• Coastline in Central America

    Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in Latin America

    UNESCO World Heritage sites are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration that represent our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we pass on to future generations. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Latin America</a> contains a wealth of these phenomenal sites, both natural and manmade, that make up our world&#39;s most impressive cultural and natural heritage. The aim is to encourage regions to preserve and protect parts of our history while promoting tourism as a sustainable way to take in the magnificence our world has to offer. To help you get the most out of your next trip to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Central or South America</a>, we&#39;ve created a roundup of our top 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites you can&#39;t miss! <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">#</a></b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><b>1 Machu Picchu, Peru</b></a><br>Perhaps one of the most famous archeological UNESCO sites in the world, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> sits high in the Andes Mountain range surrounded by tropical forests and towering peaks. This pearl of the Incan Empire is a popular tourist destination for a reason. It defies belief with amazing architectural achievements, surrounding natural beauty and spiritual significance. Explore the ancient Incan ruins while breathing in the tremendous isolation and preservation of this incredible ancient kingdom deep in the Peruvian mountains. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Man taking a picture at Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9uV" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, Belize" target="_blank"><b>#2 Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System</b><b>, Belize</b></a><br>Belize&#39;s extensive reef system is considered one of the largest barrier reefs in the northern hemisphere. This impressive coast is home to hundreds of sand cays, mangrove forests, lagoons and several endangered species who call this reef home. During your time here, cruise on a Catamaran, snorkel in the best spots in the reef system, and kayak on turquoise water at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Ambergris Caye</a> to fully experience the wonder this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Young girl Kayaking in Belize" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9t8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#3 Tikal National Park, Guatemala</b></a><br>Tikal National Park is surrounded by a tropical jungle and is home to the tallest pyramid in the Western Hemisphere that was once one of the most important spiritual sites to the ancient Mayan civilization. The ceremonial center and ruins of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Xunantunich</a> display the fascinating and mystifying culture of the Mayan civilization that once called this countryside home from 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. This important reserve also contains unspoiled biological and ecological habitats that will amaze along with impressive wildlife like howler monkeys and colorful birds that can be spotted in the treetops. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Xunantunich ruins, Guatemala" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><b>#4 Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island), Chile</b></a><br>Easter Island, also known as Isla de Pascua or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Rapa Nui</a> by the Spanish and Polynesian is one of the most spectacular and alluring sites on earth. This sacred Polynesian settlement is famous for its enigmatic giant stone figures built centuries ago. These massive &quot;<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Moai</a>&quot; figures are a mystery to historians and remain one of the only links to the ancient culture and tradition embedded in this gorgeous island. Visit Rapa Nui to revel in the park&#39;s beauty and its stone sculptures that act as a testimony to an isolated cultural evolution.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Easter Island Moais" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">#5 Galápagos Islands</a></b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><b>, Ecuador</b></a><br>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos Islands</a> are a volcanic archipelago drifting in isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, brimming with incredible wildlife that once inspired Charles Darwin&#39;s theory of evolution. Walking amongst the wildlife and spotting the islands&#39; Big Five (giant land tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, penguins, and marine iguanas) will delight all visitors and provide a real live exhibition of evolution before your very eyes. This island is one of the last unspoiled places on earth where man has respected the boundaries of mother nature and is a treasure in the middle of the Pacific worth visiting.