Help squash the ‘overtourism’ bug by visiting these lesser visited, but just as beautiful, locales with Chimu Adventures
One of last year’s burning topics in the industry was ‘overtourism’ with destinations such as Maya Bay and Boracay Island drawing a line in the sand on visitor entry due to environmental damage. Venice was also forced to introduce an entrance fee of up to €10 for short-stay tourists to be used towards cleaning up the city during high season.
These instances highlight how wanderlust slides into heartbreak for the environment and residents when it peaks. The compulsion to visit hyped up destinations to tick the box of having ‘done’ that place is wreaking havoc, so why not make 2019 the year to go somewhere completely new?
Have you thought about South America? With direct flights from Sydney or Melbourne to Santiago in just 13 hours, don’t miss out on a sustainable South American adventure.
Chile Island life
Patagonia is the immediate Chilean choice but staying near Torres del Paine National Park in the summer months of January and February will see you struggling to find accommodation unless you have the foresight to book well in advance or the means to pay a pretty penny for it. Visiting during spring and autumn requires a little more resistance to the elements but you will be rewarded with the tranquillity of less trekkers and beautiful fauna.
Have you ever thought to add the national parks of Chile’s islands to your list? Chiloé Island, one flight from Santiago, is home to Chiloé National Park where you will find prolific wildlife such as deer, foxes, seal and whale species and myriad seabirds including penguin varieties.
Beyond Machu Picchu
From Santiago, Cusco in Peru is just one direct flight away. Machu Picchu’s idolisation has resulted in a permit system for the Inca Trail of 500 people per day (including porters and guides) and a visitor cap of 2500 per day which has limited the number of travellers trekking their way to this ultimate South American icon.
One of the seven new wonders of the world, Machu Pichhu’s fame is justified, but if you don’t fancy sharing your archaeological experience with the masses, there are other options. Kuélap in northern Peru is the fascinating site of the Chachapoyas people. It may not be that simple to access being located on the Amazonian side of the northern Peruvian Andes, but the journey will be well worth it.
In search of Paddington
Hopping around the Galapagos Islands is up there with the ultimate wildlife experiences and, fortunately, the archipelago has regulations in place to help limit visitor numbers and protect its delicate eco-system such as an entrance fee and single-use plastics ban. But not all Ecuadorian wildlife lives on the Galapagos Islands; the vitality of mainland Ecuador is unexpected and less frequented.
A scenic drive north of Quito to Pimampiro takes you to a land of pure mountain air, mighty green hills, wide open skies and the spectacled Andean bear. Not many tourists know about Mirador del Oso Andino, a place dedicated to the conservation of these amazing bears in their natural habitat. The love and soul put into this project by the organisers is tangible as they point out the best bear watching spots, explain the research they do and offer honey from their bees.
Life’s a Brazilian beach
Brazil and beaches go together like Caipirinhas and Copacabana sunsets but anyone who has visited Rio’s most famous praia during high season will know it can be difficult to find a patch of sand to lay your towel.
No such issues in Fernando de Noronha. This emerald archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is accessible by flight from Recife in Northern Brazil and is a destination which has resisted the perils of overtourism due to restrictions on visitor numbers and entrance fees. The environmental value of its unique flora and fauna is reflected in its UNESCO World Heritage Site status and the fee goes towards this paradise’s preservation. Sundowners to a backdrop of crystal waters and volcanic outcrops are just as satisfying and there is a bit more breathing space to enjoy them.
2019 can be the year to achieve positive travel goals rather than putting already crowded destinations under more pressure. Latin America specialists, Chimu Adventures, can tailor your trip to explore the diverse continent in its entirety, from its highlights to its hidden corners.
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Have you travelled to any of these places with Chimu Adventures? Tell us about your journey below.
Written by Frances Armitage at Chimu Adventures.
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