There are loads of things you shouldn't do in 2019. You shouldn't, say, eat a ton of jellybeans and go run a marathon. That's just not a great idea. Consider, instead, where you will leave a footprint.
Traveling is great; it's good for economies, good for the soul, and good for humanity. What's not great is traveling somewhere to see something unique and breathtaking, only to find a gazillion other people vying for the same photo of the Mona Lisa. Neither is jet-setting off to the tropics, only to find that humanity's garbage - literal garbage - has ruined it.
As a result, there are some destinations that - while historic, necessary, and beautiful in a purely idealistic sense - should be avoided this year due to the negative affects of overtourism. When planning your vacation for 2019, these are the spots that you should avoid.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The remote Galápagos Islands host many species found nowhere else on Earth, making it one of the world's best tourist spots for wildlife viewing. Yet land tourism seems to be hurting the Galápagos. Unlike cruises, land tourism is lightly regulated and oftentimes tourists will break the rules by touching the islands' famous wildlife, such as the giant tortoises or iguanas. Additionally, scientists believe that if a tourist walks among Galápagos penguins and their young, the animals might experience a sort of stress which may prevent them from parenting adequately.
Leaning Tower (Pisa, Italy)
Like many tourist attractions, the Leaning Tower of Pisa attracts many visitors all year round. But large crowds aren't the most annoying part about the well-known landmark - it's what everyone in the crowd is doing. Not only is everyone hovering in the same radius, but they're all trying to get the iconic "leaning tower photo" by twisting their bodies and extending out their arms. Other than spending 30 minutes trying to get a good photo, there's nothing else to do here.
Koh Tachai Island, Thailand
A perfect example of tourism's negative impact, Koh Tachai Island was closed indefinitely by local officials after record numbers of tourists threatened the beaches and coral reefs. Divers still have access to some sites across the island, but tour operators will lose their license if they're caught unloading on the island.
The Mona Lisa at The Louvre Museum (Paris, France)
Unlike the rest of the tourist attractions listed here, the Mona Lisa is flat-out disappointing. The painting itself is a modest little piece of art, and you might find yourself waiting a long time just for the opportunity to take a look up close.
Times Square (Manhattan, New York)
Even if you're an experienced traveler, Times Square is one of those places that will undoubtedly overwhelm you. The excessive number of tourists, traffic, street performers and aggressive costumed characters are like a nightmare from which you can't wake up. If you do decide to visit, you will find that one visit will suffice for a lifetime.
Big Major Cay, Bahamas
The Bahamas' swimming pigs of Exuma are the biggest attraction in Big Major Cay, but tourists have killed more than half a dozen of them by feeding them. Tourists are still able to visit the remaining pigs, but new rules restrict tourists from coming close to the friendly porkers.
The land of ice and sun, Antarctica is breathtaking, but it can literally take your breath away because it's so very cold. Largely untouched by mankind save for its bravest scientists, Antarctica remains pristine and beautiful largely because of the cold. Let's leave it that way.
Easter Island, Chile
The World Wildlife Federation lists the one of the most isolated islands on Earth, Easter Island, as "critical/endangered." The island is located over 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast and known for more than 800 charmingly large monumental statues called moai. The moai are iconic and probably worth seeing in person at some point - but not in 2019, because the island needs a break from the foot traffic. Much of the island is protected within Rapa Nui National Park, and that designation affords legal protection and more importantly the monetary funds to combat invasive species, erosion, forest fires, and tourist-caused destruction. In its prehistory, the island, largely covered by non-native grass now, was extensively covered with trees, ferns, and shrubs - a jungle. The government of Chile has said it plans on ramping up efforts to return this island to its former glory.
Isla de Sa Porrassa (Majorca, Spain)
This "party" island with the designation of "Big Swiller's Island" has the reputation of being the place where drunken teenagers need to be - which is why you need to not be there. Local authorities have advised against the risk of swimming to the island while drunk, even though this should be common sense. Please, stop drinking and swimming in general, and especially around this gorgeous island in Spain.
Machu Picchu (Cuzco, Peru)
Machu Picchu is a prime example of how amazing humans can be. We can create so much with just our hands and brains. Just look at it! However, this also means gobs of visitors. One trail leading to the famous ruin, the Inca Trail, was closed for a time in 2018 because of the dangerous weather, which happens around the winter. When a historical site has to close because visitors are not smart enough to not trek up the Andes in inclement weather, it's time re-think how to preserve a cultural icon for future generations. In 2016, the Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains were closed for maintenance, and 2017 landslides from El Nino forced another closure; both caused an outcry from disappointed tourists. If a site seems almost always on the brink of "closing forever" due to a plethora of reasons (some of them being weather), we probably need to give that place a break from foot traffic.
Surrounded by the Caribbean and once-thriving coral reefs, this Mexican destination used to be a sleepy place with only a couple hundred residents. Much like other tropical oceanic destinations though, the island of Cozumel has suffered greatly due to humans, boats, and developers who cater to tourism. It now sees millions of visitors a year, in large quantities at a time. There are many beaches in the world, and it's time to find another one.
Venice is overrun with travelers, and it's sinking. The city has so many tourists it even has diversion routes specifically so they stop gumming up daily life. The city is on the water, which makes it idyllic and romantic - and with an influx of people, also smelly and polluted. It smells like dirty human garbaged-up water and is in need of a serious break, to the point where locals are even protesting visitors. Wouldn't it be better to go to a place where you're welcome?
Hobbiton (Hamilton, New Zealand)
Thank you Peter Jackson, for not only making the two longest film trilogies of anyone's life, but also for ruining New Zealand. A place once thought of as "the island near Australia" is now a prime destination for all the nerds in the world.
Besides New Zealand, travelers should stay out of the outback as well. Australia has one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Deserts, rainforests, beaches, savannahs, snow and ice are all present. Australians want you to come visit, as they're friendly and the continent is amazing, but their current policies are on track toward ruining the good thing they have. Kangaroo Island is one popular destination, but when developers attempted to boost tourism in the aughts with plans for things like a helipad and a golf course, the residents pushed back. Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef are also both in danger thanks to overtourism, the latter being particularly at risk due to climate change.
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