Eco-tourism

Eco-tourism is not only good for the planet; it’s also ed­u­ca­tional and a lot of fun too. So what are you wait­ing for?

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

Tur­tle watch, Bar­ba­dos and Tobago

For a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence, join a con­ser­va­tion project in Tobago or Bar­ba­dos and help en­sure the sur­vival of this en­dan­gered species. The Bar­ba­dos Sea Tur­tle Project, founded over 25 years ago (bar­ba­dossea­tur­tles.org), re­cruits lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional vol­un­teers be­tween Novem­ber and May to col­lect sci­en­tific data, and as­sist with sea tur­tle res­cues. They have a 24-hour ‘sea tur­tle hot­line’, and the train­ing in­cludes in­ter­act­ing with nest­ing fe­males – there are around 500 in Bar­ba­dos – with­out dis­turb­ing them, and safely re­lo­cat­ing a nest.

Amerindian Eco-lodge, Guyana

Stay in a sim­ple eco-lodge with vil­lage res­i­dents and ex­pe­ri­ence, at first-hand, a way of life that has re­mained un­changed for cen­turies. Sev­eral Amerindian com­mu­ni­ties run their own eco-lodges, where you can en­joy food and tours pre­pared by vil­lagers. The Su­rama Ecolodge (sura­mae­colodge.com), lo­cated in the heart of Guyana, takes guests on a dawn hike through the sa­van­nah and rain­for­est to the Burro-burro river. Jump­ing into a ca­noe, your guide will pad­dle you along the river in search of gi­ant river ot­ters, tapir and spi­der mon­keys.

Rhythm & Spice, Belize

Learn Gar­i­funa drum­ming, danc­ing and drum-mak­ing at the thatched Warasa Gar­i­funa Drum school in Punta Gorda (warasadrum­school.com), in the com­pany of para­keets and howler mon­keys. The full-day and half-day cour­ses are suit­able for all ages, even those with no rhythm or two left feet. Tra­di­tional ‘hudut’ cook­ing lessons and lunch are also avail­able, so you can sam­ple the tra­di­tional de­lights of Fufu (mashed plan­tain) and co­conut fish stew at first hand. There’s more drum­ming and cook­ing at the Belize Spice Farm (be­lize­spice­farm.com).

Farm to ta­ble

Sev­eral is­lands of­fer a farm-to-ta­ble ex­pe­ri­ence with an em­pha­sis firmly on lo­cal and sus­tain­ably ob­tained pro­duce. In St Kitts, the Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm (belle­mont­farm.com) uses only the fresh­est and sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents grown on its ex­ten­sive farms – guests are en­cour­aged to for­age for their own din­ner. On the same is­land, Ital Cre­ations at Fari Or­ganic Farm com­bines ‘clean eat­ing’ veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and yoga. On Gre­nada, Mount Cin­na­mon’s cui­sine fea­tures a mix of In­dian and Caribbean tra­di­tions with freshly-grown vegeta­bles from its own gar­dens and from nearby plan­ta­tions.

Wynne Farm, Haiti

It’s all about en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion at this na­ture re­serve and agro-for­est in the moun­tains of Ken­scoff (wyn­ne­farm.org). As well as talks on de­for­esta­tion and soil ero­sion in Haiti, vis­i­tors are in­tro­duced to eco­log­i­cal farm­ing, com­post­ing, flower pro­duc­tion, wa­ter ir­ri­ga­tion and bee keep­ing. They can also learn how to re­cy­cle plas­tics and make brack­ets from waste pa­per. The kids will love it too, as there is an an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary of rab­bits, goats, horses, dogs and a don­key, which they can touch and in­ter­act with – plus horse­back rides too.

Keep­ing it nat­u­ral in Do­minica

Do­minica’s abun­dantly rich nat­u­ral habi­tats and wildlife make the is­land an ideal des­ti­na­tion for eco-con­scious trav­ellers and vol­un­tourism projects are an op­tion here, too, to help re­build­ing ef­forts in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Maria. Va­ca­tion­ers can sched­ule guided tours, hik­ing ex­cur­sions, and moun­tain-bik­ing ad­ven­tures in the Na­tional Parks. One of the is­land’s most ac­ces­si­ble nat­u­ral sites is Trafal­gar Falls. You can view the twin falls from a plat­form or hike 200 feet un­der the cas­cad­ing wa­ters. In­ac­tive vol­canic moun­tain ranges are also lo­cated on the is­land and can pro­vide many ex­cit­ing ex­cur­sions.

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