Commodifying Nature: Ecotourism And Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

Osa Peninsula At Dusk

Man silhouetted against the dusk. Source: Julia de Guzman

The Osa Peninsula juts off southwestern Costa Rica and extends into the Pacific Ocean. Incredibly, at least half of all species living in Costa Rica can be found here. Corcovado National Park covers about a third of the peninsula and has been called “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. But to really understand what that means, you have to visit.

Osa Peninsula Golden Hour

Golden hour on the Osa Peninsula. Source: Julia de Guzman

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15 New Attractions You Need To Visit This Year

Aching to sate your wanderlust this year? 2014 marked the debut of a number of exciting attractions, each offering something different to patrons. Here are some examples of brand new sights to see (and tours to take) from around the globe.

The Smithwick’s Experience, Kilkenny, Ireland

Smithwick’s is Ireland’s oldest beer, and if you prefer a brewery tour that’s a little out of the ordinary, then off to Kilkenny you go–there, you’ll experience not only a pint or two of the perfect ale, but a tour complete with re-enactments of the company’s history. Played out by local actors, holograms, and living portraits of the family who took their business from a small operation to a worldwide brand, the differences between Smithwick’s tour and other brewery tours are obvious. It opened in July 2014, and has since received global acclaim.

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51 Unbelievable Photos Of The 2,000-Year-Old Philippine Rice Terraces

Philippine Rice Terraces Why Reflection

Photo credit: Jon Rawlinson

For at least two millennia, the Ifugao people have sculpted the sides of mountains into useable farmland. Located in the heart of the Cordillera mountain range in the northern Philippines, these rice terraces rise like wide, monumental staircases. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added these feats of ancient engineering to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1995. According to UNESCO, the Philippine rice terraces “create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment.”

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Globalization Can’t Be All That Bad If It Gives Us Hot Air Balloon Festivals Like This

Colorful Balloon Festival

A colorful collection of hot air balloons before takeoff. Source: Vaud

This January marks the 37th anniversary of Switzerland’s International Hot Air Balloon week held in Château-d’Oex. Organizers report that over 80 hot air balloons from 20 countries will participate in the event, which lasts from January 24, 2015 through early February.

The International Hot Air Balloon festival got its start in 1979, when 12 balloons from five countries gathered to promote Château-d’Oex at the suggestion of Hans Brücker. The festival grew over the years, and in 1999, the first hot air balloon to navigate around the globe without stopping left from Château-d’Oex. These days the festival hosts a number of special events and contests, drawing balloonists from all over the world. The festivities include a children’s-themed day, contests, Special Shape balloons and a night show with fireworks and music.

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