Author Archives: Sustainability Guru

Philippine Department of Tourism Health and Safety Guidelines -New Normal for Accommodations

Source: DOT Facebook Page

Kayangan Lake View Point, Photo by Al Linsangan III.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has released the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operations of Accommodation Establishments under the New Normal, indicating quite a number of significant changes in the country’s frontline tourist services.

DOT Memorandum Circular No. 2020-002 signed by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Friday, pursuant to Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal As One Act and RA 6593 or Tourism Act of 2009, cites the need to provide guidelines to institutionalize updated health and safety protocols in the operations of accommodation establishments under the New Normal Scenario.

Sitio Kule, Tboli, South Cotabato. Photo Credits: Noel Amata, mytravelphotosandstories.com

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases defines the “New Normal” as emerging behaviors, situations, and minimum public health standards that will be institutionalized in common or routine practices and remain even after the pandemic while the disease is not totally eradicated.

The comprehensive Guidelines provide for the operations of accommodation establishments (AEs) in the areas of Guest Handling; Reception and Concierge; Rooms and Housekeeping; Food and Beverage Service; Kitchen Sanitation and Disinfection; Public Areas; Hotel and Transport Service; Engineering and Maintenance Service; Business Practices and Management; and Suppliers of Goods and Services.

Under Section 5, Guest Handling Policy, the establishment is required: 1) To have the guests complete a Health Declaration Form upon check-in; 2) to encourage online payment upon booking; and 3) to conduct body temperature checking using a thermal scanner at the hotel entrances shall be undertaken for all guests by qualified health or medical staff or trained hotel personnel.

Only guests cleared during screening shall be allowed to enter the hotel perimeter to check-in.

Nature's Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee
Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Section 5 further states that guests must be provided with reminder cards, which may include the following: 1) No sharing of food or any personal or non-personal belongings; 2) Proper disposal of used PPE; 3) Mingling with occupants of other rooms are not encouraged; 4) Practice of proper handwashing etiquette/hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper use of face mask; and 5) Strict observance of Physical Distancing.

Among the other highlights of the Guidelines include: Precautionary measures on physical distancing, hand cleaning, and respiratory etiquette must be strictly observed; wearing of masks by front desk personnel attending to guests; use of disposable gloves when handling cash or documents, and/or materials that are passed from person to person.

Welcome Gesture: Hand in your heart. Photo Credits – Club Paradise Palawan

For the reception or front desk officer, hand-shaking is not advised instead the practice of the Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) or the “Mabuhay” gesture in greeting guests, as well as other forms of contactless greeting, is encouraged.

Only single up to double room occupancy is allowed. Couples or family members who share the same household may be allowed in double or twin occupancy rooms. A distance of 1-2 meters between the beds is highly encouraged.

Club Paradise Palawan – Safe and Healthy Measures.

Section 15 of the Guidelines also lists the measures that must be complied within the management of symptomatic guests, among them: 1) Create a holding area for symptomatic guests; 2) Immediately refer symptomatic guests to the nearest hospital; 3) Assure guests of assistance in case they begin to manifest symptoms such as fever and/or cough; 4) Keep the symptomatic guest confined in the room originally used until trained transport providers are available to transport him or her to designated referral hospital.

The staff must immediately inform the doctor on duty or the emergency response team for assistance for coordination to the referral hospital or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) for assessment if any staff is concerned about the condition of a guest, or if a guest requests access to medical services.

The Section also reminds the staff and personnel to avoid employing any discriminatory action against any sick person with high fever and cough for fear of contracting or spreading the disease.

For Accommodation Establishments in areas declared to be under a Community Quarantine, Administrative Order No. 2020-002 or the Community Quarantine Guidelines for Hotel Operations shall primarily govern, and the New Normal Health and Safety Guidelines shall apply in a suppletory character.

Please click here for the full text of the Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operations of Accommodation Establishments under the New Normal (https://tinyurl.com/y8w2cqxg).

Green Destinations – Southeast Asia Partner & Representative

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

SST is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK. Join our network!  

World Interrupted

Opportunities amid Crisis. A re-post from the Global Tourism Network.

Bojo River, Aloguinsan, Cebu, a Sustainable community based tourism model in the Philippines


We are in a crisis. For most of us, this is an unprecedented moment: We have never experienced anything like it. Over the last several weeks, we have watched our day-to-day grow saturated with news of global pandemic – of the very real human, health and economic costs that COVID-19 has wrought on the world. It’s all we see, all we hear.

The travel industry – an industry dependent on people actually desiring (and being permitted to) travel – has a complex supply chain. Now, one with many broken links. It seems from major airlines to local guides that everyone is in limbo. The tourism and hospitality sector directly contributes on average to the economy 4.4% of GDP, 21.5% of service exports, and 6.9% of employment in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). From major airlines to local guides, there is uncertainty everywhere. People have lost their jobs. Businesses are closing. We know this will pass, but how long will it take, who
will be left standing, and where will we go from there?


We, at the Global Ecotourism Network, are looking at the environmental, economic, and human impact that COVID-19 is having on the world: On the micro-businesses and entrepreneurs, boutique hotels, small. Tour operators, naturalist guides, and other locally-sourced (and life source-to-locals) travel businesses that have already have to reduce their staff, to close their doors, and even shutter their businesses. We’re also looking to COVID-19’s impact on travelers. On the trips-of-a-lifetime put on hold. On the destination weddings and honeymoons, forever changed. On the experiences missed and the vacations in limbo, on the stress and angst this crisis has caused for travelers, too. We are all aware of the risks, so let us talk about the opportunities that this reset offers us.

Asian Ecotourism Network is an affiliate organization of Global Ecotourism Network

First, where do we find these opportunities? Here are some general guidelines:

Take Back Control
Not everything depends on others and external factors.
Identify what you can do, even if it’s just washing your hands and cleaning the closets. Or, maybe you could reach out to help the places and people you love make it through.

Buy Time
Suddenly, everything is on hold. You need the revenue to pay the bills. What can you do to improve cash flow? Can you ask suppliers to wait? Are there people willing to help
you with time and/or money to keep essential things going?

Plan for a Sustainable Future
You might have time on your hands. So, invest it in planning for when things start up again. How can you use the things you have learned to put sustainability in your life, your business, and your
destination?

Learn New Skills
Think about things you always wanted to be able to do or you have now realized you should be able to do. Complete an online course, read books, practice at home. Who knows? You might find a new passion that you can apply to your travels or your business.

Ask for Help
Everyone understands that others might need help. Ask for it. And ask together.

Show Solidarity
We are all in this together. People need people, businesses need people, and people need businesses. What collaborations are
possible?

Keep People Connected
Ecotourism depends on people connecting to places: places they have visited or places they dream about visiting.
How can you use digital technology to revive memories or inspire a future visit? Remember that one of the key ingredients of ecotourism is interpretation and storytelling. Even coronavirus can be a compelling story. Are you keeping a diary?

Applying this:


Make your place better, sustainable ~ Green Destinations

Destinations
So, what has changed now there are no tourists? What has improved? Are people now ready to plan for a better, more sustainable destination? How is the environment doing? How are you helping small businesses and tourism workers survive? Is there more collaboration? What information would you like to have, to move forward? And, how are you keeping in touch with your past and future visitors?

Entrance to Lake Holon, T’boli, South Cotabato,Philippines

Travelers
What do you want travel to look like when all this is over? Are you ready to make responsible choices?
Go Local: The economic fallout from COVID-19 has already begun. Help stem the damage by choosing local businesses that employ locals and stimulate the economy. This will make an
enormous difference in real, individual lives.
Support Small Businesses: From boutique hotels to tiny travel agencies, small businesses have come together to support their communities during this crisis. Now, you can support them.
Celebrate Nature: Now, more than ever, we understand and appreciate nature’s delicate balance.
Make travel decisions that respect and even protect the environment.
Book Direct: When you can, book your hotel, tours, and other activities directly. This puts more money into communities and economies that need it most.
Travel Purposefully: We know that there is an environmental impact to travel. Instead of traveling more frequently, travel with greater purpose: Fly less but experience more. Vacation once but stay longer. Consume less but see more. Focus on cultural exchange, beautiful places, and lifelong memories. Make every choice with purpose.
Reward Good Decisions: Spend your tourism dollars – your economic capital – in destinations that act responsibly: Countries that reacted swiftly and responsibly to the pandemic, and that
prioritized public health. Nations that protect their natural resources. Places whose priorities, values and practices mimic your own.

After the reboot, it is time to regenerate and contribute to a livable world that we want to live and travel in.

Global Green Destinations Days 2019

 

Photo Credits: Zagreb Tourism Board – www.infozagreb.hr

This year, the main theme is ‘Green Solutions for Destinations’, and will bring together leading sustainability experts in government, business and academia in a series of workshops, field trips, in-depth sessions, and panel discussions.

Destination: Croatia

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Photo Credits: Croatia Tourism Board – https://croatia.hr/en-GB

This year’s GGDD will be held in two cities: Zagreb, the capital of Croatia andMali Lošinj, one of our Top 100 Destinations located in the Kvarner region.

Your visit to Croatia and Mali Lošinj provides excellent opportunities to visit the region and surroundings, as well as to learn from their sustainability challenges, dilemmas, and solutions.

 

WELCOME TO CROATIA

This year’s GGDD will be held in Croatia, The event will be held in two cities: Zagreb, the capital of the country and Mali Lošinj, one of our Top 100 Destinations located in the Kvarner region.

Your visit to Croatia and Mali Lošinj provides excellent opportunities to visit the region and surroundings, as well as to learn from their sustainability challenges, dilemmas, and solutions.

A panel of experts

This year’s event will bring together selected destination leaders representing globally important tourism destinations. A unique opportunity to learn from specialists in the field, to discover practical tools and solutions in sustainability issues.

Destinations and businesses are invited to propose presentations on Green Solutions for Destinations – Good practices on the following themes:

Icons-_Theme 1 Icons-_Theme 2 Icons-_Theme 3 Icons-_Theme 4

 

 

 

 

GGDD Speakers 28 Sept

Two of our Society for Sustainable Tourism Directors are Guest Speakers! 

 

WHERE IN CROATIA?

Zagreb (Day 0 – 1)

The capital of Croatia and one of the oldest cities in Central Europe. This city is considered the political, commercial and cultural heart of the country.

HOW TO GET THERE?

  • Zagreb is connected to the Franjo Tuđman airport with shuttle bus which drives every half hour (40 min ride). See the timetable here. The same shuttle bus is connected to Rijeka main bus station (Žabica). See the timetable here.
  • Other bus lines can be found here.

WHAT TO DO?

  • For any bookings in Zagreb, we recommend contacting Globtour Event.

WHERE TO SLEEP?

We recommend the Hilton Garden Inn*****  to stay in the city. Discounted rates to GGDD attendees will be available soon.

CONFERENCE VENUE:

Hotel Hilton Garden Inn*****, Radnička cesta 21.

More information about activities, accommodation, and practical information on www.infozagreb.hr

 

Gorski Kotar (Day 2)

Plan your visit

Photo Credits: Gorski Kotar, green heart of Kvarner! http://www.gorskikotar.hr/en/

This mountainous region was one of the 2016 Sustainable Destinations Top 100, 63% of its surface consists of forests so it is popularly known as ‘the green lungs’ of Croatia.

 

Mali Lošinj (Day 2- 3)

Photo Credits: Mali Lošinj Tourist Board https://www.visitlosinj.hr/

 

The town of Mali Lošinj is nationally considered as an example of good tourism management and sustainable practices. Here, great attention is being given to preserving its natural and cultural resources, they were elected the 2nd winner of the Best of the Mediterranean awards category in 2018 and the 3rd winner of the Best of Europe awards category in 2019.

HOW TO GET THERE?

WHERE TO SLEEP?

We recommend the  Hotel Bellevue*****  to stay on the island. Discounted rates to GGDD attendees will be available soon.

CONFERENCE VENUE:

Hotel Bellevue***** , Čikat ul. 9.

 

Plitvice Lakes (Optional)

Photo Credits: Plitvice Lakes National Park Official Website https://np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/

On Saturday 12 October*, you will have the possibility to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage.

*Subject to sufficient interest. Surcharge for the visit: €  20.

For more information and to register for the Global Green Destinations Days, visit the GGDD Event website.

 

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community.  Contact us on how to help you

 

Sustainable Resorts – Benchmarks from Sustainable Riviera Maya

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Andaz Resort, Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The first Sustainable Tourism National Forum in the Philippines was held in Boracay Island, just days before it was declared a cesspool by the President and thereby ordered its closure for six months for “rehabilitation”. Even before the Conference, a lot of controversy arose why Boracay Island was chosen as the venue, as it is not exactly an example of sustainable tourism. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism (SST) and countered, the island at its then deplorable environmental state is the best graphic showcase to learn the lessons about flawed tourism development and how to avoid the pitfalls of unsustainable tourism practices.

GSTC PH - Group Photo

Philippines Sustainable Tourism National Forum, March 2018, Boracay Island

Beatriz Barreal

Beatriz Barreal, Sustainable Riviera Maya

At the National Forum, Guest Experts all the way from Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico, came to share the lessons and good practices of resort developments and sustainable management of beach destinations.  Ms. Beatriz Barreal, CEO and Founder of Sustainable Riviera Maya, GSTC Country Representative and Trainer, the force behind the public-private stakeholders’ cooperation in the area and recently working towards México Sostenible, and

Arturo Amaya

Architect Arturo Amaya, Direccion Arquitectonica

Architect Arturo Amaya, of Dirección Arquitectonica SC, and original team member behind the development of Mayakoba, a group of sustainable resorts in Quintana Roo gave vivid insights on sustainable tourism development and stewardship in Playa del Carmen.

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Communing with nature, Grand Palladium Kantenah, Riviera Maya

SST President and CEO, Ms. Susan Santos de Cardenas herself shared the best practices of these sustainable resort- models as she visited and experienced first-hand, not only as a guest but also as a seasoned hotelier to verify the “back-of-the-house” operations of each and every accredited GSTC-complied, Sustainable Riviera Maya Ambassador.

The Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa considered environmental impacts throughout all phases of its construction and operations. Only thirteen percent (13%) of the 200-hectare property is built up. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of the terrain is used for habitat conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. Among its GSTC complied standards: structures are low level in height designed to blend with their surroundings; recycled/captured water is 73% of the usage; energy efficient and low GHG emission; ecological solid waste management and recycling programs; sustainable purchasing– 97% of consumable products are locally produced; community empowerment and support programs.

Palladium

Grand Palladium Resort and Spa, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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Turtle Hatching Area – Guests are OFF limits!

The environment features a network of underground rivers that feed three cenotes and extensive mangrove forests that serve as important habitats for fish and wetland bird species. The four massive hotels educate their staff, guests and local community about ways to reduce their ecological impacts, with twice weekly programs respectively. Palladium is known for its commitment to helping the communities in which they have properties by sharing the area’s natural resources while simultaneously working to mitigate the impact of climate change and fortify the area’s resilience to natural disasters and resource conflicts. Sea turtle conservation is a priority as one of its beaches is a nesting ground for Green and Hawksbill turtle species, thus, the beach area is fenced off from the public between May and October annually. No, sir, they do no such downright unwitting activity as “turtle release” program!

Paradisus La Perla

Paradisus, Playa del Carmen, a model of sustainable efficiency.   On top of its development philosophy, is the advocacy that the resort was built following international regulations and agreements focused on environmental development. Special considerations in the design include biodiversity protection and restoration (coral reefs, dunes, mangroves and jungle), correct use of streams and a solid and dangerous residues urban management plan.

Paradisus SustainabilityOther good practices adhering to the GSTC standards include ecological impact relief and carbon footprint reduction, osmosis plant, water metering regulation and discharge control, sustainable hydro hotel certification, waste management and recycling, greenhouse gas inventory and emission reduction, flora and fauna inventory and endangered species conservation program, all Silver EarthCheck certified.

From its groundwork, Mayakoba was envisaged as a resort development with preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems at its core and one of the best examples of sustainability in the country. The integrated design of tourism infrastructure was to follow the contours of the existing topography, to enhance, not replace, the ecological make-up of the place. Architects, biologists, geologists and engineers worked to map out the master plan, that does not destruct, but even boost its environmental assets. As part of the original team that worked on the master development, Architect Arturo Amaya showed us during our inspection tour of the four properties, the epitome of resorts development that corresponds to the local community in a harmonious way.

Mayakoba Sustainability

Architect Arturo Amaya, explained how the forest trees were saved and re-planted around Mayakoba and  man-made waterways are now habitats of coastal and marine biodiversity.

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Fauna flourish at Mayakoba’s conserved and protected flora.

From flora and fauna inventory and management, new species “migrated” and used the property’s natural resources as their habitat, and for 16 years, coastal and marine species are monitored and inventoried. Likewise, its integral management of solid, water and hazardous waste are carried out in accordance to the law and observed with a Waste Management Plan. Environmental, social and cultural outreach is performed not only for the staff but also all the guests and visitors. Mayakoba is certified by Rainforest Alliance and is a UNWTO Ulysses Awardee in Innovation of companies with sustainable and socially responsible development.

Since 2010 to date, our Society for Sustainable Tourism have proposed to the Department of Tourism (DOT) and talked with three Department Secretaries about adopting the UNWTO – Sustainable Tourism criteria, to no avail. Recently, the newly appointed DOT Chief is pronouncing “sustainable tourism” as the norm for the country, however, we have yet to see if they are Green Destinations standards and not just green washing. No ifs and buts here. If the Department of Tourism, DENR, DILG and all the other government agencies concerned truly want to save Boracay for a longer time, and all the other Philippine tourist destinations for that matter, then it’s high time for the Philippine tourism industry, public and private stakeholders and developers to adopt and implement GSTC Standards not only for destinations but also for resorts, tour operators and businesses, like most of its ASEAN neighbors.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

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Green Destinations Sustainable Tourism Learning, Capacity Building to Awards and Certification!

 

 

Green Private Destinations, Resort Hotels and Tour Operators

Customized Learning for hotels, lodgings, resorts,  tour operators, MICE venues and companies – hotel, resorts and hospitality businesses by GSTC recognized Green Destinations standards and be included in the Green Travel Guide

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Divine and Right. Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

In the framework of the Green Destinations Global Leaders Program, the Green Travel Guide concept is developed as a means of strengthening sustainable regional development and green promotion. Since early 2019 we cooperate with a number of destinations in piloting the concept; one of these is Schouwen-Duiveland, the first certified Green Destination in the Netherlands.

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Green Destinations Sustainable Tourism Learning, Capacity Building to Awards and Certification!

 

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Paradisus Riviera Maya – La Perla and La Esmeralda: a model of eco efficiency and sustainability.

The aim of a Green Travel Guide is to promote an attractive and responsible holiday and leisure offer in selected destinations by:

  1. Encouraging businesses and governments to meet criteria that are aligned with the GSTC Industry Criteria and with Green Destinations’ G.R.E.E.N. values;
  2. Monitoring and verifying sustainability aspects through independent checks;
  3. Supporting the promotion of regions as green holiday destinations.
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Architect Arturo Amaya showing the architecture, nature and design, highlighting environmental conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

In addition to participation in our destination certification program, the Green Travel Guide offers local governments and their business sector a new tool to boost its development as a “Green Destination” and for a more coherent promotion of “sustainable attractions and companies “. Based on the first pilots we will evaluate the wider market potential of this tool among tour operators, travel agents, consumers.

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At Rio Secreto, Riviera Maya multi-awarded natural reserve and ecotourism company. From left: #SustainableRivieraMaya CEO Ms. Beatriz Barreal, Society for Sustainable Tourism President & CEO Ms. Susan Santos de Cardenas and Ms. Kristel Arce, PR Manager of Rio Secreto.

Provided that the destination makes active use of the Green Travel Guide, companies will be encouraged to take all kinds of improvements in the field of sustainability with the aim to put themselves on the map. This improves the quality of the destination as a whole. This reduces the risk of over-tourism, on the one hand by preventing unsustainable developments (as we see them e.g. in Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam) by specific policies and regulations and on the other by attracting specific target groups with a responsible green offer.  

 

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Grand Palladium Riviera Maya Hotels – award winning Earth Check certified and GSTC Sustainable Hotel Ambassador

 

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Paradisus Riviera Maya –  Trip Advisor’s Eco Leader,  Earth Check Certified.

Global Leaders – Green Destinations- Green Travel Guide South East Representative 

SUSAN SANTOS DE CÁRDENAS – Green Destinations Representative for the Philippines and Southeast Asia, CEO and President, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development- SSTDI

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Saying “hola” to the iguana, at the Grand Palladium Riviera Maya,  Sustainable Hotel Ambassador of Sustainable Riviera Maya.

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See her bio in our Society Stewards Page.

Learn more about the Green Destinations in our programs or how we can help your hotel/resort/lodging/tourism business implement sustainability best practices.

 

Society for Sustainable Tourism President & CEO is Founding Board of Asian Ecotourism Network

Make your place better and sustainable

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Recover Tourism in a more sustainable way with Green Destinations Standards for Community Based Tourism

Green Destinations Sustainable Tourism Learning, From Capacity Building to Awards and Certification!

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Make Tourism Recovery Green with Green Destinations Sustainable Tourism Learning, Capacity Building to Awards and Certification! 

The Green Destinations Standard is a tool to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability profile of destinations and regions. The Green Destinations Standard for sustainable community development and management satisfies the need to make sustainable development concrete, objective and demonstrable. Communities and cities  can adapt their sustainability management system and implementation actions to the requirements the Green Destinations standard and obtain recognition of their efforts.
The Green Destinations standard is inspired by internationally recognised standards such as ETIS, ISO 14001, EMAS and the Global Reporting Initiative. The standard is “Recognised” by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

About Green Destinations

Danjugan

The Green Destinations standard is owned based on equal shares by a consortium of 3 organisations based in The Netherlands:

Green Destinations’ core values

What does it mean, better and more sustainable places? It means that we support destinations in adopting the following core values:

  • Genuine and authentic: supporting the celebration of local culture and tradition.
  • Responsible and respectful: defending people against exploitation, enhancing accessibility for people with disabilities, and preventing disruptive mass tourism (overtourism).
  • Economically sustainable: involving the local business community and enhancing local community employment during and beyond the holiday season.
  • Environment and Climate: ensuring environmental health and safety, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Nature & scenery: protecting scenic views, habitats and wildlife, and respecting animals that are used in tourism.

Adopting these G.R.E.E.N. values will help destinations to enhance their quality, attractiveness and competitiveness. It will help attract green travelers, visitors who are respectful, and will spend more in the destination. These values are at the heart of our programs for destination improvement and certification.

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

The Green Destinations Partnership is forming the Advisory board of the Green Destinations Standard and its related Reporting System. The role of the advisory board is to provide input to review and improvement processes, and to support the application of the standard in various corners of the world.The Partnership and Advisory Board consists of individual experts from around the world related to tourism in the field of Education/Science, National and International NGOs, and members with a tourism industry background.

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

The Coron Initiative – a UNEP APFED Showcase Program Sustainable Tourism  for Destinations!

Green Destinations Representative for the Philippines and Southeast Asia

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, President & CEO, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. – SST &  Global Leaders Member

President of Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. (SST), a pioneer advocate specializing on sustainable tourism development and stewardship initiatives with community social responsibility at grassroots application. She had been a staunch innovator, keynote speaker and resource person in learning and capacity building workshops for sustainable tourism to include Ecotourism, Community-based and Agri-Tourism promotion. She was a consultant and adviser for Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines and a founding board member of the Asian Ecotourism Network.

A savvy tourism professional and hotelier with more than 20 years’ experience managing sales, marketing, operations, events – M.I.C.E. and human resources for small and luxury hotel resorts, tour operators, travel agencies, lifestyle events and publications, in the Philippines, Singapore, Peru, Japan and currently, based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

Society for Sustainable Tourism & Green Destinations Southeast Asia supports the International Ecotourism Travel Mart! Must not miss.

How Tour Operators Can Take Responsibility

As a link between tourists and service providers, tour operators and activity providers play a significant role in implementing sustainable practices.

Sustainable tourism is looking out for the economic, social and environmental influences – including the visitors, the economic sectors linked to the tourism industry and the host communities.

The question is Whose Responsibility Is It to Educate Travelers?

Tour operators and activity providers can influence their consumers, suppliers and the routes chosen (Tour Operators’ Initiative, 2003) in order to increase the awareness of the responsibilities each party involved should take on to achieve more sustainability in tourism.

When contributing to sustainable tourism, tour operators and activity providers should work to:

  • Make sure that the local community receives full benefits
  • Minimise the negative impacts on the environment
  • Educate tourists about their responsibility

Source: How Tour Operators Can Take Responsibility

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SST is a Green Destinations Partner in Southeast Asia. 

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers TrainingCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide capacity building and solutions to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Waste water (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) Solutions as well as other green destinations solutions and innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

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Why Biodiversity Matters

Danjugan island marine biodiversity2

Danjugan Island Marine Biodiversity – a genuine ecotourism experience in Negros Occidental, Philippines

A guest post from Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Cielito M. Habito. 

Consider the following: Southeast Asia occupies a mere 3 percent of the earth’s total surface, yet is home to 20 percent of all known species of plants and animals on the planet. The region possesses 284,000 square kilometers, or one-third, of all of the earth’s coral reefs, and as divers will attest, what we have are among the most diverse, and the most beautiful, in the world. The mountains, jungles, lakes, rivers and seas of our region make up one of the biggest pools of biological diversity in the world.

Isla Bulungan_Al

Isla Bulungan, Coron, Palawan, Philippines, one of the attractions being conserved and protected by The Coron Initiative.

Three Southeast Asian countries—Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines—are among the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, a term applied to those that harbor the majority of the earth’s species, and large numbers of endemic (native) species. But there are also “biodiversity hot spots”—geographic areas with significant levels of biodiversity under threat from humans. Such “hot spots” are distinguished by having at least 1,500 endemic plant species, and have lost at least 70 percent of primary vegetation. And it is alarming that among the three Southeast Asian megadiverse countries, only the Philippines is in the biodiversity hot spot list. We are, unlike our neighbors, causing the destruction and disappearance of plant and animal life at a rate so fast as to imperil our environment’s ability to sustain human life.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Canopy, Madre de Dios, Peru. Learn about the Amazon biodiversity and its inter-relationships at various levels of the rainforest ecosystems. Travel green to Peru!

Human life is only one form of an estimated nine million life forms that inhabit our planet. Most of us understand that the myriad life forms all around us interconnect in simple and complex ways to one another, in an intricate “web of life.” The interconnections can be visible and obvious, as with predators and prey in the food chain. They can also be subtle, indirect or invisible, as when chemical reactions in certain organisms affect other organisms positively or negatively. For example, the class of plants called legumes develops nodules in their roots that host bacteria capable of converting nitrogen from the air into ammonia. As such, otherwise unusable nitrogen in the air is turned into useful compounds like amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which are in turn vital to animal and human life.

Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines has a rich rainforest soon to be claimed by urban development.

In this intricate web of life, a change in one link of the food chain can lead to far-reaching disruptions elsewhere in the ecosystem. A 2011 study conducted by 24 scientists from six countries documented how the decline of large predators at the top of the food chain has disrupted ecosystems all over the planet. As observed by the study, large animals were once ubiquitous across the globe, and shaped the structure and dynamics of ecosystems. Their decline, largely caused by humans through hunting and habitat fragmentation, has had far-reaching and often surprising consequences, including changes in vegetation, wildfire frequency, infectious diseases, invasive species, water quality, and nutrient cycles.

Bulabog Beach Boracay

Bulabog Beach, Boracay Island in the early 80s. The island has but a few remaining forest and The Boracay Initiative is aimed to save Boracay Island and its remaining biodiversity.  Photo via Rene Thalmann.

A well-studied example of how human intervention can severely disrupt the natural equilibrium was the deliberate elimination of wolves in Yellowstone National Park in the United States between 1872 and 1926. When the wolves were gone, the elk population rose, and led to overgrazing of deciduous woody species such as aspen and cottonwood. Over the years, conditions in the park drastically deteriorated, leading park authorities to trap and move the elk, and eventually, kill them. Elimination of wolves also led to a dramatic increase in the population of coyotes, which in turn adversely impacted the population of the pronghorn antelope. Studies on the park’s ecosystem spanning decades led to the decision to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone in 1995. This has since led to a decline in the elk and coyote populations, which in turn had further effects on the population of foxes, and on various forms of plant and insect life in the park. The new and often unexpected impacts of the reintroduction of wolves continue to unfold to this day.

There are many other similar documented examples elsewhere in the world of ecological disruption arising from human intervention into the biological system on land and in the seas. The lesson is clear: Compromising biological diversity and the complex interrelations therein will have unforeseen and far-reaching undesirable impacts that are bound to hit back on us humans in ways hard to anticipate. The World Wide Fund for Nature asserts: “Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. Put simply, reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease, and where fresh water is in irregular or short supply.”

twin lagoons2

Twin Lagoons, Coron, Palawan, one of the target conservation sites of The Coron Initiative. Palawan is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Photo by Al Linsangan III.

