Monday, December 13, 2021
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is a word which we all hear in our everyday lives, although no one truly understands exactly what it means. To define Ecotourism in one sentence, it is "responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strive to be low impact and (often) small scale (as an alternative to mass tourism). Its purpose is to educate the traveler; provide funds for ecological conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights." (Wikipedia)
However as i discovered first hand, Ecotourism is all of this and more. As i traveled through Guatemala, i soon discovered that Ecotourism is first understanding people, and their culture; and through understanding developing and sharing the care which those native people have for their own country. Through observation of simple things, such as what people eat, how they conduct their daily lives, and what they value, i was able to slowly form a definition of the word "Ecotourism". Ecotourism is an incredibly complex word, with associations to sustainability, environment, economy and a host of other complicated topics. However in my opinion, when taken at its simplest form, Ecotourism is discovering about the local people, sharing their passion for a certain way of living and finding the inspiration to build a greater future together.
In understanding what Ecotourism is, it has shifted my mentality about how i travel. Responsible travel has a deep impact on the people whom i choose to visit, and this can create sustainable benefits including reduction of poverty, greater environmental awareness and an increased standard of living. We must first become aware of the world if we are to change it.
Monday, October 26, 2020
What an amazing trip already! As soon as we stepped off the plane, the airport was gorgeous, and provoking my imagination about the things we were about to see and experience. Famous photos, art and other paraphenalia in the airport definitely helped with creating my initial impression of Guatemala. The humidity is also comforting, not as much as some of the other places i have been, but still very tangible, like a wetnap to the face. As soon as we got off the plane, we were greeted by the owner of the hostel at which we were staying, Elisabeth, who is a very nice lady. Also, an army colonel friend of Giovanni's greeted us, adding to the welcoming feeling Guatemala emanates. Our trip to the hostel was startlingly short, and we were welcomed to an extremely authentic colonial style home, where we stayed in one of the rooms. The faded paintings, victorian age furniture, and memento's from past travellers all spoke to the atmosphere of the hostel, which was more of a classical approach.
The next day, as we went about our morning we met Miss Guatemala, a Miss Universe contender! After taking our pictures with her, and talking with her about her life, we started on the road through Guatemala city.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Antigua, the historical capital of central America. Just one visit and i knew it was true, really Antigua lives up to its reputation. Besides the incredible churches and colonial architecture, Antigua has a kind of romantic charm which makes it instantly one of the most experiental cities in the world.
Foo Fighter Style! Dont get it? No problem, you will get to fly around in a Cessna and learn what its all about. Grasping the full landscape of Guatemala is really seeing the full picture. Guatemala has so many microclimates, and so many different types of geography, that seeing it all at once is really understanding. Experiencing Guatemala by air is an absolute must, and will change the way you view the country.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The true coffee roasting process is very intensive, and we got a personalized tutorial, roasting our own coffee. Some of the machinery was quite complex, and it was incredible to see how it all comes together, from plant, to roasting, straight into the cup.
Wow is the only word i hard to describe these tamales, cooked to perfection, and served with corn tortilla and hot chocolate. The variety and quality of the food in Olopa was absolutely incredible, we ate traditional Guatemalan chicken soup, lorocco pastries (local vegetable pastry), tamales and much much more.
The lion sleeeeps tonight. No, but seriously, we got to trek right into the jungle to the first coffee farm, Finca Las Flores. What an experience... planting our own coffee tree, and learning everything about growing coffee, right from the seed. The most interesting part for me was learning about the washing, and water filtration system which is quite complex.
At the coffee farm at last, we had a very warm welcome from Giovanni's family. This is a picture of the kitchen, while we enjoy some breakfast, with freshly roasted coffee. No cream or sugar needed here, just delicious coffee served fresh with traditional Guatemalan breakfast.
On every good trip, its nice to relax sometimes. We definitely got the best of relaxing in these hammocks, which practically rock you to sleep the second you settle into them. This was at a resort we stopped by, on our way to Olopa (Giovanni's family coffee farm). One step (and hammock) at a time!
After a refreshing drive through the mountains, with some stunning scenery, we stopped by a local juice vendor. This particular vendor squeezes fresh grape juice daily in order to create a totally fresh experience for the people stopping by! It was delicious and bubbly, and reminiscient of a very sparkly white wine. This particular vendor also sold plants, honey, and various other fresh fruits. We promised to visit her again sometime!