Why choose Alaska?
Alaska is 663,300 square miles which equals roughly the size of Texas, New Mexico, California and Colorado combined. Therefore, Alaska has a lot of areas uninhabited by man. Likewise, the pristine wilderness is ecologically healthy so the wildlife is free to live naturally. The Native Alaskan Eskimos have lived here for thousands of years. Yet they still keep their traditions alive in their families and communities. The Alaskan experience is like no other!
Look for the type of tour that interests you.
Some people are looking for day trip excursions into the wilderness and then return to an upscale hotel room in the evening. In contrast to an opportunity to stay in a remote camp situated in the wilderness for 5 days. Some of these lodges offer modern comforts despite being off-the-grid.
Many travelers are focused on seeing a specific type of wildlife or culture. For example, there are the marine mammals such as seals, walruses and whales. Or do you have a desire to learn the history and culture of the local people? The local culture may include the Eskimo hunting and gathering techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. Perhaps you are interested in the Nome Gold-Mining history of 1899 and how differs from the Gold-Mining techniques of today. Of course, Alaska is well-known for its breathtaking landscapes. There are wild open tundra with the mountains in the distance, coastal regions and natural hot springs- (just to mention a few!)
An Alaska Ecotourism vacation differs greatly from Caribbean ecotourism. Weather and changes in the seasons dictate the events and activities in Alaska. For instance, the great Iditarod Dog-Sledding Race occurs once a year in March. Mushers from around the world come to participate in the Iditarod.
Once the snow has melted, summertime is a wonderful time to experience an amazing, remote fishing trip. In June, July and August, the Alaskan rivers will fill with fish such as Salmon, Northern Pike and Arctic Grayling. Fall and winter bring in the snows. Take a spin on the snowmachines to see the muskox, caribou, bears and whales. No matter what time of the year, Alaska always has amazing wilderness to explore.
Choosing a Guide
Look for a tour guide that has a working knowledge of the places you will be visiting. It is even a plus if these places are the guide’s home and heritage. The best guides have a passion for their jobs and are natural educators. They will give you insight to the local folklore through stories and examples.
It is so important that your guide is pleasant and easy to talk to. Sometimes, the guide has the freedom to customize the eco-tour for each of his/her clients.
For example, a snow eco-vacation may be experienced in the Alaskan springtime. First, you may spend the day touring the city Nome and its history. The next couple days are out on the snow machine to view the wildlife and landscapes. On the last day, perhaps you may try ice fishing!
Make sure the tour company can accommodate your group. Does your tour include transportation? Is there transportation from the airport? In some parts of Alaska there are few roads. Off-road transportation in Alaska includes boats, 4-wheelers and snow machines (snowmobiles).
As we mentioned before, Alaska is huge. It might be very difficult to see everything you want to see in a short, day trip. Are there overnight accommodations with your tour? Are their restaurants nearby? When you are out on the tundra, what meals will be provided?