Traveling for a Cause: 3 Trips That Give Back
The tourism industry is booming, and adventure travel is at the helm of it all. People seem to be more interested in traveling with a purpose now than ever before. Not only do these three trips allow travelers to experience a new destination, they afford them the opportunity to give back as well.
1. Ecoventura, Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are a hot ticket item on travelers’ bucket lists these days, and as the mecca of marine life and biodiversity continues to grow in popularity, travelers can do their part to ensure the impact of tourism is a positive one and that the carbon footprint doesn’t hurt the unique and natural environment. Ecoventura, a leader in sustainable travel operating a small fleet of eco-friendly yachts designed for adventure travel throughout the Galapagos, has partnered with Pack with a Purpose, a nonprofit urging travelers to spare a small space in their luggage for delivering much needed supplies to local communities.
Enabling travelers to contribute directly to the cause, guests are urged to pack 5 pounds of supplies from a list of requested items. Allowing foundations to save on shipping costs and providing an ease of logistics, Pack for a Purpose’s partnership with Ecoventura enables travelers to simple give the supplies to the Captain of their yacht, which will then be delivered to the students at the Alejandro Alvear School and also the New Era Galapagos Foundation that supports arts programs, Eco Scouts, and English activities.
2. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Peru
Perched atop ancient Incan ruins and recognized as a top-10 hotel in South America by Conde Nast readers, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco captures the essence of the city’s rich history and envelopes guests with the luxury and culture of it all. In the hotel’s open courtyard, ancient Andean tradition takes place as textile weaving is displayed.
Boasting the original columns and arches of the now converted San Agustin Convent, local weavers from surrounding cooperatives are invited to set up shop for two weeks at a time, giving textile weaving demonstrations to hotel guests. These demonstrations, which educate visitors on local culture and keep this important Andean tradition alive, help the local community thrive and prosper, as guests have the opportunity to purchase these unique pieces directly at no additional charge to the local weavers themselves.
3. Nomadic Expeditions, Mongolia
Mongolia is a nation as stunning as it is expansive, and the folks at Nomadic Expeditions offer travelers a first-hand look into the local culture of the nomadic people with their Ultimate Gobi trip. On this incredible journey, travelers will experience the land as the Mongolians do, sharing it with two-humped camels and Argali mountain sheep, snow leopards, and Gobi bears in the sprawling land of canyons, valleys and dunes. On this trip, guests will spend five nights at the Three Camel Lodge, the award-winning eco-lodge in the Gobi. Founder, CEO and President Jalsa Urubshurow, who is also the founder, CEO and president of Nomadic Expeditions, envisioned this property as a means of using controlled tourism to bolster the local community, thus preserving and protecting the Gobi Desert.
What began in the late 1990s remains a successful, luxurious, and sustainable eco-lodge that pays homage to the preservation of the region’s precious ecosystems and nomadic culture today. Locally sourced materials, a traditional Buddhist temple-style design, and traditional Mongolian felt ger tents contribute to the unmistakable authenticity of the lodge. Furthermore, the Lodge was the first of its kind in Mongolia to sign a contract with the National Park and local government to protect the surrounding area from poaching and other non-environmentally sound activities. The Lodge has initiated cultural celebrations such as the Camel and Horse Festivals, built greenhouses and constructed small family-run farms, and guests who visit will contribute first-hand to this important piece of land, history, preservation and culture.