On July 25th, CNN reported that the Supreme Court of India placed a temporary ban on “tiger tourism” in India. This has caused quite a stir in the travel industry, causing travelers to question if their presence is beneficial to tigers, or is impeding their ability to thrive in their natural environment. The ban was issued after a local environmentalist reported his findings that ecotourism was harming the tigers’ environment and breeding grounds. Specifically, the environmentalist reported that resorts and shops had been constructed in reserves without official permission.
The news broke a few weeks ago, but it will always be relevant. Lonesome George, the world’s last Pinto Island Tortoise and a recognized symbol of the Galapagos, died on June 24th, 2012. If you have ever been to the Galapagos Islands, there is a good chance you saw him. Discovered in 1971, he grew slower and more lackadaisical as the years came and went, but he was still a wonder. The last of his species, he was a living reminder of the dangers that accompany a human presence.
We’d like to take this week to acknowledge the species of the Galapagos that are still in critical danger of extinction. According to the Galapagos Conservancy, we know of thirteen vertebrate species that are now extinct, and of those, humans have witnessed seven of them cross the threshold into non-existence.
There are few places left on the planet that remain perfect examples of the term “off the beaten path.” Tourism is nearly everywhere in the 21st century, and even the travel specialists at Global Basecamps find it more and more difficult to define these locations. This week, we’d like to define “OTBP” in Tanzania.
There is a reason Tanzania is one of the premier destinations for a quintessential African safari. There are world famous national parks here that are synonymous with wildebeest migrations and Big 5 sightings, and with good reason; don’t let anyone tell you that Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara aren’t hands down the best parks for wildlife viewing in Tanzania. This “Northern Circuit” is popular worldwide, and sees tons of travelers annually.
We don’t want to discourage you from experiencing these destinations; they are magnificent and we love them ourselves! Our Tanzania National Park Safari specifically highlights these parks should they call to you. However, if you have the time and the inclination, there are many parks around Tanzania that deserve your attention and your travel, and on average receive far less of both.
Chile’s Atacama Desert is home to salt flats, snowy peaks, unique desert culture, hot springs, and even a few luxury resorts, but if you didn’t stay at this particular luxury resort during your last visit here, you didn’t do it right. This week we’d like to feature one of our favorite hotel properties in the world, Awasi. Hidden away in one of the most secluded corners on the planet, you wouldn’t expect to find world-class gourmet food, perfectly personalized service, and jaw dropping accommodations, but lo and behold, it’s all there.
We won’t act like the main attraction to Awasi isn’t the Atacama Desert itself, because it is. One cannot deny the awesomeness of the mountains surrounding it, nor the vastness of the empty, arid desert. This geological nook is home to much of Chile’s ancestral heritage, thanks to the water springs that dot the landscape, and any trip to South America should include this place whether you are backpacking or going Awasi-style. Like any other desert, temperatures here fluctuate between night and day, but daytime temperatures are nearly always perfect (72°-82° year round). Named a desert thanks to its low rainfall, water still makes an impactful presence here, as thermal pools, geysers and marshes burst their way through the dry ground, giving life to Atacama’s strangely varied flora and fauna.
We are always excited to introduce a new opportunity to give back to the travel destinations we love, and as Californians, we are personally all surfers at heart, whether we surf or not!
A new initiative was launched at the Volcom Fiji Pro this month that will help surfers give back to surf tourism destinations. Surf Credits is a groundbreaking partnership between 3 non-profits, the San Diego State University Center for Surf Research, the Surf Resource Network, and iJourneyGreen. Here's how it works. You go to the Surf Credits website, select a destination you want to support, then select a non-profit organization working that destination you want to support. Go to the check out and buy one or more $25 tax deductible surf credits. 83% goes to the non-profits in destinations and related research. In return for the Surf Credit you get discount coupons.