Bon Voyage, Earth!: 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear

From Grecian ruins to the snowcapped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world is full of wonders—but some of these places are vanishing. Thanks to climate change, tourism and human recklessness, some of the most stunning sites on Earth might not be around much longer. Where do you need to visit before it’s too late?

1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Stretching 1,400 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s the only living thing visible from outer space. There’s just one problem: it’s dying. Over the last two years, the reef has lost half of its coral covering thanks to two unprecedented bleaching events, according to coral reef ecologists.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

2. Venice, Italy

Built on top of an unstable lagoon, Venice is sinking, moving five inches in the last century alone. Flooding is more of a problem than ever, particularly in St. Mark’s Square, which becomes submerged with water a dozen times a year.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
Venice, Italy

3. Olympia, Greece

If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to visit Greece soon. In recent years, the ancient city of Olympia—the site of the first Olympic Games in 776 BCE—has experienced unusually hot weather, leading to wildfires. There’s no guarantee the next blaze won’t reach the ancient pillars.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
Olympia, Greece

4. Madagascar’s Forests

These forests are only predicted to last another 35 years, thanks to fires and mass deforestation.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
Madagascar’s Forests

5. Glacier National Park, Montana

There are only 25 glaciers left of the national park’s original 150. Experts predict that in just 15 years, there may be no glaciers left.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
Glacier National Park, Montana

6. The Dead Sea, Israel

The Dead Sea is drying up. Known as the saltiest spot on earth, the sea is shrinking by as much as three feet per year. Scientists give it about 50 more years before it’s gone entirely.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Dead Sea, Israel

7. The Congo Basin, Africa

The Congo Basin is home to the second-largest rainforest in the world. But thanks to illegal logging, ranching, mining and civil warfare, scientists estimate that two-thirds of this vast wilderness could be gone by 2040.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Congo Basin, Africa

8. The Seychelles Islands

Made up of more than a hundred islands off the coast of Madagascar, National Geographic rates the beach at Anse Source d’Argent as the best in the world, but it could be lost in the next 50 years. The waters of the Indian Ocean are continually rising, eroding the beaches and degrading the coral reef.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Seychelles Islands

9. The Galapagos Islands

These famous islands have drastically changed since the late 19thcentury, when they received few visitors. Due to too many tourists, the islands’ ecosystem hangs in a precarious position.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Galapagos Islands

10. The Taj Mahal, India

Each year, more than eight million people visit the Taj Mahal by bus, train or air, according to The Guardian. The 17th-century building was not meant to handle that many visitors, and, over time, the site has started to decline. To protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Indian government has implemented a cap on daily tourist numbers.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Taj Mahal, India

11. The Patagonian Ice Fields, Argentina

These ice fields comprise the most extensive body of ice in the southern hemisphere, outside of Antarctica. Unfortunately, these glaciers are thinning at a pace of around six feet per year.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The Patagonian Ice Fields, Argentina

12. Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The towering peaks of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro are a breathtaking sight; covered in snow and ice, the summit looks like something from another world. Since 1912, however, 85 percent of the ice that covered the mountaintop has disappeared. Scientists predict the legendary glaciers of Kilimanjaro could be completely depleted in just 20 years.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

13. The “Door to Hell,” Turkmenistan

This active volcano, also known as the Darvaza gas crater, has spent the last 40 years as a bubbling inferno, but scientists predict it won’t stay active for much longer.

Bon Voyage, Earth! : 13 Places to Visit Before They Disappear
The “Door to Hell,” Turkmenistan

So before it’s too late, book your flights and start traveling the world! Who knows what will be left in another 50 years…

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