In honor of International Coffee Day, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite morning cup of joe. Many areas around the world claim to have the best coffee. What places have you sampled coffee in, and where around the world can your favorite cup be found?
World Tourism Day, officially recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization on September 27th each year, was brought about to raise awareness of the role of tourism within the international community. The day encourages those around the world to examine how tourism can affect cultures, economies, and politics around the world. What changes would you like to see within the tourism industry in the next year? Photo: Bhutan, 2017, @travelingtamara31
Niagara Falls are a popular stop on many tourist bucket lists. Straddled between the US and Canada, the falls gush 6 million cubic feet of water over its edge every minute- the equivalent of a million bathtubs of water every minute! While the natural spectacle seems to be universally loved, overtourism in this area is not. An estimated 30 million people visit each year, crowding the walkways en masse. Industry on both sides of the waterfall has developed casinos and too many tourist attractions to list. Many feel that the spirit of the falls is reduced due to too many other visitors and the abundance of an almost Las Vegas-like atmosphere in the city. The first photo is a more idealized view that many expect before visiting; the second is a more realistic view. Have you visited Niagara Falls? Which side? What were your impressions? Photos: @travelingtamara31, September 2018.
In celebration of World Rhino Day, today I wanted to talk about my 2016 visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda. I was lucky enough to spend some time with this lovely lady and her three month old baby while learning about their sad situation. Rhinos are critically endangered throughout Africa due to the illegal trade in wildlife parts. Believed to increase virility in some circles in Asia, rhino horn is currently worth around $65k per kilo- and each horn may have up to 8 or 9 kilos when a rhino is fully grown. The horns are simply keratin- the same substance our fingernails are made of- and in reality have no medicinal value whatsoever. Places like the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary aim to protect and increase rhino numbers as well as to educate the general public on the importance of conservation. All 18 rhinos found here are under armed guard 24 hours a day to deter poachers. I feel very fortunate to have experienced such a beautiful creature in her native habitat and to learn more about their plight. Photo and writing: @travelingtamara31
This week marks World Spa Week. Spas are often thought of as modern places to relax and rejuvenate, but the concept has been around for several millennia. The city of Bath, England, for example, is named after the famous Roman baths set up from natural hot springs. The project was started in 60ad and the area is now a World Heritage Site. Turkish baths are also a wonderful example of spas spanning history into today. What sorts of spa traditions are in your own areas? Photo: @travelingtamara31
International Tiger Day was yesterday. The event was created in 2010 to raise awareness of these critically endangered animals and to help conservation efforts. Currently there are less than 4,000 remaining in the wild, down from an estimated 100,000 in 1900. It it feared that tigers may become extinct in the wild in the next few decades if conservation efforts are not successful. Tourists can do their part in helping tigers by refusing to pet, interact with, or hold tigers while traveling abroad, and by supporting global conservation efforts. Photo: @gadv_jeremyb
Green sea turtles are a common sight on the island of Maui. These endangered sea turtles are unique in that unlike other sea turtle species, greens like to bask in the sun for hours on select beaches. While little is known as to why this behavior occurs, it is thought to be a way for the turtles to conserve energy and escape predators. People are encouraged to stay a minimum of fifteen feet away from these gentle giants, with massive fines being given to those who touch, harass, or impede their movement.
Switzerland’s dreamy landscapes seem almost fantastical at times. The mountains, waterfalls, and spectacular views- along with its people and cultures- make it a unique destination, beloved of many. Photo: @travelingtamara31
The Kepler Track is a 37 mile circular trail which travels through the landscape of the gorgeous South Island of New Zealand. The trek can take several days and the hike is considered difficult, but the scenery offers spectacular views. Photo: @twinderl
Only Navajo Guides are allowed in the back country of Monument Valley Tribal Park in Northern Arizona. Here, Dan Mose, hovers over (but doesn’t touch) an ancient Anasazi petroglyph. Even a small amount of the oils from our hands can darken petroglyphs making them impossible to see. Preserve petroglyphs by not touching them in any way. Photo by: Cindy Whalen @clwhalen3
The treasury at Petra, Jordan, lit up with lanterns and lights during their evening show. Did you know that Petra is an ancient Nabataen city and not just the Treasury building? The city flourished from around 400 BC until the first century AD when the Romans took over. This view is often the first that many think of when imagining Jordan. Photo: @travelingtamara31
A view of Geirangerfjord in Norway, seen from one of the historic “shelf farms” tucked onto natural ledges high on the steep-walled fjords. You have to climb a ladder to get here. Protection of places like this is one reason Norway’s fjords are rated high in destination stewardship, despite the polluting effects of cruise ship traffic. Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot
In honor of World Turtle Day, here is a just-hatched baby Olive Ridley making its way into the ocean surf for its first time. Though only hours old, this little guy has already gone through a massive ordeal- buried in the sand, it had to first claw its way out of its egg, climb through the sand up to the surface, identify the correct direction of the sea, avoid countless predators waiting for a snack, and make it safely into the ocean. Once in the water, it will take around 10-15 years for it to reach maturity. Each turtle will return to the beach of its hatching to lay their eggs as they come of age. Only one in one hundred will make it to adulthood.
