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What is sustainable tourism and why is it cheaper! Colombia, cheap and amazing!

Alternative tours in Colombia on budget
23 Mar

What is sustainable tourism and why is it cheaper! Colombia, cheap and amazing!

Sustainable tourism in Colombia!

Hello! This is Ana! Today our subject is very interesting, how to have an unforgettable trip without spending a lot of money. The questions are: What exactly is an unforgettable trip? And the second question is if the trip is cheap, is it bad quality?

This is exactly what I will answer during this post, therefore please don’t miss a line because it is really valuable information!

I can summarize the answers with one word, sustainability. Follow me and learn that having a sustainable tour means authentic experiences and also pay less.

What is sustainable tourism

Sustainability in tourism means enjoying traveling being friendly with nature and support the local economy and the preservation of culture and traditions. In Colombia for example, unfortunately, sustainable tourism is something just raising. Most of the travel agencies don’t follow all of the rules, some not even one.

That is why we strongly advise you to check which kind of tourism are you supporting. The result will not affect only the community and nature, but also your experience.

Which kind of experience can you expect with sustainable tourism?

  1. No massive tourism: Travel agencies that support sustainability look for spots where the visitors can enjoy the experience 100% away from the crowd.
  2. Friendly with nature: Most of the experiences in Colombia are related to animals, but the story behind them is very dark. All sustainable experiences enjoy animals in nature, free of jails or cages.
  3. Local guides: These experiences are lead by local guides who are actually interested in creating a bond with you and the culture. They will take the time to get to know you, and show you the path to have incredible experiences.
  4. Authentic experiences: What you will most of the time find is the walking tour around the place, with a guide talking to 30 people without any intention to know your name. Sustainable experiences are designed to show the culture, the tradition and to create a bond between you the guide and the locals.
travel amazon colombia tours
Amazon Colombia, experience

Example of sustainable tourism in Colombia:

  • Fishing with locals: With this experience, you will visit amazing rivers, get to know the local fisherman and creates a bond going to their houses and cooking with their families.
  • San Luis trekking: This location is hidden from mass tourism. There you will visit amazing rivers and waterfalls where the local guides will show you their culture and open their traditions to you.
  • Guatape by bicycle: Guatape is a beautiful town next to Medellin, full of colorful houses and parks. Normally the tour is by bus, but a unique way to do it is by bicycle. The mountains, towns, and landscapes between Medellin and Guatape are something hidden from most of the tourists.
  • Amazon community experience: This activity is being part of an indigenous community in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. It is about getting to know the traditions and the connection with nature. Cook, eat and sleep as one of the community. There is when the bound is created.

Like that there are thousands of tours around the country were the experience will be unforgettable. Looking for some tours? Check all of them here!

Why are sustainable experiences cheaper?

Massive tourism chain

This is how normally massive tourism organizations work. There are big agencies, able to have an office or a webpage who is the one more visible to the tourist. They offer experiences designed to collect as much money as they can, spending the less as they can as well.

Most of those experiences are done with more than 30 people with one tour guide, who is in the last part of the chain. They receive a poor payment for their job, therefore the quality of the tour will be poor as well. Is that what you are looking for?

On the other hand, if you find a local agency or a sustainable travel agency they will lead you a much shorter chain, with high-quality tours and the most important, excellent guides passionate about what they do and with the time to get to know you and create bonds.

Sustainable chain

This sounds pretty simple but you can’t imagine the impact in a society like Colombian. We encourage you to take just a little bit of time to check the background of the experience you are going to take and assure an amazing experience.

How to recognize sustainable tourism in Colombia?

Fill the following checklist

  1. The tour guide is the one talking to you or works directly for the company talking to you.
  2. You will get safety insurance with the experience.
  3. The experience doesn’t involve animals in captivity.
  4. The experience involves the community.
  5. There is a price catalog or the prices are standard and visible.
  6. No discounts are proposed when you refuse (that means they are playing with the commission).

Why is sustainable tourism cheaper?

fishing with locals cartagena
fishing tour Cartagena

It is cheaper because the guides will receive the money directly.

It will not pass through a chain of commissions where no one knows each other.

This is sadly what happens in most of the big cities, there is a big company promoting the same service in several different places. Each place has a different price and they play with the type of tourist. This is just unethical tourism and we as visitors should contribute to stopping this situation.

Personal experience

  • 1st red flag: The tour agency had a poster that says 250.000 COP for the experience. The agent said the prices raised to 280.000 COP, but since we were staying in X hotel, he will give a discount of 260.000. I should have run, right? The next day the adventure started, they pick us up on a very bad shape bus. There we met 3 Argentinians and 3 French joining the tour. The tour guide didn’t even ask our names.
  • 2nd red flag: I am normally very relaxed but the driver was very irresponsible. I was really scared. We arrived at the beach, they promised us a welcome cocktail and snacks, which did not happen, but the worst thing was when the whole group started to talk. Some of the people from the group paid 90.000 COP, the French group paid 300.000 COP for the same experience. We all booked the same experience but each with different companies.
  • 3rd red flag: We started the boat trip, someone asked for the insurance and the tour guide said ” you should talk that in the place you booked the tour. The tour guide clearly did not know the boat driver, which was also very strange. Everything started to be wrong.

More red flags

  • 4th red flag: We visited an aquarium which was very sad. In a small pool, there were 16 dolphins crowded. A lot of animals in bad shape, it was very hurting.
  • 5th red flag: The marine police came to us in the aquarium, and our tour guide told us to lie from where we leave. That day boats were not allowed in the sea because of the weather forecast. Since the police were around, they took us to a hidden small harbor and we had to leave the boat. We had to wait there for 2 hours. Until the crazy driver arrived to take us to the beach again.
  • Check this post about the weather in Colombia, accurate and easy information before booking, avoid your trip to be a nightmare with the weather.
  • 6th red flag: We were starving! We arrived and the food was so dirty that we couldn’t eat. Sand, hair and more disgusting things. We had to walk 2 km to find food. We decided to leave the place right after lunch. The saddest part was that the place was outstanding, it was amazing! but definitely the tour just ruined everything.

The summary

We encourage you to check those red flags and assure that your experience is the best, It is about your trip, about your safety and about a lot of local tour guides trying to do the things right. Support sustainable tourism in Colombia and teach others.

Did you experience something like that? Or the opposite?

Leave your comments! and share, please! For more people to get sustainable!



  • Justin
    marzo 24, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    I don’t typically comment on posts, but as a long time reader I thought I’d drop in and wish you all the best during these
    troubling times.

    From all of us at Royal CBD, I hope you stay well with the
    COVID19 pandemic progressing at an alarming rate.

    Justin Hamilton
    Royal CBD

  • Justin
    marzo 26, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind
    me asking what theme you’re using? (and don’t mind if
    I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme
    slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate
    any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

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