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May 13, 2009

Fair Trade in Mozambique, a Trip That Gives Back

AdobeBanda
The Guludo Beach Lodge's beautiful adobe bandas were hand-built by a local workforce.
Photo: Guludo Beach Lodge

Think you have to wear a hair shirt and dig a well to give back when you travel? Think again. Below, a  trip idea from "Eight Great Trips That Give Back," a piece running in this month's issue of Condé Nast Traveler

The coast of Northern Mozambique is a laboratory for combining breathtaking beauty with practical preservation. There are pristine jungle-backed beaches with reef-fringed islands. Marine life is abundant, including humpback whales, which appear from late June through early October. Amy and Neal Carter-James built their luxury eco-resort, Guludo Beach Lodge, here on a white sand beach on the edge of the Quirimbas National Park, not far from the impoverished village of Guludo. Says Amy, "We wanted to find a place where fair-trade tourism could alleviate poverty and provide jobs." Fishermen from Guludo welcomed the prospect of good jobs and agreed to share their beach. The simple, elegant resort was built and staffed by locals. Whitewashed adobe rooms with thatched roofs have plush beds, open-air showers, and verandas with hammocks. Entrepreneurs from the village now offer sunset sails in traditional dhows, beach archery, and fishing outings for guests. Elevate Destinations, a tour operator that specializes in philanthropic trips, just added Guludo to its list. "This is the Seychelles 20 years ago," says Elevate president Dominique Callimanopoulos. "Guludo Beach Lodge is a model for tourism that lifts up local communities."

The Give: For $90, guests can send a teenager to boarding school for a year. Five percent of Guludo's revenue goes to its Nema Foundation, which fights poverty.

The Get: A real connection to the community. The foundation is financing scholarships for 77 teenagers. In 2008, it built 28 water wells, helping more than 12,000 people.

Going Local: Palm rings woven by Guludo village women ($7).

Further reading:
* 7 more trips that give back.
* Paul Theroux on the Peace Corps and the lesson of his life.
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference.

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