Chitwan National Park (Nepal) has one of the largest remaining pockets of wild tigers anywhere on earth. One of the most critically endangered species in the world, over 100 of the remaining ~3,500 reside in this relatively small area. While no one is guaranteed a sighting of an elusive cat, sometimes it’s enough to simply exist in the same space, knowing they are near. While I was not able to see a tiger when I visited the park, we did see plenty of paw prints- reminders that tigers were all around us. Photo: October 2017 by @travelingtamara31
Colloquially known as the lighthouse at the end of the world, the Faro Les Eclaireurs was built in 1920 about five miles east of Ushuaia, Argentina, in the Beagle Channel. While the lighthouse today isn’t used as much in navigation, it was once essential in helping ships steer through the treacherous channel and Cape Horn. It is still a popular tourist sight today and remains a symbol of past times and nautical exploration. Photo: February 2018 by @travelingtamara31
Sense of place can also be defined by an event. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is one of the largest in the world and helps make the area even more colorful, if only for a weekend. Photo: Tamara Olton (@travelingtamara31).
Happy Friday, everyone! Double rainbow in Grand Lake, Colorado. What does sense of place mean to you? For us it can be as simple as enjoying nature in all its splendid beauty. Photo: Ashley Newson @ashtagwinning
Today is International Day of Happiness! Did you know that the tiny nation of Bhutan actually has a gross national happiness index? Bhutan believes that happiness is one of the most important things in life and the culture and government reflect this value in many ways. Where is the happiest place you have been? Photo: @travelingtamara31
Did you know that tourism is the largest employer of women in the world? Tourism- done well- can be one of largest supports of women worldwide. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here is a photo of an incredible woman in Siem Reap, Cambodia, who hand-weaves bracelets to give to tourists, blessing them as they visit the temples. Photo: @travelingtamara31
See-through butterfly, Sierra Gorda. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve hosts some 800 butterfly species. Photo: Jonathan B. Tourtellot. Read about our video release this Sunday: http://ow.ly/vH6t30i1GpX #WIP_DSC#mariposa#butterfly
Few road cuts have a romantic name, but this one does: Puerta del Cielo—the “Doorway to Heaven.” Mexico route 120 winds upward from the dry flats north of Querétaro city, past the towering monolith of Peña de Bernal, and finally slices through this gap into the heart of the Sierra Gorda. Watch our hosts on the winding road climbing up to La Puerta and onward to the region's main town, Jalpan de Serra.
Sierra Gorda is a Mexican Biosphere Reserve 97% owned by the residents. That's a conservation challenge. These local ladies at scenic Cuatro Palos run their own ecolodge, creating an incentive to take care of nature. Photo: Hassen Salum. See the trailer for our upcoming video here: http://ow.ly/wPcD30hTMcG
Claimed to be among the world's tallest monoliths at 433 m (1,421 ft), Peña de Bernal marks the gateway to the Sierra Gorda and the appealing "magic village" of Bernal. Our video hosts explore. Learn more about the Sierra Gorda project: http://ow.ly/fEWq30hTbFk
Coming on Jan. 28: The pilot for the DSC's new video series "World's Inspiring Places" about destination stewardship successes, #WIP_DSC . Shot in Sierra Gorda, Mexico.
See www.destinationcenter.org for more information. Here our two college-buddy hosts start the shooting trip from Querétaro City.