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8 ways
1. inform yourself

One of the best ways to get the most out of your holiday is to learn a little bit about local cultures, politics, religion and customs of the places you're visiting. It's a small gesture but it goes a long way: you'll build a stronger relationship with the people you meet on your travels if they can see that you've made an effort to learn about their country and to show respect for local traditions.

2. support local markets

From Chichicastenango in Guatemala to San Telmo in Buenos Aires, Latin America is home to some superb street markets and you'll know doubt explore one or two while you're away. Shopping at artisan markets is an excellent way of supporting local craftspeople and injecting money directly into local communities; however it's important to be aware of the endangered plants and animals. By staying away from products like hardwoods, shells, exotic feathers, furs or eggs, you will be helping to prevent their extinction.

3. eat and drink like a local

We make a point out of seeking out small, authentic local restaurants and bars and cafés for you to experience when travelling on our group tours and, over the years, we've collated recommendations from staff, tour leaders and clients so our portfolio is always growing. We're more than happy to pass these on to you before you travel so that you have the chance to directly support local business owners by eating and drinking at their establishments.

4. give gifts RESPONSIBLY

Many of you will want to give gifts to children during your visit to Latin America. Fruit, crayons and balloons, colouring books and footballs can elicit delight and add extra satisfaction to your adventure. However, you have to bear in mind that if you give to one child and not the other, problems resulting from envy might ensure: you might choose to make donations to local schools or conservation and charitable organisations rather than giving money directly to children begging on the streets. Ask us, your guides, for specific advice.

5. think before you click

When you intent to take pictures of people and events, in particular of religious processions, you should ask permission first. It's tempting to quickly press the button thinking no-one will notice or mind, but you might unintentionally be offending a particular cultural belief. By asking beforehand, you will be showing sensitivity and it might even result a better photograph - many of them may not have any photographs of their families, so sending them a copy is a nice way of paying for the photo you get to keep.

6. learn the lingo

Learning a little bit of the local language is priceless. If you can learn enough to have a conversation with someone then your experience of Latin America will be deeply enriched, but even the basic 'hola', 'gracias' or 'obrigado' is usually well received and you'll be rewarded with warm appreciation and a friendly smile!

7. respect boundaries

Stick to the paths and walkways on treks in the jungle, on a mountain, or at archaeological sites. This helps preserve wildlife and avoids erosion of the landscape, as well as being advantageous to your own safety - if a guide asks you to stay close to them then it's probably for a very good reason!

8. waste not want not

There are plenty of small ways to contribute to the environment whilst you're on holiday and they don't take much effort! You can save water by taking showers instead of baths in areas with problematic water supplies or by using a refillable water bottle (see these Water-to-Go filtration bottles) - and if you don't want your towels and sheets to be laundered every day then you can advise your hotel. It's tempting to leave the air-conditioning or heating on in your hotel room while you're our during the day, but if you can avoid this at all then it's a significant action that will reduce your energy use.

 

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Hannah
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

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