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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Recent Community Reviews

1033 of 1073 WHS have been reviewed by our community.

Jodrell Bank Observatory (T) Hubert, Austria 17.10.17

Jodrell Bank Observatory (T)

When we planned our trip through Wales and Central England in May and June 2017 we were not aware of the fact that the Jodrell Bank Observatory would be the next UK nomination, aiming for inscription in 2019. In hindsight, it was a good idea when that spontaneously decided to make a detour to the Cheshire East district, a few miles south of Manchester.

Although I have a soft spot for technical and scientific sites, I did not know much about the observatory prior to our visit. Except of the entry on the tentative list, I knew Jodrell Bank only because it is mentioned in the novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams (the telescope is also shown in the film adaption).

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Le Morne Philipp Peterer, Switzerland 17.10.17

Le Morne

Le Morne is easily visible from all around the area, especially the fancy hotels at the beach. To enter the core zone however you have to drive to the only entrance. It’s marked on the main road as “access to mountain”. It’s from either side a 1.5km bumpy unpaved road. The door is open from 7am to 4pm. Entrance is free. The first part is a rather easy uphill stroll. The second part is protected by an iron fence and door that can only be opened by official guides. There is no official close to the fence and climbing it seems to be a very popular option for both locals and tourists.

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Aapravasi Ghat Philipp Peterer, Switzerland 17.10.17

Aapravasi Ghat

I was really lucky I could enter, as the site was already closed when I arrived on a Saturday at 12:30. The friendly keeper let me in, so I could have a look at what is unfortunately a very underwhelming WHS. The area itself is tiny. You can see it in about 5 minutes. The only decent building is reconstructed. From the rest, only a few walls or even less is left. It has very limited opening times. Mon-Fri 9-4. Sat 9-12, Sun closed. Fun fact is that it’s basically signposted from the airport on the other end of the island.

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VIKING MONUMENTS AND SITES / Danevirke and Hedeby (T) Tsunami, Japan / USA / Germany 17.10.17

VIKING MONUMENTS AND SITES / Danevirke and Hedeby (T)

Some man involved in nominating this site for Germany came over to speak in my class during Winter Semester 2015-16 when I was still enrolled in the master's degree program "World Heritage Studies" in Germany and said that they had given up nominating this site as a transnational serial site with 4 other state parties and had decided to go alone at it; thus another nomination called "Hedeby and Danevirke, an archaeological border landscape."

I took a Flix bus from Hamburg, which dropped me off at some gas station in Schleswig about 3 km away from the outdoor museum area. But luckily within a few minutes I found an elderly woman who lives in Busdorf near the museum and who gave me a ride to the museum area.

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Tropical Rainforest Sumatra Wojciech Fedoruk, Poland 17.10.17

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra

Out of all three national parks composing this WHS, perhaps the easiest one to visit is Gunung Leuser on the border of Aceh and North Sumatra Province. Visitors center is in Bohorok, which is located around 3.5 hours by car from Medan airport (from the city of Medan it should take around 3 hours). There are no rental cars available in Medan airport so you either get a taxi or go to the city of Medan and rent a car there. I took a taxi and for a whole day I paid 1.2m INR (around 65-70 EUR). The road is very bad and leads through very populated areas, so drivers must be very careful.

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Blog: Tips for travelling to Ecuador

In September I spent 2 weeks in Ecuador, my first visit to this country. I covered all 5 WHS on a self-designed tour around the country by public transport. The small Andean nation has its pros and cons – it is quite compact for example, saving one the hellish bus rides known from Peru – but it will not make my list of favourite countries in the world that I’d love to return to.

Find below my Top Tips for Travelling to Ecuador as a World Heritage Traveller.

Galapagos Frigatebird displaying its inflatable red throat pouch

1. The Galapagos is expensive but not prohibitive

I spent 560 US dollars to get ‘into’ the Galapagos – and from that point the costs for lodging and food are similar to those in Quito. This expense was split between 440 dollar for the return ticket from Quito (getting there from Guayaquil is slightly cheaper), 20 dollar for a kind of visa fee (“transit control ticket”), to be paid at the departure airport, and 100 dollar for the conservation fee to be paid upon landing. So ‘ticking off’ the Galapagos is cheaper than seeing for example the gorillas in Bwindi. The islands still feature though on our connection High Entrance Fees, where I have updated the Galapagos entry from 100 to 120 USD (2017).

2. Take your time if you want to do the Galapagos on your own

I spent 5 days/4 nights on the Galapagos Islands, and that was actually a few days too little. You'd want a mix between exploring an island by yourself and joining a day tour for those islands that are only accessible with a guide. Besides a bit of personal freedom, this also lowers the cost as the day tours are not cheap at about 150 US dollar. A good additional thing to do would be to take the ferry to Isabela, and stay for 2 nights so you can take day tours from there too. A thing to consider is also the season: I visited in late September, and that was already the end of the summer season so not all day tours were available every day.

At the market of Guamote

3. Don’t miss the Andean towns for their active indigenous culture

Landscape-wise I found the area around Riobamba the prettiest: think Andes mountains plus mega-volcanoes. And that’s where you’ll find the largest share of indigenous population too. Probably only Bolivia rivals the percentage of people wearing traditional dress compared to this region. I recommend to visit the weekly Thursday market in Guamote, where you'll get a glimpse into the life of a small Andean farmer.

4. Don’t expect great pre-Columbian sites

One of the reasons that I didn’t like Ecuador as much as I would have wanted, is the near-absence of pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Where Mexico and Peru are literally covered in them, Ecuador only has the modest Ingapirca. A great place to visit however is the Casa del Alabado in Quito. It is a private art museum with an excellent collection of pre-Columbian remains from Ecuador. It has mostly ceramics, and these are in great condition. It highlights for example the Jama Coaque culture and the Chorrera culture.

Human figurine of the Ancient Jama-Coaque Culture

5. Ecuador’s Tentative List needs some further exploring

At the moment of writing, Ecuador has a Tentative List of 5. The country hasn't been very active nomination wise - actually I have not found any evidence of independent action since 1983. Only the Mining town of Zaruma has been in the news a few times, and if I had more time to spend in Ecuador I would for sure have checked it out. The other 4 sites are a petrified forest, an Andean railway track, an archaeological site with the world’s first traces of cocoa use and a coastal tropical forest. Noone has ever written a review about any of them on this website, so there's some unchartered territory to explore for the intrepid WH Traveller.

Published 14 October 2017

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