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Young boy taking a picture of a seal on a beach" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">#6 Los Glaciares National Park</a> (<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile </a>&amp; <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/argentina/" target="_blank">Argentina</a>)</b><br>Located in the picturesque region of Patagonia in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile </a>&amp; <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/argentina/" target="_blank">Argentina</a>, Los Glaciares National Park is an area of exceptional beauty with rugged mountains, glacial lakes and a variety of stunning natural sites. Hikers flock here to explore the hundreds of trails while others seek silence and solitude among the remote valleys where views stretch for miles.<br><br><b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Solar Eclipse Sidenote:</a> </b>On December 14, 2020, the day will turn to instant night in one of the few places on land where the total eclipse of the sun will be visible. It is a once-in-a-lifetime sight to see! <a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> is offering a special <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">2020 Total Solar Eclipse tour</a> to view this incredible moment while perched atop a Chilean mountainside. <br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank"><img alt="Woman near a lake in Patagonia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9uQ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><b>#7 Town of Cartagena, Columbia</b></a><br>Cartagena is the perfect Caribbean city overflowing with history and enchanting beauty thanks to some of the world&#39;s best-preserved colonial architecture lining the streets. This colorful town is wonderfully walkable and chock-full of cobbled streets draped in bougainvillea where current residents live in close quarters with traditions of the past that linger in this port city. Dominating this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the nearby <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank">San Felipe Castle</a>, boasting over 500 years of defending the ancient city from pirates and foreign invasions <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Colorful street in Cartagena" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">#8 La Amistad National Park,</a></b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank"><b> Panama</b></a><br>This massive national park, on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, contains lush tropical rainforests and unique fauna and flora interbred between the biospheres of North and South America. Arguably, one of the best ways to see this biosphere reserve is to walk <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">El Retoño trail</a> and learn about one of the highest and wildest non-volcanic mountain ranges in Central America. As you explore the lush ecosystem of the park, look up and search for the incredible variety of birds ranging from Quetzals to Tapaculos, and Flycatchers.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Waterfall in Panama" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><b>#9 Old Havana and its Fortification System, Cuba</b></a><br>Old Havana (<i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">La Habana Vieja</a>) </i>describes the most central and original portion of the Havana, Cuba. This 500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site is the original <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">heart of Havana</a>, built by the Spanish, burned to the ground by pirates, and is still considered a fine district of baroque and neoclassic buildings with great architectural character you can&#39;t find elsewhere. Explore the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Plaza de Armas</a>, Castillo del Morro, and Museum of the Revolution to learn more about the rich history and culture of this precious island. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Old Havana street and Capitolo" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9u1" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank"><b>#10 Viñales</b> <b>Valley, Cuba</b></a><br>With its fertile soil, favorable climate, and wide valleys, this area in western Cuba is known for its tobacco cultivation and high rising cliffs that surround the valley. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank">Parque Nacional Viñales</a> is located in the Pinar del Rio province and the dramatic cliffs surrounding the valley hold numerous caves full of dripstone and ancient rock art from past inhabitants. Enjoy the abundance of greenery in this province and learn of the traditional methods of agriculture that have survived here unchanged for several centuries.   <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank"><img alt="Landscape of Viñales Valley" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you&#39;re interested in visiting one or more of these iconic locations, check out the different trips offered by <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys to Central &amp; South America</a> to explore some of the worlds most culturally and naturally stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

