Taking care of the environment around Chalalán has always been our greatest concern and so we have implemented a liquid waste treatment system (for our bathrooms, kitchen and showers) which combines the power of the sun and biological processes to guarantee a minimum impact on the surrounding environment. This technique is certified by the Bolivian Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Environment’s environmental manifesto.
Solid waste is separated with organic waste going to a compost heap and inorganic waste being collected by the Rurrenabaque municipal refuse collection service.
In Chalalán solar energy is used to light the bedrooms and shared areas of the Ecolodge. Batteries are only used for torches and the use of fossil fuels is kept to a minimum.
Our water is purified by treatment with special filters. It is also boiled and then is stored in closed containers for later use in the preparation of drinks and food.
Before your Travel
Plan your route to minimize carbon emissions – travel by train and public transport where possible.
Minimize flying time and stopovers –the worst carbon emissions are emitted during take-off and landing. For the flights that you cannot avoid, offset the carbon emissions.
Ask to see your tour operator’s policy for responsible tourism. Make sure it explains how they minimize environmental impacts and support the local economy.
Read up on local cultures and learn a few words of the local language – travelling with respect earns you respect.
Remove all excess packaging – waste disposal is difficult in remote places and developing countries.
Ask the local people for specific tips for responsible travel in your destination.
Ask the local tour operator if there are useful gifts that you could pack for your hosts, local people or schools.
While on Holiday
Perfect ecotourism probably doesn’t exist, but everyone can play their part by following these simple recommendations during your stay. YOU can help us preserve our natural and cultural heritage for many more years.
Prefer tours and services that demonstrate social, cultural and environmental sensitivity. Remember that low prices mean low salaries for employees and poor service quality.
Buy local produce in preference to imported goods. Try to put money into local people’ hands; drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and stay in locally owned accommodation wherever possible.
Hire a local guide – you will discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income.
Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods, skin, bones, feathers or ancient artifacts.
Respect local culture, traditions and holy places, remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time, this just makes them different not wrong – cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the Western habit of knowing the answers)
Don’t treat people as part of the landscape; they may not want their picture taken. Ask first and respect their wishes.
Learn the local language and be mindful of local customs and norms. It can enhance your travel experience and you’ll earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people.
Use public transport, hire a bike or walk when convenient – it’s a great way to meet local people on their terms.
Use water sparingly – it’s very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people.
Follow protected area regulations that prohibit taking any kind of weapons, including machete. Hunting and logging is strictly forbidden in all tourism areas.
Protect wildlife and flora. Do not touch, harass nor feed wild animals. You may transmit human diseases to them.
Think about what happens to your rubbish. Take biodegradable products and a water bottle filter. Be sensitive to limited recourses like water, fuel and electricity.
When you Get Back
Write to your Tour Operator or Ecolodge with any comments or feedback about your holiday, and especially include any suggestions on reducing environmental impacts and increasing benefits to local communities.
Finally, if you’ve promised to send pictures or gifts to local people remember to do so. Many are promised and not all arrive.