One of these lodges dumps sewage in the mangroves, can you tell which?
Dumps sewage in the mangroves.
Greenwashes their impact.
Owned by a foreigner, money doesn’t stay local.
Owned by a local family, money stays local.
Preserve 35 acres of rainforest.
5-Leaf Sustainability Certification.
Crazy right? But don't take our word for it.
The problem with traditional tourism
Overtourism, greedy mega developers, and all-inclusive resorts often marginalize local communities and damage fragile environments. Why? Because many foreign investors and mass tourism companies care about short-term profit more than long-term sustainability.
According to the UN, when a typical international traveler visits a developing country, only $5 of every $100 of their travel spending goes to local communities. When tourism dollars don’t stay local, local communities miss out on the opportunity to invest in themselves. Travel is the world's largest industry, generating over $7 trillion in global GDP. Imagine the good we could do if more of that spending stayed local.
The rise of impact travel & community tourism
When travel dollars stay local, good stuff happens. Fortunately, there are already more than 50,000 local lodges and community tourism activity providers around the world using travel to make a positive impact.
The positive impact of empowering local communities and entrepreneurs is clear. If you know where to look, you can find incredible ecolodges owned by indigenous communities in the Amazon; homestay networks empowering women in rural Nepal; boat trips with local guides in Costa Rica that help preserve thousands of hectares of primary forests; and so much more. The cherry on top? These impactful experiences make for a more memorable and meaningful trip.
We made a documentary about Impact Travel
The tropical rainforest of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula contains 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity on less than one millionth of the planet’s surface. When we first went down there in 2012, we instantly fell in love. When we learned that its incredible natural beauty caught the eye of the tourism industry and the planned construction of an international airport was threatening to transform the region forever...we wanted to help and needed to learn more.
Check out some of the amazing partners we work with
Osa Wild connects travelers to diverse family projects from a completely natural retreat amid mountains, trees, waterfalls and animals, to the preparation of Costa Rican dishes, fishing, milking, use of a mill, and the simple, humble and beautiful sharing with Costa Rican families. They are the first 100% Costa Rican-run tour operator focused on promoting community tourism.
De la Chinampa a tu Mesa is a non-profit organization supporting ecological preservation and sustainable agriculture in the chinampas of Xochimilco - the famous floating gardens of Mexico City. The owner, Ricardo Rodriguez, leads tours through the beautiful canals offering food from local farms, a visit to the chinampas, and knowledge about the history of the area.
Uakari Lodge allows you to explore the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, the largest protected flooded forest in the world, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Five floating bungalows allow you to witness the flooding of the forest during the rainy season and explore by canoe to see abundant wildlife like the red-faced white uakari monkey and the black faced squirrel monkey.
We make it easy to book remarkable global travel adventures. Embrace local cultures and immerse yourself in breathtaking natural habitats with the help of a local sustainable travel expert.
Lokal puts more money in the hands of locals.
Your perfect trip, designed by a local travel expert
In order to provide a truly local experience, we only work with trip planning experts who are from the country you’re visiting. They’re on the ground and have a pulse on the latest destinations and experiences, ensuring your trip is one of a kind.
How we find experiences and lodges for your trip
Our handpicked local experts select each experience and lodge on your trip to make sure it provides an amazing travel experience and benefits back to the local community. We call this impact travel.
We do our best to find locally-owned lodges, guides and transport to maximize the amount your trip spending directly benefits the communities you visit. But it's not always possible to go 100% local with a trip, so we also work with operators that meet third party sustainability accreditation standards (like the UN Certification for Sustainable Tourism, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and more).