How to tread lightly while traveling?

Often we forget to ask ourselves about the consequences of our activities. But in a world where everything is connected, everything that we do has an effect on the lives of others and on the planet. If we are conscious of this, and have a responsable attitude, the tracks that we leave as we travel will be positive!

How big is your footprint?

Minimize your environmental impact

• Think about what happens to your rubbish – take biodegradable products and a water filter bottle. Be sensitive to limited resources like water, fuel and electricity.

• Help preserve local wildlife and habitats by respecting rules and regulations, such as sticking to footpaths, not standing on coral and not buying products made from endangered plants or animals.

• Although we always tell our guides not to get close to animals, there is always the temptation to get closer. We urge you not to ask the guides or driver to get close to animals. When taking a picture use the biggest lense, to avoid getting closer to them. Never feed animals or try to touch them.

• Take biodegradable soaps with you and use them rationally. This will help keep the water suplly clean.

• Supporting local conservation efforts is “pura vida”. Ask how you can help!

The cost of your holiday

• Think about where your money goes – be fair and realistic about how cheaply you travel. Try and put money into local people’s hands; drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and stay in locally-owned accommodation.

• Haggle with humor and not aggressively. Pay what something is worth to you and remember how wealthy you are compared to local people.

Learn about the country you’re visiting

• Start enjoying your travels before you leave by tapping into as many sources of information as you can.

• Use your guidebook as a starting point, not the only source of information. Talk to local people, then discover your own adventure!

Culture

• Be open to new cultures and traditions. Being tolerant of cultural diferences will help you get more enjoyment from your trip.

• Think carefully about what is appropriate in terms of your clothes and the way you behave. You’ll earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people.

• Respect local laws and attitudes towards drugs and alcohol that vary in different countries and communities. Think about the impact you could have.

• Try to learn few words of the local language. This will allow you to reduce barriers and enjoy even more your vacation.

• Giving money to beggers is not the best way to help. If you wish to contribute to the community, it is better if you do it through a community association or school, providing teaching material, games or any other equipment needed.

• Reporting suspicious situations of sexual tourism can contribute to eliminate it. According to Costa Rican legislation, sexual harassment, child prostitution, and the consumption of illegal substances, are crimes punishable by law. If ACTUAR learns about these cases, we will be able denounce them before the proper authorities.

Photography

• Don’t treat people as part of the landscape; they may not want their picture taken. Put yourself in their shoes, ask first and respect their wishes.

By following these recommendations throughout your trip, you will reduce the possible negative impacts of your visit, and instead will have a positive effect.

A GREAT COMMUNITY-BASED RURAL TOURISM TRIP STARTS WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE…