Lately, every day people are hearing about fires in the Amazon, which is quite alarming. Naturally, since we send lots of people to the Amazon, we get people asking if the fires are going to affect their trip.
Two weeks ago, me and a group of agents and marketing reps from the U.S. and Canada toured Guyana, as guests of the Guyana Tourism Authority. I had talked with one of the tour operators about Guyana for years and finally got to experience first-hand what he had been telling me about.
To me, it seemed like such an exciting mix for those looking for something different. The country promotes it's amazing wildlife and Kaieteur Falls (the highest single drop waterfall in the world), but it offers much more than that. When you visit the interior, it's like visiting a frontier territory - a vast land, largely untouched, except for the natives and a few foreigners who came to carve out a life, as you can see from the video below.
You may or may not know it, but there are probably about 13 ships that sail in the Peruvian Amazon. What makes cruises on the Aria special - what sets them apart from other ships?
Many people seem to think that travel to South America is dangerous. The U.S. Department of State recently came out with a new system of grading the safety of countries and it shows some interesting things
According to Tripadvisor, 71 percent of travelers plan to make eco-friendly choices in the next 12 months, in contrast to what was only 45 percent one year ago. In addition to this, 58 percent of travelers said their choices are affected by whether or not the hotel gives back to the local community, and 66 percent of global consumers prefer to buy products and services from brands that give back to society.
Here are some options that should appeal to that type of traveler:
I know that some people have the idea that a trip to the Amazon is a life-threatening experience for anybody, so they definitely would not want to bring their kids there. Well it could be dangerous if you went on your own and didn't know what you were doing. But if you go with a company that has good guides and a good program, it can be a safe and very entertaining and educational experience for kids. And kids seem to leave with a sense of pride because they leave the natural jungle feeling more connected to nature than they ever did back home in their concrete jungle.
Federal health officials have issued a travel alert about the spread of yellow fever in Brazil and say travelers need to be vaccinated before heading to affected areas. People may have to plan ahead because there is a shortage of yellow fever vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in its alert.
I am re-reading a book I had read years ago (Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice) and it got me to remembering when I was researching my first trip to the Amazon over 20 years ago. I had been reading trip reports at an office in Quito and read things like:
It was reported that the percentage of foreigners travelling to Brazil because of the country’s natural attractions and adventure tourism activities increased from 12.8% in 2014 to 15.7% in 2015.
"Brazil is lucky to have treasures such as the Amazon Rainforest, the Pantanal, the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest and over 8,000 kilometers of coastline, as well as the largest river basin in the world. With professional management and a partnership between the public and private sectors, these products can be exploited in a sustainable manner and to the benefit of local communities," says interim Tourism Minister Alberto Alves.
In a recent Portrait of American Travelers study, it was noted that 67% of American travelers now express an interest in experiencing foreign foods. That is up from 51% just 2 years ago. Millenials showed the most interest while mature travelers showed the least interest. I wonder if that is partially due to tv celebrities like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain who travel around the world eating local food? At any rate, it seems that will eventually hurt the malls I've seen in foreign countries that have nothing but American fast food restaurants in them.
South America is definitely an area where local chefs are developing cuisines that are evolving and enticing travelers.
Jim has been an agent for over 20 years and has specialized in South America for much of that time