Just a quick update for the person who sent me a message claiming this trip wasn't 'Eco' as we've used planes and buses to get around and slept in hotels. I think he/she has misunderstood the aim of this trip and focused too hard on the newspaper article title and not the content.
Apologies if it came across that this was specifically an 'Eco' trip, but this is not the case.
It was never planned to be an 'Eco' trip in the sense that everything we do will be on an 'Eco' level and it was never mentioned in the newspaper article that everything we would be doing would be 'Eco' at all. We wouldn't even be here if we hadn't got on a plane so that's obviously unavoidable.
We are volunteering in four of the countries we're visiting, and we're backpacking our way around inbetween projects. It's about volunteering while also travelling, learning a few things and helping at the projects, whilst having a fun adventure at the same time.
We went to visit an 'Eco-Park' and planned to volunteer there for two weeks to learn about how they lived in an environmentally friendly manner, but the website was a lie and the place was horrific, and it certainly wasn't planet friendly! So unfortunately that didn't work out as planned. We were pretty angry about how misleading the website was.
The only way to get around here is by public transport as the continent is so huge. Using public transport is better than flying to each idividual country, which a lot of travellers do, and we are not.
The newspaper headline included the term 'Eco-theme' as the Eco-Park was our first port of call. It's just unfortunate that turned out the way it did, we couldn't have predicted that. The headline probably should have read, "Couples Adventure with a Volunteer Theme". I didn't get to choose the title, but I imagine as the Eco-Park was still on the cards at that time it seemed relevant to include it in the title.
The whole thought process behind this trip was never intended to be 'Eco' in everything we do at all, but to offer our time volunteering while we travel and to learn about certain issues (such as animal trafficking), and that was made clear in the article, and that is what this trip is about.
Of course we're going to have fun along the way, we've worked hard to save the money for this adventure, and also we've only been here for two weeks! We've barely even begun. It takes time to get to these places where we plan to volunteer, and in the meantime we're enjoying ourselves, as any traveller would.
We plan to get involved in projects such as animal rescue, of which we have a few lined up. The one in Ecuador, Ecudaor Eco Volunteer is an eco-tourism project that not only rescues abused animals but also creates jobs for those in the local community as guides and so forth, so we will see!
Our way of promoting the idea of 'eco-tourism' is by going to these places that say they are 'eco-tourism' projects, getting involved, and reporting back via the blog for others to see.
If we find some of the projects are doing really good things (which I'm sure we will) then we will be sure to let people know about them and to encourage anyone planning to travel to also consider volunteering along the way.
The next volunteering project on our itinerary is in Chile, where we'll be helping to preserve the natural habitat of the wild Chinchilla. We will hopefully be there late January 2012.