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Top 10 Backpacking Destinations For 2012 (PHOTOS)

Posted: 01/13/12 07:00 AM ET

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Every year, we bring you a list of destinations worth your backpacking pennies. From storming the Swiss Alps to lobster munching on the cheap in Nicaragua, in 2012, OTP gets you travel buggin' in all sorts of new ways. Use our list of Top 10 Destinations for 2012 to figure out where to best enjoy the impending apocalypse.

You've heard of some of these places, while others are completely new -- but each has a little something sassy to get you anxious to move. 2012 is special in that it's another year -- this time with 366 days -- some of which you should spend outside of your comfort zone.

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This is the part of Mexico you don't see on a one-week, spring break, bar-hopping, binge-drinking spree. Chiapas has real Mexican soul and history and isn't fully dolled up for the sake of tourists. Way down south, where it kisses Guatemala, the Chiapas region is home to indigenous populations, some of which trace their roots back to ancient Mayan civilizations. From volcanoes to waterfalls, the diverse landscape is rich with ruins predating Columbus' nasty travel itch. After you've had your fill of temples and shrines, shell out $13 to zipline over a rainbow at El Chiflón waterfalls; getting cultured just got way more affordable.

OTP Fun Fact: The Mayan calendar runs out of juice in 2012. This either means the world will implode or Mayan descendants will party it up like it's 1999. We're putting our money on the latter.
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