Stride climate

Top 10 Tourist Destinations Disappearing Fast Due to Climate Change

By Stride Team
July 16, 2019

The issue of global warming and climate change is one of the most pressing ones facing humanity and the planet today. The images and stories of receding ice caps, rising ocean and heat levels are staggering and it can be easy to feel helpless. 

Some of our planet’s most beautiful and unique places are being heavily affected by climate change. The impact from travel and tourism as well as on travel itself to these destinations is enormously complex. 

The time to see these incredible endangered destinations is now, before they disappear for good or become mere shadows of their former glory. 

And it is incumbent upon the travel and tourism industry to take steps ensuring that we enjoy these wonderful places responsibly.

There is some spirited discussion around whether or not traveling to these threatened and endangered destinations is a positive or a negative. Some insist that sending more travelers simply exacerbates the issue by putting more carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Those who see the positive side insist that more travelers equals a more educated and informed population - more inclined to see how they can help prevent climate change within their own communities and beyond.

At Stride we are passionate about the environment, nature, and helping as many people travel as we can.

So we’re proud to announce the new Stride Gives Back program.

Our inaugural focus for this program is the ever present and growing threat of Climate Change. 

Learn more about the program and how you can help here »

Read on to learn about the Top 10 Travel Destinations to see before they're gone:

1. Easter Island, Chile

Top Trip Suggestion: Easter Island & Patagonia

Statues in Easter Island Chile 

The enigmatic statues of Easter Island have been enthralling travelers for centuries. These enormous stone heads have also bewildered archaeologists and anthropologists as to their function and meaning. 

Recent excavations revealed that the statues actually extended further beneath the ground than previous thought. Situated along the coastline, Easter Islands famous moai statues are now at risk from rising sea levels, causing erosion of the ground supporting the statues.

Visiting Easter Island is a classic extension or inclusion on many Chile tours

See all trips to Chile that include Easter Island »

2. Venice, Italy

Top Trip Suggestion: Italy’s Great Cities

Gondolas docked in Venice Italy

The classic canal city of Venice is a treat to explore with its winding alleyways, bridges, gondolas, and of course incredible architecture. 

Unfortunately Venice’s great beauty is also its greatest Achilles heel. The famous waterways that wind their way through Venice have been causing erosion over the centuries and Venice’s buildings have been slowly sinking. Rising sea levels have accelerated and exacerbated this issue. 

Additionally the influx of large cruise ships that sail into Venice from the Adriatic contribute to flooding. Measures had been in place to restrict cruise ship movement in Venice’s harbors but these were lifted by the Italian government.

An art installation depicting hands rising out of the canal waters and holding up the buildings was completed in 2017 - designed to draw attention to the growing threat of climate change on Venice’s infrastructure.

Tours to Italy commonly include Venice as a 2-3 day stop. This allows travelers to explore the cities tremendous sites as well as spend some time meandering the famous streets and pathways over the canals.

See all Trips to Italy that include Venice »

3. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Top Trip Suggestion: East Coast Islands and Rainforest

Bright orange fish in the Great Barrier Reef Australia

Australia's massive Great Barrier Reef is a classic bucket list item for travelers to Australia and for good reason. The beautiful blue waters house thousands of flora and fauna species and the swirls of colors are a delight to see as you snorkel and dive. 

Unfortunately those colors are disappearing at an alarming rate. Warming ocean waters have resulted in devastating coral bleaching for over 93% of the reef. Acidity levels are also rising  meaning that the coral has more difficulty building its protective skeleton - thus new coral is not appearing at what would be considered a normal rate. 

There are conservation efforts in place, and if you want to visit the Great Barrier Reef, which is included on many Australia tours, your carbon footprint is less harmful than the coral bleaching from climate change. However to do your part, look into tour operators that focus on marine education and responsible travel.

See all tours to Australia that include the Great Barrier Reef »

4. Dead Sea, Israel

Top Trip Suggestion: Iconic Israel

Dead Sea in Israel Middle East

It might seem somewhat ironic that a place with a name like the “Dead Sea” has a spot on this list. But this popular tourist destination in the Middle East, which is the lowest point on earth (no pun intended), has been seeing effects from climate change as well.

The Dead Sea is known for its high salt content - so high in fact that you can float comfortably without tiring or sinking. The salt is a result of the waters from the Jordan River which dead ends into the Dead Sea. 

Today, with water being diverted from the Jordan River for drinking, and rising global temperatures, rapid evaporation is threatening the sustainability and water levels of the Dead Sea. So for your chance to experience the unique weightlessness of swimming in the Dead Sea, visit soon.

