8 WAYS YOU CAN HELP
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.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
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.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.