Responsible travel is a topic that's been on our mind here at Go Ahead for years, so we're excited to see that travelers everywhere are starting to talk about it too. Ensuring a brighter future in the places we go all over the world has always been central to what we do.
There are steps we can all take to be more responsible travelers. An open mind paired with respect for the communities we visit is a good place to start. Here are a few activities we offer on our tours that give you a chance to travel more responsibly.
Plant a tree in Costa Rica
Where it is: Heliconia Ranch in Monteverde, Costa Rica
What you'll do: After a nature walk in the region's spectacular Cloud Forest reserve, you'll be adequately awed by Costa Rica's diverse ecosystem. Head to Heliconia Ranch, where you'll learn about coffee production and help with reforestation efforts.
Every Go Ahead traveler plants one of three types of native trees here, either Sirri, Cucaracho or Tubú. Staffer Lauren, who took part in this experience on tour, shared, "Each tree helps provide different resources, whether it’s shelter for local wildlife, vegetation, or to help with the soil." You can even look around to see which trees past groups planted! Your contribution to the environment helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Experience it on tour: Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife or Highlights of Central America: Costa Rica & Panama
Visit the Elephant Nature Park
What it is: An elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand
What you'll do: In 2018, EF took an elephant-friendly travel pledge (and you can read more about it here). That means we partner with conservation-minded organizations like Elephant Nature Park, which is dedicated to caring for elephants who have been mistreated. A visit to this park is an opportunity to meet gentle giants who roam the grounds freely as they recover from past abuse.
"Local nature guides will show you around the camp, sharing the survival stories of each elephant," recalled staffer Courtney, who paid a visit here while on tour in Thailand. "After hearing all these creatures have been through, it's wonderful to see them so well taken care of, happily spending time together." If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elephants bathing in the river that runs through the property!
Experience it on tour: Thailand: The Golden Kingdom
Stop by the Shanga River House
What it is: An organization that supports local people with disabilities in Arusha, Tanzania
What you'll do: The Shanga River House is a social enterprise that provides people with a range of disabilities the opportunity to work and develop new skills. On tour here, you'll explore the workshop and store with a guide to learn how people create glassware, household items, and handmade jewelry. (It's fitting that the word "Shanga" in Swahili translates to "bead.")
"It was wonderful to interact with local artists who were celebrated for their unique abilities, and who had a welcoming place to develop their skills," shared staffer Jamie. "We were able to meet everyone from weavers to glass-blowers, and they were generous enough to let us watch us as they worked. The handmade items they created from recycled materials were absolutely beautiful!"
Your visit to the Shanga River House supports a sustainable opportunity for the community, and any purchase you choose to make has a positive impact.
Experience it on tour: Tanzania Wildlife Safari