2019 was a tough year for the planet. We saw environmental disasters on an unprecedented scale – from the heartbreaking bushfires here in Australia to the burning of the Amazon rainforest.
But what we have also seen is the upsurging of environmental activists who are challenging governments and corporations to make changes.
Climate strikers have walked out of schools and workplaces in protest, and key figures such as Greta Thunberg have led a new generation of fiercely passionate environmentalists.
The travel industry has been subject to increased pressure as the climate emergency has unfolded. This renders it more important than ever that travel companies are discerning about the experiences they promote so travellers can make more conscious decisions about where and how they go in 2020.
Latin America and Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures, share their top tips on how to travel more sustainably and have a better experience in 2020.
SMALLER IS BETTER
Chimu is big advocates of the small stuff.
Most of the ‘small ships’ they work with carry under 200 passengers and small ship cruising is, in Chimu’s opinion, the only way to cruise.
Under IAATO regulation, just 100 passengers at any one time can make a shore landing in Antarctica so by travelling on a small ship, half of the passengers walk amid penguins while the other half crackle through ice via Zodiac.
Limiting ship size and passenger numbers lessens the impact of tourism and results in a more intimate experience for travellers.
In South America, ‘small’ means super small with the majority of Chimu’s Amazon and Galapagos vessels carrying under 50 passengers. With minimal people comes maximum wildlife viewing opportunities as your dinky craft meanders its way through remote tributaries or anchors at a deserted beach.
TAKE THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED
South America is home to some of the most iconic experiences on the planet, perhaps the most famous being the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
With great fame comes great popularity and the number of visitors trekking this route has resulted in a rather crowded sacred site. 2020 can be the year you challenge yourself with an alternative Peru hike, for example, the Choquequirao trek.
Completely different to Machu Picchu but just as impressive in terms of archaeological ruins, this is an exciting run of altitude gains and drops from mountain to river and back – camping along the way.
In contrast to the pummelled track to Machu Picchu, no trains or buses can magic you up here so it is your own steam all the way.
MAKE IT COUNT
Aviation emissions have come into the spotlight more than ever in 2019 and the flight-shaming environmental movement ‘flygskam’ has been growing in Europe as travellers opt for train travel over flying.
It is harder to avoid air travel if Australia is home, but 2020 can be the year of fewer but more meaningful holidays.
Swap multiple mini-breaks for one long trip of a lifetime and make it count.
Chimu can tailor-make some of the most coveted experiences on the planet: expedition cruises to Antarctica; glamping or sailing in the Galapagos Islands; getting a taste of Gaucho life at a working ranch in Patagonia; being part of a science project to discover new species at an Amazon eco-lodge and sitting on deck under a midnight sun in the Arctic.
CHANGE ONE THING
Returning from an incredible holiday can see your motivation levels soaring.
On a trip to Antarctica, the scenery and wildlife you witness combined with informative onboard lectures will make this destination’s fragility starkly apparent and you will disembark with a fresh drive on how to reduce your environmental impact.
Staying at a working research centre in the Peruvian Amazon will show you how vital this mighty rainforest is both environmentally and for indigenous communities.
Seize these inspiring moments and channel them into something positive to stretch out the post-holiday high.
Find out more: www.chimuadventures.com
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