The AbsoluteVisit Blog

The Top 100 Places in the World...And So Much More

Swimming with Sea Lions – Galapagos Islands

Back in February 2012 I took a trip to the Galapagos Islands to discover what some consider to be the top place on earth to interact with animals. The highlight of the trip was definitely the several times we got to swim out in the wild ocean with rafts of sea lions. Spending time underwater playing with these massive mammals was a surreal experience and unlike anything I had ever done before in my life.

Here is a quick video I put together of the shaky footage I captured with my new whiskered friends.

Do you have any unique animal encounters from your travels?

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The Places You Must Absolutely Visit in New York


New York

United States

Top City

After visiting New York dozens of times over the past 20 years and living there for two-years, I have come to know this incredible and famous city quite well. Although New York is constantly changing there are also many things (like the major attractions) that never seem to change! With this in mind, take a look at the list of things you absolutely must do in New York!

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The Top Cities in the World!


AbsoluteVisit Top Cities in the World

No, we haven’t fallen off of the face of the Earth! :) In fact, we have been busy at work putting a new look to AbsoluteVisit (check it out!) and working on a brand new section of the site called AbsoluteVisit Top Cities.

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Duomo Top View – Florence, Italy


Photo of the Day – Duomo Top View – Florence, Italy

There are many places to check-out the stunning Florence Cityscape and one that I enjoyed this week was from atop Il Duomo. This famous dome sits on top of the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower and has been there since its completion in 1436. Yes, for nearly 600 years!

One of the craziest things about it is that you can actually climb all the way to the top. Next, you spiral around and up the side of the dome (inside). And finally, you stand on top of the dome with this magnificent view of Florence.

As you can probably see, I didn’t have the best weather. In fact, I took this shot in between wiping down the lens from the rain that was coming down pretty good. I was the first one up to the top (got there at 8:15 – doors open at 8:30) which afforded me plenty of room to move around. Add this to your list of things to do in Florence … you’re going to be busy :)

PS: Be ready to climb – it is a solid 10-15 minutes of non-stop stairs!

Duomo Top View - Florence, Italy

Golden Hour Michelangelo Style – Firenze, Italy


Photo of the Day – Golden Hour Michelangelo Style – Firenze, Italy

The Golden Hour is one of the best times (if not THE best) to photograph just about anything that is effected by the light of the sun. Here in Florence, there are several places to see the incredible Florence Cityscape (AV #47) from, but my personal favorite is Piazzale Michelangelo.

What makes this specific location breathtaking for a view of the city is that it is just high enough to gain a top down perspective, but also not too far away so that you can’t see specific buildings and details which make the city come to life. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo during sunset is particularly spectacular and it absolutely should not be missed when you visit!

Golden Hour Michelangelo Style - Firenze, Italy

Ancient Illumination – Ponte Vecchio – Florence, Italy


Photo of the Day – Ancient Illumination – Ponte Vecchio – Florence, Italy

With the change in our travel plans came a rare opportunity to do something I usually can’t do for long periods of time – visit family! Now you may be wondering what that has to do with travel, but I’m here to tell you :) Lucky for me, my Mom moved to Florence, Italy in 2010. Florence is home to two different AbsoluteVisits – #47, The Florence Cityscape and #94, The Uffizi Gallery! So, here I am in Florence for two weeks which will be jam-packed with exploring everything Florence has to offer.

First up, the Ponte Vecchio! This beautiful bridge never gets old to look at and explore. This time, my Mom and I happened to be getting around town well after dark when I captured this shot. I shared a couple photos of the bridge previously (here and here), but you can see how different it looks at night in this photo.

I hope you enjoy this photo and I’ll have more coming from one of the most beautiful places in the world (and easiest to take photos of!).

Ancient Illumination - Ponte Vecchio - Florence, Italy

Tijuca Sunrise – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


AV Travel Photo – Tijuca Sunrise – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Everything in Rio always appears to be perfect – especially the simple things can often go wrong back at home. Every morning this week I have awoken to the same beautiful sun rising outside of my apartment window here in the local neighborhood of Tijuca. What a difference it makes to have a warm sun accompany you through the always challenging morning “wake-up” process.

A lot of locals will tell you winter is not a good time to visit Rio de Janeiro. I couldn’t disagree more.

The high temperature floats comfortably throughout the low eighties (high twenties celsius) and it drops just below seventy each night (twenty celsius). The majority of the days are sunny, as the winter doesn’t bring much rain and of course it never snows.

I think the Cariocas (local Rio people) are just used to much warmer weather and so crazily their bodies think you can’t go to the beach unless the temperature is in the nineties (thirties celsius). I’ve been to the beach twice this week and both times is was plenty hot outside and the sun was definitely toasting my skin.

Best of all, it is not popular to travel to Rio in the winter, which means all of your travel costs are much lower if you make a visit this time of the year. Flights, hotels and tours are all significantly cheaper.

If you have a little extra vacation time, why not book a last minute trip to my favorite city in the world this winter? The endless beaches, beautiful people and delicious caipirinhas will surely be very distracting, but make sure not to forget to cross the Rio Panoramic View AV off of your list!

