Eco adventures for a greener world

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Psychographic Analysis of the American Responsible Consumer

Project Background

Fair Trade Tourism in South Africa asked Greenloons to compile a psychographic analysis report of the American "green" "eco" "responsible" consumer in order to inform South African tour operators and other tourism busineses of the potential market segments for a responsible tourism product in the United States.  The report not only profiled these American consumers, but also provided recommendations for how to market to these consumers and/or drive behavior change to increase the appeal for responsible tourism in South Africa. 

Project Approach

Greenloons performed a research analysis of the American consumer's ethical consumption behavior (supporting local economy and buying green), social consciousness insights (predilection of consumers to make decisions, actions and potentially purchase based on a social consciousness ranging from being conscious of the environment and the planet to communities and people impact, and travel behavior including the profile of those interested to travel to South Africa.

 

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Waking up in the Colorful Peruvian Rainforest - A Sustainable Photo Journey

Life is pretty good when you wake up in a comfortable bed, fully refreshed and ready for the day. Then again, life is extra good when waking up to hear the lyrical sounds of birds, munching peccaries, howler monkeys and other amazing creatures across a rainforest canopy. In other words, one gets a new an appreciation of color when the surrounding hues are reflected in the rocks and a new appreciation of life when waking up with the rainforest.

Sunrise over Tambopata National Reserve

A recent photography safari through Tambopata National Reserve in Peru marked my second visit to the Amazon and third visit to a rainforest ecosystem, which I must admit I love more each time I witness an ephemeral animal sighting or gain a greater understanding of the sometimes harsh, and other times remarkable, mysteries of the rainforest.

Upon arriving at Puerto Maldonado, I was greeted with the familiar warm, dirt scented and humid air that demarcates the Amazon from other ecosystems and was excited at the prospect of the more scientific safari I was about to embark on in this relatively undiscovered part of the Amazon.

Would we get a chance to see a wild jaguar attracted to the scent of Calvin Klein's Obsession cologne as the Wildlife Conservation Society has claimed? Would we see the recently discovered tiny spider that weaves a defensive web so lifelike, it is as though the spider is 15 times bigger than it is, or would we uncover a new species altogether?

The photography safari was led by Jeff Cremer whose most recent international acclaim includes his gigapixel photograph of Machu Picchu, PhD candidate entomologist Phil Torres whose credentials include leading a National Geographic Expedition trip as well as writing about butterfly habitats for Encyclopedia Britannica, and our local certified naturalist guide, Pedro, whose highly observant eyes made sure our cameras did not miss any wildlife.

After a leisurely and wildlife oriented motorized boat ride down the Rio Tambopata complete with a delicious, hot lunch served up in one of the ubiquitous and huge tree leaves in the area (rather than a non-eco box or paper bag), we arrived at Refugio Amazonas, a 32-room lodge that has partnered with local families, who sustainably harvest Brazil nuts from the surrounding rainforest, to ensure that they share in the benefits of ecotourism.

From the first moment of arriving, it's easy to notice that Refugio Amazonas has a comfortable main lodge with a full bar, family-style dining room, reading nooks, battery-charging station, yoga/massage area and long couches just perfect for catching up on the rainforest discoveries of the day. Almost immediately, an excited visitor was saying to us 'take a look at my photo of the jaguar we saw...yeah, we were riding along on the boat earlier and there is was...so awesome!' We may not have all known each other before, but we explorers were all easy friends eager to share our love of nature.

Refugio Amazonas

From the main lodge, there are four above-ground bridges that extend to the individual rooms. The standard rooms offer open-air rainforest views, full private bathrooms, hammocks, sitting areas furnished by local artisans, and very comfortable beds (with mosquito netting) while superior rooms also offer electricity and free WiFi Having had the privilege to also participate in the back-of-house tours, I can say without hesitation that these rainforest lodges are some of the best equipped and sustainable I've seen, including:

• communications powered by solar energy,
• safe exposure to a balanced rainforest ecosystem,
• maximized natural light,
• Brazil nut (or lemongrass) biodegradable soap and shampoo provided,
• use of biodegradable cleaning products,
• trash management separated into one of five categories: biodegradable, plastic, glass, paper, or metal,
• provided rubber boots to keep lodges clean, and
• naturalist-led kayaking, hiking and mountain biking adventures.

