The idea to start EarthTreks just kind of dropped into my lap one summer evening while sitting in a small cabin overlooking the Green River in Washago, Ontario. I sat there both taking in the natural beauty and pondering the current state of the environment. Figuring out how to contribute to the protection of our fragile planet in a meaningful way is beyond tough. Then I connected a few dots: my personal love of exploring the world’s beauty, sustainable travel as an emerging solution for protecting the planet, and the little piece of paradise I call my second home in Mindo, Ecuador. A sustainable travel company….hmmmm.
So I began by creating the kind of travel that I like – fun, active adventures that explore the beauty and diversity of different cultures and the natural world – with the hope of attracting like-minded people as clients. Then everything began to come together, from finding great partners and excellent guides to attracting our first clients. Since then, EarthTreks has continued to evolve. We built a small retreat centre in Mindo with an open-air classroom studio and accommodations, where we now host different retreats throughout the year. We have added on new destinations and activities, and now offset the carbon footprint of our trips through new partnerships and the planting of over 13,500 trees on our reforestation project.
I have had the pleasure to join many journeys over the years, and love seeing the happiness travel and new experiences bring people. And I really do feel we positively contribute to the environment and the people and places we visit – particularly in my village of Mindo.
I love what I do. What a gift.
Alison Braun, Founder of EarthTreks
We endeavour to be sustainable in all we do, both in Canada and South America. We support local economies and run eco-friendly trips that teach conservation. We offer authentic cultural experiences and try to have as little impact on the planet as possible. We offset the carbon footprint of our clients’ international air travel with a validated partner that invests in renewable energy projects in Canada. We also talk to groups about the importance of caring for our planet..
In 2015, the United Nations recognized “sustainable tourism as the key tool for eradicating world poverty and protecting biodiversity and the natural environment”. That same year, EarthTreks partnered with a climate change organization in Germany to realize the planting of over 13,500 trees as part of our reforestation project, which converted former pasture land back to forest, thereby filling an important gap in one of the most biodiverse corridors in the world – the Choco region. Most EarthTrekkers visit and plant their own tree there when visiting Mindo.
Our vision is to reconnect people back to nature, to themselves, and to each other cross-culturally. All while having a lot of fun and doing some good for the world. With sustainable travel, everyone wins.
WHY TRAVEL WITH US
At EarthTreks we try to do things a little differently. Rather than creating trips that we think are the best, we build every itinerary based on the specific budget, abilities, passions and interests of our clients. If part of that is lowering costs by attracting others to join the particular trip, that works well too. Like-minded people will be drawn to the trip, which often results in creating wonderful group dynamics that lead to lifelong friendships.
Whether it’s a particular bird you are hoping to see high in the Andes or if you are unsure what you want to see and do on a trip, we can help you figure it all out. From expert logistics coordinators in our specialty geographies to the friends and family that make our stays in Mindo intimately beautiful, we have something special to offer. Particularly as it relates to Ecuador, we can do pretty much ANYTHING.
Our guides all have two things in common: wonderful personalities – the kind of person you want to be around – combined with expertise in their respective corners of the world. Some examples of such specialized knowledge is our Shaman tour leader in Peru’s Sacred Valley, who brings a greater depth to the understanding of the Inca sites we visit, and who knows the location of secret portals to the universe from ancient times. In the Galapagos, our guides are biologists who have specialized in the unique flora and fauna found on the islands – just try to stump one of them with a question. In the Amazon, our Kichwa guides offer insights into their own culture, traditions, and connections to the land. In Mindo – one of the top birding destinations in the world – our birding guides range from a multilingual Ornithologist who specializes in hummingbirds to guides whose ears and eyes are so well honed to their craft, they stun the birders they guide.
If you are looking for some other kind of specialized guide, we can try to arrange that – just check in with us. That’s one of the advantages to being so specialized – we have lots of connections.