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Non-Profit Travel

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
~Mark Twain

non-profit travel

Trips designed to directly benefit non-profit organizations and educate employees through hands on experience have long been exciting opportunities for discovery.


Costa Rica is an exciting land of adventure and tropical nature where democracy, justice and environmental activism have prevailed to preserve a world-renowned system of national parks and reserves. Earthjustice and their Costa Rican partners in environmental law went on an exploration of the rainforests and coastal habitats they have been fighting to protect against oil drilling, deforestation, and development.

Earthjustice traveled from the Central Highlands to the Atlantic lowlands and the Caribbean coast, and then to the world-renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest. Travelers were accompanied by one of Costa Rica’s Master Naturalist Guides, who helped them identify an abundance of wildlife and learn about the complex interactions between plants and animals of the Costa Rican tropical rain and cloud forest.


This exclusive travel experience is the result of a unique partnership between Wildland Adventures and the Maasai Environmental Resource coalition (MERC) to offer inquisitive travelers the rare opportunity to experience authentic Maasai culture while exploring the great game parks of East Africa. MERC is a non-profit grassroots network of Maasai communities, organizations and individuals dedicated to the protection of traditional land rights of the Maasai people, and for conservation, management and sustainable use of the great ecosystems of East Africa.

Accompanied by local Maasai community leaders, participants on this active, small group safari are invited guests into off-the-beaten-path Maasai communities in Kenya and Tanzania. Travelers visit schools, family bomas, and learn about daily life, art, language, traditional values and spirituality of the Maasai. A professional naturalist safari guide also accompanies participants as they travel in private 4x4 Land Rovers with open roof and large viewing windows into the Maasai Mara Reserve and Amboseli National Park for spectacular wildlife viewing. Accommodations are in comfortable lodges and deluxe-tented accommodations including the Sinya Elephant Camp, a collaborative community-based project in the bush at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Here we spend several days among our Maasai friends in surrounding villages, ride open vehicles on game drives, and join easy wildlife walks in the bush with Maasai warriors. Trip proceeds benefit MERC.


The staff of the Philadelphia Zoo took a trip focused on natural history in Belize. The itinerary was an active, in-depth fully guided exploration of Maya ruins, contemporary cultural, rain forest wildlife, and the barrier reef of the Caribbean Coast. Zoo staff stayed at beach-front cabanas, and a local-style village guest house. Highlights included Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Panti Maya Medicine Trail, the ancient Maya site of Tikal, rain forest hikes, Chumpiate pottery cave, Cave Branch underground river tubing, and barrier reef snorkeling.


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) works with Chile’s most longstanding non-governmental environmental organization to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage. The Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora (CODEFF) teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to purchase 127 acres (52 hectares) at Punta Curiñanco, protecting one of the last unaltered coastal areas in southern Chile. With TNC help, the Punta Curiñanco Reserve will draw public attention to the need for coastal conservation. CODEFF and the Austral University of Chile are collaborating to study and restore the unique Olivillo forest and protect the marine otter and other local species. The Austral University is also seeking to establish the waters here as the first ever marine park in Chile.

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda accurately described his homeland as "the thin country." More than 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) long, Chile is just 221 miles (356 kilometers) across at its widest point. TNC staff traveled to Chile on a conservation journey through Chilean Patagonia, in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. The trip included a visit Punta Curiñanco, a new private reserve along the southern Pacific coast protecting one of the last remaining stands of the magnificent, ancient Olivillo forests. Then a visit to the Chilean Lakes District at the Puyehue Hot Springs, a pastoral and mythic island of Chiloe where TNC staff learned to savor the bountiful seafood and wine culture that distinguishes Chile.


In April 2004 staff of the Woodland Park Zoo, located in Seattle, Washington, will take a voyage among the Galapagos Islands. Traveling from island to island, an expert naturalist guide will interpret the unique behavioral and physical characteristics that plants and animals have developed as they evolved and adapted to each unique island habitat.

During an 8-day cruise, they will visit all the major sites in the archipelago including the outer islands. No where else on Earth can travelers photograph and commune so closely with exotic and bizarre wildlife. Zoo staff will hike, snorkel, and sea kayak among cinder cones, lava flows, white and black sand beaches, rocky cliffs and shorelines. Guides teach them about the Indian and Spanish culture in Quito, South America's oldest capital city designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. They will also explore the Andean backcountry and the world-famous market town of Otavalo. An important trading center since pre-Incan times, Otavalo offers an exciting glimpse into the vibrant native culture of the Andes.

Here are other organizations that have benefited from authentic worldwide travel:

  • Tennessee Aquarium
  • Saint Louis Zoo
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Milwaukee Public Museum
  • Ohio State University Alumni Program
  • University of California-Berkeley Alumni
  • Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents
  • University Temple United Methodist Church
  • University of Illinois Explorers Alumni Program
  • Academy of Natural Sciences Of Philadelphia