Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, standing an imposing 3,776.24 meters (12,389 feet) tall. It is considered an active volcano, with its last eruption in the early 1700s. Often depicted in Japanese art, the iconic mountain is well known as a symbol of Japan and is a prominent feature of Tokyo’s skyline. The well-formed cone of this stratovolcano is visually almost symmetrical. Climbing the mountain has become a popular excursion for tourists from around the world, with over 300,000 persons reaching the summit each year. Climbing between October and May is strongly discouraged due to the cold temperatures. Many climbers choose to make the climb at night in order to be at or near the summit for a breathtaking sunrise.
New Zealand’s north island is home to Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, a 2,518 meter (8,261 ft) tall active volcano. Taranaki is quite young for a volcano, having become active only 135,000 years ago. Its most recent activity was a mere 160 years ago. Mount Taranaki is the center of the Egmont National Park, the circular tree-line boundary of which can be seen in two of the photos below. Visitors to the mountain can enjoy the Manganui ski resort for skiing and snowboarding. Those more adventurous types can trek to the summit during the summer months. The closest major town is New Plymouth, just north of the mountain, where all types of hotels and other accommodation can be found.
Officially a collectivity of France, the island of Bora Bora lies in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. With its amazing reef, fantastic white sand beaches, and laid-back local population it is easy to see why Bora Bora is considered by many to be paradise on Earth. The island itself features an extinct volcano in the center and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. Bora Bora is a tourist hot-spot and many resorts and over-the-water bungalows have been built on the island. The population of locals is just under 9,000 with Tahitian, French, and some English spoken. Visitors can enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling, as well as sunset catamaran cruises, fishing trips, and jet ski rentals.
The incredible moonscape hills and the impossibly beautiful cities of Turkey’s Cappadocia region are a sight to behold. Located in the center of Turkey, the Cappadocia region includes the towns of Avanos, Göreme, Nevsehir, Ortahisar, Uçhisar, and Ürgüp. Popular activities in the region include visits to the underground cities, viewing the ancient Christian cave art, exploring numerous hiking trails and volcanos, seeing the “fairy chimney” rock formations, and taking sunrise hot air balloon rides for a view of the breathtaking landscape from above.
A short distance from Antigua, Guatemala, lies Lake Atitlan (known locally as Lago de Atitlán). The large lake is surrounded by three volcanoes: Volcán Atitlán, Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán. Lake Atitlan is an endorheic lake, meaning it doesn’t flow into a sea. The area surrounding Lake Atitlan is home to many small villages, the people of which practice Mayan culture and wear traditional Mayan dress to this day. There are also a number of Mayan archeological sites in and around the lake. For tourists, the best places to stay are in Antigua, or the town of Panajachel which is on the lake’s shore. A variety of accommodations can be found in either town. Visitors can trek up the volcanoes, enjoy a boat trip on the lake, and visit the nearby Atitlan Butterfly Sanctuary.