As lovely as the sustainable lodge and surroundings were, it was the wildlife that rendered this trip most memorable for me, such as seeing the capybara's strong paws up close (through the professional camera), the great black hawk amused by something in the water, the Cormorant figuring out its next move, the grand looking Orinoco Geese, the peccaries looking for grub, the smiling caiman, the little frog who patiently posed for his perfect shot, or the "24-caret" gold-colored frog who curiously looked into the camera before leaping away.

Capybara

Grand Orinoco Geese

Smiling Caiman

Gold Colored Curious Frog

Wildlife is abundant in the Peruvian Amazon and Pedro, Jeff and Phil were eager to share their passions, knowledge and experiences. But, for all the photo opportunities that were near and around Refugio Amazonas, the science was centered at another remote lodge, the Tambopata Research Center (TRC).

The 18-room TRC, which is run as part lodge / part macaw conservation center, has been supporting research in this pristine part of Tambopata National Reserve / Bahajua-Sonene National Park for the last 20 years. TRC lodge sometimes sponsors local Peruvian scientists, but during our stay, I had a chance to talk with international macaw biologists and ecologists as well as graduate students from Texas A&M University (a sponsor of TRC) who were visiting TRC for their fieldwork.

There was exciting research all around, however our fieldwork was at hand. Two experiments were top of mind for Jeff and Phil. First, they endeavored to capture video footage of jaguars with the use of weatherized sensors, flashes and cameras. They had thought through the idea for months and great care was taken to set up the expensive equipment in a "high traffic" area. For eighteen hours, we anxiously awaited overnight back at TRC. Would we see an ocelot, puma, or even a jaguar?

Unfortunately, no one had noticed the numerous leaf-cutter anthills that were about 20 feet away from the cameras! Little did we know that during those eighteen hours, there was a fiesta of leaf-cutter ants chewing through anything and everything that was plastic or rubber on or around the equipment – and the only picture that was taken was that of a moth (who was probably thinking something offensive as it flew by the sensor and flash!)

While Jeff was thinking about his camera insurance coverage, we needed to press on to the second experiment which was to determine the effectiveness of Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men in attracting wild animals, specifically jaguars, in the Peruvian Amazon. Back in 2010, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) determined that this scent above all others was most effective in attracting certain species in and around the Maya temples of Guatemala. But would it work for Peru?

Over the course of a month, an outdoor camera was placed in full view of two socks – one carrying the Calvin Klein scent and the other "control" sock with no scent. After collecting and reviewing the month's video, it showed that while many wild animals had passed (peccaries, jaguars, etc.) none bothered to even notice the scent. So, two experiments gone awry, but such is the nature of science.

For me, a person who loves nature, the opportunity to combine a rainforest safari with photography and scientific discovery was a penultimate experience that I will treasure for years to come.

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Testimonials

Industry Award

Greenloons is thrilled and honored to have received the designation as one of National Geographic's 50 Tours of a Lifetime for capturing "the spirit of exploration".  Our Timber Raft Adventure in Sweden is ideal for adults, active families and small groups of friends who want to explore the pristine, southern wilderness of Sweden, perhaps in combination with a Stockholm city visit.  You'll spend your days floating peacefully down the River Klaralven experiencing the forest landscape of rural Varmland and the tiny, friendly villages of the Klaralven valley. Each of the communities are accessible and while the focus of the trip is exploring the natural surroundings, there are many opportunities to engage with local people, share a meal, and even enjoy a sauna!  Read more about our award-winning trip...

Local Kudos

     washingtonian

In May 2013, Greenloons was named by Washingtonian magazine as one of DC's great travel agencies.

More Print, Online & Radio Press Coverage

 

Sustainable Travel Industry Consulting Qualifications

Read some examples of our work for Failte Ireland and Fair Trade Tourism (South Africa)

 

Travel Client Feedback

Greenloons prides itself with the positive testimonials we receive from our clients, and we always strive to improve our services every day. Hearing what our returning tour participants have to say plays a vital role in understanding how we can enhance our ecotour programs for future participants to come. We encourage our clients to give us their feedback, both positive and negative, so we can better serve our clients in the future. 

