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Costa Rica 51 jaar

Don Manuel, owner eco-lodge Santa Elena

Onze Local reizigers Sander en Francien ontmoeten hoteleigenaar ‘Don Manuel’:

Ver, off the beaten path, in de provincie Guanacaste in Costa Rica, ligt het kleine dorpje Cuajiniquil. Dit dorpje is de toegangspoort tot een heel bijzonder geologisch gebied. De uitvalsbasis is Santa Elena Eco-lodge met eigenaar “Don” Manuel genoemd. Samen met zijn familie is hij het gezicht van het dorpje. Iedereen kent hem en de winkel, het restaurant en het hotel worden door zijn familie gerund.

Don Manuel is enorm trots op de omgeving waar hij al zijn hele leven woont en deelt dan ook met veel plezier en geduld alle informatie die hij heeft over de flora en de fauna. Hij begeleidt zijn gasten enthousiast bij het verkennen van de prachtige omgeving. Zo spot je kaaimannen in de nabijgelegen rivier en zie je de lokale bevolking vissen in de mangrovebossen.

De hartelijkheid van de bewoners geeft een extra lading aan een verblijf omdat je je onderdeel voelt van de hechte community, zeker omdat er maar weinig toeristen komen. De kennis die de lokale bevolking heeft, krijg je ook niet uit de reisboekjes, en een simpel gesprek doet vaak al heel veel nieuwe deuren openen. Letterlijk.

Cuba 46 jaar

Rubén, casa eigenaar in Trinidad

Onze local Hero Luis ontmoette casa eigenaar Rubén uit Trinidad:

 “Gasten kunnen bij ons thuis overnachten, we hebben 3 kamers in ons huis die we verhuren aan reizigers. In Cuba is het heel gebruikelijk om bij mensen thuis te slapen, in de zogeheten ‘casa particulares’. Je kunt het zien als een soort Bed & Breakfast. Soms voelt het voor mensen intiem, maar ik vind dat juist de charme. In een casa verblijf je alsof het je eigen huis is, je bent deel van het huis en de familie. Je hebt veel contact met elkaar, praat en lacht samen. Het is een ander soort toerisme: persoonlijker en kleinschalig. Het is ‘toerisme-de-la-familia!’

Samen met mijn gezin probeer ik het verblijf voor mijn gasten zo aangenaam en persoonlijk mogelijk te maken. We geven tips over wat je kunt doen in Trinidad, gaan soms samen de stad in en aan het eind van het verblijf serveer ik hun favoriete ontbijt, zonder dat ze erom hoeven te vragen. Het zijn van een casa eigenaar geeft mij voldoening, ik leer van mijn gasten en kan door het verhuren van de kamers mijn gezin onderhouden. Daar ben ik dankbaar voor.”

Guatemala 32 jaar

Adolfo, local guide Tikal

Local Hero reizigster Diana, op reis geweest naar Guatemala: 

Bij ons bezoekje aan Tikal hebben we zelf een gids geregeld, Adolfo. Hij werkt normaal bij de toegangsbalie/ toegangscontrole van het park. Had nu vrij en kwam op zijn vrije dag naar het park om zich te verhuren als gids. Zo kon hij wat extra’s verdienen.

Hij was erg vriendelijk en wist veel te vertellen over het park, niet alleen over de geschiedenis van de tempels, maar ook over de natuur en de dieren. Voor ons fijn dat hij redelijk goed Engels sprak. Een erg leuke ontmoeting :)

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Panama 38 jaar

Schoschana, local of Bocas del Toro

My Caribbean life 

Many years I am enjoying the life in Panama and on the island I live. A lot of things have changed from the day I moved here but what never changed is my love to this island and the way it makes me humble and thanks full to be able to live here.

Let me share one of my funny stories. In Bocas the town I live there is a flexible law to keep Caribbean style buildings rules. For instance, a house should not be taller than the highest Palm tree, but it does not define the Palm tree needs to have roots in the ground. What about when I plant a Palm tree on the roof? Like this we got some 3 store buildings.

Now lately a building was constructed on main street area with no window simple warehouse style, the people got upset as this by far is not Caribbean way of how a building should look. The owner of the building thought for a while and then got creative now the building has a Caribbean balcony just for the show and windows drawn with Caribbean wood framing,so it does even look more like the traditional l Bocas style..

This is one of the reasons I love it rules are not just rules they can be formed to make everybody meeting halfway so no one has any hard feelings, enjoy continuing working, and let your feet move to the Salsa rhythm.

