16 Natural Wonders That Show How Unique Planet Earth Is
Many people who love traveling have a bucket list with places and activities they’d like to go to at least once in their life. If you’re an avid traveler, you can probably relate to that. Unfortunately, we all suffer from time limitations when it comes to discovering some of the incredible places out there and because you have to decide which of these to visit, having a quick overview might come in handy. After all, traveling isn’t just about taking a plane and going somewhere, it’s also about planning a future trip and imagining how it would be to go to those exotic places.
With this in mind, Bright Side made a small compilation of magical places around the globe especially for our readers who love traveling and can’t get enough of imagining and planning new trips. Look for your next possible destination below!
1. Crooked Forest, Poland
This unique forest, full of crooked trees, is located in Gryfino, Poland. The magic of the forest is still a mystery. There are approximately 400 pines in the area, which were planted around 1930, and no one has been able to explain why they grew this way, but they have certainly become a very popular place, almost a landmark of massive tourism in Poland, fueled precisely by the mystery behind their strange shapes. Some people call it the Crooked Forest for obvious reasons, although it is officially called Krzywy Las in Polish.
2. Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flat), Bolivia
This place is the largest and highest continuous salt lake in the world, becoming a desert during dry seasons, and it’s located in the state of Potosi in Bolivia. It’s believed to contain up to 10 billion tons of salt. The Salar de Uyuni (which Spanish for salt flat) is one of Bolivia’s tourist jewels, because when you walk there it feels like you’ve reached a truly deserted point on Earth (or maybe even on a different planet). Due to their reflective properties, the salt crusts create the perfect mirror, giving the illusion that you’re walking on clouds.
3. Jellyfish Lake, Palau
This magical lake is full of marine animals and it’s located in the Palau Islands. All the jellyfish that live there are quite small, so their stingers are not dangerous for humans (normal jellyfish can cause serious stings). Since jellyfish are beautiful animals, the experience is unforgettable: you can swim with them and even touch them. The protocol to get in is strict though. You have to make sure you have no sand on you whatsoever and you cannot use sunscreen or any other substance that could pose a threat to the delicate balance of their ecosystem.
All these security measures are to be followed by everyone in order to preserve the habitat of these jellyfish and prevent them from disappearing from the lake. In 2007 the lake was reported to host up to 5 million jellyfish, but by 2018 that number had significantly decreased to just 630,000 golden jellyfish living in this UNESCO protected site.
4. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Located in the southwestern part of the United States, this impressive canyon is one of the most visited places in the world. The canyon can only be visited together with an official guide, because rain can cause unexpected floods in a matter of minutes. The rocky walls of this geological formation, which can reach 120 feet in height in some places, are not only awe-inspiring but also allow visitors to access a privileged view over the canyon. It’s clearly one of the best places to travel to if you love photography, nature, and magical places.
5. Banff National Park, Canada
This park is one of the oldest parks of the country and one of the most visited landmarks in the Americas. Banff National Park is full of impressive rock formations, mountains with glaciers, ice fields, and mysteriously quiet coniferous forests. It’s not unusual to trek around the area and find a hidden lake with fresh water. The beauty of the fauna and flora here gives travelers a chance to take beautiful pictures, on top of the activities that the park offers like skiing, trekking, horseback riding, and rock climbing, to name a few.
6. Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s historical regions and it’s characterized by its peculiar geological formations that are unique to this region. Landscapes in this region appear to come straight out of a fairytale. It’s full of mysterious valleys and strange rock structures that were created millions of years ago when the area was still subject to massive volcanic eruptions. One of the best ways to enjoy a trip to Cappadocia is to take a hot air balloon trip, which will give you an impressive view from above.
7. Kelimutu, Indonesia
Kelimutu is a peculiar volcano. Because 3 secret lakes lie within its crater and they change color. For the same reason, it’s one of the most famous volcanoes in Indonesia. The reason why these lakes change colors is that they contain minerals that create this natural phenomenon depending on the time of the year and the temperature. For example, in 2016 the color of the lakes changed 6 times from January to November. Nevertheless, predicting exactly when and how the color of the lakes will change is not an easy thing. Kelimutu is more than 1,600 meters above sea level and is located in the Flores Islands.
8. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fans of long walks and hiking will definitely enjoy going to Fernando de Noronha, known for its beautiful landscapes, the quality of its waters — where wild fauna still roams freely, and its white-sand beaches. This volcanic archipelago is made up of about 21 islands, and only Fernando de Noronha is actually inhabited. In order to protect nature from the effects of mass tourism, the number of visitors annually is limited. It is known as an excellent scuba diving destination because the water is both very clear and not very cold, allowing visitors to enjoy beautiful underwater views. It is also popular among surfers seeking paradisiacal sunsets. Other activities include dolphin watching and long walks along its peaceful shores.
9. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar
Welcome to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a labyrinth of endless rocks that look like an abandoned city. This park, that is located in Africa, became famous because of a geological accident that led to the formation of these spectacular rocks that you can see in the picture above. It is home to a great variety of fauna and flora which, in part, justifies the fact that this set of rocky crags was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. It’s a great destination for adventurers and travelers who are interested in nature.
10. Great Blue Hole, Belize
As its name suggests, the Great Blue Hole is a marine sinkhole located near the coast of Belize. It’s 318 m across and 124 m deep. It’s known all over the globe as the ultimate scuba diving destination, but that’s not all. Thanks to its microclimate, scientists and marine creature experts have learned a great deal about what happens in the deepest waters of our planet. A guided tour of it can last for up to an entire day. Its name comes from the beautiful tonalities of blue created by the sudden change of depth in the water.
11. Vinicunca, Peru
In this magical place you will witness a psychedelic explosion of natural colors that extends as far as the eye can see. Also known as the Rainbow Mountain or Montaña de Siete Colores (7-Color Mountain), Vinicunca is among the most reputed natural wonders in Peru and the world. You can get there by foot or by motorcycle, although there are some roads that you can take with a car to shorten your travel time. At 5,200 meters, it’s an extremely high location even for Peruvians who are used to cities being built in high valleys. The best period of the year to go to Rainbow Mountain is in August, because of the dry climate.
12. Yellowstone, United States
This park, located in the United States, was created in 1872 and is one of the oldest and most popular natural parks in the world. It is about 9,000 sq km full of crystal clean lakes, canyons, grass fields, and waterfalls. The park became widely known thanks to its geysers, springs that can suddenly eject water and steam with a lot of force. These are fairly rare, but not in Yellowstone. Some of the activities available to the public are guided tours to learn about the native flora and fauna, rafting, camping in different parts of the park, and other adventure-travel related activities.
13. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Located in the state of Baja California Sur, this city offers a combination of beautiful beaches and desert landscapes. Because Cabo San Lucas has a diverse marine ecosystem, regulated fishing activities are celebrated there. This Mexican region is well-known for its gastronomy which specializes in seafood. One of the most popular landmarks is a rock formation called “El Arco” or in English “the arch” located at the end of the long beach where the Sea of Cortez joins the Pacific Ocean.
14. Trolltunga, Norway
Considered to be one of the most impressive rock formations in Norway, Trolltunga is located at approximately 1,100 m above sea level and has become a jewel in the crown of tourism in the region, as well as in the whole country. For tourists to be able to get to the top of Trolltunga, they first have to walk for about 13.5 km over steep, rocky terrain. But perseverance is rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of the Ringedalsvatnet, a lake full of turquoise water in the heart of the northern glaciers. Then, at the top, a rocky cliff ledge known as Troll’s tongue allows hikers to take impressive pictures and capture their awe forever.
15. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Also known as the Gran Cañón del Colorado when it was discovered by Spanish conquistadors, this incredible formation is approximately 446 km long, 800 meters deep, and is full of natural rocky structures. Its very characteristic red walls are one of the most popular images circulating around the world. You can take guided tours, go rafting, go horseback riding, or even take a helicopter tour in the Grand Canyon. In the southern part of the park, you can also find hidden waterfalls where you can spend a quiet moment contemplating this astonishing place.
16. Reed Flute Cave, China
When it comes to interesting and almost surreal tourist attractions, the Reed Flute Cave is clearly a front runner, and maybe even number one on the list. Inside you will find a whole world of fantasy full of stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations, all of which are illuminated by color-changing lights to accentuate their magical character. The name of the cave comes from the type of reed that is grown in the area. People in China used this reed to make flutes in ancient times. Entering the Reed Flute Cave is like going through the looking glass to enter an enigmatic world of fantasy.
Where are you planning to go next? Which other place do you think we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share pictures of the places that you’d like to visit or that you have visited.