Experiencing culture is probably one of the biggest reasons people travel. They want to open their minds and learn something new. Here are 3 top places to go to that’ll make you experience a whole bunch of culture.
1. Island life with the Kuna, San Blas Archipelago, Panama
Scattered across the 400-plus islands of Panama’s San Blas Archipelago is the autonomous Kuna Yala homeland, where you can spend time getting to know the Kuna people. Fly from Panama City to the tiny island of Mamirupu and stay at the rustic and locally owned Dolphin Lodge. The snorkelling and fishing are sublime, and boatmen can take visitors to nearby islands to learn about the Kuna’s proud history of independence and resistance. The Kuna’s iconic local handicrafts include molas, finely crafted and colourful appliqué textiles.
2. Il Ngwesi Lodge, Nanyuki, Kenya
Il Ngwesi is Kenya’s only luxury safari lodge to be wholly owned and operated by the local Maasai community; this sustainable and eco-aware project north of Mt Kenya is also one of the country’s best wildlife retreats. Beyond the sublime animal-viewing opportunities, stays include education in Maasai culture, and your money helps support Il Ngwesi’s rhinoceros sanctuary as well as local schools and land conservation.
3. Trekking with the H’mong around Sapa, northern Vietnam
Negotiate generations-old mountain tracks and cascades of rice paddies to the villages of the H’mong people, an ethnic minority in Vietnam. Trek with Sapa O’Chau – the name means ‘Hello Sapa’ in the H’mong language – and you’ll be boosting the education and literacy of young H’mong tour guides. Sapa O’Chau is headed by Shu Tan, an energetic H’mong woman making a real difference for her people, and if you’re keen on a longer stay in Sapa, she’s always looking for volunteer teachers at Sapa O’Chau’s community school.