Galapagos 42 jaar

Maria Fernanda, local of Santa Cruz

I live here in Santa Cruz-Galapagos for 12 years. It’s a wonderful place where one can live quietly and enjoy the surrounding nature. Slowly the activities are reactivating on the island after Covid.

One of my favorite places here is the peer of Santa Cruz. It reminds me of the moment that passengers enjoyed their stay here and traveled to other islands. Seeing their happy faces in which they waved goodbye is something nice to see. See how people arrive with so many expectations and be happy is something very fulfilling.

Other visitors of the peer? The sealion, he’s heading for his siesta. And the sea turtle, our dear friend.

The peer is renewed this year, ready to welcome visitors from around the world.

Java & Bali 45 jaar

Maya & Djoko owners of Didu’s Homestay

I, Maya, live right in between the rice fields in Banyuwangi. Banyuwangi is a small relatively quiet place. Our town is close to the volcano Kawah Ijen. Visitors come and stay with us to do a night hike at this volcano for the blue light from the crater. We are also close to a ferry that goes to Bali.

Creating a home away from home and sharing the beauty that we believe Java has to offer. This was our intention when setting up Didu’s homestay. I run this bed & breakfast together with my husband Djoko.

Djoko and I met in 1997, at the time we were both working on a world cruise ship. Djoko was a cook and I worked as a housekeeper. We worked together for a couple of years, but in 2000 we were separated and worked on different cruises. In 2014 we decided to stay home, we did not want to be away from each other any longer.

With our experience in hospitality and the courage to start our own business from home. In 2015 Didu’s homestay was born. The home itself is a traditional Banyuwangi house, some part date back 100 years. We are always looking for a way to give our guests that special experience. This starts before their arrival by offering to pick them up from the train station, baking pancakes for them or offering them a traditional Indonesian breakfast. 

We first started with one guestroom, but through the years we renovated and update the stays. Now our guests stay in one of the pondoks in our backyard, with their own handwritten name sign on the door it is just like a tiny house. In the middle of the garden we have a living room, where guests can relax and we like to sit with them. We love how we created a place that makes us and others happy.

Nepal 37 jaar

Tshering Dorji Sherpa, tourist guide Nepal

Hi, I am Tshering Dorji Sherpa from Nepal. Due to COVID-19, my country went into a lockdown like the rest of the world. People like me who had been working in the tourism sector had no work to do and were forced to stay at home. I chose to go back to my hometown to create my own lockdown adventure.

I was determined to not waste time just by staying at home and instead wanted to something productive. Being back at home, I saw that the shrines on the rocks in our village that had high historical and cultural significance for Buddhist pilgrims, needed to be cleaned and preserved. I decided to clean and preserve these shrines together with my friend.

We received a lot of support from the community, financially and physically. The lockdown came as an opportunity for me to complete my plan that had been in the works for many years. I firmly believe that if youths can help protect and preserve important cultural sites like these, they will be preserved for future generations to see, attract more foreign visitors and as a result help in the socioeconomic development of the entire village.

"Utilizing lockdown time to preserve an important cultural heritage site in a Himalayan village" Van onze lokale partner in Nepal.

Ecuador 56 jaar

Fanny, an inspiring person

During my studies at university in combination with the church, the priest suggested us to work in small groups. I thought it was a good idea. With these groups we cared about different projects, such as poverty. After two months, the priest asked us where we could go help spread the word. Eventually we visited places in Ecuador and that was one of the first things that greatly impacted my life. I never thought such poverty was possible. It inspired me to help them.

We started in 1989 with a program that was called ‘dignifying Christmas’. The objective of Christmas is to share. So we started with 200 kids in Quito to make toys: one for themselves and one for another kid. Today, the educational center has 26 years operating with a proven methodology to assist kids in risky or vulnerable situations. We try to not only focus in developing their cognitive abilities, but to have them awaken and able to handle their processes on their own so they always have this connection with the values inside of them. Now we have many volunteers helping our wonderful children to get smiling faces.

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Real life...

De mensen die je ontmoet op je reis in de wereld. Hun families en relaties. De hoogte- en dieptepunten, hun zorgen, blijdschap en levenswijsheid.


Real stories...

Reizen is meer dan hotelkamers boeken, de highlights afvinken en kant-en-klaar avontuur. Kom dichterbij en ontdek de echte wereld door de ogen van de locals.