, there’s a good chance of encountering other iconic animals, such as leopard, sloth bear, gaur and Asian wild dog, in the 1,500km² grounds. The park’s equally empty of tourists, despite its beauty and sheer remoteness being so stunning.
Departing 9 November, 21 December, 8 February, 15 March & 5 April; prices from £2,395 pp*
Wild Sri Lanka… In Style!: This 14-day holiday provides the chance to encounter Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife – blue whales, leopards, crocodiles, wild boar, warblers and parrots included. You’ll also get to stay in luxury accommodation and admire some of the tropical country’s most impressive archaeological sites, including ancient Polonnaruwa.
Departing 19 November & 14 January; prices from £3,595*
* Prices include flights (London), transport, comfortable accommodation with all or most meals and guiding from an expert naturalist.
** Price includes transport whilst on tour, comfortable accommodation with meals (breakfast and evening meals as a minimum) and guiding from an expert naturalist.