Responsible Travel - The Traveller's Code
In light of our dedication to the conservation of the environment, a fair economic benefit for local communities and the preservation of cultural values, we ask you to read the Traveller’s Code before departing on your trip. We hope this will serve not only to ensure the sustainability of the areas you are visiting, but also to improve the quality of your experience overall.
Culture & Traditions
Before you travel, try to learn about local culture and traditions. A little time spent researching the unique customs of the region you will be visiting can avoid embarrassment and offence, as well as providing a useful insight. Openness and willingness to learn about the differences between foreign cultures and our own can open many doors, especially when combined with tolerance of those differences. The notes in your itinerary are there to help you with specific information on the cultural sensitivities of your destination. Try to remember that it is the cultural differences that will make your trip special.
Language, Music & Literature?
A few words learnt in a local language can be greatly appreciated and can open the doors to a more “authentic” experience. Likewise, listening to local music and reading local literature, whether contemporary or classic, will really help you get the most out of your trip.
Cultural Practices & Dress Code
Consider adopting cultural practices where appropriate and without being patronising. Try to make sure you know how to dress appropriately in places of worship or significance.
In many regions of the world it is considered offensive to take someone’s photograph without obtaining their permission beforehand. Please try not to be offended should they decline, even if you do not understand why. Try to remember that flash photography can be damaging to artworks.
You can help to respect and care for the local environment in many ways, such as not picking wild flowers or plants, disposing of litter responsibly and recycling what you can. Water bottles can often be refilled hygienically. Try to throw away or recycle any extra packaging you may have before you travel, and bring items such as batteries back to your country to be recycled responsibly.
You can help to preserve resources by complying with local environmental initiatives. If your hotel has a policy for reusing sheets or towels, try to support this as often as you feel you can. Remember to turn off lights and electrical equipment in your room if you are not using them – for example, you could turn televisions off fully rather than leaving them on standby, and turn off airconditioning units when they are not needed or when you leave the room. Water is often a precious resource so try to keep your usage of it to a minimum, both in your hotel room and whenever possible throughout your trip.
When visiting national parks, stick to set paths in order to preserve natural habitats and leave animals undisturbed. Keeping noise to a minimum also helps, and allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in peace and quiet. Take care not to touch coral reefs when swimming or diving as they are extremely fragile and take decades to grow.
Endangered Animals & Plants
Ancient artefacts and products made from endangered animals and plants were probably acquired illegally, so refusing to buy them is not only in the interests of the local people, the environment and travellers who follow you, it could help you avoid getting into trouble with police and customs. Please also be aware that some crafts encourage deforestation. Your local guide should always be able to advise you if you are in doubt.
We always try to ensure that as much of your money as possible stays in the local area by supporting community run and locally owned business. You can help us, for example by trying to eat in locally owned restaurants and ordering local drinks and produce rather than requesting international brands. You can encourage local community initiatives such as handmade crafts by buying locally produced souvenirs.
Tipping, Bartering, Begging & Charity
Different cultures have different attitudes to tipping, bartering and begging so ask your guide for advice so as not to offend. Keep a light heart and a big smile when bargaining, and try to remember that small amounts can mean a lot more to the vendor than to you. It sometimes takes a hard heart not to give money to beggars, but remember that if a person earns more than someone who works for a living it may encourage the practice and cause problems for the local economy, and giving money to children might dissuade their parents from sending them to school. If you would like to make a donation to the country you have visited, please talk to us. We will be able to recommend a charity or project that will welcome your donation.
We encourage you to offset the carbon emissions from your flight with a donation to the Friends of Conservation Carbon Reduction programme.
Positive Outcome & Feedback
Ultimately, we strive to ensure that a visit leaves Cuba better rather than worse off, and we value your co-operation in helping us to attain this goal whilst also enjoying your trip to the utmost. It is also very important for us to receive your feedback of your trip as it helps us to improve and develop our service and the facilities that we use.