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ABOUT US

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ABOUT GUATEMALA

CELEBRATING OUR 20TH YEAR IN TOURISM!

I started getting immersed into the fascinating World of Nature Tourism in 1988, right after finishing High School, and where else better than Tikal! After a few years of guiding trips in the area, I realized that "there was something missing". So, in 1996 I decided that it was time to open a business myself, which would offer new and exciting trips, but which trips??? It was until March 1997 that I was scouting the biggest habitat of the Resplendent Quetzal, Biosphere Reserve Sierra de Las Minas, in search for some trails for trekking trips, when I met Marco Vinicio Centeno, a life-long birdwatcher and the most amazing naturalist I've met, seriously! After just a few hours of birdwatching we became friends and it was all decided: Our company was going to sell birding trips, yes! "Why not?" Marco Vinicio said, "there are so many beautiful birds in such wonderful sceneries in Guatemala, that I don't think anybody will resist the temptation". And so Aventuras Naturales, the business relationship and the friendship with Marco Vinicio began. Since then we've had great experiences, and we've proudly hosted a good number of costumers, now friends. We've also helped the Guatemalan Tourism Industry in the development of the country as a birdwatcher's destination.

In 2000, and once our birding programs were running smooth, I decided that it was time to do something else. The outdoors is my life, and not the office (so imagine how many hours it took me to write these sentences). Another friend, Jose Cruz taught me one day how to surf, and again that was it. This time I went on my own, did my homework and found a beautiful small piece of beachfront land, inside the Sipacate-Naranjo National Park, on the Pacific Coast. And by the end of 2001 I opened El Paredon Surf Camp, which now is being managed by the local community, El Paredon. A couple of local people are now my partners in business on this venture. I feel particularly proud about this project. Some locals stopped doing slash and burn agriculture and got into tourism.

In 2004, through the initiative of Andreas Lehnhoff, director of The Nature Conservancy Guatemala, our company, three environmental foundations, the Guatemalan Ornithological Society and the Guatemala Tourism Board created the GUATEMALAN BIRDWATCHING ROUND TABLE, with the vision of developing the birdwatching tourism segment in Guatemala and to position the country as a world-wide known destination for birding. The Round Table defined the National Bird Watching Tourism Strategy which is the driving document regarding the development for such activity. Among the many activities that the Round Table has organized, the most significant on an international level is the yearly International Birdwatching Encounter.

And nothing of this would have been possible without all of you out there, THANKS A LOT and keep travelling!

Adolfo Cruz
Director

P.s. Keep reading below, there are many important aspects of who we are and how we run our trips.

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OUR MISSIONS

Support programs for the conservation of natural resources that other foundations and environmental organizations have created, by fomenting among the inhabitants of several indigenous communities an economic interest in tourism, making them direct suppliers of tourism services. This helps improve the poor socio-economic conditions currently faced by these people.

Excellence in service. Everything that you will get from Aventuras Naturales (personal attention, equipment, vehicles, meals, guides, updated information, etc.) is characterized by being the best available in the country.

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BENEFIT FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Those benefits should be socially, economically, educationally and environmentally equal and responsible, and should alter the least their traditions. We strongly believe that the inhabitants of the communities are the ones that should be first benefited from Ecotourism, because right now they are endangering the forests with their slash & burn agricultural practices, as well as their lack of environmental education. We are currently supporting local environmental organizations on their efforts, by taking tourism to the communities in which they operate. We also visit other places with no presence of such organizations, and we try to do the same.

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WHO QUALIFIES FOR OUR TRIPS?

Are you a 10 year old kid? Perhaps a 75 year old teenager? Is nature or archaeology what you like? Have you ever been birding? Is this going to be your 50th nature-oriented trip on your 20th country? Well, all of you qualify! And the reason is because we are the ones who adjust to your needs, should it be different? We have been assisting people from all over the World and with extremely different interests; from avid birders to coffee lovers; from slow-paced hikers to botanists, from National Geographic Television to the Princess Constance de Polignaq. We are self-confident on what we do, and we hope to transmit it.

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TAILOR-MADE AND PRIVATE ADVENTURES

These have been our signatures since we started. As you will see, we present you with some ideas about itineraries; ideas that are just that, ways of showing you some options for your travel plans. Some people like and book them the way they are. Nevertheless, we like to hear your suggestions and changes to the itineraries, because there is nothing more satisfying that giving you a memorable trip the way you imagined when you started planning it. With this in mind, all our trips are privately operated so You, your relatives and friends will be traveling with nobody else, but our guides and drivers. Have you planned (and paid) for a private family trip and suddenly you are being joined by people that you didn't expect because you forgot to read the small letters on the contract? That doesn't mean that we won't socialize with anybody during the trip, but with us you get the trip you wanted. Our groups, in 95% of the cases have never exceeded twelve people, and for more than eight, we assign two guides. We always keep the guide-traveller ratio very small.

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OUR GUIDES

The key to a memorable trip is definitely a great guide, and since we are aware of this aspect, we work with simply the best guides on their own fields, be it birds and nature in general, archaeology, etc. Most of our guides have been working for several years doing scientific research on their own fields; some others are professors at universities, and some others simply devote their lifes to guiding. In any case, we guarantee that you will be assisted by the most professional person you can find for your next trip. And of course, sense of humor and responsibility is something that our guides don't lack!

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WHAT WE INCLUDE & WHAT WE DON'T

All of our trips, unless you tell us different, include the following services:
All land transportation on private vehicles, including welcome and farewell transfers.
Boat drives anywhere stated on itineraries, be it rivers, lakes or oceans.
Domestic flights. In case we have to fly you between some countries to keep operating our trips (such as flying between Central America, for example), we'll include such flights, as well as international departure taxes.
Accommodations all over the trip, according to what was offered at the moment of receiving a confirmation from our side.
Guide or guides all over the trip.
All meals, from the first meal after we meet you until the last breakfast; and three meals a day in between. Purified water will be available while on our vehicles.
Admission fees and special permissions to all places we visit, bird checklists as well as tips for baggage porters, house-keepers and restaurants.

Not included are things of a personal matter, such as drinks during meals, laundry, international telephone calls and tips to guides and drivers.

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AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, SOME OF OUR GUESTS WERE

The Nature Conservancy
The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropological Foundation
V-Day Foundation
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Partners In Flight
American Bird Conservancy
Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation
The Guatemalan Tourist Commission

Wildbird Magazine
National Geographic Adventure Magazine
Outdoors Magazine

National Geographic Television
Discovery Networks
Channel 10 Israel
AXN TV Network
BBC

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