Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

Taylor made trip to Colombia

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Sustainable tourism is like protecting the planet: it should be the norm, and yet… it’s far from it. Many believe that tourism today has more of a negative impact on the world than the opposite.

Examples of the effects of mass tourism are numerous, including Venice in Italy, Machu Picchu in Peru, Easter Island in Chile, Along Bay in Vietnam, Everest in Nepal, Maya Bay in Thailand, etc., etc., etc…

From the very start of our travel blog, we’ve wanted to use this platform to promote tourism that is conscious, responsible, sustainable – use whatever term you prefer – but tourism whose benefit-risk balance is positive, whether for local populations or the environment.

We were fed up with paying fees abroad

So for several years now, we’ve been using a free bank debit card specially designed for travelers, and we don’t pay any more fees abroad – no more!

Why talk about sustainable tourism

Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

When we decided to create our travel blog dedicated to Colombia, we said to ourselves: OK, let’s make people want to travel to Colombia, but not just any old way. OK to give as much information as possible to those who want to travel to Colombia, but let’s try to put forward a slightly different way of traveling.

That’s why, from the outset, our idea has been to open a door to a different way of thinking about travel: to propose alternatives, to give food for thought about the impact of our visit, our actions and the way we travel.

More prosaically, it’s about promoting virtuous local initiatives. Initiatives that seem interesting to us:

  • either because they are eco-responsible,
  • or because they have a social impact on vulnerable populations,
  • or because they work to ensure that tourism comes from local communities rather than foreign investors,
  • or because they combine all these factors of community, sustainable, ethical and responsible development.

Directory of sustainable tourism in Colombia

Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

This “directory” is destined to grow with our travels and discoveries.

What is sustainable tourism?

Responsible Tourism in Colombia

Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

According to the World Tourism Organization, responsible tourism must be“ecologically sustainable in the long term, economically viable and ethically and socially equitable for local populations.

To be more precise, in 2002 (already!), an official declaration at the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Cape Town laid the foundations for what responsible tourism should be (you can read the entire declaration here):

  • Minimize negative impacts (economic, environmental and social)
  • Generate economicbenefits for the local population, access to jobs in tourism,
  • Improve the well-being of host communities and their working conditions
  • Involve localpopulations in decisions that affect their lives, and provide them with opportunities
  • Contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and the maintenance of diversity
  • Offer more meaningful experiences, interacting with local people and gaining a better understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
  • Provide better access for people with physical disabilities;
  • Foster respect between tourists and hosts, and build self-esteem among local populations.

It’s cool to be a responsible tourist

Responsible (or sustainable) tourism in Colombia

Sustainable Tourism in Colombia

Our role here is not to lecture anyone. To tell you the truth, we try to be careful about the way we travel, but we’re far from perfect and we don’t set ourselves up as an example. In fact, there’s a rather interesting campaign circulating on the web which basically says:“We don’t need just a few people doing things perfectly, we need lots of people doing things imperfectly in their own way“.

Why is it cool to take your time?

The airplane issue is a real problem for travelers (including us) who don’t stay long in the country. We tend to want to “make the most” of our trip, to do as much as possible in as little time as possible, and to do this we don’t hesitate to take several internal flights to shorten the journey time..

And yet, long-distance travel should be the traveller’s benchmark. Knowing how to slow down is indeed one of the virtues of responsible travel, but what we need to understand is that this choice is a cool choice ! And why is that? Because taking your time is the best way to get the most out of your trip, and to treat yourself to some wonderful surprises.

You have to understand and accept that you won’t be able to see everything, visit everything, discover everything in a single trip. Unless you stay in one place for months or even years. Once you’ve accepted this, you need to think about the itinerary you’re going to set up, to make it as coherent as possible in terms of discoveries and transport.

Compromising between our desires and the reality on the ground means telling ourselves that the more time we take to visit different places, the more we travel in short stages, the greater the benefits of the trip will be, the more encounters we’ll be able to have, the more we’ll be able to enter into the local culture, exchange ideas, learn, enjoy the scenery… in other words, the more fun we’ll have! Notions that are essential when it comes to traveling far afield in a country foreign to our own culture.

Why is it cool to pay attention to the way we travel?

When we decide to go on a trip to Colombia or elsewhere, we may be inspired by photos we’ve seen on the Internet, guidebooks or blogs like ours that tell us about destinations to visit, places that look magical and that we absolutely must see, or we may call on a travel agency that listens to our desires and suggests a stay, etc. So far, so normal. So far, so normal – a trip, an itinerary, a desire to discover something, has to be triggered by something.

The important thing, then, from our point of view, is not to rush into anything with your eyes closed, just because everyone else is doing the same thing. We believe it’s essential to take a step back and find out how to discover a destination.

By finding out about sustainable tourism practices in the destinations you want to visit, about the initiatives of local agencies, about possible alternatives to saturated destinations, what’s the worst that can happen?

You’ll discover landscapes you’d never have been able to see on your own, you’ll meet the locals, learn about local traditions and how they live… you’ll take a step aside and realize that there’s a village next door to the one everyone goes to that’s just as beautiful and just as interesting to visit… you’ll enjoy nature while respecting it, understanding it and realizing how lucky you are to be there… in other words, you’ll have fun!