Travel trends change every year. Some years ago luxury travel was all the rave. But eco- and adventure travel steadily grew as awareness of environmental issues spread. Nowadays you can book eco and adventure travel with major tour operators. However, due to the way these operators function, they can only book relatively generic, modularised packages. Meanwhile, the trend-setters are now searching for something more eclectic. Thrills alone are not enough. Experience and real interactions with real people are far more meaningful. Learning experiences or getting involved with conservation efforts – those are the kinds of experiences that are trending. Highly customised itineraries (such as we have offered since we first started in 1998!) and niche travel with a very narrow focus on specific interests is also up. Let’s take a closer look:
The family that plays together, stays together
The younger generation is less afraid of taking their youngsters on adventurous trips abroad. They value not only the unique experiences their kids will treasure forever, but also the way it will expand their horizons. Besides, family adventure holidays work much like team-building incentives in the work context. We get to know each other in a completely different context that help us to bond through challenging but fun activities.
Refugio Amazonas, situated in the Tambopata region of southern Peru, is a family-friendly eco-lodge. It offers family itineraries for families with young children as well as high adrenaline activities suitable for teens. Family tours are led by specially trained guides.
Costa Rica is the perfect family adventure destination. There are so many exciting activities and family-friendly hotels, that you will never want to leave! We specialize in customizing trips according to your preferences to create the perfect package – for you and your family.
Getting off the beaten track
Decades of travel journalism working hand in hand with destination management organisations have shaped perceptions of a country’s highlights. Just think – how many ‘must see’ listicles and travel bucket-lists have you seen in magazines and newspapers across the board? The problem is that sooner or later hordes of people are all trying to see the same sights and the destination becomes the victim of its own success. Many destinations have become over-dependent on tourism and thus are trying to milk the steady flow of visitors for everything they can get. Even if it means a low quality of visitor experience which ultimately leads to disappointment among travellers, or a low quality of tourism, which ultimately leads to conflict with the local community.
But some far-sighted communities have been reading the signs of the times and have become pro-active by trying to spread the tourist flow so as to avoid this overload. This is sustainable tourism management. But travellers themselves have also responded to this problem by seeking out lesser known destinations. Getting off the beaten track is ‘a thing’, especially when these freshly discovered hidden gems are highly instagramable.
The Inca Trail is one of the top hiking destinations in South America, which makes it a bit of an ant trail. Why not discover the real highlands and its people by walking the Weaver’s Trail, also known as Lares Trail, instead? It is a demanding trail that offers both nature and culture along the way.
Belize: Toledo District
Belize is a tiny country so it is hard to imagine that there are spots that are not on the main tourist trail. But, most tourists head for Ambergris, Placencia, or the central part of Belize while the Toledo district in the deep south remains a largely undiscovered gem.
The Pyrenees may not be a ‘secret’ destination, yet they remain quite off the beaten path. The mountain range that spans from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and separates France and Spain is a gem. Culturally diverse and full of marvelous and unexpected sights, it is a dream destination for long-distance hikers.
Both travellers and tour operators and hotel managers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to make travel more sustainable. While there will always be a carbon footprint associated with travel, it is also important not to underestimate the positive impact it can have. However, everybody can do something to help reduce the burden on the environment. For travellers, that means choosing eco-conscious (maybe certified) hotels and tour operators. But it is not always easy to tell how green a company really is. Some actively seek certification and pride themselves in being a carbon neutral operator. But other, smaller outfits may not be able to afford the application fee for the certification procedure. Yet, they do everything they can to make their operation green and clean. Things to look out for are whether the hotel is part of an international chain or locally owned. Although many of the big chains now also participate (and often lead the pack) in green certification schemes, they are still owned by a multinational corporation and much of the dollars spent there will drain out of the country, rather than helping to build sustainable foundations for future generations. Another thing to watch out for is where they source their produce. Many small hotels now have a garden-to-table policy, ensuring fresh, organic produce. Some will let you know that they source their food from local producers or that they use local guides. This is a way to provide employment and lets more of the tourist money flow back into the community.
We have always been focused on sustainable travel and have carefully chosen our partners. Of course, in the end it is YOUR choice which operator or lodge you support. We highlight each operator’s or hotel’s eco-credentials so you can make an informed decision.