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If you think the above photo is beautifulit's our Andes view from LAN Airlines flight 158 from Santiago to Calamathen get ready to have your mind blown and your bucketlist overflowing.
South America is a land of such staggeringly varied terrain, from desert to glaciers and rainforest to snow-capped peaks, that flying over it without requesting a window seat is one of the biggest travel mistakes one can make.
Now, which route? Get your camera ready because, using our own past travel knowledge and a passion for experiencing the extremes, we've laid out the Six Scenic South America Routes to Fly Before You Die:
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A normal day for Andrew involves cuddling pandas
Hey, @WheresAndrew. Do you know him? You totally should, as he truly has the best job in the world. Andrew Evans is a writer (and kind of a hottie) and the official "Digital Nomad" for National Geographic, meaning he gets sent around the world to write, tweet, and occasionally Instagram his quirky adventures. Oh, and he just got off a round-the-world private jet flight to places like the pyramids in Egypt and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Just another workweek!
So now Andrew is preparing for yet another big trip, and he wants you to come along to the Galapagos Islands on a Nat Geo expedition ship with a brand new Nikon D600 camera...if you win a little contest to prove you can keep the pace with Andrew's storytelling through images.
Here's how to enter:*
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If you think the above photo is beautifulit's our Andes sunrise view from LAN Airlines flight 533 from JFK to SCLthen get ready to have your mind blown.
South America is a land of such staggering terrain, from desert to glaciers and rainforest to snow-capped peaks, that flying over it without requesting a window seat is a grave mistake.
For Marcelo Grether, Global Tourism Director at LAN and possessor of maybe the best job ever, the important thing is not so much getting passengers to want to fly LAN, but getting travelers to want to experience South America. And when you make that decision... "You want to go to South America? There is LAN."
Now, which route? Using Marcelo's knowledge and a passion to experience the extremes, we've figured out The Five Most Scenic LAN Flight Routes in South America:
On June 29, Creation, the story of Charles Darwin starring Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, will be released on DVD; but, if just watching the movie isn't enough, Ambercrombie and Kent is giving you the opportunity to live it.
“The islands of the Galapagos offer an opportunity to interact with the natural world to a degree that’s virtually impossible anywhere else,” A&K’s Ian Mackinnon says. “[Wonders of the Galápagos lets you] swim and snorkel with sea lions and turtles. Stroll past colonies of penguins and blue-footed boobies. Imagine yourself as Charles Darwin seeing a tortoise for the first time. Every island is unique; it’s no wonder Darwin was changed by his time there.”
So you agree the gorgeous Galapagos Islands are in danger but you aren't lucky enough to win the Jeapordy! contest which would take you on a weeklong tour to the islands with host Alex Trebek. Then you're going to need to find some other eco-friendly way of getting close to the turtles and all the other Galapagos reasons-to-go, right?
We're considering the possibility that Natural Habitat Adventures might be an okay way to go, given that National Geographic Adventure rated them in the top ten tour operators in the world and they have a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, two organizations that we have a fair bit of trust in.
Galapagos Travel / UNESCO / Galapagos National Park / Green Travel / Environment / Islands / World Heritage Sites / → All Tags
Meanwhile on the opposite side of the world...
We may think of it as one of the world's best, but the Galapagos National Park is in trouble. A boom in tourism to the islands--145,000 visitors dropped by in 2006 compared to 40,000 in 1990--is putting the delicate ecosystem at risk. That recently earned it a special spot on UNESCO's World Heritage list: as a site "in danger."
What does that mean? Non-native species are being introduced to the islands, big ships are detracting from the natural splendor and sport fishing is having an impact on wildlife below the water. And as more and more people come to the islands, there's a better chance that visitors will overwhelm the delicate balance that makes the islands special.
The president of the Galapagos Conservancy, which supports preservation projects in the islands, says her group isn't trying to discourage tourism but rather promote the area in a responsible way:
We have found that when tourists actually visit the Galapagos, they leave caring about it and wanting to support all conservation efforts.
[Photo: The Lilac Breasted Roller]