Someone was offering an Airbnb “experience” that involved “living the revolution.” The two-hour ‘experience’ offered a tour of Santiago’s Plaza Italia but the offer prompted fierce backlash against effort to monetize protest and was quickly taken down by the platform.
An Airbnb tour in Chile promised the chance to ‘live the revolution’.
The two-hour “experience” offered a tour of Santiago’s Plaza Italia, which has become ground zero for a wave of mass demonstrations over social and economic inequality.
The tour was monetizing the revolution.
Priced at 19,000 Chilean pesos —about $25 USD, the excursion included a bottle of water and protective eye goggles —a nod to those worn by protesters to shield themselves from birdshot and rubber-coated pellets shot by riot police.
“Live the revolution” was up on Airbnb Experiences
The insensitive tour was promoted on Airbnb Experiences, a platform offering “one-of-a-kind activities hosted by locals” – but was withdrawn from the site just a few days after it went live, following huge criticism on social media.
A local ideated the tour.
Promotor Sebastián Nieto told local media that he came up with the idea of the tour after noting foreign visitors’ fascination with the demonstrations. “I realized that at the protests there are always lots of spectators, people taking photos,” he said. “Of course there is a backdrop of social issues – which is totally valid – but there’s also a playful element.”
But the experience was met with a lot of backlash.
Chileans responded with fury, with some claiming the tour was a violation of Airbnb’s safety policies, while others condemned its insensitivity. “The social struggle is NOT a business” read one tweet.
The protests have been taking place for more than 3 months now.
Several clashes have unfolded at Plaza Italia between protesters and the police for almost three months. According to reports, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the rallies since they began in September as they called for radical changes to the country’s economic and political system over alleged corruption claims. The country’s security forces have also been accused of a spate of grave human rights abuses in their response to the marches, that have left at least 26 people dead and thousands more injured.
The UN human rights office reported that it had heard 345 cases involving people suffering eye injuries caused by lead pellets fired from police shotguns.
In a statement, Airbnb said: “The safety of our host and guest community is a priority for Airbnb. If we are made aware that an experience and/or host violates our platform policies, community standards, or terms of service, we take action. This experience is no longer available.”
This is a movement against capitalism.
Protester Mario Hans, who has gone to Plaza Italia every day since the unrest began said to newspaper The Guardian, that he was uncomfortable at the idea that anyone would profit from Chile’s political uprising. “This is a movement against capitalism, for equality,” he said. “The first goal here should be to inform, not to charge.”
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Picture this: You’ve made the long, difficult journey to Machu Picchu, taking a variety of planes and trains and buses to get there, and now finally, you’re inside the grounds. You begin to explore the more than 500-year-old site, marveling at its ancient structures, its surreal terraces and ramps. Life is sweet; the world is wonderful and mysterious. But at some point —and for some unknown reason— you sneak into a sacred temple constructed half a millennium ago, drop your pants, and POOP one of the greatest marvels this world has to offer. This actually happened.
Six tourists emptied their bowels inside the hallowed grounds of an Incan worshipping room: There’s something deeply wrong with some people.
For some inexplicable reason, that’s exactly what a group of tourists allegedly did over the weekend, France 24 reports. Six people in their twenties and early thirties were arrested on Sunday after Peruvian authorities caught them in a restricted area of Machu Picchu’s Temple of the Sun, a revered part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Park rangers and police found feces inside of the temple.
The Temple of the Sun had also been damaged after a piece of stone had “broken off a wall and caused a crack in the floor,” regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told Andina, a local news agency. “The six tourists are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage,” Leyva said.
The group was made up of one French, two Brazilians, two Argentines and a Chilean, according to police.
They face at least four years in prison if found guilty of damaging Peru’s heritage. Several parts of the semicircular Temple of the Sun are off limits to tourists for preservation reasons.
Worshipers at the temple would make offerings to the sun.
The sun was considered the most important deity in the Inca empire as well as other pre-Inca civilizations in the Andean region. The Machu Picchu estate—which includes three distinct areas for agriculture, housing and religious ceremonies—is the most iconic site from the Inca empire that ruled a large swathe of western South America for 100 years before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.
Three Argentines, a Brazilian, a Chilean and a French woman make up the group.
Local media reported that all the tourists were aged between 20 and 32. In 2014, authorities denounced a trend that saw tourists getting naked at the sacred location. Four American tourists were detained in March of that year forremoving their clothes and posing for photos at the site. In a pair of separate incidents earlier in the same week, two Canadians and two Australians were detained for stripping down for pictures there.
Machu Picchu, means “old mountain” in the Quechua language indigenous to the area.
The historic site is at the top of a lush mountain and was built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471). It lies around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Andean city of Cusco, the old Inca capital in southeastern Peru. The site was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983.
Thanks to popular Netflix series that shall remain nameless, Colombia often conjures up images of drug cartel violence and kidnappings or extravagant lifestyles of those same cartels leaders. It was also ravaged by civil war for more than 30 years leaving tourism basically non-existent.
However, within just the last five years, Colombia has seen an increase in foreign travels of more than 45% and it now rates as one of the most visited countries in South America. The country is rapidly establishing itself as a major tourist destination, with Caribbean coastline, rainforest, endangered animals, unique ecosystems and the Andes mountain range. It has something for everyone, and unique experiences as well as unique landscapes. Here are 13 good reasons to visit Colombia.
It’s home to incredible biodiversity
Colombia is considered one of the world’s ‘megadiverse’ countries. The Andes mountain range runs through the country, creating three connecting mountain ranges, with Bogotá situated on a flat savannah within them. The Amazon rainforest covers 35% of Colombia, and this unique rainforest environment is home to many indigenous communities, endangered animals and unique fauna.
