Amazon Rainforest (South America)
The Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rain forest and river basin, is a vast region that spans the border of eight rapidly developing countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, an overseas territory of France.
The landscape contains:
- One in ten known species on Earth
- 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests
- 4,100 miles of winding rivers, the source of almost one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on Earth
- 2.6 million square miles, about 40 percent of South America, in the Amazon Basin
There is a clear link between the health of the Amazon and the health of the planet. The rain forests, which contain 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, help stabilize local and global climate. Unfortunately, deforestation may release significant amounts of this carbon, which could have catastrophic consequences around the world.
The Amazon is systematically being torn down and devalued for short term gains. Unsustainable expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching, construction of roads and dams, and extractive activities including illegal logging and climate change are the biggest drivers of deforestation and river degradation. At current deforestation rates, 55% of the Amazon's rainforests could be gone by 2030. Worldwildlife.org
Halong Bay (Vietnam)
Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s natural wonders and is the most beautiful tourist destination of Vietnam. Ha Long Bay features more than one thousand awesome limestone karsts and islands of various sizes and shapes along the 120-km coastline of Bai Chay Beach.
Its waters are host to a great diversity of ecosystems including offshore coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forests, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches. According to a folk tale dragons descended from heaven to help locals by spitting jewels and jade to the sea, forming a natural fortress against invaders; these precious stones are represented by the lush green outcrops.
Several islands boast beautiful grottos and caves with contiguous chambers, hidden ponds and peculiar stone formations. The bay is about 170 kilometers northeast of Hanoi and 3.5 hours by road. Cruiseshalong.com
Iguazu Falls (Argentina)
Emotion prevails in the face of the Iguazu Falls. A sense of magic and charm surrounds everyone enjoying the Iguazu Falls and natural attractions of this ecological sanctuary. It is a million square kilometers area in the northeast of Argentina bordering the south of Brazil. Iguazu Falls is the major remaining sample of "Paranaense jungle" and the major biodiversity sample in the argentine territory.
Every tourist visiting and enjoying Iguazu National Park will experience the sensation of being in the heart of a paradise, currently fit with infrastructure and means of transport ecologically conceived for a proper visit of the Park. Catwalks, paths and squares allow the delight of visitors and the Green Trains provide a beautiful ride through the thick forest. Iguazu-falls.com.ar
Komodo Island (Indonesia)
Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia. The island has a surface area of 390 km² and over 2000 inhabitants. The inhabitants of the island are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to the island and who have mixed themselves with the Bugis from Sulawesi. The population are primarily adherents of Islam but there are also Christian and Hindu minorities.
Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. Particularly notable here is the native Komodo dragon. In addition, the island is a popular destination for diving. Administratively, it is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province.
The Komodo National Park has over 1000 species of rare fish, 260 species of progressive base line coral that actually create the reefs themselves and 7 species of sponges that are essential to the surface of the reef. Large species are also present including sharks, Dugong, manta rays, over 14 species of endangered whales, dolphins and the now recovering giant turtles. Flores-komodo.com
Puerto Princesa Underground River (Philippines)
A must-see for first time visitors and tourists in Palawan. The longest navigable underground river and reputedly the most beautiful subterranean river in the world. Its main attraction is an 8.2 kilometer Underground River that winds through a spectacular cave before joining the South China Sea.
At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right at the water's edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, mountain trekking, and exploring the deeper part of the forest.
The park was declared a premier ecotourism destination and has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list for its outstanding universal value and ecological significance as a natural site of intense beauty. Visitpuertoprincesa.com