Do you want to know where you can swim with enormous fish in crystal clear hidden rivers, without harming the ecosystem? Or how you can safely visit the inner city favelas, and help support the people that live there at the same time?
Perhaps you’d like to stay at the most beautiful hotels and guesthouses in Brazil while knowing that your choice is benefiting the local community and environment?
Remarkable experiences like these might not be obvious to find on the front page of a traditional tourist guide, so I selected them in my book for you to enjoy the most of your stay in the largest country of South America.
And if you are not travelling right now, the adventures and stories will entertain and encourage you to get planning and start packing!
I have published a collection of my travel stories from around Brazil and produced a new type of travel guide. I’m very proud of it, and I’m happy to say that it’s available now everywhere on Amazon.
If you are in the UK – Find it here
Or the USA – Find it here
Recently I was interviewed for the Wharton Business Radio Show, Dollars and Change.
It’s great to see a leading, Ivy League University putting resources into developing social impact initiatives like this.
As it’s a paid-for service, I can’t link to the actual 30-minute interview, but I’ve put details at the bottom of this article as to how you can sign up for a free trial if you’d like to listen.
What I can do is share four interesting points that came up from the interview.
Question: We’ve heard about your Beer-to-Beer Social Enterprise Learning Journey. This sounds amazing. We want to join. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Answer: As I’ve said before, your friends are amazing, but you don’t always have the chance to learn from them. Sure, you can go out with them for a beer on a Friday night, but why not go out on a fun journey with them, and actually learn something new at the same time?
That’s what the Impact Hub Crawl is all about. Not just peer-to-peer learning, but Beer-to-Beer learning! Here’s a video to explain more from my last Impact Hub Crawl, Beer-to-Beer social enterprise learning experience:
Question: Surely, some people just want “irresponsible” experiences. Are people really interested in responsible travel experiences?
On a stormy afternoon in Rio, one of my last days in the country, I was lucky to be invited to an NGO called Fight For Peace. I learnt more about the social enterprise clothing brand that has sprung up from inside it.
In one of favelas that has not yet been pacified by government and military operations, I met founder and CEO, Luke Dowdney.
The following is a preview of article that I was asked to write about my social enterprise experience in Brazil for the Guardian. Continue reading
Three years ago, Caroline Neutzling started a blog about the favelas in Brazil. She was studying in Rio, and couldn’t find a good source of information for what was really happening in the poor communities, so she started finding out her self: “I really needed to know what was going on, from the people living there, so I started to find out and write about it. I thought other people might be interested too”. They were.
Enquiries started coming in through the blog, and for one and a half years, Caroline, or Caca as she prefers to be called, has been running a new, better kind of favela tour.
What does coworking look like in Brazil? Is it trendy, colourful, work spaces? Do they have pools? Yes. Yes they do. I work in a coworking space in London, and I’ve looked around a good few of the other coworking spaces we have here, and as far as I can tell, no pools. This is why Brazil is a growing economy. I have found the secret.
It’s not because more than 22 million people have been raised out of extreme poverty in the last 2 years (as the government claims), and it’s not because the World Cup and the Olympics are coming. It’s because their colour coworking spaces have pools.
Part of the success of Parque Das Aves is down to the amazing the staff they employ. The Environmental Education Coordinator for the park, Juliana Ebling, is also the President of the Brazilian Environmental Educators Association, and affiliated with the Government policy makers.
Along with Park Director, Carmel Croukamp, I found out more about how education is key to conservation and sustainability. Continue reading
My connection with Parque Das Aves goes all the way back to my school days. I didn’t know it then, but at 13 years old, I had an influence on the fortunes of what is now the largest bird park in Latin America.
In 1995, two years into following his dream to set up a bird park in Brazil, Dennis Croukamp was looking for more investment.
At the time, Dennis and his wife, Anna lived on the Isle of Man. As you might know already, or perhaps heard me mention in my Iguassu video, I’m also from the Isle of Man – that lovely little island in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland.
To raise money, Dennis was selling his Mercedes-Benz. And who was interested in it, apart from a 13 year Richard? My father was, and he invited me along for the test drive… Continue reading
The first thing that hits you is the water. No, you are not literally washed away in a huge torrent the moment you get the falls. But it’s the scale of it – all that water. And it just keeps coming. And coming. And coming. Where does it all come from? Does it ever stop? Isn’t it beautiful… And just when you’ve been blown away by the mass of water in front of you, you take a little walk and realize that the waterfall stretches for miles. And miles. And miles. And your jaw just hits the ground. It’s a force of nature. Maybe you can get a sense of it from the video below. Some people might say there should be more waterfall and less Richard in the video, but I’ll let you decide. Continue reading
Bonito – it’s not just about the water.
There is at least one attraction that involves none of the wet stuff.
Ecotourism entrepreneur, Senor Modesto Sampaio used to be a farmer. In 1986 he acquired an unusual piece of land. Part of the land included a giant sink hole, a natural sandstone crater with it’s own unique ecosystem. The largest sink hole in South America, and second largest in the world. Of course, engineers advised him to cover or fill it somehow, so that he could use all the land for farming, but Modesto, now in his 70s, realised its unique potential.
Bonito is the centre of responsible travel and ecotourism in Brazil.
It’s a small, fast growing town in the central region of Brazil, and it was my home for 3 days.
Thanks to the recommendation of Fabio Pellegrini, I was able to connect with one of the leading tour operators of Responsible Tourism in Bonito – Ygarape.
Ygarape’s founder, Juca Ygarape, really seems to be the father of eco-tourism in Bonito. He discovered many of the attractions of Bonito over the last 20 years. Juca is the man that the Discovery Channel or National Geographic call when they need a local expert. (Juca showed me his videos, where he tracked a huge wild anaconda in the water, and introduced it to scientists and professional photo-journalists).
Over the years Juca and his friends have also been responsible for designing many of the guiding principles to keep the tourist trade here sustainable.