Archipelago Choice and Responsible Tourism

Responsible tourism

We’re passionate about low impact, responsible tourism. We believe it’s vital to keep the Cape Verde and the Azores islands unspoilt, special places for wildlife, local people and visitors alike.

When you visit the islands, you will notice that we try to recommend accommodation in smaller family-run establishments (where possible) and those which blend in well with their environment. We also have a company environmental policy which is sent with your booking confirmation which gives information on how to be an environmentally friendly traveller.

As a member of AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators), our efforts have been recognised by achieving the highest 5 star award for our responsible tourism efforts.

We are also proud to be involved in and contribute to several community and conservation projects around the islands :

Azores projects

– SPEA, an organisation on Sao Miguel whose projects include the conservation of the natural vegetation in the Pico da Vara area.Through this they hope to ensure the survival of the many endemic species on the island including the Priolo (Azores Bullfinch).

– Together with a local conservationist on Sao Miguel, we are helping to raise awareness among local schoolchildren of the precious marine life around the Azores and more general environmental issues.

– We also support Whale Watch Azores, a marine-life research organisation funded through the paying guests on their whale and dolphin research holidays which you can book through us .Their main research project is compiling a photo ID catalogue of sperm whales around the islands; to date they have identified over 1100 individuals making it one of the largest catalogues in the world.

Cape Verde projects

– Institute on Sao Vicente for children aged 0 to 12 years providing essential services including a support centre in Mindelo for child victims of violence, sexual abuse and those that have been abandoned. They also provide an  emergency helpline number, a bit like the UK Childline.

– Kindergarten on Santo Antao based at a guesthouse in the  beautiful Paul valley, this kindergarten offers young children in the area the  only opportunity for education for miles around.

– Medical centre in Cha das Caldeiras on Fogo for the 600-1000 people living there who found it difficult to get to healthcare.

– Natura 2000 loggerhead turtle project based on Boavista where our paying clients directly fund the ongoing conservation on this endangered species and their nesting grounds.

Carbon offsetting

You can help with responsible tourism too.

We offer everyone who travels with us the opportunity to off-set some of their holiday carbon use with a £10 or £20 per person carbon contribution. This is a voluntary contribution and is used to plant broadleaved trees in Cumbria, UK. We are working with the Woodland Trust whose aims are the protection of old trees and woodlands and the planting of new woods for the future.
These trees will not only take up carbon from the atmosphere but will also help to:

–      increase biodiversity – trees are really important for birds and insects as well as providing homes for lichens and fungi

–      prevent erosion and improve soils – roots bind soil helping to prevent erosion and leaf litter helps create soil

–      improve water quality – trees can help to mitigate pollution in water and also reduce flooding

–      keep rivers cool – trees along rivers support wildlife in rivers by providing shade, leaf litter and temperature control

–      increase bugs and beetles in rivers – bugs and beetles need food sources and leaves are an important food source

The trees we plant will be within schemes across Cumbria where we are based. They will be managed so that they become mature trees and support wildlife well into the future. Our UK staff will also be taking part in planting some of these trees. If you have any comments or questions about this scheme, then please do give us a call.