Eco Tours

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Eco tours have become very popular in recent years as the citizens of the world have become more aware of environmental issues. Observing and preserving the natural beauty of the planet are the focus of many international organizations and governments. It is fitting that one of earth's most spectacular regions--the Southern Ocean--is being introduced through Eco tours to the world's travelers.

The huge expanse of Antarctica is largely unavailable for tourism because of its lethal cold and unpredictable weather. The Antarctica Peninsula, however, is a bit more moderate, and tourists can visit the research stations that are a permanent part of the landscape. Farther north, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Cape Horn, and Tierra del Fuego offer singular experiences with the abundant wildlife and summer flowering plants of the region.

Eco Tours on Tall Ships

Oil spills in Antarctica in 1989 and the increase in tourism have intensified debates over environmental protection. Although the Antarctic Treaty ratified in 1961 declared that the region would be used only for peaceful purposes and affirmed the value of international, scientific research, the lure of resource development is everpresent. Eco tours on tall ships can help the cause of conservation by introducing visitors to the natural beauty of southern lands.

Many tours embark at Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn in Argentina, or Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. These comprehensive tours are designed to include as much wildlife as possible, and as much variety of scenery as weather permits. If conditions are good, voyages might also include the South Shetland Islands and such famous seaways as Drake Passage.

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