In general, travelers have an idea of what (not) to do outside in nature. But in certain places we make sure to let them know, in detail, of specific rules (and subsequent consequences of their non-compliance), regarding the sustainability of Azores’ most vulnerable species (specially) and preservation of our very estimated protected natural habitats / landscapes.
We feel obligated to provide them with the best possible experiences ever, attending to those rules and always trying to coop with other companies of the same area in order to provide beneficial “extras” for both parts. But when we can’t do that, we have no problem in suggesting other entities who can.
We seek to operate in a manner that ensures that our staff, partners and travelers have a positive impact on all species, habitats and ecosystems that we encounter on our tours.
WHAT SHOULD THE AZORES EXPECT FROM US
A big portion of our “playground” involves protected natural areas of the Azores, where specific rules must be respected in order to preserve its richness and singularity. In the Azores, companies like Fun Activities act like guardians of these places, hence, is our responsibility to promote sustainability and, of course, the well-being and happiness of the local inhabitants – which means they should be always involved regarding all the benefits ,as well as committed to solving related problems. It also means that the place where they live should always stay, in the end of each day and year, healthy and able to produce all the resources they need.
How do we do this? Resorting to products from local companies for our excursions (snacks, picnics, souvenirs, etc.); offering discounts and free vouchers to local institutions and communities; and organizing voluntary actions and partnerships with diverse organizations.
As our company is based in the Azores (Portugal) most of the guides we employ are Portuguese (who can sometimes speak a bit of Spanish, English, or French). But we employ guides from other countries as well, in the form of exchanges, partnerships or internships.
Although we prefer to negotiate with partners / companies that: are managed by locals; have development and incentive policies for local workers; and buy local products – that’s not an exclusion factor. Whenever a client asks for suggestions or services we can’t / don’t provide, we always head them to / give them the contact of some partner / company who can.
We seek to minimize our impact on the environment, both at a global and a local level whenever we operate.
On our daily life (at the office, or in nature) we always recycle or even reuse the little garbage we make. At the office itself, aside from having specific garbage cans for each type of material, there’s only one active computer through which we do all the work digitally, avoiding, whenever possible, printing anything at all.
Besides that, while partnering with the “Azorean Ocean Department”, our team is designated to clean a river / stream or coastal areas twice a year (at least) – where you can join us:
- The last time we did was back in October of 2020, in “Zona Balnear das Calhetas“, where we collected 34 kg of garbage.
Likewise, we are committed with 3 environmental actions every year so we can be accepted to carry on the brand “Amigos do Priolo” (“Azorean Bullfinch friends”) – while hiking or biking in certain areas of the island, for example.
Regarding our customers, they are always advised to bring their own individual reusable water bottles for the activities (just like our team does), as we usually run into good quality natural water springs and almost never have access to any shops (where there are water bottles for sale or trash cans to dispose of them) during our excursions. Apart from that, we give them the possibility of purchasing, for an additional cost, a personalized and very simple reusable water/coffee/tea canteen OR cup, so they can help our local environment and, at the same time, take back home a handsome souvenir that will always remember them of the magnificent time they spent at the Azores and with Fun Activities.
Most of our guides live far away from the office and our activities usually take place quite far from where our warehouse is based as well, so most of us resort to our day-to-day cars or public transports. Additionally, the vans we use for picking up our clients aren’t quite recent or modern, so we don’t really have a choice there, although we plan to improve this factor. But sometimes we use our bikes / e-bikes, as for bike tours, as for personal usage (whenever possible).
We seek to operate in a manner that is responsible, sensitive, respectful and observant of the cultural identity and historic assets of this generation, whoever or wherever they are, without compromising the potential of future generations.
We totally discourage our clients to go wandering alone in the wilderness, and always advise them to take care and be careful and aware of the Azores’ protected areas / landscapes and species (specially the endangered ones). Regarding our cultural wealth, we always try to include it in our excursions or simply suggest visits to various destinations / local social projects with direct benefits to the host community.
It is worth mentioning that, in the last 5 years, more and more sustainability measures have been implemented and reforced, specially regarding the current and future protection of specific areas and species. This work, despite being imperfect, brings a lot of commitment and obligations to companies that work directly in these areas, just like Fun Activities. As a result, the Azores are on their way to becoming a “sustainable destination”, a title that has already been used by multiple parties.
We know that mass tourism will never work here and will never provide a good future for our people. In fact, working with other companies already requires many commitments and policies when it comes to protecting the environment. Therefore, providing adventure tours in protected areas means that these rules are even more strict. But as perfection tends to be a long and controversial path, we think it is essential to have our ideas well defined.
So, Fun Activities has a single-minded goal: Provide long-term benefits to present and future local communities, one adventure at a time. Therefore, we insist that the benefits are the same for us and who / what surrounds us, always trying to guarantee the active participation of our people in our daily lives.
When doing Canyoning in Ribeira da Salga, for example, part of the value of the Tour (5 €) reverts to the local community of Lomba de São Pedro, parish where we practice the mentioned activity (~ 400 inhabitants).