10 Places to Visit Before They No Longer Exist
Traveling is a passion for many of us, though there never seems to be enough time to visit every destination on our bucket lists. However, if you dream of visiting any of the following 10 destinations, you might want to consider packing your bags sooner rather than later. Want to walk through the Taj Mahal or hike Machu Picchu? Time is of the essence!
Be sure to visit the "Floating City" before the Italian paradise completely sinks. The romantic and charming city of Venice, connected by a system of spectacular and dazzling canals, is facing ruin. The city has been sinking for many years, but the increase of severe flooding, rising sea levels, and an excessive amount of tourism is escalating the problem.
Though a project is underway to save the city, it is quite possible Venice may become completely unlivable by the end of the century. Book a flight and explore the city before it's too late. Sway to the sweet sounds of a singing gondolier, sip wine beneath the Rialto Bridge, and enjoy getting lost on the most magical alleys and quaint streets Italy has to offer.
Paradise seekers, it’s time to start seeking! The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands, is located off the coast of Madagascar, nestled serenely in the Indian Ocean. It is home to spectacular nature reserves, sandy beaches, and rare animals, and is often visited by honeymooners and romantics from every corner of the globe.
However, beach erosion and the destruction of coral could send the entire archipelago beneath sea level in 50 to 100 years. It may seem like you have some time to get there, but don't let life pass you by. When your grandkids want to see vintage YouTube videos of your adventures in ancient lands, you won't want to disappoint!
The Dead Sea
Ironically enough, the Dead Sea is dying. Located at earth's lowest elevation, the Dead Sea is close to 10 times saltier than any ocean and is rich in both history and healing minerals. While its buoyancy makes it impossible for a person to sink, the sea itself is doing just that.
In the last 40 years, the Dead Sea has sunk 80 feet, has shrunk by a third, and is losing 2 billion gallons of water a year as neighboring countries draw water from the River Jordan, the sea's only water source. This, combined with climate change, has experts believing the Dead Sea could disappear in as few as 50 years. Float therapy is all the rage these days, but why not try it in nature while you still have the chance?
The tall green grass and the slow-moving river that makes up the Florida Everglades have landed it on the UNESCO World Heritage Danger List . . . again! The wetlands are home to 800 different species of land and water animals, including more than 350 species of birds. Tourists can view wildlife in action on boat or canoe tours.
However, the Floridian destination is in jeopardy due to increased urban development and pollution, causing a loss of marine species. The Everglades were removed from from the Danger List in 2007 and environmentalists hope its return is once again just temporary. But just in case you want to get up close and personal with some extraordinary wildlife, say, "See ya later, Alligator," to your home, and in a while, you'll see a crocodile!
The Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is in serious danger of collapsing. One of the most iconic and recognizable buildings in the world, commissioned in 1632 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, is considering closing its doors to tourists.
Millions of tourists enter the grandiose mausoleum every year, causing destruction to the building. Furthermore, air and river pollution and the decaying wood that supports the structure are all aspects that are leading to its decline. Rumor has it visitors may only have four more years to visit this architectural wonder before it locks up shop. If this destination is on your bucket list, head straight to the airport, grab some Rupees, and run, don't walk, to the Taj Mahal.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is a UNESCO world heritage site, but it is disappearing before our very eyes. The world's largest coral reef is home to thousands of species down under (literally and figuratively). Situated off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most visited and breathtaking coral reefs in the world.
However, due to global warming, the size of the reef has decreased by more than half in the last 30 years. Furthering the problem is coral bleaching caused by acid pollution. If things don't improve, experts predict the coral communities may be completely gone by 2030. So if you want to visit the Great Barrier Reef, there's no better time than the present.
Great Wall of China
You might be able to see the Great Wall of China from a low orbit in space, but in as little as 20 years, you might not be able to see it at all. Standing tall for over 2,000 years, it was originally built to protect China from enemy invasions. Today, the Great Wall of China is not only one of the world's largest man-made structures, but also one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the wall have been destroyed by over-farming. While restoration and preservation efforts are in effect, the wall is still facing erosion and damage from locals selling its bricks. If you want to see the Great Wall of China before it's gone for good, skip the rocket ship and hop on a plane instead.
The Maldives is one of the most romantic destinations in the world and a go-to hotspot for honeymooners. The nation, comprised of hundreds of islands in the Indian Ocean, boasts perfectly clear waters, colorful fish, exotic beaches, and stunning overwater bungalows.
However, those bungalows aren't just built for luxury. The Maldives is the lowest-lying country on earth, with its elevation only five feet above sea level. Due to climate change and the rise in sea level, scientists predict the Maldives will be completely submerged within 100 years. The situation is so serious that the Maldivian government is already planning to protect citizens facing displacement by purchasing land in other countries. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives before the country is lost forever.
Machu Picchu, also known as the "Lost City," is home to the ruins of Peru's Inca Empire and was rediscovered in 1911. Although it stands quite high in the mountains at almost 8,000 feet above sea level, it is still facing erosion, landslides, and a high influx of visitors.
UNESCO and Peru set a limit of 2,500 visitors per day, but with millions of tourists per year, the amount of daily visitors greatly exceeds that set limit. Unless more regulations are put in place, the 15th-century ruins at Machu Picchu may soon collapse. Make sure to get there before the ruins are ruined!
Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands, a province of Ecuador, are a volcanic archipelago and one of the most popular destinations for viewing wildlife. Most famously, Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835, which inspired his theory of evolution. The region is known for its flora and wildlife, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and fur seals.
Though the Galapagos Islands are remote, they are an extremely popular travel destination. Each year, more than 170,000 tourists visit the archipelago, and the wear and tear is beginning to take its toll on the exotic region. The increase in tourism has created more hotels and restaurants, use of vehicles, and pollution. The islands are on a decline and some unique animals have already faced extinction. Want to see this extraordinary wildlife before it's too late? Get up and Galapa-Go today!