Tijuca Sunrise - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Açúcar Reality – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


AV Travel Photo – Açúcar Reality – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The original AV Trip plans had me flying to Madrid in a few days, but with our new changes I found myself landing in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Different continents, similar (and very different) languages, and both places that I really love. No complaints with the swap here :)

I’ll be in Rio for the next two-weeks. The plan is to split time between working on AbsoluteVisit and exploring my favorite city in the world from more of a local perspective. I’m staying with a local friend (Paloma), in a very local neighborhood (Tijuca) and trying my best to do very local things (like attempt to speak Portuguese…attempt).

Today I took my local host Paloma on a several hour afternoon street walk through the historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The narrow, cobblestone streets are dotted primarily with old school colonial buildings from when the Portuguese ran the place. The walk can be tough at times, but you are handsomely rewarded for traversing the steep hills with some of the best views I have found in Rio, including the view of Pão de Açúcar from Parque Das Ruinas shown in the photo below.

Since I planned out the tour and dragged my Carioca (Rio de Janeiro inhabitant) friend with me, I’m not sure this was really a “local” thing to do, but it was far away from the sun-soaked beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema – good enough in my book!

Açúcar Reality - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Next Chapter for AbsoluteVisit


As One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

Where it all started – Cape Town, South Africa

It is often said that when one door closes, another one will be opened. Over the past month, we have had to reach deep to evaluate our very own business and dream – our open door. It is with weeks of thought, hours of discussion, and the most humbled feelings that we announce today that the AbsoluteVisit trip has come to an end. We will not be continuing on to visit the rest of the Top 100 Places as we originally had planned.

Although this door has closed, we will not simply let it slam behind us. To our avid support group, we would like to help you understand why we came to this decision and what’s next for AbsoluteVisit.

[AbsoluteVisit is NOT going away. Read on to see what why we are making this change and what's up next!]

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AbsoluteVisit Trip Update – Leg 1 Complete – San Francisco Edition


Trip Update from San Francisco, USA

Dreaming of Mt. Bromo – Mt. Bromo, Indonesia

Wow, it has been over three weeks since we have provided an update! Apologies for the delay, but on to the madness . . .

After we last wrote an update from Siem Reap, we spent a few days in Bangkok before heading to the Philippines for 11 days. Here we traversed the metropolis of Manila, saw our seventh AbsoluteVisit (The Banaue Rice Terraces, #33), and explored two amazing Philippine islands – Palawan and Boracay.

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Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) - Chiang Rai, Thailand Read More
Serengeti Migration Visit - AV #4
Read More
AbsoluteVisit Preview - The Banaue Rice Terraces #33 Read More
The Top 100 Places in the World
1 Great Wall of China
2 Pyramids of Egypt
3 Machu Picchu
4 Serengeti Migration
5 Galapagos Islands
6 Grand Canyon
7 Angkor Temples
8 Antarctica Cruise
9 Taj Mahal
10 Iguazu Falls
11 Amazon Rain Forest
12 Great Barrier Reef
13 Bora Bora
14 Victoria Falls
15 Bagan
16 Petra
17 Potala Palace
18 Karnak
19 Mt Everest
20 Cappadocia
21 St Peters Basilica
22 Fjords of Norway
23 Jerusalem Old City
24 Burj Khalifa
25 Borobudur
26 Forbidden City
27 Kashmir Valley
28 Li River Cruise
29 Ladakh
30 Alhambra
31 Louvre Museum
32 Perito Moreno Glac.
33 Banaue Terraces
34 Colosseum of Rome
35 Easter Island
36 Venice Canals/Alleys
37 Kathmandu Valley
38 Wat Phra Kaew
39 Yellowstone NP
40 Pompeii
41 Rio Panoramic View
42 Palace of Versailles
43 Dubrovnik
44 Golden Temple
45 St. Basils Cathedral
46 Vatican Museum
47 Florence Cityscape
48 Acropolis
49 Amalfi Coast Drive
50 Kremlin
51 Hong Kong View
52 TerraCotta Warriors
53 Mezquita Cordoba
54 Chichen Itza
55 Damascus Old City
56 Shwedagon Stupa
57 Sahara Desert
58 Mont St Michel
59 St. Marks Square
60 Egyptian Museum
61 Hagia Sophia
62 Angel Falls
63 Delphi
64 Teotihuacan
65 Baalbek
66 Banff NP
67 Santorini
68 Matterhorn
69 New York Skyline
70 Neuschwanstein
71 Chartres Cathedral
72 British Museum
73 Prague Old Town
74 Burj al Arab
75 Yangtze River Cruise
76 Yosemite NP
77 Hermitage Museum
78 Torres del Paine
79 Chambord Chateau
80 Lijiang
81 Portofino
82 Great Ocean Road
83 Tongariro Alpine
84 Las Vegas Strip
85 Tikal
86 Topkapi Palace
87 Sydney Opera House
88 Eiffel Tower
89 Luxor Temple
90 Kerala Backwaters
91 Golden Gate Bridge
92 Cinque Terre
93 Metropolitan Mus
94 Uffizi Gallery
95 Ayers Rock
96 Cliffs of Moher
97 Pacific Coast Hwy
98 Shanghai Skyline
99 Glacier Bay NP
100 Wulingyuan
Cappadocia  Cappadocia, Turkey
Top 100 by Name Top 100 on a Map
Top 100 by Country Top 100 by Continent