In 1986 Carol Cespedes founded Halintours. Carol and her husband Benny had just moved to Costa Rica, thinking to retire after seven years of work in the oil industry of Saudi Arabia. Unwilling to be idle, Carol decided to start a tour company to promote travel to this small Central American country that in those days was suffering from a severe slump in tourism. She named the company after her two daughters, Hali and Insa, and took it with her, incorporating the business in Texas, after she and Benny returned to reside in the U.S.
Carol has a Ph.D. in Asian Studies and a background in college teaching and the administration of nonprofits. She finds that tourism is a multifaceted activity, calling upon all of her experience and talents. Today she takes time to write, travel, and volunteer with civic organizations, but she still continues to guide the company and train the fine young tourism professionals who are bringing a fresh look to Halintours. She personally escorts many of the Halintours groups and does presentations on all of the destinations using the rich stock of travel slides provided by her photographer husband, Benny.
Why We Do It
We believe that travel is important. It expands our vision, helping us identify with the entire planet rather than one tiny part of it. We believe that by introducing people to new landscapes, new climates, and new ecosystems, we can foster an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of the natural world and an awareness of the interconnectedness of our planet. By bringing people into face-to-face contact, we are building bridges across barriers of class and culture. We at Halintours feel a keen responsibility to make that experience as rewarding and as positive as possible both for our travelers and for the people in the host culture.
Today, tourism has also become an essential part of the economy in many countries, bringing an alternative to plantation crops and low wage manufacturing. Tourists have an opportunity to benefit the small businessmen, artisans, and tourism workers in the host country and provide an incentive for preserving the best that each destination has to offer.
Ecology and Community
We at Halintours believe that our mission goes beyond the creation of postive travel experiences for our clients. We try to make an active contribution to the well being of the places and peoples that we visit. We do this in three ways:
1. By monitoring the ecological impact of our tour groups and promoting a sustainable tourism code as part of the Halintours travel experience.
2. By carefully selecting our travel suppliers to assure that the economic benefits of travel go primarily to the host community. We prefer locally owned lodging, restaurants, and tour companies. We also encourage our travelers to patronize local shops and artisans to bring as much economic benefit as possible to the local communities.
3. By donating and volunteering with organizations that are engaged in improving the environment and well being of the host countries. We have a special commitment to educational projects and encourage our clients to bring books or school supplies as donations to schools and libraries.
We are constantly seeking more ways that we can have a positive impact on the environment and economy of our host countries.
Tropical rain forests are one of the specialties of Halintours. This one is on the frontier of Costa Rica, in the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Penisula, Pacific Coast. Halintours and friends sponsored an expedition by Melton to Corcovado National Park in 2009 to evaluate an Environmental Impact Statement for proposed river gravel mining on the Rio Tigre that heads in the national park. Melton spent three weeks translating a Spanish EIS and filming ongoing river gravel mining for the film “Fight for the Rio Tigre.” The effort was successful in stopping the new proposed mine.