Travel and Leisure — March 19, 2014 at 5:00 am

6 Beaches to Visit Before They’re Gone

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The beach is a beautiful thing, and we all enjoy lying in the warm sand and splashing about in the azure waves. But around the world, some of the most gorgeous shorelines on earth are threatened by environmental changes, economic development, and pollution. These may not be around for long; so here are 6 beaches to visit before it’s to late.

The Maldives
This  stunning archipelago located in the Indian Ocean is known for silky, white sand beaches overlooked by towering sandstone cliffs and wonderful diving and surfing. It’s a tropical paradise unlike any other, but it also is in grave danger. The Maldives is the lowest country on earth and with rising sea levels due to climate change; it could be underwater in as little as a century.

The Dead Sea
The beaches here are saltier than most, but the Dead Sea is world renowned for its healing properties, causing millions to flock from all over the globe to take a dip in the mineral rich waves. But, this ancient water source could vanish within the next 50 years due to surrounding countries using the Jordan River for water. This is the main water source for the Dead Sea and which has already shrunk by 30% in the past 4 decades.

The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are a special sliver of paradise, famous for the work Charles Darwin did there and serving as home to several amazing animal species not found anywhere else in the world. With the rise of tourism to the Galapagos, invasive species have been introduced, such as pigs and rats. Because of this, it has been placed on the World Heritage Site Danger List, and with tourism increasing, the future of these majestic isles could be critical.

Goa, India
The 63-mile stretch of shoreline in Goa, a former Portuguese colony, is slowly disappearing. Mass erosion, heavy construction, and destruction of erosion combative vegetation along the beach are the main culprits, with 65 miles of landmass already gone. India is known for its temples and beautiful architecture, but the beaches are also spectacular, including Velsao, Cansaulim, Utorda and Miramar–all in Goa.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam
This hidden tropical gem lies off Vietnam’s southwest coast and remains almost untouched by tourism with empty sand beaches, unpaved roads and cute bungalow beach homes. Unfortunately, the government is already working on turning this pristine island into a major tourism hub, complete with an international airport, condos cruise ports with the goal of attracting 7 million tourists by 2013.

Mullins Bay, Barbados
Erosion is the big bully on this breathtaking Caribbean island, specifically in Mullins Bay where attempts to stop erosion are actually making it worse. With the construction of multiple seawalls and groins holding up the slew of luxury homes and condos, the beach is slowly disappearing. Beach goers could leisurely stroll down miles of sand in the past, but now they are met with dangerous surf and concrete instead.

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