Travel isn’t just about the places you go. It’s about the people you meet – and the connections you make – along the way. From learning about Australia’s First Nations cultures while digging into delicious bush tucker to meeting a Mayan shaman in a traditional village in Guatemala, these experiences can be good for you and the communities you visit.
As part of our Travel Goals for 2023, we’re sharing opportunities for you to make meaningful connections with, and leave a positive impact on, Indigenous communities around the world. Check them out below.
1. Get crafty with local community members in Guatemala
Wrap up your Real Central America jaunt across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala with a trip to San Juan La Laguna. Visiting this quiet Mayan village on the shores of Lake Atitlan will give you a taste of local life and teach you a thing or two about the culture that beats strongly in this region. You’ll explore a local medicinal garden and then be mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of colours used in a hands-on Mayan textile weaving and dyeing workshop. All that creativity will no doubt work up an appetite so afterwards sit down to a homemade lunch with your village hosts.
2. Take a road trip to one of Australia’s most important heritage landscapes
After a few epic days road-tripping Victoria’s scenic southern coastline on our Great Ocean Road and Grampians Adventure in Australia, it’ll be time to turn the wheels toward Budj Bim. Intrepid travellers will get to know the incredible history of Budj Bim Cultural Landscape as First Nations guides retell the history of how their ancestors created one of the earliest aquaculture ventures here – designed to harvest kooyang (short-finned eel). All this exploring is sure to work up an appetite, so you’ll finish the day by filling your bellies with bush tucker like grilled kooyang, grilled macadamia nuts, pickled vegetables, kangaroo, emu and other local bush foods.
3. Get a glimpse into tribal life in East Africa
When you’re not four-wheel driving in search of the big five, you’ll find yourself connecting with Hadzabe culture in Lake Eyasi, Tanzania. The Hadzabe people have lived by Lake Eyasi for more than 10,000 years, and fascinatingly, they’re one of the only cultures in Africa that haven’t adopted modern ways of life. We’ve introduced a special experience to our East African Highlights trip that allows travellers to mingle in the community and even join in on village activities like hunting, gathering and, if you’re keen to shake your hips, traditional dance. You’ll even learn about their unique ‘click’ language – one of the oldest languages still in use today.
4. Meet an indigenous shaman in Chichicastenango
During our Maya Encounter trip through Central America, Intrepid travellers will head to Chichicastenango, a traditional city that celebrates its deep Indigenous roots. You’ll get a chance to wander wide-eyed through the city’s sprawling marketplace packed to the brim with traditional handicrafts, fruits and vegetables. Plus, a special new addition to this trip in 2023, you’ll meet a Mayan shaman and expand your knowledge of their ancient beliefs and rituals.
5. Mingle with Terraba community members in Costa Rica
When you’re not traversing the verdant jungle or lazing on one of Costa Rica’s endless white-sand beaches, you’ll get the chance to meet a small Indigenous community living on the banks of the Terraba River on our Best of Costa Rica adventure. Rub shoulders with the locals here and learn how they’ve lived off the land for more than 500 years. Plus, get hands-on with a traditional wooden mask carving workshop before tucking into a home-cooked lunch with your hosts.
6. Walk in the footsteps of the world’s oldest culture in Australia
Travellers on our Walk Queensland’s Scenic Rim adventure will be lacing up their comfiest walking shoes to traverse the incredible landscapes found in Queensland’s southeast. Walking amid the ancient open bushland, rock pools and meandering creeks is one thing, but to really get to know this area you’ve got to meet the people who’ve called this place home for thousands of years. Enter our First Nations experiences. Connect with Country during a traditional smoking ceremony to cleanse and ward off bad spirits and gain a better understanding of the ancient culture directly from the Land’s traditional owners.