Start-up company innovating in Latin American adventure holidays and community-based tourism for discerning travellers. Responsible tour operator and social enterprise specialised in sustainable travel, social innovation and economic development.
What we do
We offer adventure and community-based eco-trips to Latin America for independent and discerning travellers looking to really connect with the local life and culture of the places they visit. Offering tailor-made trips across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, Sumak gives travellers the opportunity to combine community-based eco-tourism with visits to the well-known highlights of each of these countries.
Some examples of Sumak experiences are Amazon adventures, jungle trekking, sailing on Lake Titicaca in traditonal vessels, expeditions onto the salt flats of Uyuni, visits to vibrant urban and coastal communities in Brazil, sailing down the Amazon river, fair-trade projects in rural Colombia, experience the impressive Iguazu Falls and stays in rural settlements around Salta in Argentina. All of our trips provide opportunities to take in incredible sights, meet inspirational people, sit down to talk and eat with the locals and gain a true insight into life in Latin America. Most of these amazing and authentic experiences are only available through us in Europe and North America.
Tourism provides a vital source of income for many developing countries, yet economic success often comes at the expense of the environment and local populations. Mass tourism threatens biodiversity, damages ecosystems and causes violations of the rights of workers, minorities and local communities. The industry lacks ethics and transparency. Corporations, rather than local people, reap the financial rewards.
Community-based eco-tourism initiatives are flourishing across Latin America. Sumak Travel works directly with them. Our mission is to contribute to the empowerment of local communities by running an ethical business that provides unique & rewarding experiences for discerning travellers. These local communities use tourism as a complementary source of income to acquire the means to maintain their traditional way of life, whilst preserving their land and local ecosystems. This is the equivalent of fair trade for tourism.
We work directly with community-based tour operators in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Uruguay who prioritise principles such as environmental conservation, sustainable development, community capacity building, transparency and income redistribution. We are the only tour operator bridging the gap between these local organisations in Latin America and responsible travellers in Europe and North America.
We are a small social enterprise with a cost-efficient structure and are therefore able to offer competitive prices and a high level of service. We maximise the amount of money paid directly to the local communities and can provide a clear breakdown of prices to demonstrate this. The same policy is applied to our local providers and partners.
Half of Sumak Travel’s profits are reinvested back into the social enterprise to increase the number of destinations and reduce transaction costs. The remaining half is invested into community-led projects that are part of our network.
Sumak Kawsay means “good living” in Quechua. It proposes a human-centred model for development which has been embraced by indigenous peoples in Latin America over the last two decades. Sumak Kawsay embodies ideas of caring for people, cultures and nature; principles that are key to true, sustainable development. We are not aware of any other organisation or business in Europe or North America applying this approach within the tourism industry.