Responsible Travel Tips: 13 Tips to Travel Responsibly to the Amazon
However, the Amazon rainforest is also the recipient of many harmful actions. Whether from illegal logging or through irresponsible tourists traveling to the area, it goes through quite a bit of a risk.
IMPORTANT COVID 19 TRAVEL INFORMATION: Travel responsibly in times of COVID19, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and other countries in South America, have opened their borders. It is sensible to respect local health and hygiene protocols, these have been established to help local tourism markets to recover, but also to avoid native communities getting infected.
That said, it would be best to also be a responsible traveler, especially if you intend to explore the Amazon Rainforest. Doing so keeps you from damaging the rainforest.
Why is Responsible Tourism Important?
Traveling is a privilege that many people often take for granted. The usual story we hear is how it helps boost the economy, which is partly true. However, there is a huge missing piece of information.
Few of us understand the effects that tourism as a whole and as an industry have on the world. The places that suffer the most are the tourist destinations and the communities around them.
Some tourists are also not very responsible people and tend to be careless. Since many tourists are in vacation mode, they expect to be too relaxed, so some do not behave well.
When tons of people travel and gallivant over a specific spot, there will be a massive number of resources that people will use in the area.
That’s why, if you plan on being a frequent traveler, you have to be conscious and responsible for your action, more so when you travel to places like the Amazon.
With that said, here are 13 tips that will allow you to travel responsibly to the Amazon Jungle:
When you are hiking around a rainforest ecosystem, especially in the Amazon, you have to be observant. Look out for veins or roots above ground to not trip over them or tangle yourself in them.
It would be best if you also watched out for any wildlife encounters. By being observant, you can safely enjoy watching exciting creatures from afar without causing a stir.
Walking through the rain forest is a magical experience that you should take the time to absorb. That’s why you should stay quiet while you are walking around.
That is not the only reason why you should be quiet when you are in the rainforest, though.
Another reason why you should avoid loud talking would be because such noise can annoy or scare wildlife. When animals are angry or scared, they can help unpredictable or dangerous reactions to the source. That’s why you should stay quiet.
It will give you the chance to enjoy the natural sounds that the rainforest creates.
Carry Reusable Items
Whenever you’re traveling or surrounding yourself in nature, you have to be conscious of the waste you produce and leave behind. It would be best if you weren’t leaving behind any trash at all. If you manage to generate waste, make sure that you properly dispose of it by putting them away in the right receptacles.
To help prevent creating trash, you should bring reusable items instead. For example, bring your reusable cutleries when traveling. You should also bring a reusable water bottle, so you don’t have to purchase plastic bottles of water and bring them with you.
Nowadays, there are tons of reusable versions of everyday items that we use when we’re traveling. Not only are they convenient and last long, but you won’t also have to lug around garbage in your pack when you’re traveling.
Keep the Animals in the Wild
The beauty of being in places like Amazon is that you get to observe the wildlife. Due to this, many people or tourists get very excited when they see animals in the wild. People’s first instinct or desire is to get close enough to touch it or take a picture with it.
However, for your safety and maintaining the balance of a fragile ecosystem, this isn’t the best course of action. In some cases, it might even be a dangerous course of action.
These animals are wild; you have to remember. Some of them might not know how to interact with humans. And even if they are, you should avoid touching them or maltreating them, no matter how small or big these creatures are.
When you do this, it can give other tourists bad ideas when they visit the place. So even if you think that it’s only you who’s doing it, and you’re only doing it one time, talking about it in any way can have a negative connotation.
One of the best ways to spot wildlife from a distance is on board a riverboat, these navigate on the many tributaries of the main Amazon river, a particularly rich part of the Amazon is Peru’s Pacaya Samiria reserve, check out our Peru Amazon cruise offers
Leave Nothing Behind
There’s no doubt that the challenge of leaving nothing behind on any trip is a hurdle that’s difficult to overcome. However, you have to keep to this rule no matter what, especially when you’re out in the Amazon rainforest or even someplace near it.
It was observed that a resort near the rainforest and the increase in tourists led to more plastic wastes in the riverbanks. That’s why, even if you’re not in the Amazon rainforest, it doesn’t mean that you should throw your garbage willy-nilly. It will still find its way to the rainforest.
Be responsible and mature. If you’re staying in a hotel or resort, you’re bound to pass by a waste bin. Keep the trash to yourself if you’re not anywhere near and wait until you find the right receptacle before you throw it away.
It’s not rocket science, but it is a matter of discipline and empathy for our environment and the people around us.
Don’t Cheap Out on Lodging
The tourism industry helps protect the rainforest in partnership with the very people interested in protecting the Amazon rainforest from harm. It does so by offering sustainable and responsible lodging options.
However there are offers that are sustainable yet not expensive, a visitor can book into these properties without compromising their sustainability efforts and support the livelihood of the local labour market, one of these options is Sani Ecolodge in the Ecuadorean Amazon.
