Book Review: 500 Places to See Before They Disappear

Frommer’s 500 Places to See Before They Disappear by Holly Hughes is another in a long list of “must see” books doing the rounds of the the travel shelves in the last few years. This one says it is intended for eco-tourists who are keen to visit places that are affected by environmental change or by a lack of preservation, and covers 500 sites that are both natural and man-made.

frommers_picgThere are nine chapters in this book, dividing the 500 places into categories like mountains, ruins, architecture and water. Famous spots like the Grand Canyon, the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu feature, but there are also lesser known places like the El Fuerte de Samapiata fort in Bolivia and the Mabi Forest in Queensland, Australia. There’s a big bias towards American sights with many of the 500 sites to be found within the 50 states.

Each entry gives a good description of the place involved, plus a paragraph or two on why this site is endangered and what is being done to help preserve it. To finish off, there are also hotel recommendations.

Of course, the question is clearly whether such a book should exist or not. If these 500 places are in danger of disappearing, is it really a good idea to encourage tourists (even eco-friendly ones) to go traipsing off to visit them?
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