Educational and Academic tours

What is Authenticity?

Take as an example a photo you took of an indigenous woman in colorful clothes during your travels and imagine looking at it at home. Imagine knowing this woman’s story, having experienced her every-day life and the beauty of her culture and traditions. Imagine the difference it would make, if you would have taken the photo just when seeing this woman on the street on coincidence, without knowing anything about her. The only thing you would personally take out of this encounter is a nice photo, without the possibility of broadening your mind and knowledge.

The key in an authentic travel experience lies in interpretation and interaction. There is a difference between seeing something and understanding something, not only with cultural encounters, but also with wildlife watching, bird viewing or walking through an unknown ecosystem.

EcoCircuitos Academic Tours

EcoCircuitos is specialized in educational travel experiences. Our guides are experts in their field and provide in-depth insights and understandings from culture and history to biodiversity. These understandings foster authentic travel experiences as well as responsible encounters between travelers and nature, biodiversity and local people.

With being one of the most biodiverse places on earth, Panama hosts world-class biological and geological experiences. With its numerous indigenous communities, colonial towns, ancient ruins and the Panama Canal, the Isthmus it is also a top-spot for historians, anthropologists and architecture lovers. What is less known, is Panama’s extensive art scene; from numerous galleries in the capital, Afro-Caribbean remains and indigenous handicrafts to artisans dating back to colonial times.

Biodiversity Tour San Edwards University

Last week, our expert guide Fabio Trujillo led the Biology class of San Edwards University from Texas on their Academic trip through Panama for 15 days. The excursion started in the rainforest area around Panama City, continued to the cloud forest-covered highlands of Chiriqui and ended in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With a focus on interpretation, the students gained holistic understandings of the different ecosystems, without losing the fun-factor through outdoor adventures like zip lining and snorkeling.

 

 

Advertisements

Interview with Annie Young J. – Director at EcoCircuitos Panama

Questions by  Hedda Rumohr Berge

Norwegian journalist

HRB: What do ecotourism stand for?

AYJ:  Well there are so many different academic definitions…Ecotourism is a form of nature-base tourism.  But the one that I like refers to the concept that ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of our local communities. Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas in order to enjoy and appreciate nature and also cultural features from the past and the present.  It is also a form of tourism that promotes conservation, has low negative impact from visitors and provides economic benefits to locals.

HRB: Where do it come from?

AYJ:  Ecotourism is a sub-component of the field of sustainable tourism.  If you want to know a bit more of sustainable tourism in Panama, I invite you to learn from our Association:  www.aptso.org  (Asociación Panameña de Turismo Sostenible).

Ecotourism is connected to the conservation movement. It provided a highly source of revenue to natural areas that need protection.  I worked as a volunteer in the some local NGOs when I was younger and it was a good dynamic: conservation plays an important role in the promotion of ecotourism and both can work together.

Some good resources:  The Sustainable Travel International and the Ecotourism Society.  Both organizations offer important guidelines to the private sector that promotes ecotourism.

HRB: When did Panama start ecotourism?

ACY: I started learning about ecotourism in Panama in the early 90s when the conservation movement started growing here.  I had the opportunity to be a volunteer for ANCON, a local NGO that promotes conservation of land and also worked for The Panama Audubon Society, that promotes conservation for bird’s habitats.  These two experiences give me an important insight on how the conservation could be linked to the outdoor travel.  As volunteers we visited different areas in Panama to promote conservation and environmental education.  We did field trips with donors to see bird’s habitats to National Parks, private reserves, indigenous communities, and this was my first experience as an ecotourist.

Ecotourism is a niche market that is growing… sadly not so rapidly in Panama.   Some countries, some companies and some destinations have developed ecotourism policies and we should learn from those experiences.  We need to create policies in Panama for sustainable tourism.  We are on the race but a little behind.   Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile and USA are interesting examples and we can learn from the good experiences.

HRB: What kind of people travel like this? and why should we?

ACY:  I feel that people today want to travel responsible and also want to receive guidance.  The ecotourists wants to behave responsible when travel: how can negative impacts be minimized while visiting sensitive environments and cultures?  How can we interact with local cultures without affecting them?  How can we contribute to the conservation of the visited areas?

People and travelers that are sensitive to these issues are the ecotravelers.  And to me those travelers are very important because they will demand sustainable services and with this demand good offer will arise and more conscious companies.  Ecotourism can be a highly effective tool for conservation, but it depends on committed tour operators, service providers that also want to work for the future generations.

HRB: Is the ecotourism growing? Or can it be only a trend?

ACY: It will keep growing if we have travelers behaving in a responsible way and committed with the principles of sustainable tourism. It will keep growing if more companies embrace a responsible approach in tourism and work not just for today.   Sustainable travel and ecotourism are the only way of traveling in our current world.  If we want to keep it for the future generations, this is the best way!

Annie Young J. founded EcoCircuitos Panama  in 1999. She is in charge of the Marketing and Sales Department and continually researches and creates new programs and adventures. Annie has a degree in Social Communication with an emphasis in Journalism from the University of Panama, a diploma in Business Strategies for Environmental Sustainability from Stanford University in California and a Course on Environmental Management of International Tourism Development from Harvard University. She is the President of APTSO (Panamanian Association of Sustainable Tourism) and is committed to the conservation and social development of Panama through the promotion of sustainable tourism.

Workshops in Europe

Based in Panama City, EcoCircuitos Panama was found in 1999 as a sustainable oriented tour operator that specializes in personal travel planning for small groups, individuals, families and couples throughout the Republic of Panama. Offering custom-made travel packages we are recognized as a pioneer in Panama in the green tourism industry for the high quality of our services and our commitment with the environment, conservation and locals communities of Panama.

Recently we conduct a series of seminars and workshops for travel agents. We have more than 200 participants and most important, we are sure that this private effort will bring more clients to Panama and our partners!

We are committed to fulfill the expectations of our clients and we guarantee an unforgettable experience in Panama!

Ecocircuitos Panama… Get Intimate with Nature…