Posted: 10/8/20 | October 8th, 2020

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning journalist who has been living in the Caribbean considering that 2008. In this guest post, she shares her ideas and advice for checking out the Caribbean in an honest and sustainable method while benefitting the regional neighborhoods that phone call the islands home.

In 2005, I went on my first Caribbean vacation. I selected Saint Lucia, and like a normal first-timer, I stayed at an all-inclusive resort. Over the course of three weeks, I was awestruck by the color of the Caribbean Sea, the beautiful beaches, and the natural splendor of this region.

But I realized that what moved me the most were the cultural reminders of my childhood in West Africa: the plantain dishes and chicken stews, the tropical gardens full of hibiscus and palms, the drumming and soca beats, and the warmth of the locals. three years later, I packed my bags, left my corporate legal career behind, and hit the road with dreams of ending up being a travel writer and professional photographer in the Caribbean.

With over 20 islands and numerous beaches a short flight away from North America, it’s much easier than ever to choose a Caribbean escape. even today, in the midst of a global pandemic, the Caribbean Islands are among the safest and the most appealing destinations for Americans and Canadians seeking an escape path near home. The region general has had a lower rate of COVID-19 infections compared to the rest of the world, mostly thanks to the majority of Caribbean countries being separated from their neighbors by water.

But here’s what a lot of people may not recognize or spend much time believing about: the Caribbean is also the most tourism-dependent and prone region in the world. Of the top 10 global destinations that are a lot of dependent on tourism for jobs, eight are in the Caribbean. This region has also experienced the unfavorable effects of mass tourism — both the continuous, unabated development of large, foreign-owned all-inclusive resorts in coastal areas and the expansion of cruise tourism have produced severe environmental and socioeconomic issues.

For instance, big resorts have exacerbated coastal erosion as a result of being developed as well close to the shoreline, and they’ve also triggered a shortage of commodities in surrounding communities, including power and water, as the average tourist’s utilize of these resources is higher than a local’s daily usage. In the past, cruise lines have also triggered increased plastic contamination and participated in illegal discarding in the Caribbean.

To boot, climate change is hitting the Caribbean islands the hardest. The world tourism and travel Council has predicted that the Caribbean will become the most at-risk tourism destination in the world between 2025 and 2050. Studies have also shown that rising sea levels will put at least 60% of resorts at danger by 2050. In turn, warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have led to coral bleaching and ocean acidification, affecting the Caribbean’s reefs.

Perhaps the greatest danger of all is the lack of considerable trickle-down economic benefits from tourism to locals because a lot of visitors stay in all-inclusive resorts or book excursions with foreign-owned companies. Did you understand that an on the internet all-inclusive resort booking equates into 80% of those holiday dollars going directly to a foreign corporation overseas — not to the regional economy — before the traveler even sets foot in the destination?

What does this all mean? That every decision you make during your Caribbean trip, from supporting a hotel that utilizes solar power and recycles water to the type of excursion operator you choose and reef-safe sunscreen you pack, has a huge impact.

Today, with the economic crisis the Caribbean is dealing with compounded as a result of the pandemic, it’s become imperative that we utilize this time around to rethink the method we explore the Caribbean. We requirement to see the region not as a commodity we utilize and abuse but as a location that’s home to special populations in requirement of preservation and deserving the exact same amount of security from overtourism and environmental abuses as any other major destination in Europe.

As independent travelers, we have the power to shift the tide of our favorite tropical holiday region in the years ahead. enjoy rum, cocktails, and fine sand? That’s fine — while making options that cause a healthier, greener, and culture-rich region for many years to come, where tourism benefits communities.

Here are nine easy methods you can explore the Caribbean sustainably in the future, when travel fully resumes back to normal.

1. stay at little hotels, community-run guest lodges, or hostels

From hostels and guesthouses to shop hotels, villas, and rainforest lodges, there are some incredible locally hadlocations to stay in the Caribbean. Whether you’re into mountains, beaches, or rainforests, these type of accommodations are normally run by locals or long-time residents who are eager to immerse you in their communities. This way, you get a a lot more authentic cultural experience, including locally sourced meals and expert regional guides that these properties have relied on for years.

