Throughout the world, there are places that we think you should know more about and feel that it is important to offer our clients food for thought. There are not many travel sites that will give you the controversial or even the bad news about a destination or a popular tourist attraction, because no travel adviser wants to be a downer about your vacation. We don't want to either, and we certainly do not like to preach, however, we do feel providing additional information is just the right thing to do.
Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands
In May 2017, National Geographic published a story that paints a picture that makes us question ourselves whether or not we would would go to the Cayman Turtle Centre. The Green Sea Turtle is an endangered species, as are most sea turtle species.
They became endangered for a number of reasons. One is that they are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells. They also suffer from over-exploitation, poaching, getting caught in fishing nets, and an escalating habitat destruction and loss. Climate change has also impacted their nesting sites. While the Cayman Turtle Centre is a conservation organization, the National Geographic story gives us pause. People are encouraged to handle the turtles, including swimming with them in confined spaces. Of course, this would seem like an amazing experience for people—not so much for the the turtles. Additionally, the turtles are farmed here for the food market. More recently, the Cayman Compass has brought up the issue of conservation efforts here. There are two sides to this story and we encourage you to consider the arguments and decide whether or not you would visit this very popular tourist attraction.
Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia
Cultural differences aside, the #YogyakartaBirdMarket is one of those places that we have no qualms about saying DON'T GO to the Yogyakarta Bird Market! We have been there, and we can report from our own experience that this place was the most depressing "tourist attraction" we encountered on our last trip to Southeast Asia. We cannot think of a good reason for anyone to consider going here for fun or any other reason, and we are forever sorry that we went uninformed and didn't use our own common sense in this situation, "bird market" — we should have known better.
What was meant to be a pleasant morning seeing different bird species from the region, turned into a horrifying experience that left us feeling terrible. Perhaps the most shocking thing we saw here were the very young macaques. These poor creatures were beyond stressed out, in extremely cramped cages, and on sale for about $20 USD. We tried to get pictures of that, but were instructed not to. There were so many animals here that were suffering. Almost all were crammed into tiny cages, some with no water, some animals were sitting in excrement, all were clearly stressed, completely miserable and not looking healthy. It was truly heartbreaking and if we weren't afraid of having to do hard time in an Indonesian prison, we could have run through the place setting animals free.
We even considered buying the animals ourselves and putting them back into the wild. After much discussion, we realized that we didn't have the necessary experience, not enough money — and the fact that if you spend one dollar in a place like this, you are encouraging its existence. So we left, vowing to write reviews and stories about places like this.
© Kelly Reneé | Soul Free Images
Aside from the fact that the practices that take place in this market are extremely questionable to us, we do understand that in different cultures people have different opinions of what is right and wrong with respect to animals. Putting that aside for a moment, we cannot help wondering about the health concerns toward not only the animals, but also to people. There are viruses that animals can carry and transfer to humans. These animals are out in the open, easy to engage with and any mishandling could result in a transfer such as the case with the #coronavirus which is thought to have been transferred to humans by bats.
So, we humbly ask you to reconsider going to this awful market and instead we would love to tell you about other places that we think provide wonderful travel experiences.
This post will be added to as we learn of other places that careful consideration should be exercised when thinking of visiting. If you have any places or attractions that you feel should be reconsidered, and that you have first hand experience with, we would appreciate your comments. Please email us at email@example.com and we will get back to you.