Nothing stays the same… and these amazing places to visit are no different.
The winds of changes are blowing through the Caribbean island with the death of leader Fidel Castro and the relaxation of the travel ban on US visitors, and the rush to see Cuba before modernisation kicks in has already begun. Havana’s unique charm is that it’s effectively been frozen in time since the 1950s — and you need to experience the mojitos and cigars and 60-year-old Buicks before the influx of American tourists leads to a Starbucks on every corner.
The City of Canals has been slowly sinking for centuries, and rising sea levels plus more frequent flooding hasn’t helped. A couple of millimetres a year doesn’t sound like much but it’s enough to erode Venice’s historic architecture, which has also been worn down by the tens of thousands of cruise ship tourists who are driving hotel prices sky high. Whispers of a theme park being built on the city’s outskirts would be another stain on the gorgeous collection of 117 islands.
The frozen continent celebrated its 50th anniversary of welcoming tourists in 2016, but time is ticking to see Antartica in all its glory with global warming damaging the natural environment. Antarctic air temps have risen by three degrees over the last few decades — five times more than the rest of the globe — causing glaciers to melt and damage communities of penguins and marine life.
The twin volcanoes of Ometepe Island, the colonial architecture of Leon and Granada, the famous beach of San Juan del Sur . . . Nicaragua’s long list of attractions haven’t yet been plundered to anywhere near the same extent as Americanised southern neighbour Costa Rica. But as word spreads, Nicaragua won’t remain off the beaten path for long — plus, their government has recently begun building a cross-country canal twice as long as the Panama Canal that will scar the lush green landscape forever.
Great Barrier Reef
The most dazzling coral reef on the face of the earth has had its sparkle dulled by ocean acidification, pollution, cyclones and rising sea temperatures, which all contribute to coral bleaching. Half the reef has disappeared over the last three decades and marine scientists warn the whole 2300km stretch is on the brink of destruction — and visitors are rushing to the Queensland coast to see the reef before it’s too late.