Ecotours: Tourism as a Catalyst for Conservation

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Mangroves La Boquilla-1Mangroves are unique ecosystems found along tropical and subtropical coasts. Characterized by salt-tolerant trees and intricate root systems, mangroves serve as biodiversity hotspots, nurturing a diverse array of marine life and providing a critical habitat for numerous species. 

Beyond their ecological significance, mangroves act as natural buffers, safeguarding coastlines from erosion and storm surges. Economically, mangroves sustain livelihoods through fisheries, while also offering resources like wood and honey. Additionally, these ecosystems attract ecotourism, providing opportunities for recreation and education. 


Mangroves are increasingly at risk

Plastic puts Mangrove Ecosystem in La Boquilla at risk-1But urban expansion, ports, and the bad practices of tourists put these ecosystems increasingly at risk. In the Colombian Caribbean, a community organization called Ecotours La Boquilla is fighting to project the local mangroves, and they’re doing it through tourism.

Before the arrival of tourists, Cartagena was populated by people of African descent. Just beyond the walls of the city is La Boquilla, a traditional fishing village close to the Caribbean Sea and full of mangroves. The Raizal are an Afro-Colombian group with deep roots in the local area who took on the task of protecting the mangroves. Ecotours is a project formed by the fishermen to improve the quality of life of their community and the surrounding environment. 

Conservation through Ecotourism

Mangrove Tours in La BoquillaFor more than 10 years, Ecotours La Boquilla has made the defense of the ecosystem their priority. They focus on raising awareness of the issue with their neighbors and harnessing the power of tourism to educate others on the importance of preserving this fragile environment. Through tourism, visitors learn about their traditional culture and how integral the mangroves are to it. 

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Along with taking visitors on a tour of the ecosystem, they invite guests to experience a day of traditional fishing. These activities are complemented by classes in Caribbean cooking and cumbia drumming. Travelers get a sense of Afro-Colombian culture, and see an authentic side of the country off the beaten tourism trail.

Ecotours takes action to regenerate the Mangroves

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Ronnie, a native of La Boquilla and a leader of Ecotours, walks along the local beaches and mangroves, telling us about the actions being taken to protect this natural treasure. Along with instituting measures to regenerate the mangroves, the group has worked to establish its roots in the area so that it can face the threats from big hotels in Cartagena who are interested in building in the region, without taking into consideration the environmental impact. 

Rony is confident that more and more locals and foreigners will join Ecotours’ cause. As he puts it, it’s not difficult to fall in love with the mangroves and all their magic. 

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Sustainability can be an ambiguous term, but to the people of La Boquilla it’s more than a catchphrase—it’s a necessity. Ecotours doesn’t waste time thinking about what could be done, but puts their concern for the local ecosystem into daily action. At stake is the welfare of their community and its right to live in a healthy, thriving environment. 

Contribute to the conservation of an essential ecosystem

The preservation of mangroves is essential for the well-being of both coastal ecosystems and the communities they support. Ecotours La Boquilla is a shining example of how tourism can contribute to conservation efforts and make a real difference to local people and the places where they live. 

And you can also be part of the movement of using travel as a force for good. Even if you aren’t able to visit La Boquilla and see the magic of the mangroves for yourself, you can donate to the V Social Foundation to contribute to the preservation of this ecosystem. V Social can guarantee that 100% of your donation will reach this project. Help Ecotours prove that, through tourism, we can help change the world.


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