Take A Hike On A Bike

Going Green without Spending Green

Vancouver’s BikeHike Makes ‘Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime’ List
National Geographic Traveler magazine creates an annual list it calls the ‘Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime‘. Senior editor Norie Quintos describes the chosen few as “the most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided, and most sustainable tours” the magazine can find. And that’s saying a lot.

One of this year’s winning trips is the 9-day ‘Viva Venezuela’ tour from Vancouver’s Bike Hike Adventures. The company, which describes its offerings as ‘Multi-Sport Adventures for Outdoor Enthusiasts’, has been around for 16 years and previously honoured by National Geographic Adventure Magazine as one of the ‘Best Adventure Travel Companies On Earth.’

Viva Venezuela is a good example of BikeHike’s multi-sport philosophy as it features horseback riding, mountain biking in the Andean Mountains, hiking to the San Jose de Mucuños Ruins along a network of back-country roads and rafting through class III rapids on the Acequia River. There are no swim-up bars on this trip.

BikeHike promises unforgettable cultural experiences in rural Venezuelan communities well off the tourist path. The company also works to give back through sustainable tourism practices as outlined in the BikeHike Commitment to Sustainability. That’s part of the criteria for the National Geographic Traveler honour. “The outfitters we selected have responded to travellers looking for more meaning and context,” notes Quintos. “And beyond guiding you to the destination, they’ve also found novel ways to give back.”

Dispelling the Myth That Green Is More Expensive
Did you know that when you flush the toilet on a plane you’re using as much fuel as you’d need to run a car for 10 km? Us neither. But that’s one of the little gems from a collection of articles called ‘Introduction to Travel(eco)nomics’ from the folks at self-explanatory website

The thrust of the article is that the bottom line of environmentalism is reducing consumption, and it offers tips for travellers on eco-friendly packaging, eco-friendly destinations and what you can do in-destination to reduce your impact. A few highlights:

Packing Green
“Packing lightly and reusing mindfully” is the advice here, with suggestions including rechargeable batteries, reusable water bottles, digital vs. disposable camera and letting hotels supply the soap and shampoo.

Green Places
Suggested destinations for eco-conscious travellers include: Portland, Oregon (all things alternative, organic and eco-friendly); Montreal (bike-sharing and eco-chic boutique hotels); Malmo, Sweden (working towards 100% renewable energy by 2020); and Austin, Texas, where City Hall has a green roof and there’s always somebody playin’ the blues.

Green Stay
Using public transit instead of renting a car, staying and eating at local establishments and choosing responsible tour companies for excursions are all easy ways to reduce your environmental impact while increasing your positive impact on your hosts. also reports on what airlines are doing to improve their environmental performance, complete with Cheapflights’ Picks for Five Greenest Airlines.

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