It is a sad reality that some of the world's most beautiful sights are at risk of disappearing. Some of the world's natural wonders are under threat from development, mass tourism and environmental change, making it crucial to travel to these places before it's too late. Whether it's ancient cultures and tribes to observe while they still exist, magnificent endangered wildlife to behold or some of Mother Nature's finest creations to witness in their raw state, these are ten of our top places to visit now.
Perito Moreno Glacier (Calafate, Argentina)
The sublime Perito Moreno Glacier, though considered relatively stable, is a glacier that is still advancing and deserves a visit in the near future. Ice currently collapses from the tremendous structure and falls into the lake, an event considered to be truly breathtaking.
The Puna (Argentina)
For an authentic 'out of this world' experience, visit the Puna: one of the rare places on Earth with a completely vast, surreal and desolate landscape. This unchartered destination is unspoiled by groups of tourists so you can enjoy the serenity and untarnished beauty of this little known gem.
The Amazon (Ecuador)
The sheer scale of the Amazon is frequently underestimated. One of the eco-richest parts of the Amazon is in the Ecuadorian basin. New species are regularly being discovered in the depths of this natural wilderness: easily the Amazon's best kept secret.
Live with the locals in the Huaorani Ecolodge with the traditional Amazonian tribe. Sheltered from civilisation and a maximum of 10 guests at a time, it's difficult to get closer to the local lifestyle.
The Himba Tribe (Kaokoland, Namibia)
The Namibian nomadic Himba tribe is one of the stable remaining ethnic groups, unlike many other indigenous groups under threat in Africa. Travel to Namibia to see this remarkable tribe in their enchanting environment. The Himba people tend to their cattle and lead pastoral lives in the deserted plains of Kaokoland, sheltered from outside influences. This means you'll get to experience their traditional lifestyle that they have successfully maintained.
Stay at the crux of the action in the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, with the local Himba village in close proximity.
The Aisen region is barely touched by human presence. Instead, the landscape is wealthy with awesome marble caves, fjords, stunning ice fields (including the world's third largest, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field), and is home to the second largest lake in South America. Hotels are sparse in this environment, which makes for a truly intimate experience with this stunning scenery.
The Hacienda Tres Lagos, nestled in an abundant forest adjacent to the shores of General Carrea Lake is the perfect stay to lap up the magnificent Patagonian surroundings.
Mountain Gorillas (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda)
Mountain Gorillas are majestic but rare creatures. This largest living primate is ranked as critically endangered due to uncontrolled hunting, war, disease and deforestation. There are around 800 left in the wild today, just over 400 of which are resident in Bwindi Forest which makes this southern point of Uganda in Great Rift Valley the place to go.
For the trip of a lifetime and the ultimate chance to see Mountain Gorillas, stay at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, a homely lodge with a particularly breathtaking view that spans over Rwanda all the way to the Congo.
Belize Barrier Reef (Belize)
Belize Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere. This natural system consists of seven sights, with one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world which is regrettably under threat and vulnerable. Oceanic pollution and increased temperatures are leading to coral bleaching which is why its imperative to see this extraordinary world heritage site sooner rather than later.
Hill Tribes (Shan State, Myanmar)
Hill tribes in Burma are a prime example of cultures to see before they degenerate. Shan State is home to the oldest hill tribes: the most ancient indigenous peoples. Take the Palaung group for example, an ethnic minority with their own script and language, easy to recognise with their conventional colourful dress and famous for their tea. The hill tribes are worth visiting to absorb their heritage and traditional ways before mass tourism, modernity and development hits these sacrosanct groups.
Check into the dazzling Villa Inle to visit the Hill Tribes. This lakeside retreat offers 27 spacious villas to relax in after a long day of touring.
Orangutans (Sandakan, Borneo)
Orangutans, along with their natural habitat, are endangered. Due to a high demand for wood and products like palm oil, Borneo's lowland forests are being cleared. This deforestation has resulted in the decline of the Bornean orangutan. These victims of logging and fire are the largest tree climbing mammals and are by far one of the most impressive and awesome animals to see.
If you're in search of a place to completely disconnect and unwind, you're spoilt for choice in Indonesia. Sumba is an island roughly twice the size of Bali and currently home to only one luxury hotel, meaning that you can revel in the idyll surroundings of rainforest, rice paddies and white sand coastlines while being exposed to the traditional Sumbanese culture.