Let’s go back to travel school with a destination alphabet! Follow along to learn some fun facts about some of our favorite destinations.
A IS FOR ALASKA
- Alaska is derived from the Aleut word “Alyeska,” meaning “great land.”
- Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska. Denali, the highest peak in North America, is 20,320 ft. above sea level.
- Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers, ranging from tiny cirque glaciers to huge valley glaciers.
B IS FOR BAHAMAS
- The Bahamas consists of 700 tropical islands. 30 of them are inhabited by people.
- The Flamingo is the National Bird of The Bahamas.
- Official languages are English and Creole.
C IS FOR CARIBBEAN
- The Caribbean consists of 13 countries and more than 7,000 islands (including the Bahamas!).
- It is home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs.
- Caribbean has two distinct seasons: the dry season and a wet season. The wet season is July to January and the dry season is from about February to June.
D IS FOR DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
- The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation, both by area and by population.
- The official language is Spanish.
E IS FOR ECUADOR
- Ecuador is roughly the size of Colorado.
- Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its official unit of currency.
- The official languages are Spanish and Quechua.
F IS FOR FIJI
- Fiji is a group, or archipelago, of 332 islands.
- Tabuas, or sperm whale teeth, are given ahead of an engagement or at weddings, funerals, and births. They are also used to seal an apology.
- It has three official languages: Fijian, Fiji Hindi, and English.
G IS FOR GALAPAGOS
- The Galapagos islands are a province of Ecuador.
- The islands are home to the only species of penguin found north of the Equator.
- Due to its unique position straddling the Equator, visitors can view the constellations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time.
H IS FOR HAWAII
- The Hawaiian hoary bat is the only native land mammal.
- The state flower is the yellow hibiscus.
- English and Hawaiian are the official languages.
I IS FOR ICELAND
- Iceland is slightly smaller than the state of Kentucky.
- Some Icelanders maintain belief in elves, trolls, and other characters that date back to their Celtic and Norse beginnings.
- The official language is Icelandic. English, Nordic languages, German are also spoken.
J IS FOR JAMAICA
- Jamaica is part of the chain of Caribbean islands called the Greater Antilles.
- The island is home to the endangered Homerus swallowtail, the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere, with a wingspan of 6 inches.
- Jamaica’s official language is English, and Jamaican or Patois (or Patwa) is also spoken.
K IS FOR KENYA
- There are more than 50 reserves and parks to protect the native animals.
- Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest (after Mt Kilimanjaro) in Africa.
- The official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English, but more than 60 languages are spoken!
L IS FOR LONDON
- The London Underground opened in 1863 as the world’s first subterranean railway.
- London has over 192 museums with 11 national museums including the British Museum.
- There are almost as many trees in London as there are people. 8.4 million trees across the capital, nearly one for each 8.6 million Londoners.
M IS FOR MEXICO
- The official name is the United Mexican States (Estados Únidos Mexicanos.)
- The national sport of Mexico is charrería, a type of rodeo, but football (soccer) is the most popular sport.
- Monarch butterflies migrate up to 3000 miles every year to and from Central Mexico.
N IS FOR (THE) NETHERLANDS
- The Netherlands is larger than the state of Maryland, but smaller than West Virginia.
- The country is sometimes called Holland, but the name only applies to two provinces, North and South Holland.
- Dutch if the official language of The Netherlands.
O IS FOR ORLANDO
- Orlando is known globally as the Theme Park Capital of the World, with attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
- The Backstreet Boys were named after Orlando’s Backstreet Market.
- There is no official record of how Orlando got its name, but it was originally called Jernigan after the first permanent settler in the area.
P IS FOR PERU
- Thank Peru for potatoes! The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes.
- The world’s largest rain forest, the Amazon, covers nearly half of Peru.
- The official languages are Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara.
Q IS FOR QATAR
- Falconry is a traditional sport in Qatar and is an important part of their culture and heritage.
- Qatar is roughly the size of U.S. state of Connecticut.
- The official language is Arabic.
R IS FOR ROME
- Cats are protected by law and can freely roam wherever they want, including historic landmarks. Causing harm to a cat in Italy is punishable by law.
- Visitors throw approximately €3,000 worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain each day. The money is donated to Catholic charity Caritas.
- The world’s smallest country, Vatican City, is in Rome.
S IS FOR SPAIN
- La Tomatina, known as the world’s largest food fight, happens in the town of Buñol every year in August.
- Casa Botín in Madrid, founded in 1725, is the oldest operating restaurant in the world.
- The official languages are Castilian Spanish, Basque, Catalan, and Galician.
T IS FOR THAILAND
- Thailand, which means “land of the free,” was known as Siam until 1939.
- Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to never have been colonized by Europeans.
- The official language is Thai.
U IS FOR… THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- Lake Superior the largest freshwater lake in the world.
- The oldest city in the United States is St Augustine, Florida.
- The United States does not have an official language, but individual states list English as their official language.
V IS FOR VIETNAM
- Vietnam has 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Phu Quoc Island has the world’s longest cable car.
- The official language is Vietnamese.
W IS FOR WALES
- The Velocity 2 zipline in Wales is the fastest zipline in the world.
- The village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the second-longest place name in the world with 58 characters.
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the highest in the world and you can kayak across it.
- Official languages are Welsh and English.
X IS FOR XCARET, MEXICO
- Xcaret was a port city, and historians and archaeologists believe it was one of the most significant and active ports on the Riviera Maya.
- Xcaret was awarded the Guinness World Record for the care of an endangered species, the scarlet macaw.
- Xcaret Park covers an area of over 200 acres and is home to over 50 species of animals.
Y IS FOR YOSEMITE, USA
- In Yosemite, you can witness the rare natural phenomenon called a “moonbow” which is the result of moonlight refracting in water droplets caused by the mist of the waterfalls.
- Yosemite Falls, North America’s tallest waterfall, cascades 2,425 feet.
- President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, placing it under the protection of California, on June 30, 1864. It did not become an official National Park until October 1, 1890, making it the third national park in the United States.
Z IS FOR ZIMBABWE
- Zimbabwe has the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba.
- Sable Antelope is the national animal of Zimbabwe.
- It has 16 official languages.