Enrich your travel experiences and make sure your travel dollars stay in the host community by hiring a local guide to show you around. Local guides know the area better than any other guides. Whether you are looking for someone to guide you every step of the way or just show you around a sight or two – a good local guide can be the highlight of your trip.
By choosing a local guide, the needs of the local economy can be better met and you are creating cross-cultural relationships. However, when choosing any guide, local or foreign, it is important to consider the environmental impact of your guide’s actions. Keep these questions in mind as you choose a tour operation: Do their guides foster a respect for the environment, particularly in the areas visited, and encourage their guests to do the same? Do guides ever intentionally disturb or encourage the disturbance of wildlife or wildlife habitats? Do they keep vehicles on designated roads and trails and abide by the rules and regulations of the natural areas they visit?
Once you’ve found some local guides, here are some additional questions to ask to make sure that you and your guide are well matched, as well as to make sure you will be safe:
- How many people will be taking this tour?
- How much control do I get over what we do, when we eat, and when we take breaks? How strenuous is the tour?
- What happens if we have bad weather?
- What happens if someone in the party gets injured?
- Are there any special safety precautions I need to take?
The key to an excellent eco tour experience is finding a guide that you are comfortable with. If the answers to your inquiries are unsatisfactory, keep looking until you find a tour that is compatible with your needs. Your efforts will be rewarded with an excellent tour guide that is excited to show you around because he or she cares about the destination and your experiences there.
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