And Colombia’s unique landscapes don’t stop at the rainforest. The connecting of two ecosystems occurs in many areas of Colombia, but the most unique is where the Amazon meets the Andes mountains range, creating a unique landscape at the Serranía de la Macarena National Park. Colombia also has two desert areas, La Guajira and Tatacoa. Colombia’s coastlines, one Caribbean and the other Pacific, create unique beaches, backed by snowcapped mountains and deep forest. Colombia is also home to a large páramo ecosystem that helps create rain.
There are countless once in a lifetime experiences
Colombia is full of unique experiences and activities, with the biodiverse environment creating the perfect location for many activities. The choice is almost endless: whitewater rafting, rock climbing, abseiling, bungee jumping, surfing, whale-watching in the Pacific, kitesurfing in the Caribbean, waterskiing, horse riding through the mountains, hiking through the valleys, trekking through the Amazon, cliff jumping, diving on the island of San Andres, snorkelling in the reefs or swimming in endless fresh water lagoons.
The country is known for its warm, friendly, and diverse people
Columbians have a great reputation for friendliness and hospitality. As with all stereotypes, you may want to take this with a pinch of salt – but why not visit and find out for yourself? You may find that you never want to leave.
“It’s ludicrous this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here,” uttered by the late Anthony Bourdain while strolling through the streets of Cartagena in 2008.
Diverse and delicious foods – especially when it comes to unique fruits and vegetables
Colombia’s range of climates and altitudes allows farmers to grow a large variety of crops all year round, and the country is home to a number of unique fruits and vegetables. Colombia prides itself on its fresh foods, with restaurants serving home-cooked meals, and many homemade meals and foods available from street stalls or local cafes. Juices are popular, as well as rices, corn arepas and fresh breads.
When you’re there, these are the musts: Bandeja paisa, a traditional lunch of rice, beans, fried egg, avocado, pig belly, beef and chorizo; the Pacific and Andean cuisines in Popayan, UNESCO’s first Creative City of Gastronomy; and West African-influenced dishes of the Palenque people in San Basilio de Palenque, the first free-slave town in the Americas.
A robust and well-preserved national parks system
Colombia has 59 National Natural Parks, which vary in landscape, climate and ecosystems. Many of them offer unique experiences for visitors, such as hikes, water activities and other experiences. All of Colombia’s National Parks are designed to protect the wildlife, ecosystems, culture and architectural heritage of the area.
Unique and exotic wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth
Colombia is a country with a high level of biodiversity; it is home to over 10% of the world’s animal species as well as the highest number of endemic species. Over 1,800 species of bird inhabit Colombia, with over 456 mammal species and large numbers of insects, reptiles and marine creatures. The majority of the country’s wildlife resides within four National Parks – Cocora Valley, Gorgona Island, Serrania de la Macarena and Amacayacu.
Miles and miles of hiking for all skill levels
Colombian National Natural Park’s feature a large number of hiking routes, which vary in both difficulty and distance. Hiking gives visitors the opportunity to experience the country’s unique landscapes and ecosystems, and to see wildlife up close. Hiking trails and guided tours are available throughout the country, with the most popular being in the Valle de Cocora and the hike or trek to the Lost City, an ancient indigenous abandoned village created in 800 AD, or 600 years before Machu Picchu.
Stunning classic and modern architecture
Colombian architecture dates back centuries, with small towns and villages all traditionally having a plaza and cathedrals, many of them hundreds of years old. The architecture of Colombia’s cathedrals is beautiful, detailed and has to be seen to be believed.
While parts of Colombia’s big cities have become marvels of modern architecture, Bogotá, the country’s capital, has a historic centre that is home to many very old buildings on cobbled streets. Colombia combines old and new within its cities, and continually strives to create exquisite new modern buildings, as well as restoring its colonial heritage.
Fun and modern cities full of entertainment
Bogotá (Colombia’s capital) and Medellín (the second-biggest city) are both up-and-coming conurbations in South American and the world. Medellín has created and implemented an extensive Urban Development strategy, which has seen the city completely change over the last 20 years from one of the world’s most violent cities to an award-winning centre of innovation, which is becoming a model for other cites around the world.
Bogotá is also developing rapidly into a major business hub for Latin America, and a large number of multinational companies are creating their Latin American HQs within the business district.
A frenetic obsession with sports
Colombia has been gaining huge success in sports in recent years. The country’s football team is one of the best in the world and is heavily supported throughout the country. When a football match is played the majority of the country stops to watch and offer support. Cycling is another popular sport, with large numbers of Colombians taking to the streets and countryside to take part in long-distance rides or the city’s ciclovía events.
Thousands of years of recorded history
Colombia’s history dates back for many centuries, with Pre-Colombian indigenous communities establishing themselves all over the country and creating many of the country’s towns and cities. Colombia has been heavily influenced by its natives, as well as by the Spanish, French and British, with many countries trying and failing to take control of the country from the Spanish.
Colombia is now turning a corner from its history of the last 50 years. Civil war has torn through the country, but in 2016 a peace agreement was signed and implemented, creating at last a positive and sustainable future for the country.
Hundreds of Indigenous cultures
Indigenous natives live within many areas of Colombia, including the Amazon, Pacific Coast and La Guajira. Indigenous Colombians and Afro-Colombians strive to keep their traditions alive, with traditional foods, music, culture and events. Colombia has been predominately influenced by its indigenous communities and heritage through music, with many sounds and rhythms originating from Africa and being brought to Colombia along with descendants of Afro-Colombians.
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