It’s easier than ever to find amazing travel spots in the world. Simply google, “best beaches” or “Most beautiful islands,” and you’ll find thousands of people willing to fill you in on a practically empty paradise they stumbled upon. But this easy accessibility leads to some serious downsides for the environment. The blight of overtourism is real. Iconic and very Instagramable spots are starting to fall apart from the rush of tourists looking to experience the moments they see on screens. And governments are starting to realize that if we don’t get overtourism under control, we’ll lose these natural wonders, maybe forever.
Cities like Barcelona and Venice, historical sites like Machu Picchu, and national parks everywhere are tempering the stampede of travelers by severely limiting how many people can come in and when. It might not be enough, which has led some places to shut down tourism completely. Maya Bay (Thailand) and Boracay (Philippines) made headlines last year as they succumbed to too many of us loving these places to death — like a collective Lenny hugging a rabbit.
So, what’s become of the paradises that closed to visitors? We have some updates on status, but we also want to help you become a more conscientious traveler. So, even if they’ve reopened (or are opening soon) — we don’t all need to rush back in. We’re offering alternative destinations that are similar to these places but not suffering from too many visitors. It might be time to blaze your own path. The world, after all, is amazingly vast.