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The Caribbean islands are filled with beautiful lands that are well protected from the impact of man. Consider the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad as your eco-friendly vacation destination. Established in 1967, it is 183 acres of preserved land where over 170 species of birds reside. For those interested in volunteering, visitors can spend up to 12 weeks taking a “volunteer vacation" to help maintain the flowers and fruit trees that the birds depend on for survival. Another area of interest is the CuisinArt Resort in Anguilla. It boasts an 1800 square foot greenhouse that uses hydroponics to save water through drip irrigation and recirculation systems. Visitors can enjoy the garden grown food at the resort as well as tour the garden or participate in cooking lessons.
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Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland
Iceland is an eco-friendly place to visit due to its well-preserved and sparsely populated arctic regions. The Vatnajokul glacier is the largest in Iceland. It has an area of approximately 8100 kilometers with a thickness of 1000 meters at its densest point. Seven volcanoes reside beneath its surface along with an ice cavern that is several kilometers long. Many of the volcanoes are still active today. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Vatnajokul glacier is the object with the longest line of sight (up to 340 miles from the Faroe Islands). This amazing glacier was also used as a setting in the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill."
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Angel Falls, Venezuela
In Venezuela, the Canaima National Park is a protected eco-friendly region filled with exotic plants and animals (some that are unique to this area). A fascinating point of interest in this park is Angel Falls, which resides on the Auyantepui Mountain. With a height of 979 meters and a drop of 807 meters it is the highest waterfall in the world. The waterfall drops so far that most of the water simply dissipates as mist before it hits the ground. It is named after Jimmie Angel, a US aviator who was the first to fly over the falls in a plane, in 1937. The waterfall is in an isolated jungle that is a challenge to get to by land. It can be visited through special guided tours that can take you there by foot or canoe.
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Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is considered by some to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It stretches across 106,000 miles along the northeast coastline of Australia. The reef can be seen from outer space, and a large portion of it is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park due to the number of endangered animal species that reside there.
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The region of Yucatan, Mexico offers scenic beauty for the eco-conscious traveler. Consider a trip to the Riviera Maya which offers white sandy beaches, Mayan ruins, exotic animals and natural wonders. Of particular interest are the Cenotes near Puerto Morales where you can see cave-like sink holes with natural wells that are filled with underground water. For animal lovers, the Sian Ka ‘an Biosphere Reserve is a sanctuary for endangered species that includes spider monkeys, jaguars and pumas.
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Redwood National Forest, California
The Redwood National forest in California is known to be the home of the world’s tallest trees that can grow up to 350 feet and live up to 2,000 years. It is a state park that has preserved its natural beauty and historic sites. The park is about 40,000 acres wide. Other points of interest include the Prairie Creek Hatchery that was built in 1936, the Lyon’s Ranch Rural Historical District that houses eight structures that date back to the 19th century, and the Trinidad Trail that was used to connect coastal supply centers with early gold mining sites.
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Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater in the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania is a wildlife eco preserve that is home to multiple types animals including the endangered Black Rhino. The crater is a natural phenomenon that was created over 2.5 million years ago due to a volcanic eruption that collapsed the earth in this area. The result is a 265 square kilometer bowl that is 600 meters deep. It has forests, swamps and grassland regions. Up to 30,000 wildlife animals can be present in the region at any one time.
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The Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia is a huge sandstone formation that has a height of over 1000 feet and resides in the Northern Territory of Australia. Ayers Rock is speculated to be about 800-850 million years old (which is the same age as the conglomerate of Kata Tjuta). The rock is considered sacred by the Aboriginal people of the area and it appears to change color during different times of the day. At sunset it glows red and turns to blue as the sun sets. Surrounding the rock are rock caves, springs, waterholes and ancient paintings.
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Niagara Falls is actually a combination of three falls – American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian/Horseshoe Falls. It is located in between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. The falls are thought to be the legacy of the last Ice Age, which was about 12,000 years ago. The great power of the water that flows over these falls is an amazing sight for visitors. The water never stops flowing, regardless of the time of the year. During the winter season, the cold falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the fall and river.