Tourism in Ruka-Kuusamo area is based on the beautiful sights and the pure nature. Enhancing sustainable traveling is especially important for us. Sustainable Travel Finland is a program launched by Visit Finland, enabling us to make responsible actions and sustainable choices part of our everyday life in tourism.
Sustainable travel pioneer Adventure Apes offers adventures and lodging in Vasaraperä at Kuusamo. The founders of Adventure Apes believe nature belongs to everyone. They have made it their goal to make nature accessible to all in a way that it is best for each individual. Adventures are tailor-made to suit the unique needs of the guests, using the help and knowledge of the professional guides. The selection of accessible adventures covers trips from wheelchair users to visually impaired or blind.
Adventure Apes joined Sustainable Travel Finland program among the first companies in Kuusamo. The first step was to access Green Key sustainability certificate. Sustainable Travel Finland label was granted to Adventure Apes on summer 2020. Being a pioneer in sustainability has brought a lot of visibility online and in the social media, and new guests too.
– Making things in a sustainable way is no rocket science. The first step is to take a good look at what you are doing at the moment regarding sustainability. You might be happily surprised about all the things and actions that are already sustainable, says Heidi Savolainen, one of the founders of Adventure Apes.
Karhunkierros, one of the most popular hiking trails, winds through the beautiful sceneries of Oulanka National Park. Heidi hiked this 82 km trail in August 2020 with their blind guest Outi Keskinen. Outi lives in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, and was inspired to do this hike a year earlier when she joined an adventure week for visually impaired guided by Heidi. After hiking the smaller 12 km Pieni Karhunkierros trail Outi could not resist the call of the longer Karhunkierros trail and Heidi was ready to join the challenge as her guide. After a busy year full of serious training these daredevils fulfilled Outi’s dream.
– The biggest challenge for visually impaired persons is to find a suitable assistant for the hike. Every step needs to be explained in great detail. The trust between the visually impaired person and the assistant is especially important, says Heidi.
Even though the challenging hike took one full week, it was full of feelings of success. Adventure Apes is now planning a new hike with a full group of visually impaired persons – this was the original plan all along before coronavirus Covid-19 changed all our lives. Read more:www.ruka.fi/en/sustainabilitywww.ruka.fi/en/adventureapes
Text: Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association Photos: Petri Kinnunen