If you want to try staying in luxury ecolodge, do not be afraid to spend a little more. This is also to ensure that the place is genuinely sustainable and is supporting the local communities. A great option and one of the top Amazon lodges in South America is Ecuador’s Napo Wildlife Center.
When you pay right, you will be able to experience a more authentic eco lodging experience. The best part? You are causing more damage to the environment.
The higher price tag also allows you to have excellent service, so you know the price is worth it anyway. It makes for a more optimistic time during your stay in the Amazon.
Choose Sustainable Tour Operators
Tourism is a healthy industry, so many people want to build a business off of it. However, to get that competitive advantage in such a popular sector, some people resort to unethical practices. And this leads to tour operations that cause damage to the environment.
That’s the reason why before you commit to any tour operator, make sure that you do your research beforehand.
You can ask travel forums to find previous customers and see which tour operators are most sustainable around the amazon. Voyagers travel works with ecolodges, riverboats and local companies that support the environment and not to use it freely for profit.
You also want a tour operator to compensate their employees well and not someone who is in it for the money alone. For this reason when we recommend a riverboat to cruise the Amazon, it is because we have screened it, if you are heading towards Ecuador the Manatee Amazon Explorer and The Anakonda riverboat are run by Captain Raul Garcia and his team, rest assured that they have a passion for protecting the rainforest in Ecuador’s lowlands.
Responsible travel does not start once you reach your destination. It begins earlier than that, such as when you are packing your items.
It is a lot more sustainable to travel with a lighter back than bringing multiple luggage with you. It takes more carbon emissions to be able to transport more massive baggage. That’s why any responsible travelers should learn the art of packing lightly.
Bring only the items that you are sure you are going to need during travel. When you reduce the number of things you bring, your pack will be lighter, and it will be more convenient to move around with them. Plus, if you bring back some souvenirs, you will not have to move things around to stay within the weight limit.
Respect the Local Rules
Something as awe-inspiring as the Amazon can rile up the inner adventurer in many people, especially the more outdoorsy ones. It can be tempting to go gallivanting around and go on an expedition. However, this isn’t the most responsible way to enjoy the Amazon rainforest.
You have to learn all about the local rules in place and make sure that you follow them. These rules are there for a reason. It can be for your safety or to protect the local wildlife as well as the environment. That’s why you have to be careful and check whether or not you’re following the rules correctly while you’re there.
Remember things like avoiding feeding the wildlife as well as hiking away from the path. These are but a few significant no-nos that you should remember off of the top of your head. Your one simple action can change the ecosystem for a long time and create a butterfly effect.
Also meeting locals and learning about their culture is part of being a responsible traveler. Cruising the Amazon river in Brazil allows to visit several indigenous villages that live on the riverbanks.
Do Not Feed the Wildlife
As we mentioned, feeding wildlife is one of the most common local rules that you should follow when traveling in some natural environment. When you feed wildlife, its effects won’t only happen during the moment, but it will cause a ripple effect. It’s going to harm both you and the animals that you are feeding.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t feed wildlife while you’re there.
First of all, human food isn’t for animals’ consumption to affect their health. Secondly, when you create dependence on food from humans to animals, it can cause an imbalance. This will generate more fighting between animals as they ask humans for food.
It can also pose a health and safety risk since animals can carry and transfer diseases to us. They can also be too comfortable in residential areas, which can cause an incident.
Listen to Your Guide
When you’re going to the Amazon for the first time, you should get a guide. Nonetheless, you probably won’t be able to get there anyway without having a guide along with you.
With that said, when you’re touring the Amazon, make sure that you listen closely to what your guide is saying to you.
They’re probably going to be your most excellent resource for local rules and regulations that you need to follow.
They’ll also let you know what to do when you get to your destination and what actions you can or cannot do for your safety and others. That’s why you should make sure to listen to your guide when you’re there.
Enjoy Sustainable Activities
There are plenty of recreational activities that you can try when you are in the Amazon. However, ensure that you are doing sustainable activities that do not hurt animals nor damage the environment.
You can always find ways to enjoy yourself without other things getting hurt for your enjoyment.
Activities that generate zero emissions are significant in sustainable activities that you can do while you’re there. A great example would be to go hiking or biking around the correct areas. Kayaking is another excellent activity that does not generate any emissions.
One great thing about doing these activities is that it allows you to find more unique sights during your travel. So you might want to keep your handy dandy trekking poles with you.
Act Like a Local
When you are traveling to any foreign place, it is imperative to respect the local culture. And one way to do that is to observe and mimic what the locals are doing.
Do not dictate to the locals what they should be doing, especially if you are not used to it. Stay open-minded and respectful of other people’s cultures.
When you actively participate in other people’s cultures, they will appreciate you more. And you will find that it is much easier to bond with other people that way.
When you travel responsibly, you allow future generations to enjoy the same things that you do. Aside from that, caring for the environment shows respect for other people. Hence, we encourage you to be a responsible traveler so that you can continue to enjoy your love of travel!