Tourism impacts communities in untold ways. There are obviously many positive impacts to tourism, including economic and social investment in rural or often times remote locations and the spread of understanding across communities. However, most communities and environments pay a far more negative price for tourism.
As travelers and adventure seekers, it is our responsibility to make wise, sustainable travel decisions whenever possible and learn enough about the places in which we travel in order to be able to make informed choices.
We asked our partners here in Colombia what best practices they hope to see from travelers taking part in their tours or exploring with them.
Tips for Responsible Travel in the Mountians
Use a reusable bottle for water and avoid straws!
Hopefully, you’ve figured out that water bottles and straws take decades to degrade and are incredibly harmful to the planet. The good thing about carrying your own water bottle around is that you won’t be stuck without water when hiking or trekking, juts make sure to filter it beforehand.
Bring a reusable tote or cloth bag
A reusable tote is good for so many things, including groceries, a trip to the market, souvenirs, a beach bag, and so much more. It also helps to reduce your dependence on plastic while traveling, which can be convenient but harmful to the local environment. There are some cool fold-up reusable bag options that won’t weight you down.
Leave any biological matter you find in the mountains where it is
First, it’s dangerous to be handling unknown biological matter in the wilderness – hello giardia. Second, you risk contaminating other environments or destroying the one where you are located by removing valuable vegetation.
Dispose of Waste Properly
This is where that reusable tote might come in handy. Waste containers are not always readily available, so make sure you have the proper container necessary to pack out your garbage. If you bring it, you bring it out. Wait until you find a place dedicated to collecting waste, and even better, recycling.
Pay attention to your body care products
Protect water sources from contamination by using only natural or biodegradable products. AVOID soaps and sun scream with Oxibenzona, BP-3 or Benzofenona, and don’t use any product containing hydrogen peroxide, octyl salicylate, or octinoxate which are damaging to aquatic ecosystems. Dr Brommers soap is a good choice, or even locally made natural options.
Be respectful of the biological, ethical, cultural and sexual diversity of the communities living where you are travelling
It’s not your home, and it is worth doing a bit of homework about where you will be traveling. Some mountain communities operate very differently than urban society. Understand that you are a guest and try to act accordingly while at the same time still fostering an exchange.