10 Places You Must See Before They’re Gone

8 taj mahal india

Places, much like animals can become endangered, and some of the  world’s most amazing sights are gradually disappearing.

Scientists contend that climate change is affecting oceans reefs, beaches, and even cities, leading to potentially drastic changes.
Development is another danger for once-pristine, off-the-beaten-path  spots and their unique cultures.

Here are 10 places on the brink of forever changing, and some that are  threatening to disappear altogether. .

Check  out these endangered places

Easter Island

Easter Island

Where: Chile

Known for its famous 887 moai—carved monolithic statues—Easter  Island’s future may be compromised by a fading culture. The remote  island has a small population of 5,000, of which fewer than half are Rapa Nui  (the indigenous people of the island), according to a 2012 study done by “The  Berkeley Planning Journal.”

Recent developments, such as the opening of a new luxury eco-resort  last year, also have locals concerned about a tourism influx; so much so, there  is a movement afoot to limit numbers. Visit before you need a permit to see the  island’s ancient petroglyphs, cave paintings, and moai, or do some extraordinary  diving.


Where: Antarctica

According to NASA, the frozen  continent of Antarctica is thawing. While it may be some time until it “melts”  away, efforts are in place to minimize the environmental impact of tourism.  Cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers are no longer allowed to sail the  straits.

Some stricter limitations are on the docket  from the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, an organization  devoted to promoting safe, responsible tourism. Book a cruise  through Abercrombie  and Kent for an eco-friendly journey.  Go while it’s still there to see incredible wildlife sightings, immense ice  shelves, and outstanding mountain ranges.


Machu Picchu and Choquequirao

Machu Picchu and Choquequirao

Where: Peru

Development will greatly affect the remains of the ancient civilization of  Choquequirao, known as “the other Machu Picchu.” The Peruvian government  recently announced the building of a 3-mile cable car to Machu Picchu’s “sister  city.”

As a result, tourism will explode from five visitors a day to 3,000 when it  opens in 2015. The intent of the tramway is to ease the burden on Machu  Picchu, which already limits visitors to 2,500 daily and requires  reservations to hike the famed Inca Trail. A journey to either of these ancient  cities will allow visitors to take in stunning mountain landscapes and  impressive ancient architecture.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Where: Tanzania

Few spots in the world are as picturesque as the volcanic mountain of Kilimanjaro. Africa’s  tallest peak is beloved by trekkers and was brought to life in Hemingway’s short  story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”

A study published by the “Proceedings of the National Academy  of Sciences” says those snows are likely to be gone in 20 years,  stating that 85 percent of the ice cap has already disappeared during the last  century. To have the best Kilimanjaro climbing experience, visitors should  strongly consider an operator like Alpine  Ascents that’s registered, has qualified guides, has porters’ interests  at heart, and follows an environmental policy.

Great Barrier Reef

Where: Australia

Known as one of the world’s premier diving sites, the Great  Barrier Reef is suffering from rising ocean temperature, water  pollution, and fishing, which are causing erosion to the largest coral reef in  the world. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the rate  of disintegration to the 7,000-year-old reef is unprecedented; some scientists  say that it could be dead within the next 40 years, taking a significant amount  of sea life along with it.

With such a unique and spectacular array of coral, fish, and other marine  life, travelers should put this on their must-see list. But when visiting be  sure to look and not touch—the coral is easily damaged.

Culebra and Vieques

Culebra and Vieques

Where: Culebra and Vieques

Though both islands, tiny paradises off the east coast of Puerto  Rico, have triumphed over the US Navy by halting bombing drills that were  compromising the environment, the current threat involves overdevelopment. Since  the W Retreat and Spa-Vieques  Island moved in during 2010, other properties have been eyeing both  islands.

Locals worry Puerto Rico’s dismal economics will trump their efforts to  maintain the islands “unspoiled” charms. Respect the islands’ natural calm and  enjoy environmentally-friendly activities like kayaking in the bioluminescent  bay off Vieques,  or snorkeling off Playa Carlos Rosario in Culebra for  views of a fabulous coral reef.


Dead Sea

Dead Sea

Where: Israel and Jordan

When border countries began to divert water from the Dead  Sea’s main tributary 50 years ago, the famous, salty, buoyant body  began to evaporate, sinking about three feet a year, according to studies by the  Israeli government. The suggested answer: the “Red-Dead” project, which will  channel the Red Sea into the Dead Sea.

Local environmentalists, FoEME (Friends of the Earth Middle East) claim that  the project will irrevocably compromise the Dead Sea’s ecosystem. Either way, if  a solution isn’t put into place, the famed sea could dry up within the next 40  years. Get here before it’s gone to enjoy a fun float in this sea (30 percent saline).

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Where: Agra, India

The world’s most elaborate mausoleum, built in the 17th century in memory of  Mughal emperor Shal Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, currently welcomes  three million visitors a year. That may not be the case within five years,  however, as UNESCO and some preservation groups are urging India to close  the Taj  Mahal as air pollution, shoddy restoration, population explosion, and  tourism’s impact have been eroding the structure’s exterior. Until the palace is once again deemed sound, the days of up-close encounters  with the majestic site may be numbered.  Until then, visitors can take in  the palace’s magnificent details like a reflecting pool, chiseled marble screens  with tiny sculpted flowers, and intricate inlaid semiprecious stones.



Where: Venice, Italy

Though its watery canals evoke a sense of romance, Italy’s “floating city”  might go the way of Atlantis: flooding has been increasing for years, and  scientists are wondering exactly how long Venice can  stay above water.

A recent study at the University of Padua in Italy has  charted the city’s apparent sinking, while architects are saying that the watery  immersion is compromising building foundations, too. While it’s above ground  make sure to cruise the Grand Canal, view the gorgeous mosaics of the Basilica  di San Marco, and sample local cuisine and wines.


Where: Tibet

Set high in the Himalayas, the unique culture of Tibet has  been disintegrating since the country came under Chinese control in 1950.  Despite efforts of high-profile activists like actor Richard Gere and the Dalai  Lama to free Tibet from Chinese occupation, it is said the language and many  cultural traditions are quickly disappearing.

The Chinese government also freezes permits for tourism from time to time;  depending on current policy it may already be too late to visit. If you happen  to catch this country at the right time, check out the towering Potala  Palace or explore the lofty Ganden  Monastery

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