Now you see them…tomorrow you might not!
While more and more people get hooked on travelling, the number of places to visit is dwindling. Pressing environmental issues such as global warming, urban development, and pollution have taken their toll on natural attractions, and have raised alarms around the world. Put these endangered places on your travel list, and see them before they’re gone!
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica. This remarkable kingdom of lush greens and overwhelming number of species is literally a paradise. Layers of green stand side by side, crowned with a thick cloud mass—an astonishing image of natural beauty. Unfortunately, future generations might not be able to see this anymore, as climate change and deforestation threaten to destroy this precious resource. The preserve’s Monteverde harlequin frogs have already disappeared, while the clouds, which provide life-sustaining moisture, are reportedly dissipating. However, tourists can still see the natural wonder before it’s gone. Various trails (forest, swamp, or river trails) are available, allowing visitors to discover a range of flora and fauna, including hummingbirds and over 400 types of orchids. El Establo Hotel is a nice stop, too, which has amazing views and amenities: heated pool, Internet access, and tennis courts.
- Taj Mahal, India. Seems like the memory of Emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite wife won’t forever be preserved. Acid rain due to the Mathura oil refinery and pollution on the nearby banks of Yamuna River are slowly eating away at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, turning its white façade into a pale yellow. But don’t fret; the renowned mausoleum is still open to visitors. Intricate architectural details such as incised paintings, semiprecious gemstones, and the Mughal garden continue to amaze up to four million tourists annually. Enjoy views overlooking the Taj Mahal from the luxury hotel Oberoi Amarvilas, which is also a nice lookout point during sunrise, “when the white marble turns various shades of pink—naturally.”
- The Alps. With the current threat of global warming, it’s no surprise that glaciers all over the world are melting. It’s seriously alarming to note, however, that the glaciers in Alaska, Greenland, New Zealand, and Switzerland are predicted to totally disappear by year 2030—“if melting continues at its current pace.” Better indulge in ski holidays now, while the Alps still exists. Chamonix, France is the perfect winter destination. Here, activities such as snowboarding aren’t the only attractions, but sports events as well, such as Nissan Outdoor Games, International Climbing Festival, and Mont-Blanc Marathon.
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Corals are quickly dwindling in this fascinating underwater treasure, and acidity and rise in temperatures are to blame. So while marine creatures such as loggerhead turtles still frequent the waters, don your diving gear and take a peek. Just don’t forget your manners and explore this already fragile undersea attraction with care.
- Florida Everglades. The ‘ever’ in Everglades might suddenly become inappropriate if irrigation, farming, and development continue to drain water away from the ecosystem. In recent years, more than half of the rugged landscape has been swallowed up, evicting the animals and birds that consider it home. Make the most of the attraction while it’s around. Explore crystal seas on a kayak; see dolphins, manatees, and turtles; and take a jungle cruise aboard a safari wagon.