There’s a big wide world out there just beckoning to be explored with mountains, caves, forests and other mind blowing nature-made creations that will stump any man made masterpiece. Here are 8 of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders.
Gran Salar de Uyani, BoliviaIf you like to get salty, and I mean really salty then ditch the ocean for an unusual terrain in southern Bolivia made up of 10 sq. kilometers of salt. The landscape creates optical illusions and colorful reflections due to it’s flat, white landscape, complete with an island smack dab in the middle where visitors will find towering cacti.
Paria Canyon, Arizona, United StatesExperience an overnight hiking trek unlike any other in northern Arizona where the Paria River has carved its own mini spectacular Grand Canyon. Besides breathtaking canyons, boulders and rock formations this landscape includes The Wave–a beautiful formation resembling sweeping brush strokes across the desert.
Ayers Rock, AustraliaIt rises out of the outback like a sleeping giant, a sandstone mass that stands 350 meters high and more than nine kilometers in circumference. Ayers Rock is not only a site to behold, but is seemingly magical as well. It has long been held as a sacred and spiritual site for the aboriginal Anangu, who are the caretakers of the rock.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Palawan, PhilippinesThis river is the stuff of imagination come to life, and it’s right here on this beautiful planet. Nominated as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature, visitors can hop in a canoe and paddle along the 8.2 kilometer subterranean river where they are treated to magnificent limestone karst formations, stalactites and stalagmites.
Cueva de los Cristales, MexicoWant to see crystals stretching 11 meters long? The Cave of Crystals, discovered only in 2000, was accidentally stumbled upon by miners in the state of Chihuahua. The gorgeous gypsum crystals have since brought travelers from all over the globe, but in order to keep the crystals from disintegrating, there has been talk of closing up the tunnel to the cave in the future.
Fox Glacier, South Island, New ZealandThe colors and majestic size of this easily accessible glacier on New Zealand’s South Island is completely mesmerizing. The 13 kilometer long Fox Glacier almost stretches to the coast, rising 250 meters above sea level. Beauty can be dangerous though- look out for falling chunks of ice!
The Shilin Stone Forest, ChinaLike jagged fingers reaching out from the crust of the earth, the karst rocks that dot the Yunnan province are more than 270 million years old. There’s a story behind this mystical, ancient forest as well, and locals claim that the forest sprung to being when a woman was forbidden to marry her love and turned herself to stone.
Great Barrier Reef, AustraliaThis astounding 2,600-kilometer reef is well known as the earth’s largest structure of living organisms, made up of nearly 3,000 separate reefs. Already on the UNESCO World Heritage list, a plethora of sea creatures call this reef home, but there’s a dark side to the existence of this gentle giant. With climate change and coral bleaching threatening its well being some say we may not have this reef forever.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.