Posts Tagged 'World Heritage Site'

Whisk Yourself Away to the Galapagos Islands!

Looking for a rewarding trip or study abroad adventure this fall? Imagine protecting endangered species while interacting with some of the world’s most vibrant wildlife. Intrigued? Then South America, more specifically, Ecuador, is right up your alley. The Galapagos Islands. The Amazon. The Andes. The list goes on.

Galapagos Islands

Watch Out for the Friendly Sea Lions!

Watch Out for the Friendly Sea Lions!

Become close friends with sea lions. The wildlife owns this UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll find huge sea turtles, a few spotted eagle rays and various other deep-sea creatures. The friendly Galapagos penguins may join you for a swim. Prefer land? You’ll be in good company with flamingos, mockingbirds, warblers, hawks, blue-footed boobies, herons and other shorebirds. The 19 islands also offer great hiking, from easy to strenuous. Pick your poison.

Amazon

The Amazon provides endless entertainment for fans of rafting, kayaking, hiking, or mountain biking. Explore the jungles around Calluacocha Lake, in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This wildlife sanctuary is home to several hundred species of birds, 13 species of monkeys, 1, 000 species of butterflies, and 1, 500 species of trees, as well as caimans, jaguars, ocelots, otters, and millions of insects.  Mountain bike through the  Bellavista Cloud Forest and tropical rainforest; go whitewater jungle rafting down the Blanco and Toachi rivers; or explore the tropical dry forest ecosystem in Machalilla National Park.

Andes

Quito Offers Unrivaled Beauty

Quito Offers Unrivaled Beauty

More adventures await you in the Andes. Explore the capital city and UNESCO cultural heritage site of Quito. This unique city is known for its architecture and features colonial buildings, which display its baroque history. As you cross the Equator line, check out the indigenous market at Otavalo, explore the Avenue of the volcanoes south of Quito, take a train ride through the “The Devil’s Nose,” and visit the Ingapirca and Cuenca UNESCO heritage city. There’s a lot to do!

Volcano Trekking

Another adventure you won’t find anywhere else: Volcano trekking! Witness gorgeous sunsets and amazing wildlife amid towering volcanoes! Ecuador Trekking Tours offers a variety of adventures for travelers. The Cotopaxi National Park is a 36,000-hectare nature and wildlife sanctuary surrounding the highest active volcano in the world. Or check out the Guagua Pichincha Volcano. Standing at 4,874 meters, it’s a spectacular place to hike.

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End of the Summer Adventures

Wrapping up your trip abroad? Not ready to hit the books? If you’ve got some money saved up, here are a few fun adventures to consider before diving back into the school year.

No Telling What You'll Encounter Abroad

No Telling What You'll Encounter Abroad

Climb Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Intimidated by Mount Everest? You’re not the only one. A better bet- climb Kilimanjaro! Take the less traveled Western Breach route, a challenging path up Africa’s loftiest peak. On your way to the summit, check out the Barranco Valley’s waterfalls, near the Arrow Glacier, and the rocky ridgelines. After the summit, don’t miss wildlife in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park.

Lake Baikal, Russia

Need a break from the hassle of everyday life? Seclude yourself in Russia’s Lake Baikal. Situated in southeast Siberia, this World Heritage site is the oldest (25 million years) and deepest lake in the world. Like the Galapagos, it’s isolation helped it evolve into a unique freshwater ecosystem. Hike along the lakeshores; pass through old fishing villages; traverse craggy mountains; and keep an eye out for unusual species like the nerpa, an endemic freshwater seal.

Pyrenees National Park

Pyrenees National Park

Pyrenees National Park, France & Spain

The French-run Pyrenees National Park stretches 60 miles along the French-Spanish border, covering 180 square miles of lakes, towering summits, rolling hills, and fertile valleys. The park is composed of two regions. The uninhabited central zone offers some of the park’s most spectacular landscapes. The peripheral zone, on the edge of the central area, houses 86 villages and some 40,000 inhabitants. During the summer you can trek, cycle, horseback, and raft. The weather will accommodate all adventure activities.

Italian Alps, Italy & Germany

Get out your road bike and hit the Alps! Experience the blend of Italian and German cultures as you cruise along the Adige River and the western Dolomites.  Pass the famous Strada del Vino, stop in tiny villages, take a detour for wine tastings or a visit to medieval Lazise. Looking for a tour? Check out Ciclismo Classico.

Protecting Your Favorite Travel Destinations

What do the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and Yosemite National Park in California all have in common? Any takers? They are all World Heritage sites. Odds are if you’ve traveled anywhere in the world or are planning a study abroad trip, you’ll visit at least one World Heritage site. What is a World Heritage site and why should you care? Well, if you want any of those beautiful locales to disappear, stop reading.

WHC Protects Temples Like This One in Agrigento, Sicilia

WHC Protects Temples Like This One in Agrigento, Sicilia

Traveling is not just about jotting things off your to do list. It’s about learning new cultures as well as our own past. In an effort to preserve important locations and habitat around the world, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) developed the World Heritage Centre (WHC).  Centuries of habitation, exploration, and tourism have led to the deterioration of antique palaces, monuments,  marine reserves, and national parks. The World Heritage Centre nominates these places to its “World Heritage List,” to raise awareness and preserve the site’s legacy through additional government involvement.

Developed by an American in 1972 and modeled after the National Parks system, the World Heritage List recognizes sites that are natural or cultural or mixed and demonstrate a “universal value to humanity.” They represent remarkable architecture or technology, or ecological or biological importance.

Each year the World Heritage Committee nominates vulnerable areas of cultural and historical significance. This past week the Committee added to the list: the Stoclet House in Brussels, Belgium, The Tower of Hercules (an ancient lighthouse) in La Coruña, Spain, and the Swiss watch-manufacturing towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle. The Committee will conclude its nominating process in Sevilla, Spain on Tuesday, June 30th. Next year the U.S. government hopes to nominate Mount Vernon in Virginia and Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii to this prestigious list.

Which World Heritage Sites have you visited? Check out this list. Some might surprise you. On a recent trip to Loreto, Mexico in Baja California Sur I went kayaking, clam diving, and snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez. Guess what? The islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California (aka, Sea of Cortez) are on the World Heritage List. An interesting fact: the UNESCO site in the Sea of Cortez is home to 695 plant species and 891 species of fish, more than any other marine or island property on the World Heritage List. Cool, huh?

Take a Stroll Down Andrássy Avenue in Budapest, Hungary

Take a Stroll Down Andrássy Avenue in Budapest, Hungary

Other recognizable locations include: the historic centres of Florence, Napoli, and Siena, Italy; Taj Mahal in India; the city of Budapest in Hungary; the Loire Valley in France; the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador; and Machu Picchu in Peru. I’ve been to five of the above mentioned sites…how about you?

You’ll notice most sites on the World Heritage List are famous. With fame comes challenges in preservation. The World Heritage Centre encourages visitors to be aware and travel responsibly. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can share and preserve World Heritage sites check out the Friends of World Heritage website. You can also donate to support communities around the sites. For every $1 donated, both Expedia and the United Nations Foundation will match your donation. Don’t forget to let Gulliver help you plan your next big adventure!


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