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  • Buddhist prayer flags, Bhutan

    Outside Magazine gets our inside story on adventure travel

    <p><i>At Classic Journeys, we’ll talk about travel with anyone who will engage with us; fellow travelers, our guides around the world, and members of the traveling media. Recently, the editors of Outside, a terrific active-lifestyle and adventure-travel magazine, invited me to talk about topics like the direction of adventure travel, conservation, and what’s hot and new. They’re all subjects that are really close to my heart, and I hope you enjoy these excerpts from the conversation.</i></p> <h3>WHAT MAKES CLASSIC JOURNEYS THE BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANY?</h3> <p>Classic Journeys is the adventure travel company for time-starved adventurers – the people who crave the adrenalin, but who can’t commit all the time and resources that major expeditions demand. We have the access to places from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/argentina/" target="_blank">Patagonian glaciers</a> to awesome <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Saharan dunes</a> to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Mekong</a> and the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/" target="_blank">Irrawaddy</a>. We leverage long, close relationships with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">the world’s best local guides</a> and outfitters. We deliver the intensive personal service that keeps the focus on adventure instead of logistics. And we are deeply connected to the life of every region so the experience is both visceral and culturally satisfying.</p> <h3>DOES CLASSIC JOURNEYS PERSONALLY VET ALL OF YOUR TRIPS?</h3> <p>Absolutely. I, or one of our staff travel logisticians, or one of our trusted guides scouts every destination. It’s how we’re able to speak so knowledgeably about our trips and share our personal insights and favorite moments with our guests. It’s also how we’re able to provide the exceptional personal service that our guests have come to associate with Classic Journeys. We’re travelers. Not tourists. Just like our guests.</p> <h3>WHAT’S YOUR MOST AMBITIOUS/EXCITING/INTERESTING ITINERARY FOR 2013?</h3> <h3><img alt="Monks in Myanmar" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7no&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002n1r" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></h3> <p>It’s <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/" target="_blank">Myanmar</a>. Outside Magazine ID’d the country as a new frontier in 2012, and few travelers have gotten in due to infrastructure that can’t handle the gold-rush demand. Classic Journeys holds “positive space” in Myanmar, guaranteeing that our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/dates/" target="_blank">Myanmar travel</a> adventures will run. The itinerary emphasizes authentic experiences, including visits to native tribes, “field-hopping” in the floating farms of Inle Lake, extreme shopping at local markets, and explorations of Bagan’s temples on foot and by hot air balloon.</p> <p>Beyond that, and on the other side of the world, is <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Here we’ve worked with our local adventure guide extraordinaire, Atli, to craft an amazing cultural walking adventure that connects our travelers with great streams of lava, glaciers, and fjords teeming with whales. Whether you’re marveling at an endless colony of cartoonish puffins or watching the clouds turn shades of sherbet at sunset, you’ll experience this place with remarkable intensity. With Atli, we introduce guests to everyone from a shark fisherman to a Viking priestess. And even with all of the adventure, we manage a high comfort quotient, digging into a lobster feast, soaking in a geothermal spa and staying in luxury hotels that capture the island’s unique vibe.</p> <h3>HOW DOES CLASSIC JOURNEYS CONTRIBUTE TOWARD CONSERVATION AND THE COMMUNITIES IN THE AREAS YOU VISIT?</h3> <p>We never “helicopter” travelers in and out of a region. We spend time on the ground, inside the local cultures. In countries from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Peru</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Vietnam</a>, we’ve adopted a policy of supporting schools and orphanages. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/" target="_blank">Myanmar</a>, we participate in programs that dig wells for villages and we put our backs into road-building projects deep in the countryside. From elephant preserves to craft collectives, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/giving/" target="_blank">our travelers see, learn about and impact local society</a>.</p> <h3>CLASSIC JOURNEYS IS KNOWN FOR ITS GUIDES. WHAT ARE YOUR GUIDE REQUIREMENTS?</h3> <p>Classic Journeys only works with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guides/" target="_blank">highly qualified local guides</a> who live in the region. By definition, they are fluent in the local dialects and English. They have large networks of local friends and colleagues, and they share those relationships with our travelers. The guides accompany the travelers 24/7 and are supported by local experts or professionals who provide extreme connectedness to the region. Our guides become like family at Classic Journeys. Some have been with us since the beginning of the company. And on average they’ve been guiding for us for over a decade. That connection with Classic Journeys, combined with their connectedness to their regions, really pays dividends for our guests.</p> <h3>WHAT’S NEW AND EXCITING TO YOU IN TRAVEL, HOW DO YOU SEE THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY CHANGING, AND WHAT IS THE VISION FOR CLASSIC JOURNEYS GOING FORWARD?</h3> <p>Experiences. Experiences. Experiences. The best trend – which we anticipated from the founding of Classic Journeys – is the search for authentic travel experiences. Travelers want more and more engagement, less drive-by touring. They want unpackaged, one-of-a-kind encounters that give them bragging rights.</p> <p>There’s rapidly growing emphasis on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/family/" target="_blank">family travel</a> too. Even adrenalin junkies grow up. They still want the visceral thrills of adventure travel, but they want to share their interests with other family members. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/family/" target="_blank">Multi-Sport Family Vacations</a> plug into this trend with high-energy itineraries like our island-based <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank">Galápagos family vacation</a> that ditches the cruise ship. Instead, we stay on the islands in eco-lodges and amp up the nature visits with mountain biking, volcano climbing, kayaking with sea lions and iguanas and more.</p> <p>We think the best vacation is both mentally and physically stimulating. With ongoing trip refinements and forays into new destinations, the Classic Journeys vision is to reveal the true personality of every region through concise, high-impact adventure activities blended with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/walking/" target="_blank">authentic cultural experiences</a>.</p> <p><i>Don’t just listen to what we have to say, though. Check out our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guest-reviews/" target="_blank" title="Classic Journeys Reviews">Guest Reviews page</a> to see what our guests have to say about the Classic Journeys experience.</i></p>

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