Avanti recommends sustainable nature-focused escapes to secluded spots in Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and Peru, as most of Central and South America has been open to U.S. tourists without quarantine for many months.
“With record-setting heat, severe drought, massive wildfires, and catastrophic flooding happening in so many parts of the world, it is clear that sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing us today – and the travel industry can be part of the solution,” said Paul Barry, CEO of Avanti Destinations, in a press statement. “We have created customizable vacations that incorporate carefully selected eco-lodges and resorts—all built and operated with a strong commitment to sustainability, all offering outdoor soft adventure experiences in beautiful, remote—but accessible—places in Central and South America. For your FIT clients looking to immerse themselves and their families in nature in a way that gives back to local and indigenous people and that treads lightly on the environment—these are a step in the right direction.”
Outdoor experiences that are included or can be added to Avanti’s nature-focused Latin American escapes depend on the location and generally include: hiking, often with a naturalist guide; whitewater rafting and tubing; kayaking; cycling; horseback riding; wildlife spotting; ziplining; walking on specially created bridges above the forest floor to minimize environmental impact; soaking in naturally-occurring geothermal pools; spa treatments and yoga classes; visiting historic ruins, indigenous communities, organic farms, and agroforestry and sustainability projects. You can also modify your client’s basic itineraries with other destinations, additional overnights, transfers, and activities to suit the client’s preferences and interests.
Sustainable vacations offered by Avanti are focused on Belize, Costa Rica, Eduador and Peru, although advisors can find sustainable accommodations throughout Central and South America in Avanti’s portfolio. Locations are remote, yet accessible.
Best known for its beaches and for having the world’s second largest barrier reef ideal for diving and snorkeling, Belize also boasts ancient Maya ruins and lush rainforests.
Private Island Retreat has clients staying at an all-inclusive resort with over-the-water bungalows or cabanas, where part of the price of each night’s stay is donated to a local charity. While the Cayo District Escape features an eco-resort with its own 400-acre nature reserve, organic farm, and natural history center, where 10 percent of all accommodation revenue is donated to environmental and community projects.
This small country that houses five percent of the world’s biodiversity has been a draw for nature lovers, think beaches, volcanoes, roaring rivers, hot springs, rainforests and cloud forests.
The Costa Rica Rafting Adventure vacation takes clients to Class I and II rapids on the scenic Pacuare River, teaches them whitewater rafting, provides gourmet food and accommodations in a luxury eco-lodge with a thatched roof. Other activities include a visit to an indigenous home, hiking to waterfalls, ziplining, birdwatching tours, and “canyoning” (combining hiking, rock climbing and rappelling). The Lost River itinerary takes clients to an eco-resort in Bagaces, featuring two unique ecosystems—a tropical dry forest and a dwarf forest in a canyon filled with geothermal waters. Here, bungalows are connected by elevated pathways, and all food is locally sourced. Guests can also take part in spa treatments, yoga classes, horseback riding, whitewater tubing, mountain biking, hiking and ziplining.
Renowned for its Galapagos Islands, mainland Ecuador offers everything from the jungles of the Amazon to the high Andes, an Avenue of the Volcanos, reminders of 5,000 years of ancient civilizations, and colorful indigenous handicraft markets.
The Highlands Retreat takes clients to a five-star eco-lodge within its own rainforest reserve, home to 500 species of birds, as well as mammals and plant species, including orchids that exist nowhere else. Visits to an archeological museum, hikes with university-trained naturalists, canopy tours in a cablecar, and night walks are also available. The Yasuni National Park itinerary includes stays in an Amazon rainforest luxury eco-lodge in a 2.5 million acre national park, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve filled with wildlife. The Kichwa Anangu community within the park has created unique sustainable systems to process wastewater to keep the wetlands clean; energy is supplied by solar panels, industrial batteries and silent generators. Activities include: hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, canopy tours, and visiting the indigenous community and sharing lunch with them.
For nature lovers, Peru is much more than Machu Picchu and the 5,000 years of preceding civilizations. It is all about the Amazon, Colca Canyon (the Grand Canyon of South America and home to the endangered Andean Condor), the mysterious Nazca Lines in the southern desert, the towering Andes, and Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake.
On the Arequipa and Colca Canyon itinerary, which explores the southern part of Peru, and combines sightseeing in the “white city” of Arequipa, with its historic Spanish colonial center, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world and home to the endangered Andean condor. Guests will be accompanied throughout by a private driver, as they get the opportunity to see a volcano, pre-Inca ruins, and the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, where all four species of South American camelids can be seen—vicunas, alpacas, llamas and wild guanacos. Travelers will then overnight in Colca Canyon at a rural lodge designed to blend the surrounding natural setting with innovative modern comforts, such as floors with radiant heat provided by geothermal energy.
While on the Madres de Dios River Stay, which takes guests southern Peru’s Amazon rainforest region, known as the Biodiversity Capital of Peru, near the Bolivian and Brazilian borders, guests will visit a luxury eco-lodge next to the 680,000 acre Tumbopata National Reserve. Nearly 600 bird species have been recorded there, 540 on the grounds of the lodge, designed to resemble the indigenous culture’s houses. This eco lodge was the first Peruvian enterprise to be declared carbon neutral in 1989.
Barry noted that the best months for a vacation in Costa Rica and Belize are November through April, during the dry season. For Peru, it is advisable to avoid the rainy season of January and February. Because Ecuador is on the equator, there is little variation in climate throughout the year, and rain lasts only a few hours a day.
For more information, visit book.avantidestinations.com.