South America is home to a dozen unique nations, each with their own vibrant culture, stunning natural wonders, and rich history to explore as you travel through ancient empires. Each country offers its own diverse ecosystem, coloring the continent with a breathtaking array of flora and fauna. As you prepare to jet off and see the natural beauty through your own eyes, it is essential to be conscious about how you are traveling. These five sustainable travel tips will help you explore South America responsibly and support the environment along the way.
1. Explore Incan Empires With Sustainable Tour Operators
As you ascend the mountains and lay your eyes on Machu Picchu, prepare to be awestruck as one of the most iconic destinations in the world begins to appear through the clouds. The mountains of Peru are home to a lost city that people come from all over the world to see. But, in order to keep your adventure responsible, hire a local tour operator like Kuoda to guide you on this historic experience. Sustainable travel in South America should start before you book flights! Hiring an eco-conscious small business makes responsible travel extremely simple.
Local companies offer a few important benefits for travelers. First, partnering with the smaller companies means you will have a much more tailored experience, one hand crafted by community members who know the region better than anyone else. Machu Picchu is an extremely popular activity, and for good reason! If you have been dreaming of seeing this mysterious city with your own eyes, local tour operators will be able to help you prepare for the trek to the top.
Many local tour companies are also conscious about their own conservation efforts. By supporting a small business, you can also support the community by extension! Choosing a company with transparent, respectful values not only enhances your own trip, but allows positive resources to be poured back into the community. From environmental rebuilding efforts, to economic redistribution, local travel companies have many ways they impact the destinations you will be visiting, so travelers and locals alike can continue to enjoy the wonders of our world like Machu Picchu.
2. Escape to Ecuador While Staying in a Five Star Eco-Lodge
As you’re planning your vacation, consider finding lodging that promotes ecological conservation. Luckily, as jet setters have increasingly prioritized sustainable travel options throughout the last decade, there are many responsible amenities in South America that provide you a one of a kind, luxury stay.
If Ecuador is on your itinerary, we have the perfect place where the adventurous traveler can relax above the treetops, surrounded by some of the most breathtaking rainforest views imaginable. Located a short drive from the bustling town of Quito, Mashpi Lodge is a serene escape that offers eco-friendly accommodations, designed to blend in with the natural environment while still offering comfort to every guest. A “cocoon of luxury in the middle of the forest,” Mashpi Lodge finds the ideal balance between serene escapism and modern amenities to elevate your stay. Wind down with rejuvenating spa treatments, and enjoy a magical natural reserve, watching the rainforest buzz to life every morning from their observation center.
Across all of South America, you can find resorts that choose responsible business practices. Plus, many of these smaller lodges will treat your stay with greater care than their much larger competitors. You deserve to feel at home on vacation, which a boutique hotel can offer every traveler!
3. Pack Light to Reduce Waste Every Step of the Way
Waste reduction is important to consider no matter where you are in the world, and packing your suitcase responsibly is a simple way to support the environment while you travel! Loading your luggage with unnecessary items and increasing the weight will ultimately use more fuel in transit. By lightening your load, you are not only making the trek easier for yourself, but reducing overall fuel consumption.
Does that mean you should not pack your essentials? Not at all! In fact, it is better to bring your own hygiene products, sunscreen, bug repellent, and even cutlery than to use what is available for purchase when you land! Our top seven essentials for your luggage include:
- Biodegradable shampoos and soaps.
- Skin care without chemicals, good for you and your environment!
- Reef safe, organic sunscreen and bug repellent
- A set of silverware, so you don’t have to use any plastic cutlery while you travel!
- Natural deodorant
- Reusable water bottle
- Reusable fabric face masks.
Additionally, be mindful of the wardrobe choices you make while packing. Choose clothes that can be repurposed for several outfits to simplify packing and minimize unnecessary baggage. For shorter journeys especially, those staple wardrobe pieces can be accessorized into a completely different style, without the hassle of overpacking outfits!
4. Make Friends with Flora and Fauna from a Distance
In South America, you can find everything from snow capped mountains and glacial ice walls, to expansive desert regions with sun baked hills highlighted in golden rays. For those who love adventuring through the organic world, there are endless options for you here! But, while you take a walk on the wild side, remember to care for the wildlife and natural habitats.
The tourism industry may try to sell you on the exotic creatures and unseen biology. In fact, many organizations may suggest that by visiting animals in captivity, you are providing economic support that will benefit the care of the animals. Realistically, animals kept in captivity is a harmful practice that is easily kept secret. When embarking on an excursion through nature, be sure to check in with those that protect animals rights and wildlife conservation that outline what activities contribute positively to the environment. Working with animal organizations that do help to maintain and improve the natural habitats will keep these destinations safe for every traveler who hopes to visit in the future.
Across the entire continent, South America’s natural wonders continue to surprise travelers with its biodiversity and striking beauty. So gear up and get ready to explore! When you visit, take a step back and view the world peacefully. Do not disrupt the habitat by picking flowers or interacting closely with the animals. As long as we all do our part to protect every environment we visit, these habitats can continue flourishing for years to come.
5. Immerse Yourself with the Locals and Volunteer in the Communities You’re Visiting
Setting aside one day to give back while you’re on your adventure is a fantastic way to get to know the people and customs of a community, while actively working to improve that destination. Your volunteer work does not have to be complicated or overly strenuous! By doing a small bit of research, you can find the local organizations who would benefit from just one day of help.
Of course, make sure you understand the culture before diving in; learning a few words of the local language to better communicate is just one way to show you respect the community and want to leave a good impression. This also goes for any trip you plan to take! Make an effort to research the appropriate attire, behaviors, and customs of each region before you take off. Small signs of appreciation like this can go a very long way in making the communities feel at ease with travel reopening slowly.
As you plan your next vacation, allow these ideas to inspire sustainable travel through South America! Kuoda can always help you build an itinerary that meets every need, including eco-friendly travel practices. Let us know where you’d like to visit, and we’ll work alongside you to create a custom vacation that matches your bucket list. Or, visit our Responsible Travel page to find a few quick tips and ideas about the best ways to keep your vacations green!