I'd like to thank you once more for having organized this excellent tour for me. These memories will stay in my mind for a long time...and I'm definitely going to stay in touch with Jeff. Jeff is a great and experienced photographer. He has generously shared his wildlife photo knowledge and photo gear with me. It was very instructive for me to see his techniques of shooting with the long lens because I usually do rather focus on macro photography. We had a very good exchange....Phil is a brilliant (very) young entomologist and as well such a kind person. He has patiently answered all my "tricky" questions about the rainforest and its inhabitants. I must admit, I've learned a lot. I shouldn't forget to mention that we had a lot of fun together and became very good friends. Everything went smoothly and we got along so, so well. It was like we had known each other for years. I've definitely felt sad when I had to leave these guys after the trip (something that has not really happened to me after any other trip in the past). The lodges surprised me a lot. They are much above the standards I'm used to when going to such remote places. Also the food was excellent. The variety and quality of dishes were simply fantastic. I've much appreciated the friendliness of the staff (including the very competent local guide) and the perfectly organized logistics, everything on time, transportation very reliable – overall an excellent impression which made the whole trip a really cool experience. If I had to pick my favorite I would go for TRC – maybe only because it is a quieter and less touristic place. Overall, I'm very happy with my travel and would always recommend Greenloons to people interested in "feeling" the rainforest. As for the photo gear offered for the trip, I would simply suggest to slightly modifying the Nikon gear list published on the website in order to avoid any misunderstandings for future clients. - Ulrike F. – Rainforest Nature Photography Tour

Greenloons is a personal advisor to provide you with a unique travel experience with safe, but exciting adventures! And all should travel eco friendly...not sure we will ever stay in a Marriott again! The trip was full of a combination of adventure and site seeing. We really felt we got a great feel of Costa Rica. Our only regret was not having more time! - Kris C. Costa Rica Family Adventure

Housing and F&B – fabulous, especially considering this was a safari. Very high-end. The safari experience – guides, vehicles, animals, all exceptional. Customized vacation – designed to meet our special requests and needs to perfection. Photo opportunities – we took over 2,500 pictures. Our challenge was selecting the best 500! A photographer's dream. This was truly a vacation of our lifetime. I would suggest working directly with Irene Lane. She responds quickly to inquiries, is friendly, thorough and knowledgeable, a great communicator and takes as much time as needed to answer all questions. - Louise D. Maasai Conservation Safari

Everything about the experience was outstanding! The guides were knowledgeable and fun; the lodges were rustic and comfortable; the food was excellent; and the scenery was out of this world. Greenloons offers a wide variety of eco-friendly trips with the top providers around the world. We felt confident in our tour operator, because Greenloons has the same high standards that we do for our travel. - Nancy L. Machu Picchu Trekking & Lodging Experience

India was a life-changing experience. It touched me very deeply on many levels = emotional, spiritual, sensory. Irene at Greenloons is an astute travel advisor who really knows her subject matter and understands that her clients aren't just seeking a vacation, but a truly memorable experience. She artfully crafted a 6 week tour of India that encompassed all of my needs and desires to make my trip on of the most incredible, life changing experiences of my life. She handled all the details, big and small and took the worry out of planning such an ambitious undertaking. She communicated at every turn with the utmost professionalism, understanding and grace. Her patience and attention are exemplary and I look forward to planning my next grand adventure under her knowledgeable guidance. I give Greenloons my highest recommendation. Many thanks Irene! - Debra H. Customized Trip to India

All I can say right now is.....when can I do it again!! I had a really good trip, no problems anywhere...the location of the hotel in London was perfect. It is across the street from Westminster Academy (great pictures of boys playing cricket), and very near shopping. On Thursday morning the tour coach was there to pick us up right on time, and we quickly got out of London. I loved (the touring company), and would take another one of their tours in the future. Like their name suggests we saw very little of British "motor ways", lots of beautiful English country sides as well as plenty of Castles and Cathedrals. All our hotels were top notch, clean, modern with great restaurants. Our guide was a history buff, so we learned a lot about British History. The highlight for me was the Lake District. I hope to get back there on holiday some day. Thank you so much for all your help in planning my trip. Although I was traveling alone I was never lonely. Great Trip!!!!! - Faith F. British Isles Tour

 

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Get in Touch!

Greenloons can create a personalized itinerary that incorporates the green travel tips suggested on this site with accommodations and activities that will make your vacation unique, memorable and sustainable. 

If you are a journalist, photographer, or just someone interested in writing about Greenloons and would like additional information, we are happy to assist you, just let us know what you need. Alternatively, you can refer to our FAQ section to see if your question is answered there.

President: Irene Lane This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Phone: 877,570.7373 or locally at 703.752.6270

Address: 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, Virginia 22182 (just outside Washington, D.C.)

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