These full and frank independent reviews are from travelers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travelers below.
Peter Smart review 2 Jul 2016
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Seeing polar bears, walruses and whales. Especially seeing a rare Bowhead whale whilst moving through the pack ice.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Take a good pair of binoculars.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Read the operator's response here:
We are extremely happy that Peter and his partner had an excellent experience with us in Spitsbergen and that they saw polar bears, blue whales, walruses and the rare bowhead whale. In terms of how the trip may have benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation: Since its inception we have 'grown' a Rainforest4Climate Fund which we use to help offset the carbon emissions of client polar voyages and flights. This covers travel to Spitsbergen, Greenland, Canada, Antarctica, South Georgia, the Russian Arctic and the Falklands. We also add to this fund for each journey we operate to lowland Amazon and cloud forests in Ecuador and Peru. We calculate the average CO2 emissions of its Arctic and Antarctic voyages and automatically offsets our clients share of emissions via this Rainforest4Climate programme. At the time of booking we also invite each of our clients to match our carbon off set contribution, which many choose to do.
In 2015, donations were focused on Western Ecuador via Rainforest Concern, where we have been helping to extend a reserve where the newly discovered Olinguito is known to exist. Via our partners, the Rainforest Trust, we funded the creation of a 10,000 acre protected rainforest reserve within a new 5.9 million acres of national park, national reserve and 57 community owned territories in Amazonian Peru. We also funded the protection of more than 1,000 acres of new rainforest reserve in Madagascar.
Spitsbergen itself has no indigenous population, but the main industry in the area is tourism, which we support. Tourism certainly helps people living in Spitsbergen financially and strengthens the need for conservation of the area, a void which could otherwise be at risk of other more impactful activities such as oil and mineral extraction industries.