14 new ways to support women on your travels  

written by Gemma Music December 3, 2023
a woman weaving with white wool

Divers in South Korea supporting their families. Henna experts in Morocco sharing their centuries of tradition. Anti-poachers in South Africa turning a male-dominated industry upside down.   

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for new ways to connect with women and support local businesses. Before you can say yeah, the girls, have a look at the latest additions to the Intrepid mix for the new year. Here are some of the incredible women you can meet in 2024 with new trips and experiences that celebrate women worldwide. 

1. Weave your way through Morocco to find a women-run argan oil cooperative  

If you love to see businesses that support female employment, hit the road on the South Morocco Discovery from Taroudant to Essaouira. You’ll meet the women masterminds behind a local argan oil cooperative and get up to speed on the culture of this precious plant oil. This much-loved product of Morocco serves both cooking and cosmetic needs, and you’ll learn how it’s extracted from the trees and then see how it comes together.

2. See the wonders of Angkor with a female tuk-tuk driver 

We’re all for women helping women. On our Real Cambodia trip, you’ll zip through the Angkor complex with a female tuk-tuk driver. This newly added experience for 2024 directly supports the work of a local social enterprise, Driver Srey, which is on a mission to create safe jobs for local women.

3. Spend some family time with the matriarchal Terraba community in Costa Rica  

Rally up the family! Our new Best of Costa Rica Family Holiday has something for everyone. Wildlife, natural wonders and the chance to visit a small indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage – the Terraba. The kids will love the chocolate-making lesson here, and the whole family can learn about this matriarchal society. Learn about the role of the women who are responsible for passing information down through the generations.   

4. Visit the women-run social enterprise in Turkey that transforms trash into treasure  

Outside Ayvalik, travellers can visit Copmadam – a local social enterprise project that employs local women who upcycle waste and produce gorgeous accessories and homewares. Copmadam translates to garbage lady, and this project is an amazing example of transforming waste into something special. Plus, the income generated by the creations goes back to the community and helps create economic independence for women. This is a new addition on the Essential Turkey trip and can also be found on the Turkey: Women’s Expedition

Meet the women of Copmadam, who repurpose waste materials into handcrafts.

5. Roll up your sleeves and try ancient Maya pottery techniques

In Santa Apolonia, visit one of the last communities in Guatemala making pottery with traditional Maya techniques. See history and traditions come to life and learn something from the incredibly skilled women. Watch closely as perfectly rounded pottery creations transform before your eyes – all without a potter’s wheel! You’ll even get a chance to try it for yourself. Find this experience on our Maya Encounter.   

6. Learn the female art of fortune-telling from coffee grounds outside Istanbul  

The ancient art of fortune-telling from coffee grounds is passed down between generations in Anatolian culture. Step inside the home of a mother and daughter outside Istanbul and see this practice in action. Discover what fortunes lie in store for you when you join the newly revamped Turkey: Women’s Expedition.   

7. Meet with a local henna expert and learn the importance of this traditional art form   

The art of henna is a centuries-old, a tradition and a staple of Morocco’s celebrations. A local henna expert, a naquasha, comes to your guesthouse on Intrepid’s Morocco Uncovered trip. As she adorns the hands of the women from your group, the naquasha will reveal more about the history and importance of henna to the women of Morocco. This experience directly supports the naquasha, her family and other local women. Different women from the community participate in the henna application to help share the income across the district.

8. Get to know a haenyeo in Busan, South Korea  

This one is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Haenyeo literally means ‘sea women,’ and these women are famous for their ability to hold their breath for extended periods to free dive for clams, sea urchins and oysters. For years, this role has helped advance women’s roles in the community by creating a source of income for the divers to support their families. Travellers on South Korea Highlights will meet with an ex-diver to hear about her stories from Busan, her experience as a Haenyeo and her life now.

9. Meet the woman who brought glassmaking back to Tunisia  

Spend an afternoon in a local glass-blowing workshop on Intrepid’s Tunisia Expedition. Though glassmaking in Tunisia dates back to the 9th century BC, the craft had all but died out in the country by the 14th century, after the Roman invention of pipe-blown glass had become so lucrative in Venice that laws were passed to restrict foreigners from learning the trade. Sadika Keskes, born and raised in Tunisia, won a scholarship to visit Italy as a teenager where she visited Venice and learned the craft and four years later established her own workshop back in Tunisia – the first one in 600 years. Today, travellers can visit Sadika’s studio near Gammarth and see this revived artform in action. 

10. Spend the night with an all-female anti-poaching unit in South Africa 

Travellers on Kruger to Vic Falls (and the reverse Vic Falls to Kruger trip) will be lucky enough to meet the Black Mambas – the world’s first all-female anti-poaching ranger unit – and spend the night camping at their headquarters on the outskirts of Kruger National Park. The Intrepid Foundation proudly partners with Helping Rhinos, who directly support the Mambas. Join them on a bushwalk to search for and destroy poachers’ snares, and later sit around the campfire to learn about how they’re making waves in a typically male-dominated industry to protect the wildlife of Kruger.  

11. Take a dip in a women-owned cenote in Mexico 

On Intrepid’s Mexico Family Holiday, for families with kids aged 5 and up, your crew can pay a visit to Cenote Yokdzonot, an eco-tourism cooperative founded and run by Maya women. Back in 2005, they wanted to convert the town’s abandoned cenote into a source of sustainable and collectively owned income for the town’s residents. Today, you can have a swim in the cenote’s turquoise waters, surrounded by rock walls and hanging vines. 

12. Drop into a women-run workshop outside Oaxaca  

Craft enthusiasts, this one is for you! Visit a women-run alebrijes workshop on Intrepid’s Best of Mexico trip for a traditional craft experience. Alebrijes are hand-painted folk art sculptures of mythical creatures. You’ll walk away from this experience with a deeper understanding of this extraordinary work and the stories behind each piece. All that creativity will no doubt work up an appetite, and luckily Oaxaca is home to some of Mexico’s best bites. 

13. Uncover the secrets of handweaving in northern Thailand  

So many incredible artworks and mediums are used to create masterpieces in Thailand – each one is just as different from the next. Spend time in the Pua district on the Real Thailand & Laos trip and visit a handweaving centre to meet the local woman who started this enterprise inspired by modern design. Her Tai Lue roots still inspire the work, and the space helps to empower local women by providing employment and financial independence.    

14. See the art of indigo dying works at a local designer’s home in El Salvador  

Make a stop along your Central American Journey in Suchitoto – known as one of the best places to produce indigo (used to dye clothing). Step inside the world of a small enterprise that supports single mothers by providing them with an income for their children’s education, food and independence. See the work in action, then give it a go for yourself. 

Check out more of The Goods to learn more about our new and improved travel experiences for 2024.    

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