Thousands of years ago, a list of “7 Wonders of the World” was first complied, and included sites such as the pyramids in Giza, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Wonderful as they were, the fact that the cites were centered mainly around the Mediterranean rim, and that, except for one, they are now long gone from the face of the Earth, makes the list rather out of date and not so “worldly”.
Fast forward to 2007, when 100 million votes were collected by internet, SMS and phone, as part of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” campaign, culminating in a list of seven monuments valued for their significance to the globe’s diverse cultural heritage. The goal: bring awareness and appreciation to these treasures, in hopes of conserving them.Â Among the “winners” are the awe-inspiring sites of of Machu Picchu in Peru, and the pyramids of Chichenitza in Mexico.
The same non-profit group is behind the current “New 7 Wonders of Nature” campaign. The world is now being called upon to nominate and vote on the most treasured natural, rather than man-made, sites of the globe. Hundreds of places, from the Amazon Basin to K2 Mountain to the Red Sea, have been nominated, and the voting will continue through mid 2009. (Yes, YOU can vote! Check out: http://www.new7wonders.com )
Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, the newspaper La Nacion, perhaps as a kind of marketing ploy and hopefully at least out of curiosity, has already conducted a similar project of it’s own, collecting almost 30,000 votes to arrive at what it calls the “Seven Wonders of Costa Rica”. With so many stunning natural sites to choose from, it wasn’t difficult to come up with an impressive list:
* Isla del Coco, a Unesco World Heritage site known for clear waters and abundant marine life
* Arenal Volcano , providing amazement with an almost daily pyroclastic show, at close-enough range.
* Cerro Chirripo, a 3820 meter peak containing incredible biodiversity, and even a bit of snow.
* Rio Celeste, a clear-turned-bright-blue river containing waterfalls and hot springs, winding through the rainforest
* Tortuguero, a network of dense waterways, including the coastal nesting grounds of several sea turtle species.
* Poas Volcano, the largest active crater in the world with molten sulfur bubbling under huge crater lakes.
* Monteverde,Â a cloud forest and wildlife refuge, housing hundreds of species, including the colorful Quetzal
Consider that many of these diverse, breathtakingly gorgeous, and often remote places are still located within a day’s drive of Costa Rica’s international airport, and of each other, albeit on a sometimes rough and windy road. No need to buy an around the world ticket or take the summer off to see all seven of these “wonders”. Technically, one could see all seven of them in seven days, but to really do them justice it would be better to (at least) double that.
Regardless of exactly who voted, or whether these are all really “wonders” or just wonderful places, the value of these sites is hard to question. Bringing attention to them can serve as a source of inspiration to learn a bit more, perhaps enough more to warrant exploring them in person. Hopefully if we can all manange to do so responsibly, we can hope to keep them around for a while, and let them disappear like the ones from the first list.