How to finish this dreadful year well
By Christopher Hill on November 02, 2020 in Accommodation, Africa, Belize, California, Central America, Costa Rica, Hotels, Louisiana, Mexico, Morocco, North America, Peru, Regions, Resorts, South America, United States, Zambia
2020 has been almost universally difficult for all of us, and now we are entering the holiday season, traditionally a period of care for those who are struggling even more than us. I think this is even more important this year, especially for those in developing countries who, in addition to COVID-19, are facing the total loss of their already meager incomes, many of which depend on tourism and ancillary businesses.
There is debate as to whether it is ethical to travel at this time, and I argue that it is. Unless you’re at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 (you’re elderly or have a weakened immune system, for example) or are infected, your travel dollars and pounds are urgently needed, as is your help. convenient.
Here are my top recommendations for where you can make this holiday season count:
Build a house for a widow and her children in a village near Victoria Falls, who are now battling Covid in addition to HIV. Immerse yourself in village life and combine it with the splendor of Victoria Falls, white water rafting, kayaking and the ‘Big 5’ safari in South Luangwa National Park or neighboring Botswana.
Stay at: Tongabezi Lodge.
Build an energy-efficient stove for a rural Mayan family. These stoves are fantastic because:
- they replace open flames, so burns are reduced;
- they have a chimney to expel the smoke, so respiratory problems such as asthma are greatly reduced;
- they are much more efficient and therefore better for the environment.
It pairs well with kayaking, nature walks, snorkeling, scuba diving, chocolate making and more.
Stay at: Copal Tree Lodge.
You can build a stove similar to those in Belize, or you can build a much-needed toilet block, to provide better hygiene to the community. Peru can be quite humid in December, but the Inca Trail is always open (as is the Salkantay Trek, based in a luxury lodge), as are the trains of course, so the wonders of Machu Picchu await.
Plus, you can explore colonial Cusco and Arequipa, take a cooking class in Lima, spot condors in Colca Canyon, or visit the floating reed villages on Lake Titicaca.
Stay at: Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba – Sacred Valley.
Attend a medical clinic serving Nicaraguan refugees – you can take notes during a consultation, enter patient data, help dispense medication in the pharmacy, and help patients feel comfortable.
Another great way for families to make a difference is to help out at a rescue center for injured, orphaned, or illegally traded animals: preparing meals for the monkeys, cleaning out parrot enclosures, introducing new sloths to their new quarters. living quarters and help the resident veterinarian on his rounds. .
Combine them with whitewater rafting, hiking around a volcano, relaxing in hot springs, spotting wildlife in one of the many national parks, snorkelling, kayaking or just plain sailing. to spend time at the beach.
Stay at: Nayara Tented Camp.
Help install solar panels on the homes of low-income families, allowing them to have electricity in their homes.
Morocco has a lot to offer, such as the fascinating cities of Marrakech and Fes, the Atlas Mountains, the alluring Sahara Desert, the colorful city of Chefchaouen and enchanting seaside towns like Essaouira.
Stay in: Amanjena.
You can renovate a hurricane-damaged home in New Orleans to make it habitable again for a family, or travel to California and help out at a soup kitchen in San Francisco. Your trip is tailored to your personal preferences, but the highlights of this vast country include national parks such as Yellowstone (it’s sublime in winter), Yosemite, Arches, and Bryce Canyon.
Stay at: Cavallo Point
Make a difference this holiday season in Cancun: play, draw and practice English with the children in a daycare; prepare and serve lunch for the elderly, or sort donated food and clothing. Finish by exploring Chitzen Itza, Tulum, Islas Mujeres, or try your hand at Mexican cuisine or relax on the beach.
Stay at: Banyan Tree Mayakoba.
All of these destinations are currently open to visitors from the UK and US, but that may change at any time.
Make this holiday season even more meaningful than ever.
Christopher Hill is the founder and CEO of Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel agency specializing in tailor-made luxury family travel that combines sightseeing with hands-on service projects.
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