Some of the world’s most exciting places to travel are also the most ecologically diverse. With the ever growing impact of climate change, some destinations simply won’t be the same in 10 years – not to mention other impacts such as commercial and political developments, new roads through remote and wild places. Even the very fact of increased mass travel can impact the reasons we travel and what we experience when we get there.
So why wait for the change to begin? Grab your passport and head for the airport. Here are four must-visit destinations that, through natural phenomena and lifestyles, may not be the same in a decade.
When a country is famous for its tropical rainforests and exotic wildlife, you know that a memorable visit is a sure thing! Add in some active volcanoes, palm-fringed surf beaches and pristine waterfalls and you have a nature-lover's fantasy.
One of the most incredible sights is the cloud forests of the Monteverde Cloud Forest – a unique ecologically diverse rainforest home to over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 2,500 plant varieties - 420 of which are orchids alone.
Unfortunately, studies show that the Monteverde’s delicate ecosystem is at risk, with climate change causing the clouds to rise along with the temperatures. A flow on effect of this is resulting in lowland flora and fauna to move into highland ecosystems, increasingly changing the whole ecology of the area.
How to see it now
There are plenty of opportunities to see the Monteverde Cloud Forest in all its glory, as well as experience the best of Costa Rica’s other natural highlights including the Arenal Volcano Area and the Pacuare River. Book on the Costa Rican Adventure for a complete exploration of this stunning country. With its fabulous weather, rich biodiversity and outrageous natural beauty, this is a destination that should be near the top of any active adventurer's wish list.
Occupying the southernmost reaches of South America, Patagonia is a region of staggering beauty and environmental importance that has long captured the imagination of travellers, artists and explorers. Sparsely populated, mostly wilderness and shamelessly photogenic, the region offers endless trekking opportunities around the region's spectacular collection of national parks and World Heritage Listed wilderness areas.
Get ready for imposing glaciers, vast ice-fields and the rugged snowcapped peaks of the Patagonian Andes. Your mind will spin as you marvel in awe at the mountains, glaciers and stunning frozen landscapes of Los Glaciares National Park, home to the Patagonian ice cap and the colossal Perito Moreno Glacier.
Unfortunately, Patagonia’s glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Almost all of the 47 glaciers in Patagonia’s Los Glaciers National Park have retreated over the past 50 years, and studies show that glaciers in Patagonia are receding at a faster rate than anywhere else on Earth.
How to see it now
Experience the surprising beauty of this frozen landscape now by embarking on remote wilderness trekking adventure deep into the Los Glaciers National Park. Whether you have 5 or 15 days to spare, you’ll come face to face with the impressive glaciers that make this destination such an exceptionally beautiful and must-visit destination.
Mongolia is a dramatic travel destination like no other. For those who make the journey, the rewards include spectacular and unspoilt scenery, fascinating history and the humble generosity of the Mongolian people. One of the spectacular highlights of Mongolia is without a doubt the expansive sandy undulations of the Gobi Desert. As you venture into the wilderness and experience the daily pattern of nomadic life, you get a real taste for the famous Mongolian hospitality and rich culture by staying with a family in a traditional ger camp.
Three young nomads (L-R) Otga, Nana and Choinum sit by the Shivreen River. Photo: SCMP/Tessa Chan
However, thanks to a rapidly evolving landscape impacted by climate change and desertification, the lifestyle of the nomads are changing. With pastureland dwindling and herders finding it harder and harder to graze their cattle, many have moved to the towns, lured by the prospect of jobs in the booming mining and construction industries. As a result, the traditional nomadic lifestyle and rich cultural traditions formed during centuries of nomadic life is also under threat.
How to see it now
For an immersive guided exploration of the nomads of Mongolia, book on our exclusive Mongolia trips led by Tim Cope, Australian Adventurer and tourism envoy of Mongolia. His exploratory trips take you deep into the heartland of Mongolia’s nomadic culture in a way few others will experience.
Blessed with cultural riches and striking natural beauty, Myanmar is a surprising travel destination with so much to offer. You’ll have ample opportunities to step back in time as you visit destinations such as Bagan, one of the world's greatest archaeological sites. This awe-inspiring ancient city is filled with literally thousands of incredible Buddhist temples, pagodas, palaces and monasteries. To see the stone spires of Bagan rising from the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy Delta at sunrise or sunset is truly one of Asia's most mesmerising sights.
Cycling around the ancient temples in Bagan, Myanmar
Or, there's the charm of Myanmar’s largest city Yangon, where nature lovers will appreciate the city’s stunning lakes, shady parks and lush tropical trees – namely the reason behind why the city is dubbed “the Garden City Of The East”. Visitors will no doubt fall in love with Yangon’s handsome colonial architecture, a reminder of the country’s unique British colonial history. These once magnificent buildings contained the best marble from Italy, iron from Manchester and designs adapted from exquisite architectural styles from around the world.
However, there is an increasing struggle to save Yangon’s colonial architectural heritage, as the structures are crumbling after decades of isolation. With recent easing of sanctions and influx of tourists, these historic buildings are now a prime target for developers wanting a city with shopping malls and new hotels.
How to see it now
Experience the colonial architecture before it's lost and jump on the Myanmar Adventure to discover the unique charm and character of this former colonial capital. You’ll also get a chance to see Myanmar’s other highlights such as Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake for a complete exploration of this beautiful and still relatively untouched corner of Southeast Asia.
What other destinations would you add to this list? Comment below.