When you happen upon a travel company called Greenloons, you just have to stop a minute and see what that rather loopy name is all about. You quickly learn from the website that this company is seriously dedicated to providing family vacation planners with trusted information about responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations both in the U.S. and abroad.
And after you talk with Greenloons founder and president Irene Lane, you have no doubt that here is a person who has had a long and creative career in the corporate world, is an eco-conscious mom, and is passionate about her business of marketing and educating the travel industry and the public about her product: family vacations to inspirational and exotic places in an environmentally responsible manner that hopefully gives back to the local communities.
“We offer parents, as well as other nature and wildlife enthusiasts, a one-stop shop for ecotourism travel services to help make vacation purchasing decisions based on sustainable standards and not eco-marketing tactics,” Lane explains. “We work with companies that are certified by such third-parties as Rainforest Alliance, that go the extra mile in providing unique, sustainable, learning vacations for parents and kids.”
Consider just two of the many programs in Latin America that Greenloons has available in which volunteer work becomes part of a family vacation:
Project Peru Amazon is a 9-day family adventure that includes travel by motorized canoe up the Tambopata River to spend five days at a center for the rehabilitation and conservation of wild animals. Budding zoologists will help to maintain an interpretive trail, construct animal enclosures and interact with the local community. An additional aspect of this trip will be spending two days in the rainforest learning about traditional medicinal plants, spotting exotic birds, caiman and monkeys. Departures are weekly, and project costs are $1,299 for adults and $1,069 for children (12-17).
Project Costa Rica gets families involved with the Pacific Sea Turtle Project, a conservation initiative undertaken to protect endangered sea turtles and their nests, thus improving the chance for survival of hatchlings on Matapalo Beach. Over the 15-day program, familes will volunteer in night beach patrols to protect the turtle nests, collect data, do some general cleaning and maintenance, and possibly monitor the baby turtle hatchery where baby turtles are counted and released. Families round out the week with two days in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and another two days in the town of La Fortuna where activities in the Arenal Volcano area range from birdwatching to hiking and biking to canyoning and river rafting. Departures are July through November, with rates at $1,049 pp, recommended for ages 12 plus.
Still another irresistible family travel offering is a bit far off the Latin American circuit:
Project Cambodia & Laos, where during 15 days, families explore Indochina’s most iconic and historic site: the vast temple-palace complex of Angkor Wat, before spending three days at New Hope, Cambodia which is a grass roots, hands-on, non-governmental organization whose mission is to restore hope, dignity and promise to the local community. Volunteers help build a new school or library, teach in classrooms and visit local families who require assistance. The balance of the time is spent enjoying bike rides, swimming, cave exploring and countryside visits. Departures are monthly with rates of $1,799 pp (recommended for ages 12 plus).
Company president Lane has lived in five countries and offers mostly international destinations. However, she told us that while Alaska and Florida, for instance, offer programs that fit the Greenloons profile, she would really like to see greater development of sustainable tourism travel opportunities and certification programs all over the United States.
Greenloons invites travel planners to read the Greenloons Blog and sign up for a biweekly ecotourism inspirations e-newsletter, packed with destination information, eco-travel tips and exclusive discounts with the company’s travel partners.
For more information, call (703) 752-6270 or visit greenloons.com.