Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Gondwana Ecotours
New Orleans, LA

Gondwana Ecotours is a New Orleans-based ecotourism startup with the goal of improving and connecting the world through responsible travel. We provide travelers with an exciting, alternative vacation that will not only enrich their lives, but will also benefit the world we live in. We believe that by uniting travelers with other cultures and with nature, we will strengthen intercultural understanding and promote environmental stewardship.

Ecotourism is a broad and somewhat unregulated field. As a result, the name “ecotour” can be misapplied to any number of environmentally and culturally damaging practices. We want to set the highest standard of socially responsible tourism, allowing our guests to experience new and exciting cultures without leaving a destructive environmental footprint.

Gondwana Ecotours provides guided tours to destinations around the world where we
employ local guides, enjoy regional cuisine, and become involved in area-specific
nonprofit endeavors. We strive to patronize environmentally responsible establishments. The cost of off-setting the carbon footprint of each vacation is included in the package price. In addition, we donate a portion of proceeds from every trip to a nonprofit specific to that region’s needs. We provide a service that people already want, but in a beautiful and conscious way.

We may be a new organization, and yet we have big plans. We believe that travel is an important and enriching experience for everyone, and should not just be reserved for the privileged few. Therefore, we would use the Green America prize money, coupled with an additional fundraising campaign undertaken by our interns, to send a community of underprivileged children from Houma, Louisiana on their own ecotour to Costa Rica. Accompanied by a teacher from their school at home, these students can experience therainforest firsthand. They’ll witness rare wildlife, enjoy ecotourism activities such as ziplining and hiking to jungle waterfalls. They will also learn about sustainability and healthy living, organic foods, environmentalism, and experience new and different cultures. In collaboration with a local nonprofit, our students will team up with local Costa Rican children to help further the host country’s goals for sustainability.

We are very proud to have been nominated for Green America’s People & Planet Green Business Award. We cherish the opportunity to empower travelers, hosts, students and business owners all over the world to make responsible tourism a pervasive and vibrant reality.

Sunset Hiking
Sunset in Costa Rica. Waterfall in Costa Rica.

Students Paint

Marisela & Yaritsa, two of founder Jared Sternberg's favorite students in the
Achuar region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin.

Jared with Achuar face-paint.
Group

Achuar students and Jared having fun practicing English at the students' request.