From our backyards, to what may seem like the ends of the Earth, the world is full of so many places to explore and connect with the environment.
This Earth Day, we wanted to share some of the places where the Wheel the World Team has felt in awe of our nature. We asked some of our team members to share a place they’ve traveled to that created a connection between them and the planet. Read on to discover accessible destinations where you can connect with nature.
1. Torres del Paine, Chile
Unsurprisingly, Torres del Paine was selected by various team members as the place where they felt most connected to nature. In Chilean Patagonia, the southernmost part of the world, lies a national park with beautiful rock formations, glacial lakes, and distinct flora and fauna.
“This is the southernmost area of the world, and I like to believe that this is the reason why it has been so preserved and I hope it will remain so.”– Lamia Mouton, Partners Success Manager
“After hiking for hours up and down the hills, facing very cold and fast winds and becoming very exhausted, you reach points such as the massive Grey glacier, or granite tower Torres del Paine and Cuernos, bringing you so much happiness. Moments of facing the glorious nature almost like a reward. I realized back then that Patagonia was like Life: true happiness comes from a lot of hard work, from even exhaustion… that at the end will always bring you those happy moments.”– Camilo Navarro, Founder & COO
WTW offers accessible trips to Torres Del Paine, where you can kayak around glaciers and complete the trek in the all-terrain Joelette wheelchair. Find out more here.
2. Hoi An and Ha Long, Vietnam
A town on Vietnam’s southern coast, Hoi An and its surrounding countryside give many travelers an opportunity to observe an entirely new environment. The countryside is home to family farms and small fishing villages – a chance to observe sustainable practices.
To the north is the famous Ha Long bay with its towering limestone cliffs topped with tropical rainforests.
“Magical beaches and jungle treks, waters where you can swim and dive for hours, exploring underwater life and witnessing sea creatures in their ecosystems. I felt part of this huge immensity”– Sofia Hinostroza, UX Designer
WTW’s Best of Vietnam in 15 Days tour gives travelers the opportunity to explore both of these regions, with an accessible cruise through Halong Bay, and a guided tour through the Hoi An countryside for a very reasonable price.
3. Yosemite, California
Yosemite National Park in California is the most visited national park in the USA. With steep granite cliffs, unique rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and hundreds of miles of trails both in and around the park, it is an excellent location to connect with nature.
“When hiking a portion of the PCT near Yosemite, I passed by 7 different lakes each with their own unique ecosystem. I also ended up trekking up to the base of a small glacier IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER!!! At the base, there were marmots running around and the forest floor was soft enough to run around without your shoes.”– Thomas Martinez, Content Creator
Popular with everyone from the most extreme climbers to seniors and young children, Yosemite has very accessible infrastructure. Its impressive valley, encircled by granite walls, has various campgrounds and hotels, smooth paved pathways and roads, and even a bus that takes visitors around the park and is wheelchair accessible. Read more about the park’s accessibility here.
4. Cochamo, Chile
Often referred to as Chile’s Yosemite, Cochamo is also a valley encircled by steep granite cliffs. While they are similar, they are both magical in their own ways. Cochamo is more isolated, it receives less visitors than Yosemite and the only way to access the valley is by hiking in.
“Cochamo is a magic place where you really are into nature. You feel the immensity of the mountains, the beauty of nature and the connection through the water. It’s a place where I go to end processes and start new ones”– Andres Villagran, Head of Marketing
While Cochamo doesn’t have the accessible infrastructure of Yosemite, it is still possible to visit in a wheelchair. Wheel the World offers experiences in Cochamo to adventure seeking travelers. Contact us here to learn more.
5. Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Two people from our team mentioned destinations in Costa Rica as the places they felt most connected to the planet. Tortuguero is both a town and a national park located on the Carribean coast of Costa Rica. It’s home to the Sea Turtle Conservatory and boasts 194 m2 (312 km2) of protected land. Visitors can explore by boat or canoe and observe various species of wildlife.
“Immersed in the jungle , next to the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. Is the place where I’ve felt more into nature were animals and beautiful nature feels safe from development.”– Alvaro Silberstein, Founder & CEO
Manuel Antonio is also a town and a national park, located on the other side of Costa Rica, on the Pacific coast. The park has accessible trails that wind through the jungle and white sand beaches with crystal clear water in coves perfecto for swimming.
“It’s an amazing and accessible national park. Nature is incredible and you can see different types of animals wandering around while you enjoy the park and the beach”– Dominique Partarrieu, Lead UX Designer
Costa Rica has plenty of places where you can get in touch with nature. Explore them all here.
6. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
In the middle of the most arid desert on Earth, is a small village called San Pedro de Atacama. The surrounding areas of this picturesque adobe village are filled with geysers, volcanoes, hot springs, valleys that make you think you’re on the moon, and colorful lagoons in the middle of the desert. It’s a unique place where you can experience nature like never before.
“I felt so connected to nature in San Pedro de Atacama. Yes, it’s the driest desert in the world, but there you can find so much life: flamingos, foxes, beautiful birds, the most beautiful rock formations, amazing dunes, salty lakes and wonderful sunsets! I really loved how in the driest desert you could find such diverse landscapes.”– Sofia Bravo, Head of Product
You can experience this magic for yourself with activities from handbiking, to trekking, to floating in the lagoons. Find out more about accessible experiences in San Pedro de Atacama here.
7. Muir Woods, California
In pockets of Northern California, you’ll find groves of Redwood trees. These are the tallest trees in the world and can live to be thousands of years. They grow in coastal forest regions in groups, to protect each other from strong winds. Muir Woods is a National Monument about a 40 minute drive from San Francisco. Accessible wooden pathways wind through the grove, so that visitors can observe the immense trees. Wheel the World offers accessible tours of Muir Woods, like the Muir Woods and Wine Tasting tour, which gives you the chance to connect with nature before visiting California’s wine country.
“Nowhere has ever made me feel part of nature like California’s redwood groves. There is something about the tallest trees in the world towering above you as you explore the rainforest floor that makes you feel small, but not in a bad way, in a way where you truly feel connected with the planet.”– Bailey Letson, Content Manager
The Hawaiian islands are all a little different, but they all boast beautiful opportunities to connect with the earth. Jungles and gardens, volcanoes, and beautiful beaches tie all of the islands together.
“It was surreal – I’ve had my fair share of beautiful islands but this one felt different, almost as if the island had a mystical aura/energy. The dramatic landscapes were everywhere too, so you constantly felt on a hike out in nature.”– Veronica Gonzalez, UX Research Intern
Connect with nature on Maui with Wheel the World – hike through vegetation along the coast, spot whales during their migration, or handbike down a volcano. Click here to learn more about exploring Hawaii.
The world is full of so many places to discover ourselves and nature On Earth Day and every day, let’s do our part to take care of the planet, so that we can keep discovering for a long time. Where do you feel most connected to nature? Let us know in the comments below!