8 endangered UNESCO sites to see now in the Americas

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated. Prices and access to tours are subject to change.

CNN  — 

Florida manatees swim and sleep in the sunshine and golden-brown panthers prowl the shady forests at Everglades National Park.

A swampy wilderness of gnarled cypress stands and waving sawgrass just beyond Miami’s suburbs, this 1.5 million-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site can seem timeless.

But rising sea levels have spiked the fresh groundwater beneath the Everglades with salt, and plants and wildlife must quickly adapt to new conditions to survive.

That’s why the Everglades are among the eight World Heritage Sites in the Americas included in UNESCO’s list of “World Heritage in Danger,” an exclusive club of 55 destinations, dominated by war-torn countries and terrorist hotspots.

Stretching from the Florida backwoods to an ancient Peruvian city and ghostly Chilean mines, these eight sites are some of the Americas’ most extraordinary places. But they’re also sites that UNESCO has found are threatened by “serious and specific” perils, whether human or environmental.

These eight UNESCO sites underscore the importance of preservation efforts in our backyards – and invite adventurous travelers to explore them before they further deteriorate.

1. Everglades National Park, United States