Witness one of the most gorgeous sunrises you may ever lay eyes on at Haleakala National Park.

We already know that our world is full of stunning spots for us to see and discover. But as places grow more and more popular, it can be a struggle for you to fully enjoy your visits with the sheer amount of people you have to constantly jostle with. The increasing human traffic to these hotspots has also caused environmental damage, which has compromised the beauty of countless destinations.

In an effort to preserve their authenticity, several of the most-visited natural sites worldwide now have restrictions on their daily visitor numbers. Quotient has compiled five of the most noteworthy ones in the list below to aid you in making your preparations well in advance if you’re keen on dropping by any of these places!

Watch arctic animals go about their daily lives in Antarctica. Photo by Tak / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As the seventh and southernmost continent on Earth, Antarctica’s popularity is unsurprising. It’s not only on bucket lists because of its aforementioned associations but has also been lauded for its fantastic wildlife spotting opportunities. In particular, this is where you’ll get to see arctic animals such as polar bears, emperor penguins and killer whales in their natural habitat. Add to that the invigorating sense of adventure you get when you think of journeying to the faraway whitewashed South Pole and you’ll understand why so many people are drawn here. To protect the environment, boats have been limited to 500 passengers per vessel and only 100 people can venture ashore at any point in time.

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Swim in a natural pool beneath the waterfalls. Photo by Chuca Cimas / CC BY-ND 2.0

Skradinski buk, Croatia
The picture-perfect scene of three waterfalls cascading over the edge to pool into a turquoise blue lake beneath is one of the country’s most recognisable sights. Dubbed the Skradinski buk, this section of the Krka National Park is a popular spot to take a dip at or to simply relax while gazing at the beautiful waterfalls surrounded by the lush forest. In 2017, the Croatian government decreed that a maximum of 10,000 guests will be allowed to visit the Skradinski buk at any one time — to put things into perspective, millions of people flock here every year. If you happen to arrive after the capacity has been met, you’ll have to wait for people to depart. Thankfully, the park itself offers plenty of attractions; visit one of its several other waterfalls or go on a leisurely hike around a scenic trail.

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Spot endangered mountain gorillas on a trek.  Photo by Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bwindi National Park, Uganda
As an endangered species, mountain gorillas have become a rare sight across the world. The Bwindi National Park is however, home to over half of them. In this UNESCO World Heritage Site, your chances of encountering one of the rare animals are increased and the trek through verdant hills and volcanic slopes in search of a gorilla sighting is a valuable experience in itself. On your way, you may also come across blue monkeys and mangabeys so be sure to keep your eyes peeled! A mere eight people are allowed to visit a gorilla family at any one time and daily viewings are known to be extremely limited.

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Make your reservations early in advance to catch this spectacular sunrise. Photo by Markus Jöbstl / CC BY-NC 2.0

Haleakala sunrise, United States
You might have specifically woken up early to catch a particularly stunning sunrise several times in your life, but have you ever expected a sunrise to be so attractive that reservations are required for you to secure a choice viewing spot? It’s not difficult to see why the crowds flock to this particular vantage point in Maui each morning; the golden sun shooting its rays across distant mountain ranges that are surrounded by a sea of wispy clouds is a spectacular view to remember. During the sunrise hours, only 150 vehicles are permitted to enter Haleakala National Park’s parking space. Although hikers do not face restricted entry, the path can be tricky to navigate in the dark and going on foot is thus discouraged.  

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Explore unspoilt lands teeming with wildlife. Photo by Ian Carvell / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Wildlife lovers will already have the Galapagos Islands on their radar. Known as a destination with one of the most abundant flora and fauna in the world, travellers venture here to seek out giant tortoises, sea lions and marine iguanas, and they often leave with their wishes fulfilled. The landscape itself is also impressive — think crystal-clear blue waters, arching peaks and pristine white beaches. Visitor numbers are controlled with several rules, which include being allowed to stay for a maximum of five days each, the need to be accompanied by an authorised guide during the duration of your travel, and a maximum of 100 passengers on each boat.

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