The Travel Foundation has designated July 2013 as ‘Make Holidays Greener Month’ and the specific theme is ‘Link to what is local’. With this is mind we are creating an Insider Guide to Greener Holidays, where you can view a selection of holiday ideas that are not only enjoyable to the traveller, but also benefit those in the destinations they visit.
In a follow-up to last week’s post, here are ten more tips for great green holidays to choice from the Sunvil selection.
Our local representatives on Alonissos, Julia and Dinah, think that one of the most interesting shops on the island is the Ladies’ Cooperative. All produce here is made on the premises and everything is made from local ingredients. The ladies make liqueurs and sweets from local fruit. They bottle Kritama and make preserves; the nicest is a jam made from neratzi (bitter oranges), which is a wonderful alternative to good old English marmalade. The ladies also sell locally picked dried herbs, soaps made from olive oil, traditional cakes and the best spanakopita on the island – easy on the filo but crammed with feta, greens and anithos. And, of course, they sell the famous Alonnisos bottled tuna. Just visiting the shop is an experience in itself.
For something more energetic, Sunvil offers a guided walk every Sunday on the island of Paxos with Socrates the donkey. Socrates is a rescue donkey and children under twelve can take a ride too. On the walk, as well as learning about the history of the island and getting into the olive groves guests wouldn’t normally see, visitors also learn about olive oil making and care of the olive trees. The Olive Press Museum on Paxos is open daily 10.00-12.00 and for a nominal fee (around €4) the original owner’s daughter Ourenia will talk visitors through the olive oil making process in the museum which up until a few years ago was a working press. There’s also a chance to sample Ourenia’s own virgin olive oil and local bread before being serenaded as she plays her accordion and sings traditional Paxiot folk songs.
For a souvenir with a difference Will from Sunvil Discovery recommends a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Evora. Wander along rua 5 de Outubro in the centre of this lovely walled city in the heart of the Alentejo and you will find boutique shops selling a variety of cork products, made from the cork trees you’ll see across the plains of the Alentejo.
Michelle from Sunvil Discovery says that the colourful fruit market in Funchal as a place that visitors shouldn’t miss. Here you can find fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables and locally caught fish. Michelle recommends buying a picnic lunch and then find a quiet spot to relax and savour.
A whale and dolphin watching excursion is always a highlight for the Sunvil Discovery Team when they visit the Azores.Once a prominent whaling centre, in the last 25 years the local sailors have transformed their activities from hunting whales to organising whale watching and conservation projects. On the island of Sao Miguel Sunvil promote excursions by Terra Azul, where the guides explain and educate their guests about the mammals and their surroundings.
For a souvenir that you use time and time again, Rosanna from Sunvil Discovery recommends looking no further than a piece of Caltagirone pottery. Used for centuries to decorate buildings, streets and squares Caltagirone pottery reflects the colours of Sicily itself – green and yellow – and can be viewed at the Regional Museum of Ceramics and bought throughout the town.
Yasmin from Sunvil Discovery recommends a cycle on the Rallarvegen Road from Myrdal to Flam in the Norwegian fjords. She recommends that visitors climb the mountainside from Flam on the famous Flam railway (with their rental bike) and then take a leisurely ride downhill to the fjord-shore. The route offers excellent views en route and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the village centre. There are also local farms at which cyclists can stop for a drink or snack en route. On arrival in Flam, the Ægir Brewery offers the chance to sample a local tipple.
Lloyd from Sunvil Traveller insists that Huaorani Ecolodge is the real deal! It is an award-winning eco-lodge owned by the indigenous tribes. Guests can experience the deep Amazon rainforest through the eyes of its inhabitants with the support of carefully selected and trained bilingual guides. The remote Huaorani Ecolodge has 5 double comfortable cabins in traditional style run by the Huaorani, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth: they were first contacted by the outside world only 55 years ago and speak a language that is unrelated to any other. Visitors can hike deep forest trails, learn to use a blowgun, hear the tribe leader relate their fight against oil exploration, and take a two-day meander down the Shiripuno River in kayaks, watching for tropical birds and monkeys, and staying overnight at the Huaorani Adventure Camp.
For something different, visit the Sloth Sanctuary in Limon on the Caribbean coast, where the main objective is to rescue and rehabilitate sloths and provide educational information on the importance of the species. Visitors can volunteer and help out, or simply visit the sanctuary for the day.
Why not take a cooking lesson in the capital city of Lima? Your host will be Penelope Alzamora, a Peruvian chef who studies and worked in Boston and San Francisco before setting back in Lima. Peruvian cuisine is attracting international acclaim with several Peruvian restaurants opening in London alone in the past 18 months.
For more examples, check our ‘Insider Guide to Greener Holidays’ on the main Sunvil website. If you have tips of your own that you think that other Sunvil guests will enjoy, please email them to email@example.com, tweet us @sunvilteam or visit us on Facebook. All tips will be added to our special ‘Make Holidays Greener’ web page.