The Philippines has the distinction of hosting the Asean region’s knowledge and advocacy center for biodiversity conservation, at the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus in Laguna. Established in 2005 with initial funding support from the European Commission, the Asean Center for Biodiversity is now supported by the 10 member-states. In the second Asean Conference on Biodiversity that it organized in Bangkok last week, hundreds of scholars, government officials, stakeholders and advocates explored the links between biodiversity and human health, business and biodiversity, and how biodiversity permeates the global Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

“A treasure trove of plant and animal life”—that’s how our part of the world is often described. Protecting that treasure is critical not just for the sake of the treasure per se, but also for the sake of our very welfare as human beings, now and far into the future.

* * *

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SST offers LearningCapacity Building, Educational programs, Green Solutions and Services for public stakeholders: Destinations – LGUs and host communities;  Private stakeholders – Hotels, Resorts, Hospitality, Tour Operators and Businesses with Green Destinations, Global Leaders Program and Green Travel Guide platform to include Environmental Conservation and ComplianceGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate resilience for the local host community. Water waste -STP (P.T. Amanaid Philippines) and Waste to Energy (W2E) solutions as well as other green destinations innovations are now offered to LGUs and tourism industry for law compliance.

For more information and assistance, contact us.

 

Photo Credits: Al Linsangan, Rene Thalmann, Inkaterra, Danjugan Island

101 Reasons to visit Lima!

On a global scale, Lima, Peru moves up in rankings for international events, which started with hosting the World Travel & Tourism Americas Summit and the COP 20 (UN Climate Change) last 2014, the World Bank-IMF Summit in 2015, APEC Peru 2016, EITI 2016 & the UNESCO World Congress for Biosphere Reserves, among the varied world summits.

Caballo de Paso - Marinera.png

Caballo de Paso – dancing the “Marinera,” Peru’s National Dance. Photo via Hacienda Los Ficus

 

Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and houses (casonas), world-class restaurants, and outstanding night life, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover. The old colonial center, now identified as a World Heritage site, was the crown jewel of Spain’s South American empire. 

A mix of colonial heritage and Latin passion, grime and glamour — Lima is a tantalizing appetizer of what Peru has to offer. – Frommer’s

Modern Lima is an enigmatic, energetic city of contrasts, dotted with pre-historic sites and archeological ruins, and comprised of distinctive districts and neighborhoods. Sophisticated San Isidro, with elegant old homes and the lovely Olive Grove; as well as the galleries and bistros of artistic Barranco, and the charming flower filled parks and artisan shops of Miraflores, offer intriguing, uniquely Peruvian, urban attractions.

With Peruvian cuisine having captured the fancy of international epicures, Lima has become Latin America’s gastronomical capital, so let’s begin our breakdown of  101 reasons to visit Lima!

Huaca Huallamarca

Huaca Huallamarca, against backrop of high rise apartments.

12 Huacas (Ancient Adobe Pyramids): Pachacamac, Pucllana, Huallamarca, Maranga Complex (8 pyramids), and a little further up north, Caral;

Lima Art Museum

Museo de Arte de Lima – “MALI”

 9 Museums: Larco, Museo de Oro, Amano, Arte Lima, Arte Italiano, National Archaeological, Anthropology and History, Pedro Osma;

 9 Theaters: Gran Teatro Nacional (Grand National Theater), Municipal Teatro de Lima, Plaza Isil, Teatro Peruano Japones, Segura, PUCP Cultural Center, La Tarumba, Teatro Canout, Marsano;

 12 Historical Buildings: Casa Aliaga, Palacio Torre Tagle,  Archbishop Palace, Presidential Palace, House of Congress, Lima Municipal Palace, Casa de Riva Agüero, Casa Larriva, Casa de Osambelo/Casa Oquendo, Casa de la Moneda, Casa Miguel Grau, Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes;

9 Churches: Lima Cathedral, San Franciso, Santa Rosa, Nazarenes, San Pedro, La Merced, San Sebastián, San Agustin, Convento de los Descalzos;

Lima is also a mecca for handicrafts and arts enthusiasts, and a top shopping destination where hundreds of stores offer outstanding traditional crafts of the highest quality, as well as remarkable silver and gold jewelry, antiques, objets d´ art, tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, paintings and pottery. Colorful outdoor markets are popular, filled with dazzling traditional Peruvian items not to found in shopping malls.

Artesanias Markets/Shops (Handicrafts) Market & Specialty Shops: Mercado Central Lima, La Paz silver crafts Street, Miraflores antique shops, Mercado Indio, Barranco, Dedalo, Alpaca Shops in Larcomar.

