Tourism for biodiversity conservation
Guatemala is a Megadiverse nation, with high levels of biodiversity and endemism; besides having an incredible historical legacy and the presence of the Mayan culture.
At K’uk Tours we have always considered tourism as a tool to support biodiversity conservation and value local history and culture. We do our best to minimize the negative impacts to the environment during our tour operation. We work hand in hand with local communities, community microenterprises, national protected areas, and private natural reserves, such as Finca El Pilar of which we are co-owners.
Leave No Trace
During our tours we visit fragile ecosystems, often with endemic and vulnerable species, some even in danger of extinction. Our goal is always to leave the sites, in better conditions than we found them. Through tourism we try to raise awareness about the importance of conservation, and we know that our clients value nature destinations in good environmental condition. In our experience, tourism can work as an excellent tool for the conservation of both nature and local culture. In all our trips, mainly those of hiking, trekking, and mountaineering we always try to collect and clean any garbage or waste that does not belong to the natural environment. Our guides and staff will always inform customers about the Leave No Trace Code and the expected behavior during our expeditions. Many of our experiences of nature occur in environments with high levels of biodiversity, so we always motivate our clients to take only photographs and fully respect any element of the site. We know the negative impacts of the shortcuts and creation of alternative paths, so, during our walking tours, we always respect the paths designated by the administrators and managers of the areas visited.
The destination is always first
During all our trips we always apply our golden rule: The Destination is always first. We will never disturb biodiversity or the environment to impress our customers. Likewise, the respect for the culture and the local way of life is essential during all our operations. We always value the effort and operation of local service providers, paying fair prices and supporting those revenues be distributed equally.
Operation Carbon footprint minimization
To minimize the carbon footprint of our operations, we do not own vehicles. We sublet the vehicles of companies that are dedicated exclusively to offer quality tourist transport services. If we had our own transport fleet, we would only favor the existence of more vehicles on the streets, which would generate more carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. In this way we also support microentrepreneurs and small community businesses by hiring them to make local transfers during our trips.
Biodiversity conservation and neutralization of our carbon footprint
One of our main objectives of developing and operating nature and adventure tourism experiences has always been to value local biodiversity and contribute financially to conservation efforts in situ. That is why we conduct our tours and work directly with the administrators of national protected areas, owners of private natural reserves and communities that manage communal lands focused on conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. In this way we support local conservation efforts, financing them through tourism activities.
We directly support the conservation of biodiversity in Finca El Pilar, a nature reserve that protects about 400 hectares (988 acres) of forest. According to some studies, a forest like the one that Finca El Pilar protects sequesters around 3,909 pounds of CO2 per acre per year. That is to say that in a year this forest mass sequesters around 3,862,092 pounds of CO2, that is 1,752 metric tons or an equivalent to 172,084 gallons of diesel fuel consumed. The conservation area directly assigned to K’uk Tours is approximately 100 hectares (247 acres) of forest, the equivalent to 43,021 gallons of diesel fuel consumed per year. This practically neutralizes all the CO2 generated by our tourism operations during the year, which makes us a tourist operator with a carbon neutral footprint.