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5 Unesco World Heritage sites you have to see

05 February 2015 09:49

Machu Picchu: a world of wonder waiting to be explored

Machu Picchu: a world of wonder waiting to be explored

Whether it's breathing in the rarefied air of Peru's haunting Machu Picchu ruins or examining Easter Island's mysterious moai statues, Unesco World Heritage Sites have something for everyone.

What are Unesco World Heritage Sites?

Destinations deemed to be of special physical or cultural significance. They can be buildings, complexes, mountains, forests, monuments, deserts, islands, lakes, or entire cities.

The main thing is they are named, catalogued and conserved for current and future generations to enjoy.

Holidaymakers enjoying such wonders often have to veer off the beaten track - that's where travel insurance can help offer peace of mind.

5 UNESCO sites for your bucket list

Machu Picchu (Peru) : Few landmarks have a more spiritual presence than these Incan ruins set in a tropical mountainous forest. Standing at 2,430 metres above sea level, Machu Picchu is great for trekking, affording stunning views over the Andes.

Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island) : Eerie, ancient big-headed statues dominate this Pacific island atop a now-extinct volcano. The moai figures range in height from six to 65ft. Tourists arrive via a flight from the Chilean city of Santiago.

Petra (Jordan) : The so-called 'Rose City' is an amazing riot of flamingo pink. A modern wonder of the world, archaeologists believe the rock-carved destination dates back to 312BC with its famous treasury and fascinating caves.

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) : Walk in the footsteps of Origin of the Species naturalist Charles Darwin on these remote Pacific islands. Boat cruises are popular to watch iconic tortoises and view up-close a place that time forgot.

Angkor Wat (Cambodia) : Spiritual tourism doesn't come much more invigorating than this unique 12th-century temple complex. Enjoy getting there on a 20-minute tuk-tuk ride from Siem Reap. November to February is the best recommended time to visit during sub-30C temperatures.