Eco-tourism activities in the
National Marine Park of Zakynthos
WHY NATURE WORLD TRAVEL?
Nature World Travel Ltd is an eco-tourism travel agency based at Gerakas, the southern most peninsula of the Greek Ionian island of Zakynthos, home to the critically endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Nature World Travel first opened in 2003, with the aim of providing tourist excursions in the area of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, specifically Laganas Bay, but done sensitively, so as not to disturb the turtles or other wildlife. Many of the turtle spotting tours advertised are indiscriminate and pursue turtles relentlessly, often telling tourists “see a turtle, or your money back”. Frequently each summer we see turtles surrounded by so many boats that they are unable to get away. Turtles are notoriously sensitive creatures, easily stressed, and are often forced to dive under boats to try and escape. This can lead to propeller injuries which can be fatal.
We believe there is a different way of showing visitors these ancient creatures. We are fully dedicated by constitution to “promote environmental awareness to visitors of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) and contribute to the protection of the area, following the NMPZ Management Body Guidelines.” This means that our trips and our guests adhere to the strict guidelines and laws of the NMPZ. We do not chase turtles, we do not dump rubbish/empty septic tanks into the water. We do not enter A-Zone, we travel no faster than the 6 knots speed limit in zones B and C, and we take only a small number of people at any one time on each trip (which is better for both the wildlife and our guests). We have a volunteer from Archelon, Sea Turtle Protection Society on our trips to inform our guests about the Loggerheads. - We believe that informing tourists is half the battle won in the bid to protect the turtles and their habitat. We do not make noise to attract the turtles’ attention, nor do we enter the water to swim with them. We remain at least 10 metres away from the turtles, and stay no more than 5-10 minutes at the most, so as not to disturb them. We merely observe them in their natural habitat.
Nature World Travel is owned and managed by Yannis Vardakastanis, a Zakynthian with a long history of working for the environment and offering alternative vacations to those seeking to escape the onslaught of mass tourism. Yannis has fought for many years to keep Gerakas from over development, indeed he grew up here so the area is very close to his heart. He built the Wildlife Information Centre at Gerakas, and the Gerakas you see today is down to him — he was here long before the marine park.
We are fully committed to providing all our guests with a wide range of activities and services whilst supporting the efforts to promote and protect the environmental wealth of Zakynthos. We donate a percentage of our income to the National Marine Park.
We wish you a pleasant stay and invite you to join us in our activities.