Are you running out of ideas on where to go with kids during school breaks? Ever considered visiting every UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world?
There are 832 cultural, 206 natural and 35 mixed UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America and Latin America and the Caribbean, according to UNESCO.
That’s a lot of ground to cover. With that many options, how do you choose? We’ve listed five here based on their historical significance, educational value, environmental awareness, and uniqueness.
1. Historic center of Rome
Legend has it that Romulus and Remus founded Rome in 753 BC. It became the capital of the Christian world in the fourth century and the most powerful empire in the world. Join an ancient Roman tour and visit the iconic sites of the historic center of Rome. See how the stories in history books begin to unfold as you visit the sites. The stories of adventure, triumph, defeat, and pain will make Rome’s history come alive.
Kids can see the ancient ruins in Roman Forum and the Colosseum. The Colosseum is an amphitheater, made of stone that could hold up to 50,000 people. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the structure was destroyed by earthquakes and fires. Kids will love the 2,000-year-old Colosseum and will learn about gladiators, the animals and the cruelty of mankind. Here’s a video by Mocomi Kids:
2. Tiwanaku, Bolivia
For an off the beaten track destination, we suggest going to Tiwanaku, a pre-Inca civilization located about 42 miles west of La Paz and six miles from the southern shores of Lake Titicaca. Existed 1,000 years before Columbus discovered the Americas, Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an open-air museum that attracts local students and a few international tourists.
Besides photo taking opportunities with ancient monoliths, the Gate of the Sun and a sunken courtyard with protruding carved faces and skulls, kids will discover an ancient civilization in the Americas and get to compare it with the Roman civilization.
3. Galapagos Island, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of 19 islands located in the Pacific Ocean, is about 600 miles from Ecuador’s coast. This place is unique where animal ‘rule!’ Animal-loving kids will enjoy the humongous sea tortoises, sea lions, land iguanas roaming around freely in their natural habitat.
The Galapagos is a year-round destination, but crowds and higher prices are unavoidable if you choose to visit during the peak season (dry season) in June, July, and August. The Galapagos is also popular during Christmas time, which is considered the high season. The wet season is from December to May. Other than the Christmas season, the low season might bag you a bargain for cruises and hotels.
The most popular tours are seven to ten days long. Families can fly to Isla Baltra airport, located north of Santa Cruz from Quito or Guayaquil and join a cruise at Puerto Ayora (in Santa Cruz) to visit the islands and wildlife.
4. Everglades National Park, Florida
America’s largest subtropical wilderness is Everglades National Park. This World Heritage Site located in South Florida is over 1.5 million acres and has three entrances in three different cities. Homestead, Miami and Everglades City entrances are all easily accessible by car.
When you visit will determine what you see. During the dry season, from November to March, the park has the most predators and birds. It’s less humid and hot. Most importantly, there are fewer bugs, and more programs are available for kids to enjoy especially the Junior Ranger programs.
According to NPS, the best ways to experience the Everglades is to take a quiet walk on the boardwalk trails, take a boat tour or take tram rides. For a list of things to do besides camping, canoeing, fishing, biking and bird watching, please visit NPS.gov.
5. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali
Most kids these days do not know where their food originates. Those who have not seen rice fields or rice terraces will be amazed at Jatiluwih rice terraces in Bali. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautifully contoured rice terraces is the most beautiful sight in Bali.
A guided tour is a must when visiting Jatiluwih. Walk in between the rice terraces for a chance to see farmers, animals, the unique irrigation system, different phases of rice farming, and get close to the rice terraces. Families with older kids may want to join a Jatiluwih cycling tour with a professional biking tour guide.
Tips to get to these destinations
1. Find the closest airport. For example, if you’re flying to La Paz, your nearest airport is El Alto International Airport.
2. Airlines flying into the destination.
3. Time difference between the destination and your hometown.
4. Converting US$ to the local currency. In this example, we use US$ to Bolivian Boliviano.