See all Israel tours that include the Dead Sea »

See all Jordan tours that include the Dead Sea »

5. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Top Trip Suggestion: Amazon Rainforest Adventure

Amazon Rainforest and river in Brazil

The beautiful and pristine Amazon Rainforest, which spans more than two million square miles in Brazil, and covering parts of Peru and Ecuador as well, is a classic adventure travel destination. The expansive rainforest is home to hundreds of thousands of species - all part of a delicate ecosystem balance. 

Extreme drought in recent years has created a massive threat to the Amazon and all the plants and animals it supports. Deforestation as well has been a major problem in the Amazon for many years, leading to increasing temperatures. Which can result in changing rainfall patterns, affecting the growth of new plants. 

To visit the Amazon is to be immersed in spectacular and fascinating nature. But don’t wait too long before you go - as many of these amazing creatures are under threat of extinction.

See all Amazon Rainforest tours »

See all Amazon River cruises »

6. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Top Trip Suggestion: Mt. Kilimanjaro Trek - Lemosho Route

Herd of Elephants in front of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

If you are interested in hiking to the snow capped Kilimanjaro, be sure to hurry to catch the glaciers at their best. Within the last hundred years, roughly 85% of the snow has melted and the glaciers at the mountains peak are receding rapidly. 

The Kilimanjaro trek is a bucket list item for most hiking enthusiasts, and a common itinerary extension for trips to Tanzania (alternatively there are also tours specifically designed around the trek).

Similarly to the Inca Trail, Kilimanjaro is an attainable trek for a wide range of travelers, with a bit of training and preparation. 

See all Mt. Kilimanjaro treks »

7. Greenland

Top Trip Suggestion: Essential Greenland

Icebergs in Greenland

The beautiful expanses of ice in Greenland are in grave danger from global warming trends. Greenland’s ice sheet is receding and this is impacting not only the landscape but the wildlife as well. 

Polar bears have been steadily moving further and further north as their food supply dwindles. Additionally their ability to hunt effectively is impacted, with less sea ice available.  

The climate change in Greenland is also a worry for the human residents, of which there are only about 56,000. But their way of life is intrinsically tied to the land, and many are concerned with how they should be adapting to the rapidly changing climate.

See all Greenland tours »

8. Patagonia

Top Trip Suggestion: Patagonia Adventure

Glaciers in Argentinenan Patagonia

A travel destination that has definitely grown in popularity in recent years, Patagonia is home to some of the more unique glaciers to observe. Vast packs of glowing blue snow and ice as far as the eye can see await visitors who walk through Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina.

These impressive formations are shrinking. Lower rainfall in the region and rising global temperatures mean that Patagonia’s glaciers are in danger of disappearing. Be sure to visit now to see them in all their glory. 

You can travel to Patagonia many different ways, from intense multi-day hikes with camping under the stars, or in comfort, taking in the views from easy to moderate walks and short hikes.

See all Patagonia tours »

9. Antarctica

Top Trip Suggestion: Antarctica Cruise Expedition

Antarctica ocean waters with icebergs

Not far from Patagonia is enigmatic Antarctica. The “white continent” that attracts adventurous travelers eager to take in the wildlife and remoteness of the rugged and unforgiving landscape.

It is alarming to hear the reports about how different Antarctica looks today as compared to even 10 years ago. Thinning ice in the continents interior are causing glaciers to slide more rapidly into the ocean - contributing of course to the rising sea levels that affect the majority of destinations on this list.

Visiting Antarctica is relatively easy if you have the time and finances available. Many small ship and expedition cruises now have itineraries to this mysterious land. And many of them include components of scientific exploration - assisting with and learning about various initiatives many of which are directly related to combating climate change.

See all Antarctica tours & cruises »

10. Rhone Valley, France

Top Trip Suggestion: Rhone River Cruise Biking

Overlooking vineyards in the rhone valley france

Rounding out the list is perhaps a surprising one, but nevertheless important. The South of France is home to one of the most beautiful wine regions in the entire world: The Rhone Valley. A definite bucket list item for wine enthusiasts everywhere - and a popular European river cruise

The region is a large one, covering roughly 120 miles. And serves as a template for Cote du Rhone style wines around the world. Major varietals grown in the region include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignan.

However this picturesque area is in danger of losing crops - experts predict that rising temperatures could result in an 85% decrease in vineyard production. The grapes that thrive now in the Rhone Valley will not survive in a warmer environment. Wine producers will be forced to move elsewhere - which will have economic impacts throughout the Rhone Valley.

So grab your wine glasses and plan a Rhone River cruise today to experience the famous Rhone varietal blends, before they never taste the same.

See all Rhone Valley tours »

Help Stride in protecting these amazing destinations from the effects of climate change.

Learn How »

Read our top tips for being an eco-friendly traveler » 

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