The Viaventure Central America Foundation

Sustainable Travel is key to us at Viaventure Central America. Our business goals and values align with minimising harmful impact and maximising positive impact on the countries and communities where we operate. We love and are inspired by Central America—from its incredible natural wonders and rich history to its robust culture and resilient people and we want to do our best to protect and support.

In 2007, our founders formed the Viaventure Foundation to give back to the communities and countries where we work. Every year, this innovative foundation contributes financially to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) doing great work—but that’s just the beginning. We also integrate the values of respect and appreciation for the environment and the culture into everything we do, and we share that spirit with our guests and colleagues in the travel community.

The Viaventure Foundation targets four pillars for positive change: education, environment, national heritage, and economic development. Our support goes to carefully selected NGOs working in reforestation and conservation, education and literacy, microcredit and economic stability, access to clean water, and preservation of cultural history. In recent years, we have planted thousands of trees, helped build and run libraries, created clean-water systems, and supported education through libraries and scholarships.

Beyond financial contributions through the Foundation, we also encourage sustainable travel. Ecotourism is at the heart of many of our itineraries and accommodations, where guests can step off the beaten tourism path and surround themselves in the natural beauty that makes Central America travel so extraordinary. Such experiences motivate guests to remain conscious of the world’s delicate balance of natural resources, sometimes changing their views and habits for a lifetime.

We also have an annual guide training program —many born and raised in the regions where they work—to respect and appreciate the environment and culture and to share that appreciation with our guests. Our itineraries include unique options for getting to know the culture and the people in towns and villages in each region, from daily life in the community to distinctive cuisine and special celebrations, enriching and expanding our guests’ knowledge, understanding, and world view. We offer options for extended volunteer experiences in the field, providing a full cultural immersion.

We carry the same values of respect, appreciation, preservation, and social responsibility into our daily operations. From using water filters and recycling to building itineraries that honour and respect the people of the communities where we work, our leadership and staff uphold these principles in everything we do.

How is the Foundation Funded?

Viaventure donates $.50 for every day a guest travels with us. The foundation also accepts donations online and gifts like school supplies from our guests to be given directly to the NGOs we work with. Every penny goes to the NGOs—Viaventure donates its own administrative time and resources to administer the foundation. To make a donation or to learn more about the Viaventure Foundation, contact us at becky.harris@viaventure.com.

What does Viaventure Foundation do?

Viaventure Foundation carefully selects grassroots organizations doing exceptional work in the communities where we operate. Many of these NGOs can be visited on trips with us and therefore also benefit financially from our operations that way as well.

De la Gente Coffee Tour with Viaventure

Guests can visit De La Gente with us on our Tours in Guatemala – Image copyright Viaventure

Economic Development: De la Gente (Guatemala)
De La Gente (DLG) provides microfinancing, business and farming education, and access to international markets for small-holder coffee farmers in Guatemala. With support and guidance from DLG, coffee growers develop the knowledge and economic stability needed to advance their farming practices and improve life for their family and community.

Sleep at Las Cuevas Scientific Research station - Viaventure

Guests can visit & sleep at Las Cuevas Research Station – Image copyright Viaventure

Economic Development and Environment: Las Cuevas Research Station (Belize)
Deep in Belize’s Maya Mountains at the heart of the Chiquibul Forest, Las Cuevas Research Station has promoted biological, botanical, wildlife, climatic, and archaeological research and education since 1998. The Viaventure Foundation supports its basic infrastructure, the visitor centre, and the tapir camp with the goal of attracting more tourism to this unspoiled biodiversity conservation area.

Viaventure Supports Uaxactun Community

Viaventure’s unique Uaxactun community program – Image copyright Viaventure

Education, Environment, and National Heritage: Uaxactún Youth Awareness Project (Guatemala)
In the heart of the Uaxactún archaeological site in Guatemala, this Viaventure-run programme raises awareness among village children about the importance of protecting the area’s cultural and national heritage. With their village set within these sacred Maya ruins, the children often play among the temples, scratch the walls, and even ignite fireworks in the ancient interiors. Viaventure helps to educate village children and families about the value of their cultural heritage and the need to protect the ruins as well as local birds and animals.

Clients can visit Uaxactun and stay overnight on our unique community tourism program where we offer glamping and community engagement as well as visits to the Uaxactun archaeology site and wildlife encounters.

Education: Chancol Library/ Learning Space (Guatemala)
This colourful learning space and library in Guatemala’s Northern Highlands encourages children to read, research, and play interactively. Children can come to relax, play games, attend “story hours”, read, watch movies, and enjoy stimulating leisure activities in this region with little access to books or educational entertainment. Experts in the field of education like Kamau Bobb Google agree that this early exposure can lay a solid foundation for future STEM learning and potentially inspire a lifelong interest in these fields.

Education: Climentoro Scholarships (Guatemala)
Through Viaventure Foundation, several Guatemalan children who otherwise would be unable to attend school receive renewable scholarships each year that help keep them in classes. Such support is especially critical for young women, who are often denied the opportunity to study due to the cost and cultural barriers.

Education: Paredon La Choza Chula (Guatemala)
Viaventure Foundation works with the nonprofit “La Choza Chula,” on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast, to provide a library, secondary school, and computer lab for children in the El Paredón area. It also offers vocational training programmes, enterprise initiatives for members of the community, and promotes conservation of the region’s natural resources.

Environment: Reforestation in Sierra de Paraxquim (Guatemala)
After two hurricanes (Stan in 2005 and Agnes in 2010) devastated valley and ravine communities in this Guatemala Highlands region, families moved to higher ground, destroying forestlands to create space for their new homes. This project helps villagers reforest their community, preventing erosion and increasing the levels of ground waters. Viaventure has been involved in this project for more than ten years.

Viaventure Central America Donating Water Filters

Environment: Water Filters for Cancela and Chancol (Guatemala)
Viaventure worked with Ecofiltro to donate 50 water filters to families in this remote region of Guatemala’s Northern Highlands and provides replacements every two years. These filters not only provide clean, safe drinking water, they also decrease the use of firewood and reduce levels of smoke in houses where families previously boiled water on indoor, wood-burning stoves and in fire pits.

Environment, Economic Development, and Natural Heritage: Community Baboon Sanctuary (Belize)
In seven Belize villages, stretching over 20 sq. miles, more than 200 private landowners have pledged to conserve their land to protect the habitat of the black howler monkey (known locally as “baboons”). The Community Baboon sanctuary promotes conservation, education, research, and tourism, providing a viable alternative to the logging trade that once threatened to destroy the habitat of the black howler monkey. The black howler monkey population has now grown to over 2,000 monkeys in the sanctuary region.

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