9 Things You Must See Before They Disappear Forever
I don’t want to be the one to tell you this, but the sad truth is that nothing truly lasts forever. The sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, rain forests are being chopped down, and climate change is no longer just the plot of a disaster movie starring John Cusack. Things move pretty fast these days. If you don’t put these gems on your must-see list, you could miss them altogether. And frankly, we don’t want to be responsible for your FOMO.
Kilimanjaro from above. (Photo: Ben Freeman)
1. Kilimanjaro’s Snow-Capped Peaks: As far as travel brags go, that iconic photo of you atop the snow-capped peak of Uhuru Summit on Mt. Kilimanjaro is a solid. Sadly, that shot is about to get way less awesome now that all of the snow is melting. More than 85 percent of the ice cap has disappeared in the last century and it could be completely gone within the next 20 years.
Fun fact: It takes the average Joe between six and nine days to summit Kilimanjaro, depending on which of the six routes they choose.
The Details: Climbing requires hiring a licensed guide and will typically cost between $1,000 and $5,000, including food and accommodations on the mountain. It helps to plan at least six months, if not a year, in advance. We recommend Thomson Treks for their knowledgeable guides and stellar summiting success rate.
The crystal waters of the Maldives. (Photo: Rom)
2. The Maldives: Perched precariously 1.5 meters above sea level, the Maldives could soon become a real-life Atlantis. President Mohamed Nasheed has already warned world leaders that if greenhouse gases are not reduced soon, this island chain in the Indian Ocean will be swallowed up by the sea, which means you’ll never experience their bone-white beaches, crystal-clear waters, and turquoise reefs.
Fun fact: The Maldives are one of the few places on earth where you can swim with whale sharks year round. They tend to stick to the western side of the archipelago from May to December, then head east for the rest of the year.
The Details: The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme runs weekly, year-round snorkeling and scuba trips where you can actually swim with the world’s largest fish.
3. The Unspoiled Beaches of Culebra: Known to locals as Ultima Virgen (The Last Virgin), Culebra is the quieter kissing cousin to Vieques. Today this small island of Puerto Rico remains relatively undeveloped. Unfortunately, that probably won’t last much longer. Plenty of large hotel chains are turning their gaze onto the tiny island, with its perfect beaches and magnificent coral reefs. Go now to savor the remaining years of its truly rustic beauty.