2012 Hottest Destinations

From sea to outer space, check out our picks for the hottest travel destinations in 2012.

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unesco world heritage site, everglades national park, florida
Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park, Florida

The most threatened site in the US is the beautiful “river of grass” flowing into the sea on the southern tip of Florida, whose habitats provide sanctuary for a wide variety of birds and reptiles, as well as threatened species such as the manatee. Reinstated on the list in 2010, the fragile aquatic ecosystem is threatened by nearby development and pollution upstream. 960 1280

Jupiter Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images  

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Indonesia

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Indonesia

Made up of 3 national parks, the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is home to 10,000 plant species, 200 mammal species and 580 bird species in its protected area, many of which are endemic and endangered. Construction, poaching and illegal logging are just some of the threats to the island and its unique inhabitants, such as this Sumatran orangutan. 960 1280

Anup Shah/Minden Pictures/Getty Images  

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, Belize

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, Belize

The series of coral reefs lining the coast of Belize alongside picturesque sand cays, lagoons and offshore atolls makes up the largest barrier reef system in the Northern Hemisphere. The possibility of swimming alongside threatened species such as sea turtles and manatees makes it a diver’s dream, but continued development of formerly public lands could destruct the mangrove and marine systems. 960 1280

Belize Tourism Board  

Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal

Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal

The plush savannas along the banks of the Gambia River are ripe with birds, chimpanzees, lions, leopards, elephants and Derby elands, the largest type of antelope, which have faced threats of overgrazing and poaching in recent years. 960 1280

Frans Lanting/Mint Images/Getty Images  

East Rennell, Solomon Islands

East Rennell, Solomon Islands

East Rennell is on the southernmost island of the Solomon Island group in the western Pacific and the largest raised coral atoll in the world. A former lagoon on the island, Lake Tegano, has a dense forest canopy (soaring more than 65 feet), rugged limestone islands and many endemic species threatened by logging. 960 1280

Peter Hendrie/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger

Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger

Situated in the Sahara desert lies the largest protected area in Africa and an isolated volcanic rock mass with its own unique climate, landscapes, vegetation and wild animals. Military conflict and civil unrest have made the area unsafe since 1992. 960 1280

S. Amantini/De Agostini/Getty Images  

Timbuktu, Mali

Timbuktu, Mali

For children, Timbuktu is synonymous with the end of the Earth, although few of them know where its remote location actually is — perched on the edge of the Sahara in Africa — or that in its golden age, the city was a spiritual and intellectual hub for some of Africa’s richest empires. Although its great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, are continuously restored, they are still threatened by desertification and militants (who destroyed sacred tombs in 2012). 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/Oversnap  

Chan Chan Archaeological Site, Peru

Chan Chan Archaeological Site, Peru

Some 600 years ago, the city of Chan Chan in northern Peru was the largest adobe city in the world. Before being conquered by the Incas, some 60,000 people lived within the walls of the 9-square-mile city. The intricate labyrinth forms 9 separate citadels, or palaces, that mirror the Chimú’s strict social stratification. The ancient structures now endure heavy rainfall, which will slowly turn the once-brick walls into mud without constant conservation. 960 1280

G. Dagli Orti/De Agostini/Getty Images  

Medieval Monuments of Kosovo, Serbia

Medieval Monuments of Kosovo, Serbia

These 4 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries represent the high point of Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, a unique fusion of east and west, with a distinct style of wall painting developed in the Balkans. Upkeep of the Decani Monastery — which was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Decanski and also serves as his mausoleum — as well as the other historic buildings, has given way to political unrest in the area. 960 1280

MyLoupe/Universal Images Group/Getty Images  

Portobelo-San Lorenzo, Panama

Portobelo-San Lorenzo, Panama

The ruins found at the port city of Portobelo and nearby Fort San Lorenzo hark back to the height of the Spanish colonial empire and were built to protect trade, particularly that of silver, between the Americas and Spain. Some parts of the walls have been lost to decay, but the most impressive section, at the mouth of the Chagres River, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, has been maintained.  960 1280

James Brunker/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images  

Old City, Jerusalem, Israel

Old City, Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, as the holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has always been of great religious symbolism. Of its more than 200 historic monuments, the most significant may well be the Dome of the Rock, which is recognized by all 3 religions as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice.  960 1280

Maremagnum/Photodisc/Getty Images  

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank

Just south of Jerusalem lies what has been considered the birthplace of Jesus since the second century. The pilgrimage route is shared by Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches. Much work is being done to safeguard the authenticity of this vulnerable site, which includes elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. 960 1280

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool, England

Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool, England

The city of Liverpool, surprisingly, is home to the most endangered site in the United Kingdom. The historic center and maritime mercantile docklands played an important role in the growth of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries; however, today, its preservation is threatened by new development along the waterfront. 960 1280

Peter Richardson/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images  

Great Barrier Reef, Australia?

Great Barrier Reef, Australia?

Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, sits the largest coral reef system and one of the most complex ecosystems in the world. While the Great Barrier Reef has not yet been named “in danger,” recent plans for rapid coastal development have a vocal group of leading scientists and activists calling for UNESCO to add it to the list during its annual review in June. 960 1280

Tom Keating/Tourism Australia  

Survival Luxury Condos
Survival Luxury Condos

Survival Luxury Condos

A look at the outside of the Cold War missile silo in which Larry Hall's Survival Luxury Condos are concealed. 960 1280

  

Lifelike Creations

Lifelike Creations

Larry Hall shows off his virtual reality windows that sense your movement and create a lifelike creation of a window using TV screens. 960 1280

  

Lori Hall Interview

Lori Hall Interview

A behind-the-scenes look at the sit-down interview with Lori Hall inside her and Larry's own personal condo. 960 1280

  

Atlas Survival Shelters

Atlas Survival Shelters

Exterior of a corrugated steel shelter in the shop at Atlas Survival Shelters. 960 1280

  

Ron Hubbard

Ron Hubbard

Behind the scenes, the production team and Atlas Survival Shelters owner Ron Hubbard discuss their plans for a corrugated steel shelter. 960 1280

  

Steel Storm Shelter

Steel Storm Shelter

A steel storm shelter sits in the Rising S Company warehouse in Kemp, TX. 960 1280

  

Vivos Shelter

Vivos Shelter

Reclining chairs are set in place for people to enjoy a movie in total comfort in the theater at the Vivos Shelter. 960 1280

  

Stylish Bunk Beds

Stylish Bunk Beds

A look at the comfortable and stylish bunk beds in the Vivos Shelter. 960 1280

  

The Lounging Area

The Lounging Area

A look at the lounging area, lined with black leather couches, in the Vivos Shelter. 960 1280

  

5-star Appliances

5-star Appliances

The Vivos Shelter features an amazing kitchen filled with 5-star appliances. 960 1280

  

Escape Hatch

Escape Hatch

Need to make a quick break for it? No problem! There is a heavy-duty escape hatch, in case of emergency, within the Vivos Shelter. 960 1280

  

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