Community tourism businesses aren’t created overnight; rather they are constructed over a generation. To start, it takes the vision of a community like Las Ánimas, a collection of ranchos inhabited by 45 families in the Sierra la Giganta range of Baja California Sur. In late August, RED Sustainable Travel celebrated that vision with the community of Las Ánimas, organizing an event for young and old to learn about their history, a few almost bygone traditions, and some of the artisanry and cuisine that make this ranchero culture unique.
We learned that the piña or heart of the maguey plant, slow roasted over flames yields a rich treat unlike any food you have tasted. We ate tortillas, made from the flour of ground saya seeds, that when toasted are used to make a backcountry coffee. We learned techniques for making hand-forged knives, attractive lanyards woven from horse hair, and custom leather saddles and accessories. In short, craftsmanship abounds in Las Ánimas.
RED is partnered with the families of Las Ánimas to make their vision a reality, that through sustainable tourism, they can keep their traditions and culture alive and vibrant. Youth flight to the city, a constant threat of drought, and overzealous middlemen are just a few of the challenges along the way. Together, we believe that through culture, nature and adventure based travel, Animeños can strengthen their cultural heritage and build a better future for their sons and daughters.
RED thanks the organizations supporting our work in Las Ánimas and for sharing the vision that sustainable tourism is an important tool in long term conservation and community development: the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza; The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; US Fish and Wildlife Foundation; the Tour Operator Adventure Life; and our conservation partner, Niparajá.