You can also find community-run lodging; these are frequently nature-tucked lodges or guesthouses run by a community group or cooperative members that operate just like privately had lodges. The income, however, is equally shared among the members while you enjoy an authentic stay — a win-win.

“Staying local” goes a long method toward supporting the regional economy, ensuring that your travel dollars reach those who deserve it the most, from the farmer supplying the hotel to the excursion guide who gets repeat business.

To find these different kinds of locally had or locally invested accommodations, you’ll have to do a bit extra research.

First, contact the destination’s tourism board and request locally-owned hotel suggestions in the area that interests you; you must also scan their website’s hotel listings.

Second, you can find a handful of special guesthouses and locally run hotels on — but take the additional step of searching for the property’s own web site for a lot more information and booking directly with it.

Third, depending upon the destination, you can find special regional properties provided on, under the “B&B and Inns” category.

Last but not least, you must browse for and checked out regional news outlets from or blogs on your destination; these frequently cover the domestic side of tourism and tend to feature a lot more locally had properties.

2. Bike, walk, or utilize regional transportation

Touring a Caribbean island on two wheels is ending up being a lot more prominent than ever. On your next visit, switch the safari truck excursions for a biking tour. Bike Barbados is a best example; you can lease a range of bicycles from this shop in St. Lawrence Gap, on the primary vacationer drag, and escape along Barbados’s diverse shoreline before ending up back at the beach. It’s a great method to make regional friends, find hidden corners, and discover a different side of the destination. other well established bike excursion business around the Caribbean are:

Zona Bici in Santo Domingo

Aruba E-Bike excursions in Aruba

RutaBikes in Havana

Bike St Lucia in St. Lucia

You can also ask your hotel’s personnel if they supply bicycles for lease or for free; if they don’t have any, request a regional bike shop recommendation.

Getting around by public transportation is also a good method to minimize your footprint and contribute to the regional economy. You’ll get a look of island life, see how a lot of people get around, and discover locations along the method that you may have missed.

3. Take cooking classes, go on food tours, and indication up for cultural experiences

What better method to discover about the regional cuisine than signing up for a cooking class or hopping on a food tour? aside from the fun side of tasting new dishes, it’s a great method to support regional agriculture in the Caribbean, by pumping your dollars into some tasty food, sourced directly from farmers and chefs’ gardens.

Although over 80% of create in the Caribbean is imported, the tide has begun turning toward increased food safety for locals with growing one’s own food and practicing permaculture principles. supporting regional food production indicates you’re supporting the country’s efforts in reducing its dependence on exports — which can include genetically customized seeds — while increasing self-sufficiency. This becomes critical when major storms hit or when borders shut down (say, because of a pandemic).

Barbados Food excursions uses a three-hour food walk around historic, UNESCO-designated Bridgetown, while showing you favorite regional lunch areas and dishes. Belize Food excursions operates fun evening food excursions in San Pedro, in addition to cooking classes in a state-of-the-art studio. other choices include Tru Bahamian Food excursions and Trinidad Food Tours.

Another great choice for cultural immersion is to find a workshop or excursion used by a community organization or cooperative. One great example of an well established cultural, community-run experience is the bomba dance workshop at the COPI community center in Loiza, Puerto Rico, just outside of San Juan, where you’ll discover not only bomba moves but also Afro–Puerto Rican historie. be careful of excursion business that don’t work together with locals and that offer cultural experiences as an “add-on” as a method to attract tourists.

Finding these kinds of immersive experiences led by community leaders will need additional research: browse social network and the Internet utilizing keywords such as “X workshop i [destination] ”og grave i hvem der bruger oplevelsen.

Abonnering på en bæredygtig Caribbean Travel Advocate’s platform er en anden metode til at blive i kendskab til eksempel min nye se Caribbean Initiative eller Sunshine og Stilettos Blog, Social Enterprise Regional Guest in Puerto Rico og den øgede Hall Community Development Organization i Saint Vincent og Grenadinerne, blandt andre.

