(Reston, VA) An internet search for “wildlife tours” can yield over 1 million results! The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) provides a service that makes picking a trip easier for the eco-traveler. After reviewing hundreds of itineraries to nearly every major wildlife-viewing spot in North America, NWF has selected the 15 best wildlife-viewing tours of 2010. And in this time of tight budgets, value was a crucial element in the consideration process, which is why half of the hand-picked tours start below $2,000 per person. The 15 selected tours can be found at www.nwf.org/expeditions.
The 15 selected tours range from bear-watching in the Great Smoky Mountains to hiking throughout Cape Cod. There is a research trip to study predators in Yellowstone and a private discovery voyage in Prince William Sound aboard a 5-cabin ship. Selected programs also feature some lesser-known gems like the biologically diverse Big Bend National Park in Texas, and Nebraska’s Platte River Valley where 500,000 Sandhill cranes come every spring.
NWF considered a variety of factors in selecting these trips. The conservation group only selected trips operated by tour companies that believe in the highest standards of responsible tourism. They also selected the most experienced tour operators that use some of the world’s best nature guides. Also a key factor was price, and tours were evaluated with an eye towards terrific values. Eight of the 15 trips are priced below $2,000 per person.
For those for those who feel like a little more of a splurge, NWF offers trips to Belize, Costa Rica, or Mexico for less than $3,000 per person. On these trips you are likely to see anything from millions of monarch butterflies to brightly-colored toucans to acrobatic monkeys.
Once the trips are hand-picked, NWF works with the tour companies to designate a specific date just for NWF members and friends. NWF is hoping to attract a great group of people to each tour. NWF members are curious and adventurous, and treasure the natural world. A group of like-minded travelers with a belief in protecting wildlife for our children’s future promises to be central feature of every trip. Another important feature is that every traveler can participate in one of these tours and remain carbon-neutral. NWF is offsetting the carbon footprint of all 2010 Expeditions travelers, without raising the cost of the trip.