Sustainable travel has become irreplaceable in the fight against climate change. However, there is a cloudy feeling about the meaning of these two words. In this article, we explain to you what and why you should be part of the sustainable travel movement, and tell you all about our commitment to restoring the native forests of the places we love visiting in Patagonia.
1. Sustainable Travel: What and Why?
Sustainable travel is a way of traveling. It is related to what some call responsible travel and eco travel. In a way, all three concepts promote the same ideal, preserving the environment and culture when we travel.
In short, sustainable travel involves:
- Taking responsible actions towards reducing contamination while traveling.
- Respecting the hosting community’s culture and traditions.
- Booking with local agencies promoting responsible tourism.
- Choosing travel experiences that help develop local economies and highlight nature preservation more than massive tourism.
Why it is important to understand the meaning of “sustainable travel”? Because we are running out of time. However, if we want future generations to travel the world and enjoy its natural treasures, sustainable travel is not enough.
2. What is regenerative travel?
Regenerative travel is what we are talking about today. In 2021, we have started planting trees in the damaged forest of Patagonia to help restore it. We encourage our travelers to be sustainable and preserve nature but above all to go beyond regular sustainable experiences. Because it is always nice to help. And while traveling you can make a difference!
Patagonia is one of our many natural sanctuaries in Argentina. That’s why we are committed to preserving its wildlife and native vegetation.
But first, we have to know where we are standing.
3. Patagonia native forest in danger
In 2021, the Patagonian native forests were seriously damaged by wildfires. Extensive hectares of forest were erased and animals lost their homes. Official groups responding to the Government fought fires and try to help. Communities in the area also became involved. As a result, they extinguished all fires by February 2022.
However, as the climate continues changing, creating long periods of droughts, forests are on permanent alert.
For example, in April 2022 breakthroughs alerted the area of Neuquén and Bariloche, the lake district of Patagonia, constantly visited by international travelers.
Apart from Bariloche and Neuquén, most of the damaged forest during 2021 belonged to the Comarca Andina in northwest Patagonia. Places like El Hoyo, Lago Puelo, and Cholila lost most of their native trees.
4. Inspiring actions to restore Patagonian forests
Once the damage is done, the only thing possible is to work toward the restoration of the wood. However, creating a forest of adult trees is a long way to go. That is why regenerative travel especially focuses on promoting change in people’s minds.
That is to say “better preserve than cry over the spilled milk”. And this is only possible with a responsible way of traveling and cohabiting with nature.
5. Say Hueque‘s commitment to restore Cholila Forest in Patagonia
Cholila’s forests skirting the Cholila Lake were one of the most affected areas by the fires in 2021. So, we decided to do something about it, and help restore the forest.
But we weren’t alone in this sustainable travel adventure. We have partnered with ReforestArg, a local NGO devoted to restoring the damaged forest in Patagonia.
Cholila experience step by step
Our first trip to Cholila was amazing! We were excited to engage in such an important project. So we returned in September 2022 and help to plant more trees.
Rafa Mayer, our leader, traveled in the name of the Say Hueque team and spent four days camping in Cholila whit others coming from all over Argentina. They spent the day planting trees, but also sharing and strengthening the community.
To grow sustainable travel and responsible practices towards the environment, volunteers partake in workshops, films, and talks to share experiences and brainstorm about the future.
The campsite takes place in the middle of the forest. There is no electricity available, just an electrogenic system to see the documentary films.
To sum up, planting trees in Cholila is a call to return to a slow-living way of life.
It is also a way to remember how much we depend on nature.
6. How can you be a part of this experience?
One person can plant a limited amount of trees. It is also true that not all can live the experience of Cholila, especially if you travel to Argentina just for a few days. Plus, Cholila experience takes place once or two times a year.
However, sustainable travel and regenerative travel are also about sharing our dreams and hopes.
As a result, in 2020 we decided to donate a tree to be planted in Cholila for every traveler booking a trip with us.
After your trip, you will receive a “Tree certificate” in your email address saying that a tree was planted in your name in Patagonia.
We have planted more than 20,000 trees so far!
Check out our digital tree counter on our home page.
To learn more about this sustainable travel project or other sustainable travel experiences: