Stephen Taranto co-found Sendas Altas, or High Trails, an ecotourism and adventure travel company based in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2005. While the company’s main offices are perched at 12,500 feet above sea level, and many of their trips occur at similarly high altitudes, Sendas Altas’ expert trip designers will help you acclimate to new heights with some pre-trip tips and itineraries that take it easy at the start.
As an ecologist, Stephen considers ecotourism an essential part of efforts to preserve natural resources and share the benefits of tourism with local communities and protected areas. "The kind of travel we organize is driven by a commitment to low impact broad benefits tourism,” Taranto explained, “While our planet’s cultural and natural diversity is wonderful to experience firsthand, we must be aware of, and committed to, minimizing negative impacts at every turn.” His passion for exploring the world was sparked at a young age. Stephen grew up traveling the world with his father, an oceanographer in the Navy.
"Sendas Altas has been operating for 18 years, and now we have well-established partners which allow us to guarantee quality and safety of the highest standards. We have long-time relationships with guides, lodging, restaurants, and many others, and we know with whom to work, to provide the best and most memorable experiences," Stephen said.
If you want to travel to Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia - this is it! Sendas Altas offers trips to the highlands, lowlands, rainforests, and countless other diverse ecosystems. "Many travelers want to visit South America for its rich biodiversity, and one of our specialties is taking them to the incredible array of protected areas,” he shares.
Favorites include high-altitude trekking in the Andes, Amazon rainforest expeditions, and cultural tours to heritage sites such as the Uyuni Salt Flats and Machu Picchu. Their tour guides speak multiple languages to accommodate people from all over the world. In recent years, they have gained experience working with large equipment such as kayaks, surfboards, and filmmaking equipment. "Many photographers and documentary filmmakers use our services when shooting on location," Stephen said.
Sendas Altas also works with community-based tourism enterprises held by local and rural communities. "We work with many of these initiatives, which, like us, are values-driven and committed to bringing the benefits of tourism into rural areas and to all community members. The operator also offers food and farming tours that take you from the latest fusion cooking in the cities to sharing a simple meal in a farming village.
“Since we offer all kinds of programs for all kinds of interests, we find ourselves working with all kinds of travelers, from backpackers to birdwatchers, and even offer comfortable higher-end travel experiences."
That said, there are offerings to fit every type of budget and inspiration, and fortunately for Western Massachusetts, Stephen has a home office in Northampton. He moved back here to help care for his aging parents after living for fifteen years abroad. "I enjoy speaking with travelers locally to help arrange an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable destination. It also gives travelers a chance to ask questions and for us to design trips made to measure. Another advantage of working directly with Sendas Altas is the value since there are no commissions to intermediate vendors and agencies, and more of your money goes local.
For more information or to book a trip, visit their website SendasAtlas.com or contact Stephen@sendasatlas.com.