Island Destinations Rated: South America
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North America Pacific/Australia/NZ South America
Panelists exchanged comments, which were kept anonymous to maintain survey neutrality during the rating process. These lightly edited excerpts offer a glimpse of panelists' varied points of view and the reasoning behind each score. They are not the views of the National Geographic Society.
"The Chiloé archipelago is surrounded by a pristine seascape, enhanced by protected forests and dozens of historic towns and wooden churches, 16 of which are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List."
"Still relatively rural and unspoiled. Several historic fishing villages. Accommodation is of the small hotel or bed-and-breakfast variety. The penguin islands are now off-limits to tourists except for viewing from boats."
"Special architectural style and rich folklore with many mythological animals and spirits. Local stocks of sardines, mackerel, and anchovies used to feed farmed salmon are dangerously overdrawn. Plans to construct the Chiloé Bicentennial suspension bridge have been axed due to cost. Some islanders are relieved, fearing a bridge would replace the romantic sea change that visitors undergo during the 20-minute ferry passage."
Falkland Islands (U.K.)
"Well preserved, mostly because of its remoteness, difficult and expensive access. Tourism operates only in the summer months, so tours and hotels are expensive, but the wildlife is bountiful and diverse. A real privilege to visit these islands."
"Quiet, delightful, and authentic. Tourism development is minimal, but sufficient—small-scale with local involvement. The market is limited because of cost and difficult physical access. For these reasons, there is every chance for the destination to be sustainable and to maintain its attractiveness."
"Tourist experiences in Stanley are educational and enjoyable. The residents are gracious. The island's history and seafaring role are amply displayed."
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Ilha Grande, Brazil
"Stunning destination still richly forested and with marvelous beaches and charming little communities. Its proximity to Rio de Janeiro means relatively easy access. Care needs to be taken not to ruin it."
"Great ecological quality and touristic appeal, mainly because tourism is highly local. There are no big international developments or big hotels."
"Integration of nature and new dwellings is characteristic of the architecture of the island. Land-use controls are in place that prevent overdevelopment."
"Surprisingly clean. The coral reefs circling the island are abundant with fish."
"Real estate development is a threat to the biodiversity. Still a pristine place with abundance in wildlife and marine life."
Islands of Lake Titicaca, Peru/Bolivia
"Need to divide islands into two categories—floating islands and mountain islands. Floating islands have heavy visitation and are 'set up' for tourism with most of the tiny islands hosting tourists and dressed to impress—all in colorful native costume. Community seems to benefit."
"The Island of the Sun in Bolivia is one of the most staggeringly beautiful places on Earth. However, there is no significant management and tourism is putting the place at risk."
"Two main archeological sites on Isla del Sol [Island of the Sun] include the Incan stone stairway with about one hundred treads, an engineering marvel that combines potable water and a fountain system, and the ceremonial site, mouth of Jaguar. These main visitor attractions, however, have no site interpretation facilities, nor can typical crafts be acquired."
"Preserving cultural identity whilst realizing the economic benefits of tourism is perhaps the greatest issue."
"The Uros [Reed] Islands maintain their real culture, enacting real cultural traditions. The Taquile Islanders were actors manipulated by well-meaning but naive development projects."
"Sewage is dumped into the lake, especially from land settlements."
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