Rainforest conservation is of the utmost importance to Rainforest Cruises. As members of The International Ecotourism Society we are advocates for sustainable travel and have many years’ first-hand experience of life and ecotourism in Latin America, working ostensibly in the Amazon region. Our Amazon cruises have been designed to be not only interesting and engaging experiences in tropical nature, but to be ecologically sensitive and to contribute to rainforest conservation. By traveling with us you can rest safe in the knowledge that you are not only benefiting local indigenous communities but indeed contributing to the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest itself. Below are just some examples of how Rainforest Cruises and our passengers are making a difference.
Rainforest Cruises are deeply committed to contributing to Amazon Rainforest conservation projects. Each year, we make a significant donation to the Rainforest Trust, a non-profit organization who for over 26 years have been purchasing and protecting some of the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through local partnerships and community engagement.
In 2015 Rainforest Cruises contributions helped preserve over 4,000 acres of rainforest as part of the Trust's "Protecting the Wild Heart of the Amazon" conservation project in Sierra Del Divisor, Peru. The project's aim was to purchase and protect an area of rainforest 8x the size of the Yosemite National Park, the area being an important jaguar corridor and home to over 20 threatened mammal species facing imminent threats from oil and mining development, road and pipeline construction, over-fishing, and illegal logging.
In 2016 we have decided to support Rainforest Trust's new #skiptosave project, that aims to protect a total of 20 million acres of rainforest globally by 2020.
We encourage all our passengers to cruise responsibly with the following guidelines:
Take only pictures...
- Do not pick flowers or remove rocks. If you like the look of them, take a photograph!
- Do not buy butterflies or insects, or products made from animal skin or bone.
- Do not take photographs of people, without first asking their permission.
...Leave only footprints
- On treks always keep to the paths and take all waste back to the boat to be disposed of properly.
- Wash with biodegradable soap.
- Use refillable water bottles not plastic ones.
- Learn a few words of the local language to create a positive interaction with those you meet.
- Do not give children sweets as they often don't have access to dental treatment.
- When tipping, try to tip a lot of people a little, but don't give money to children as it tempts parents to remove them from education to beg instead.
- Consider offsetting your flight carbon emissions.
As part of our commitment to cruising responsibly, Rainforest Cruises will also:
- Only ever travel in small groups so as to minimize impact and disruption to the local environment.
- Use vehicles appropriate to the number of people and terrain.
- Insist our suppliers employ local staff wherever possible and pay them a fair and timely wage.
- Vary visits to local communities to spread the wealth and not overload one specific community.
- Ensure our cruises have satisfactory waste management, energy conservation, and
pollution control procedures in place.
And when not in the Amazon or on the Galapagos Islands, Rainforest Cruises:
- Operates paperless offices and will send electronic itineraries to our clients, rather than on paper, unless specifically requested.
- Uses vegetable-based ink and recycled paper for promotional materials, whenever possible.
- Offsets our flight carbon emissions.
- Travels on foot, bicycle or public transport, whenever possible.
Awareness of environmental issues and sustainability best practices are fundamental in the conservation of our rainforests.
All our cruises, although relaxing in nature, are intensive learning experiences and your expert naturalist guides will not only find and point out interesting creatures and plants, but will also put them into an ecological framework, discussing the delicate balance of their susceptible ecosystems.
We hope that through our passengers' first hand experiences, their new found knowledge of rainforest conservation issues will be passed on to friends, families and others, via word of mouth or by social media, to increase awareness further and help preserve the rainforest for all future generations to enjoy.
But it's not only passengers who will are benefiting. Because of raised awareness of conservation issues globally, local governments are now under more pressure to act responsibly and are starting to provide the education and training locals require in order to adopt sustainable hunting and farming methods, ensuring the future survival of endangered species and their habitats whilst appeasing cultural traditions and folklore.
Local Community Benefits
Our cruise operations are a great example of the direct benefits of socially responsible and sustainable tourism can bring to local communities.
Cruise employees, from the naturalist guides to the kitchen staff, are almost entirely composed of men and women from small local communities and their employment brings a welcome high and regular income to support their families and communities.
Itineraries have been designed to enable passengers to make purchases of locally produced products and we do our best to make sure that the benefits of the purchases are passed on as directly as possible to the local economy. Most products and supplies used on board our cruises are also locally sourced from the region, where possible, and as such there is a huge multiplier effect from our cruise operations.
Cruises also often provide much needed materials, such as diesel fuel for the village generator or writing materials to village schools. Many cruises have medical practitioners and supplies on board, access to which these isolated communities would otherwise not have.
Some of our cruises have actively participated in preparing the management plans for newly-created protected parks, including the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in Peru and the Central Amazon Conservation Complex in Brazil.
Indeed many cruises have been advocates for the strict environmental regulations for entry into the reserves and activities therein now in force.
Given their frequenting of and proximity to protected nature reserves, cruises and their guides often witness first-hand any signs of poaching or illegal activities in the region and are a key tool in alerting authorities to any suspicious behavior.
In addition, many of our boats have been and are still used frequently to participate in conservation and research expeditions, assisting students, teams and professionals with wildlife monitoring surveys, biodiversity studies, film shoots and documentaries.
Previous clients include various prestigious universities, the World Wildlife Fund, NYC Botanical Gardens and the BBC, reflecting the knowledge and expertise of the captains, crew and naturalist guides on board our cruises.