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Sustainable tourism initiatives key to long-term conservation

With less than 3 weeks to go until World Environment Day (05 June 2008), the issue of saving the Amazon rainforest is more topical than ever. Last week, Peru announced the creation of its first Environment Ministry, dedicated to protecting the nation’s Amazon rainforest; while the Brazilian government stepped up its “Arc of fire” operation against illegal logging and deforestation. All good stuff, on paper, but the resignation of Brazil’s Amazon Minister (Marina Silva), citing “difficulties in implementing the government’s environmental agenda”, reminds us that striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection continues to be a struggle.

But responsible tourism and community-led conservation initiatives do offer some hope for the future. Read on for our “top 6” examples of how tourism really can benefit both the local economy and the environment.


1) POSADA AMAZONAS, Puerto Maldonado - PERU

A collaborative project set up by local operator Rainforest Expeditions, together with the Ese-Eja Amerindian community. After 20 years the lodge will be given over completely to the community; having been fully trained to run the lodge in guiding, cooking, accounts, finance and marketing. 60% of all income goes back to the community to fund education, health-care initiatives and protect the surrounding rainforest (10,000 hectares achieved) and its wildlife.

- Visit and support it: 3 nights from £191 pp + flights.
- Combine with: the Inca highlights of Cusco and Machu Picchu.


A fantastic lodge with both community and conservation benefit, in a region which was threatened by oil companies. Similar in principle to the pioneering Kapawi lodge (also in Ecuador), it’s a 10-year collaborative project, set up by local operator Tropic, with the region’s Huaorani community. 5 comfortable palm-thatched cabins with private bathrooms, a hammock house and guided jungle excursions. Biodegradable products, solar power and a bio-filter for organic waste disposal.

- Visit and support it: 3 nights from £398 pp + flights.
- Combine with: colonial Quito and Andean markets, or a cruise in the Galapagos Islands.

3) SURAMA VILLAGE, Pacaraima savannah - GUYANA

The blueprint for community-led tourism and conservation in Guyana, and now being followed by other Amerindian communities. In an attempt to stem the exodus of villagers to the capital, Surama’s “Macushi” villagers, backed by local operator Wilderness Explorers, built a rustic lodge and hammock camp to offer hiking and dug-out canoe tours in the surrounding jungle. Provides a source of employment and income, aswell as an outlet for local produce and handicrafts.

- Visit it & support it: 12 night “Highlights of Guyana” (includes Surama) from £2235 pp + flights.
- Combine with: a visit to the Space Centre and Papillon’s Devil’s Island in French Guiana.

4) PUNTA ISLITA, Nicoya Peninsula – COSTA RICA

Proof that “Luxury” can also still be sustainable. An award-winning Pacific-coast hideaway, famed for its stunning natural setting, strong eco-credentials and impeccable service. Set in the middle of a 50-acre private tropical dry forest reserve, all produce is locally sourced and over 85% of staff are from the local villages. There are 32 luxurious rooms, suites and villas; and with a range of activities from horse riding and mountain biking, to enjoying the spa and amazing infinity pool.

- Visit it & support it: 7 nights from £688 pp + flights to San José.
- Combine with: a jungle lodge in Tortuguero or Corcovado, or the active Arenal volcano.


New for 2008, Journey Latin America offers a range of short, tailor-made conservation projects. These projects give travellers the chance to volunteer their time as a much-needed "extra pair of hands" - assisting local conservation NGO's with field studies and lab research. Offered as an "extension" to any of our usual holidays to the country - giving our clients the rare opportunity to support and learn more about, the amazing eco-systems they've just visited on holiday.

- Visit it & support it: 4-night “Panama Adventure Project” from £500 pp + flights to Panama City. Help local NGO workers with data collection and field studies, and their training of local farmers about forest preservation and alternative farming techniques.
- Combine with: the idyllic San Blas islands, the home of the semi-autonomous Kuna indians.


Two unique, new group tours from Journey Latin America, which aim to show the key highlights of the country, but with the emphasis on the communities you’re visiting. Where possible, you stay with local communities (in family homestays) rather than hotels, and are invited to participate in their daily lives - learning how they weave, cook, farm etc and helping out with their daily tasks. Offers an economic benefit to the communities and a valuable cultural exchange for both parties.

- Visit it & support it: 14-night [Chile Community
Journey|] from £1428 pp + flights to Santiago. Includes homestay on Isla Chiloe; ancient traditions, dunes and lagoons in the Atacama; and trekking in the awesome Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia.
- Combine with: a chance to see the mysterious moai statues on Easter Island.

Note – prices are based on double occupancy and include accommodation with some meals, all land transfers, guided excursions and domestic flights where relevant. International flights are not included (unless stated otherwise), but can be provided if necessary.


Tel: 020 8747 8315 (London), 0161 832 1441 (Manchester) or 1800 818 126 (Eire).
Let us know if you need any further info, prices or images to go with the above destinations.

Tim Murray-Walker: 020 8090 4727
Laura Forsyth: 020 8622 8422
Jenny Hyden: 020 8622 8416


Notes to Editors:


Ever since 1980, Journey Latin America has been dedicated to running responsible holidays to Latin America. Still an independent operator, closely run by its passionate founding owners, the company has forged long-term relationships with local operators; offering small-scale, family-run accommodation where available; and supporting any local eco-tourism initiatives which have been introduced.

Our Responsible Tourism credentials have been recognized by AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) with their “3-star” Responsible Tourism status, the highest achievable. We support 4 small charities in Latin America, all of which focus on long term development; through education, healthcare and conservation. The company makes monthly contributions to these, in addition to the regular fund-raising initiatives arranged by our staff.

- CO2 off-setting: we provide the TICOS off-set as an “opt out” scheme for our clients. We’ve achieved a 70% take up rate so far. The funds are used by TICOS to develop projects that have both carbon savings and wider sustainable development benefits for local communities. Our contributions go towards the “Kuna Yala” scheme in Panama’s San Blas islands.

- Supported charities: we provide information about our supported charities to all clients and encourage them to get involved. For example, we are providing all clients who travel to Peru with a spare tooth brush, for them to give to the Dental Project Peru in Cusco.

- Staff fundraising events: being passionate about Latin America, we arrange regular events with all of the office involved - from cake baking, to pub quizzes and beard shaving – where we regularly raise over £500 to go towards our supported charities. At Christmas time, or other times of special need (eg the earthquake in Peru last year) our staff help to collect warm clothes and toys etc to send out to different regions.


This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Journey Latin America in the following categories: Men's Interest, Women's Interest & Beauty, Environment & Nature, Travel, for more information visit