My favorite places to visit

I’m often asked about my favorite places from my 25 years of running Mongabay.

Reflecting on these experiences, my relationship with travel has evolved significantly. Today, I am much more mindful of the environmental impact of my journeys. The demands of running Mongabay also mean that extended periods of being disconnected are challenging, and my travel habits have changed accordingly. Despite these shifts, a few destinations have left an indelible mark on me, standing out for their natural beauty, biodiversity, and cultural richness.

1️⃣ Madagascar 🇲🇬: Madagascar has held a special place in my heart since my first visit in the mid-1990s. The island’s uniqueness is unparalleled. Nowhere else can you encounter such a vast array of primate species in such a short time. Beyond its extraordinary wildlife, Madagascar boasts rich cultural traditions and diverse ecosystems, all set against a backdrop of stunning topographical features. From the spiny forests to the baobab avenues, Madagascar’s landscapes are as varied as they are breathtaking.

2️⃣ Indonesia 🇮🇩 : Indonesia, much like Madagascar, is a treasure trove of biodiversity and cultural diversity. The archipelago, with its thousands of islands, offers a seemingly endless array of exploration opportunities. Among the myriad of places, I hold a particular fondness for West Papua, East and West Kalimantan, and North Sulawesi. Each of these regions offers its own unique experiences, from the dense rainforests teeming with wildlife to the vibrant marine ecosystems. The cultural diversity, too, is remarkable, with each island and region presenting its own distinct heritage and traditions.

3️⃣ Where the Andes Meets the Amazon: The convergence of the Andes and the Amazon basin in Colombia 🇨🇴, Ecuador 🇪🇨 , Bolivia 🇧🇴, and Peru 🇵🇪 is among the most biodiverse regions on the planet. This area, where towering mountains meet expansive rainforests, is a naturalist’s dream. The richness of species, the dense forests, and the panoramic views are simply awe-inspiring. This region offers an unparalleled window into the wonders of biodiversity, with its myriad of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

These places are more than just destinations; they are reminders of the incredible diversity and beauty of our planet. While my travel patterns may have changed, the memories of these remarkable places continue to inspire and inform my work with Mongabay.

This post is part of a series marking Mongabay’s 25th birthday this month.

By Rhett Ayers Butler

Rhett Ayers Butler is the Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. He started Mongabay in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.