Many of the world’s once-great attractions and destinations have been lost over time, whether due to natural conditions or other events, such as war and urban development. In today’s world, we still have plenty of amazing places to visit — but for how much longer? From the Great Barrier Reef to Venice, Italy, here are the places you need to visit before it’s too late.
Location: About 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil
What’s happening: Deforestation and fires
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest and also home to some of the most unique species of plants and animals on the planet. But if deforestation and massive fires continue to clear the rainforest, it’s predicted that much of the area will eventually see a permanent change.
Why you should visit: Remote and virtually untouched land awaits your next adventure; compare credit cards to help find the right travel card for your next trip.
Location: Between Israel and Jordan
What’s happening: It’s shrinking
The Dead Sea is dying. Or at least, it’s disappearing. This historic lake between Israel and Jordan is shrinking at a rapid pace each year, which is increasing its already high levels of salt. Fortunately, barring any severe changes, the Dead Sea should still be around for many years to come.
Why you should visit: It’s the lowest land elevation on Earth and swimming in its salty waters feels like floating.
Everglades National Park
Location: Florida, U.S.
What’s happening: It’s shrinking
The largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. and a World Heritage Site is slowly disappearing, and many of its inhabitants along with it. Agricultural and urban development are taking land from the Everglades, while invasive species of plants and animals are spreading and destroying native species.
Why you should visit: Filled with beautiful landscapes and unique plants and wildlife, there’s nowhere in the world quite like the Everglades.
What’s happening: Ecosystem degradation
Because of increased tourism, illegal fishing and poaching, as well as the introduction of invasive species, the famed Galapagos Islands are seeing a negative impact on their fragile ecosystems. The islands were made famous by Charles Darwin, who visited them and later came up with his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Why you should visit: It’s a chain of beautiful, volcanic islands filled with endemic (not found anywhere else in the world) species of plants and animals.
Glacier National Park
Location: Montana, U.S.
What’s happening: Glaciers are melting
Due to climate change, the glaciers that Glacier National Park is named for are vanishing over time, with a prediction for a total disappearance by 2100. With less ice, there has also been more fire, with an increased number of wildfires contributing to more park closures in recent years.
Why you should visit: It’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S., offering pristine scenery and dramatic landscapes.
Grand Canyon National Park
Location: Arizona, U.S.
What’s happening: Irreversible changes
It’s not likely the Grand Canyon will disappear anytime soon, but this world-famous national park has seen some irreversible changes over the years and more changes are bound to happen. This is primarily due to invasive species being introduced to the area and human development, such as the Glen Canyon Dam being built.
Why you should visit: It’s world-famous for a reason, offering jaw-dropping vistas, hiking, camping, and more.
Great Barrier Reef
What’s happening: It’s dying
Coral reefs are living creatures, and we might not have the largest collection of coral reefs for much longer. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is suffering from worldwide climate change, which is killing many of its corals.
Why you should visit: It’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world, filled with wonderful plants and wildlife, and it’s disappearing quickly.
Great Wall of China
What’s happening: Deterioration
An architectural wonder that was started nearly 2,000 years ago, the Great Wall of China still stands today as a monumental work of historical significance. But not all of it’s still there. It’s estimated that around 30% of the wall has eroded or simply disappeared over time, due to natural occurrences and human interference.
Why you should visit: As one of the new seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is an incredible feat of construction and longevity.
Location: Island country in Southeast Africa
What’s happening: Deforestation
Deforestation is widespread across Madagascar since the local population requires firewood and charcoal for their everyday needs. This has contributed to a large loss of habitat for plants and wildlife in the area. Illegal wildlife trade has also increased as a possible side effect of deforestation since there’s more access to certain animals.
Why you should visit: After splitting from the African continent around 160 million years ago, Madagascar has become a veritable natural paradise, with forests, coral reefs, mangroves, and more.
What’s happening: Ice cap is shrinking
If you’re familiar with Mount Kilimanjaro, you know about its giant ice cap at the top. It’s part of a well-recognized backdrop in photos of Kilimanjaro National Park below the mountain. But the ice cap is shrinking, and predictions say it could be gone completely during this century.
Why you should visit: It’s the highest point in Africa and the largest free-standing (not part of a mountain range) mountain in the world.
Location: North Carolina, U.S.
What’s happening: Beach is eroding
The Outer Banks (not the TV show, but where the show is set) are shrinking each year, giving up land to the relentless waves of the ocean. For the residents who live here, it’s a seemingly losing battle to preserve the area they know and love. After all, who can stop the sea from making its changes?
Why you should visit: The Outer Banks barrier islands provide beautiful beaches and summertime escapes for visitors nationwide.
Location: Argentina and Chile
What’s happening: Glaciers are melting
Patagonia is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, but its spectacular icefields aren’t slated to be around forever. According to some, the ice found in Patagonia is melting at some of the planet’s highest rates.
Why you should visit: Patagonia spans both Argentina and Chile and offers visitors opportunities to explore vast and wild landscapes.
What’s happening: It’s sinking
When you build a city on the water, there’s always going to be a battle to stay afloat. Such is the case with the city of Venice, the famed City of Canals in Italy, which is slowly sinking into the Venetian Lagoon.
Why you should visit: There aren’t too many cities in the world that are crisscrossed by various canals, and Venice is the most well-known of them.
All of these places and attractions are expected to one day disappear, but some of them might not have as much time as others. If you want to travel to these destinations, it’s likely best to make plans sooner rather than later. To help fund any upcoming trips, use helpful rewards and benefits from the best travel credit cards.
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Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
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