4. Gå til sikrede områder og bæredygtighedsjob

Fra koral genplantning bestræbelser på at regenerative gårde til beskyttelse af dyreliv, er der utrolige naturbeskyttelsesjob i Caribien. I Belize driver for eksempel Belize Audubon Society en række sikrede områder, der også er fremtrædende med besøgende, herunder Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve. Der er for nylig udviklet nye hytter på stedet for ivrige birders og naturalister, eller enhver, der prøver at finde en anden oplevelse ved at overnatte i et dyrelivsrigt sikret område. Du vil opdage meget mere om Caribbean’s biodiversitet og interagere med forskere dagligt i en metode, du aldrig ville have ved at bo på et rutinemæssigt hotel.

I Den Dominikanske Republik, hvor sikrede områder har været i fare i det sidste årti, går din gå til tilbøjelige nationalparker – såsom Jaragua National Park, Sierra de Bahoruco og Valle Nuevo National Park – en lang metode til at støtte arbejdet af regionale miljøorganisationer og naturalistiske guider, mens du opdager om kritiske bevaringsproblemer for dyreliv.

Men hvordan går du i gang med at finde veletablerede miljømæssige job omkring Caribien? Det første skridt er at tjekke ud om de miljømæssige vanskeligheder på den eller de destination (er), du besøger. Derfra kan du slå de mest berømte nonprofitorganisationer op på jorden. For eksempel findes Nature Conservancy’s arbejde i Caribien -regionen i Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti og Jomfruøerne, blandt andre steder. Arbejdet med den bæredygtige Destinations Alliance for Americas er også en stor ressource til baggrundsinformation om Caribien’s flere projekter.

En destinations turistudvalg og hotelforening er gode informationskilder, da de ofte tilbage og sponsorerer bevaringsopgaver eller initiativer. Du kan også bede dit hold eller hotel om de mindre-publicerede, men alligevel fremtrædende samfundsgrupper, der udfører meningsfuldt arbejde på jorden, fra kulturel bevarelse til skildpaddebevaring.

Inden du donerer midler eller skynder dig at frivilligt, skal du søge råd fra Tourism Board, dine værter og de regionale organisationer for at få råd om, hvordan du kan fineste at bruge dine evner, mens du er på ferie, hvis overhovedet. Som besøgende er det langt mere effektivt at opdage om et lands miljømæssige og bevarelsesproblemer, før din rejse er langt mere effektiv, fordi du får en fornemmelse af, hvor du skal træde let, og hvor dine feriegæster er mest nødvendige.

Når du er i tvivl, skal du bare få tid til at gå til sikrede områder og nationalparker, der er tilgængelige for offentligheden, da din besøgende anklager bidrager til året rundt vedligeholdelse og bevarelse af områdets biodiversitet. Liste over nationalparker findes let på turistbestyrelseswebsteder.

5. Køb lokalt

Spring over de made-in-china pyntegjenstander og find lokalt fremskaffede, håndlavede souvenirs. Uanset om det er smykker, tekstiler eller malerier, er Caribien fuld af dygtige og geniale kunstnere. Gå til kunstgallerier med botaniske haver på stedet som Ahhh Ras Natango Gallery og Garden nær Montego Bay, find keramik på Earthworks i Barbados og Dominikanske håndskulpturerede kunst i specialforretninger som Galeria Bolos i Santo Domingos Colonial City. Der er også kunstnerstudio-workshops og en chance for en-til-en-interaktioner, som at tage en Taino-keramikklasse i Puerto Rico, hvorefter du får din skabelse hjem med dig.

Ved, hvad der vokser i den caribiske destination, du tjekker, og køber derefter direkte fra de regionale fabrikker og butikker: kaffe, chokolade, tobak, rom og krydderier er blandt de mange valg.

6. Spis og køb lokalt fremskaffet mad

Planlægger du at lave mad til dine egne måltider og selvplads under dit ophold? Gå til dit nærmeste marked udenfor; Der er en i enhver større by. Gå på de travleste markedsdage – lørdage er normalt det bedste valg – når der er meget flere leverandører pr. Køber og

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