Viaventure: A recap of 2019 and what to look forward to in 2020.
Viaventure leads the way in Central America travel experiences.
More than reacting to the changing currents in travel, Viaventure prides itself in forward-thinking vision that puts us at the leading edge of trends in the global travel industry while we deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests in Central America.
Since our founding in 2001, Viaventure has adhered to core values that include sustainable, responsible travel; treating people we meet and communities we visit with fairness and respect; and “giving back” by supporting grass-roots NGOs where we travel. Long before images of rivers of garbage in open seas went viral, Viaventure was already reducing our and our guests’ carbon footprints.
With a new year of travel unfolding, we are pleased to update our clients and partners about what’s been happening at Viaventure and invite other travel professionals to find out what sets us apart in destination management.
Creating immersive experiences
As Central America’s premier tour operator, Viaventure recognised early on that travellers don’t want to visit a destination like a passive tourist; rather, they want immersive experiences that bring them face-to-face with residents carrying out their daily routines. Far from the well-worn tourist tracks, our itineraries commonly take visitors into:
- A family home to make tortillas with an indigenous mother and daughter
- A coffee finca (farm) to pick beans alongside sharecroppers
- A rustic workshop to hand-craft ceramics with a skilled artisan
- A candle-lit shrine to watch (or even participate in) a mysterious Maya ritual
- A dusty field to play fútbol (soccer) with local kids.
Along the way, we conduct ourselves as humble guests, appreciative of the family’s willingness to open their homes to us. Whether it’s a modest coffee farmer sorting beans or a shy schoolgirl grinding maíz (corn) for tortillas, our hosts glow with pride as they share their ways of life.
Our respect for the communities extends to the environment, both in our home office in Antigua Guatemala and in the field. We recycle and reuse; our operations are free of Styrofoam, one of the harshest materials on the environment; and we provide reusable water bottles to guests to minimize plastic waste on our tours, among many other steps. We urge our employees, suppliers, drivers, guests, and guides to “think green” in their daily routines, too.
We gladly roll up our sleeves to improve the environment where we work and visit. In 2019, for example, volunteers from our Antigua headquarters planted 350 young pine trees on nearby Pacaya Volcano, an adventure destination that lost considerable forest greenery during a 2010 eruption. We also hit the streets, parks, and greenspaces of Antigua for “Limpiaton Antigua,” picking up trash, batteries, and other discarded waste for recycling.
Giving back as we travel
Another core value at Viaventure promotes respect for animals and wildlife. Among other actions, we participate in the global “Too Rare to Wear” campaign, which helps protect the endangered hawksbill sea turtle by discouraging the production of purchase of products made from its shell. Illegal trade in hawksbill turtle shell — used to make everything from jewellery to guitar picks and other souvenirs — is destroying the hawksbill population.
Committed to corporate and social responsibility, we started the Viaventure Foundation in 2008 with the purpose of “giving back” to local communities by supporting grass-roots NGOs throughout the region. In Belize, for example, our guests always enjoy a true jungle experience in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, deep in the Maya Mountains. Our Foundation makes an annual grant to the Las Cuevas Research Station, which is nestled in the Reserve and carries out important conservation projects in the tropical forest.
Before the trade media and travel bloggers picked up on the surge in women travelling alone or in women-only groups, Viaventure was on it. From Day 1 we’ve been developing bespoke itineraries for our female guests, featuring cultural exploration, natural renewal, and active adventures matching their desires and goals while experiencing Central America.
Adding a new dimension to authentic travel experiences, Viaventure rolled out an exciting new glamping experience in 2019. Featuring a mobile, boutique campsite, our new Beyond Expeditions allow guests to indulge in nature, history, and culture far from the beaten track without sacrificing comfort and style. The setup includes spacious, comfortable tents with proper beds, private bath, and wood-burning stove; a dining tent with travelling chef; and a host who greets guests with a cold drink and refreshing towel after a long day of exploring.
Perfecting ‘wow’ moments
Always improving on excellence, Viaventure cultivates its guides and drivers throughout Central America with everything from careful recruitment and training to team-building experiences and field visits that spark new ideas.
For our annual guide-training workshops, Viaventure invites the best of the travel team to a celebrated four-day conference consisting of workshops, guest lecturers, field visits, and teamwork. In recent years, we’ve been to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and, most recently, the Guatemalan Highlands. Participants share their own secrets, unique to their area, that help them deliver “wow” moments and unique travel experiences for guests.
We also promote our destinations globally with participation in trade shows, where we happily brag about the world-class destinations in Central America. In 2019, we attended international travel expos in Marbella, Spain; London, United Kingdom; Marrakech; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Barichara, Colombia.
Reflecting Viaventure’s expertise, the exclusive Traveller Made® network of luxury travel designers recently added Viaventure as a new, go-to agency for creative itineraries, unique experiences, and exceptional customer service for discerning guests visiting Guatemala and Belize.
Beyond exceeding their guests’ expectations, our travel partners appreciate Viaventure’s professionalism and reliability. We promptly return telephone / e-mail queries; we pay excruciating attention to detail; and we’re punctual.
Above all, we at Viaventure thoroughly enjoy what we do, and our enthusiasm is wonderfully contagious. Here’s to a new year of travels!