6 Hotels We Love Where You Can Meet The Locals The Authentic Way

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Go beyond a typical itinerary and escape the tourist traps; instead, venture with a local at dawn through the Cambodian jungle or explore Gal Oya National Park. 

Immersion into local culture allows you to discover behind-the-scenes secrets about your destination. After an adventure with indigenous people, learning about their values, and experiencing their traditions, you'll emerge with a fresh perspective, a zest for life, deeper ties to the city. 

Regenerative Resorts aims to provide you with unforgettable experiences that enhance your connection to the local community. Whether herding cattle, touring mangroves, or kayak fishing, you will gain a better understanding of your destination’s culture, heritage, and lifestyle. 

 
 
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1. Voluntour in Masai Mara

Fall into the local routine at House in the Wild while on a safari. Activities range from conservation work to building development projects, and other unforgettable opportunities that will broaden your horizons and allow you to make a lasting difference. The experience is truly unique–you’ll visit Cultural Manyatta, or cattle market, where you’ll work together to assist with ear tagging and buying cattle. After a conservancy tour, you can track animals with the ranger, and end your day under the stars on Kileleoni Hill around a campfire. You’ll leave House in the Wild with new friends, a greater appreciation for life in the Mara, and priceless stories to tell.   

 
 
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2. Journey through Sri Lanka

Tour one of the last remaining communities of Sri Lanka’s forest-dwelling, indigenous people, the Vedda. Symbolic of Sri Lanka’s culture and traditions, the Vedda are a true embodiment of being one with nature. Having lived on the island for hundreds of years, they have developed the mindset to live off the land in a sustainable fashion. Gal Oya Lodge invites you to tour the jungle with the village chief, who will teach you about his ancestors. You will learn how his tribe uses medicinal plants, unearth their hunting grounds and cave dwellings, and discover the secrets to how the Vedda sustain themselves in Gal Oya.

 
 
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3. Explore colombia

Blue Apple Beach House is hidden away on the southern shore of Tierra Bomba island. Celebrate local culture during one of their several activities to choose from. During your massage, snorkel session, walking tour, or dirt bike tour, a local will be guiding you along every step of the journey. The resort employs people from Bocachica and other villages on Tierra Bomba and Barú Island, so you’ll have a plethora of local knowledge and get to see the real Colombian life. Discover Cartagena and visit all the must-see sites on motor bike, or visit the deep blue sea and combine with your yoga breath for ultimate inner peace underwater. Your visit to Blue Apple makes a difference to a local community.

 
 
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4. Venture through Belize

Craving adventure? Hamanasi is an adventure resort with plenty of fun-filled activities to satisfy a thrill seeker.

Dive deep under water and explore a world full of color by snorkel or scuba. Take a trip offshore to hunt the invasive Lionfish. If you're scuba certified, you'll have the option to spearfish this threatening species with a dive master, and afterwards, learn how to clean the fish so you can enjoy it for dinner!

Visit the world’s only jaguar preserve. Nestled beside the Maya Mountains sits the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where ocelots, pumas, deer, howler monkeys, tapirs, margays, and jaguarondi roam across 120,000 acres. Begin your journey at the Maya Center village where traditional arts and crafts bring color to the streets and are available for purchase. Along the way to a refreshing waterfall, your guide will educate you about the various flora and fauna. After splashing around beneath the falls, you can continue your hike through the rainforest. Determined to see a jaguar? Since they're nocturnal creatures, the resort offers a night hike.

The Belize Mayan Ruins Tour will take you around the Maya Center, across the Belize river, to a limestone ridge, all the way up El Castillo pyramid. With endless stories to be heard and breathtaking panoramic city views, this tour is perfect for the history buffs. 

 
 
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5. Float along Taitai River

The 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a favorite because of its unique foundation–floating above a tranquil river. In the heart of the Cardamom jungle is the thunderous Tatai Waterfall, a must-see of the region. With a 6-meter drop, this majestic waterfall makes for an exciting daytime activity. Hop in a local boat that will take you past Tatai village and straight to the falls.  You’ll get to paddle a kayak around the area, experience the benefits of a hydro-massage, and enjoy a shaded picnic with local mineral water. Visit during the right season and you’ll be able stop at a Cambodian farm, complete with rice fields. 

Early riser? Start your day with the Dawn Jungle Trek where you can observe birds, kayak upstream, and hike through one of the world’s largest rainforests. Make sure to bring your cameras to capture the undergrowth’s beauty!

 
 
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6. Adventure in Juluchuca

Playa Viva strives to engage their visitors with the local community through excursions with a local operator. Ride an ATV up into the Sierra Mountains to tour the farm of a local family, where they grow coffee and cacao. Before heading back to Playa Viva, you will get to enjoy brunch with the family and savor their delicious foods and stories.

Playa Viva also offers an estuary expedition, where you’ll glide along in a flat-bottom boat through a mangrove forest and get up close to the native wildlife. Craving more action? You can also opt for a kayak and navigate the estuary yourself – don’t forget your fishing line!

 
 

 
 

When planning your vacation, make sure to choose activities that will benefit the community. Through conscious decisions, you can help local businesses and families by taking part in cultural opportunities that leave both you and your destination with a lasting impression. 

 
Alex MatacchieriComment