43 Cuisine Specialties. Comida Criolla(Peruvian/creole): Jose Antonio, El Senorio de Sulco, Huaca Pucllana, Brujas de Cachiche,  Panchita, El Rocoto, La Rosa Nautica Fiesta, Malabar, Central, Astrid & Gaston; Cafés: La Tiendecita Blanca, Café café, Mangos, San Antonio, Café del Museo, Manolo; Cevicherias(seafood): Punta Arenas, La Rana Verde, La Red, La Mar, Pescados Capitales, Segundo Muelle, Punta Sal, Big Ben; Chifas (Peruvian Chinese): O Mei, Lung Fung, Wa Lok, Royal, Salon Capon, El Jade; Fusion/Japanese: Costanera 700, Cala, Hanzo, Kintaro, La Miga, Matsuei, Rafael, La 73, Osaka,  Amor Amar, Toshiro, Edo.

Cuisine Collage

Blessed with a mind-blowingly fertile ecosystem—3,000 varieties of potatoes is just the half of it—Lima is emerging as a new global culinary epicenter. – Conde Nast Traveler Magazine

43 restaurants, are just a tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Hundreds more, old and new, big or small, are yet to be explored and savored!

For more information on Lima &  Peru, check out our blogs on Peru. Take a PERU DREAM TRIP by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For travel assistance and bookings, check our Green Travel Exchange or contact us.

Photo Credits: Visit Peru, Gran Teatro Nacional

 

Peruphernalia- travel essentials to Peru

Peru is host to APEC 2016 and other key international events that started with EITI 2016, the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, among others. In order to make the most of your visit to this empire of hidden treasure and to prepare for probably the most incredible trip of a lifetime, here’s a compilation of useful guide and insider’s tips for you! Know and share.

Watch Peru, Empire of Hidden Treasures. Don’t just watch the movie, live it for real! “Enjoy the highest level of comfort, the most exquisite cuisine, breathtaking landscape filled with magic and fantasy and the entertainment you can only find here. Only in Peru. Empire of the hidden treasures.”

If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.

Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of  great ancient civilizations, Peru is a country that touches the soul.

The multifarious faces of Peru, one of the  friendliest people on earth.

The multifarious faces of Peru, from its three major geographical zones- Pacific Coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon Rainforest – are some of the friendliest people on earth.

When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. Prepare wisely with these important information for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.

Scenes from Lake Titicaca, seat of at least thre Peruvian cultures/civilizations.

Amazon River, one of the World’s New Seven Wonders of Nature.

 PERU FAST FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

 Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of the Andean mountain region destinations (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca), try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Multi-civilizations - conserved cultural scenes from Lake Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake at 3,800 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level.

Multi-civilizations, scenes from Lake Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake at 3,800 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level.

Altitude Sickness Prevention

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. When you travel to a high altitude destination, do these to avoid altitude sickness: rest upon arrival, limit any walking or touring activity on your first day, drink plenty of water (or tea – they usually serve mate de coca – coca tea, for soroche), avoid taking alcoholic beverages and only eat light soup for your meal.

Connectivity / Communication

Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and mobile phones, as well as internet/ WiFi connections in most hotels and internet shops (cabinas de internet) in smaller cities and towns.

Seven Wonders: Peru has an archealogical motley of at least seven civilizations before the Incas.

Seven Wonders: Peru has an archealogical motley of at least seven civilizations before the Incas.

Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) or Soles (plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries that operates a dual currency system; US$ American Dollar and the local Sol. In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash  preferably in Soles on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities.

As varied as the multi-cultures, wide array of exquisite cuisines awaits you at the Gastronomy capital of Latin America!

As varied as the multi-cultures, wide array of exquisite cuisines awaits you at the Gastronomy capital of Latin America!

Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness

To avoid any illnesses or travelers’ diarrhea, take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and take precautions when buying/eating  street food/beverages. Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.

Language

The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua(Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the region of Puno high plateaus). It is generally easy to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and hotel staff in general, however it is very handy to know and practice a few basic phrases in Spanish. Besides, it also projects you as a savvy traveler, not to mention an educated one!

Luggage/Baggage Limit

Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by domestic airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 23 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.

From the Amazon to the Andes and many cities in between there's an outdoor thrill for everyone.

From the Amazon to the Andes and many cities in between there’s an outdoor thrill for everyone.

If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.

Security  

It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care of your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:

  • Secure electronic copies of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only electronic copies with you.
  • Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in banks. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be extra careful in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.
  • Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.

    With over 3,000 festivals, how many native dances shall there be?

    With over 3,000 festivals, how many native dances shall there be?

Travel Insurance

It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.

Vaccinations and/or Medications  

It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.

Water

Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.

Conserved handicrafts, a living and thriving culture through centuries.

Weather/What to Wear

The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima). Generally light comfortable clothing and footwear during the day and a light jacket for cooler nights.

At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March, so best to bring water proof windbreaker or parkas. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warmer clothes to layer. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, so we suggest light, (neutral-colored, khakis or forest green) cotton to wear; however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°C so bring warmer clothes to layer. For more accurate information, please check your favorite destination weather website for forecast prior to travel.

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, or contact SSTDI.

Photo credits: all photos via Visit Peru

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