The 7 Wonders of the World have some steep competition – there are dozens of natural wonders that remain as awe-inspiring today as the day they were first discovered. Different from the changing 7 Wonders of the World, the natural wonders explored here come exactly as they are, with origins that point far away from being manmade.
Thanks to developments in travel and mapping, travelers alive today have the ability to see more than many ever thought possible. These natural phenomena are located all over the globe, and vary from mountain ranges to underwater caves, and even include some dried up lakes that have turned into salt planes.
While there are too many to include all in one blog, it’s impossible to not at least look at a few of them. Here are 5 of the world’s most beautiful and unique natural wonders that you should add to your traveling bucket list.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River | Palawan, Philippines
This natural underground river is a point of pride for locals in the Philippines. This area is highly protected as to not disturb the natural ambience and composition of the river. Located just over 350 miles southwest of Manila, the river and its surrounding area were declared a National Park in 1971. Travelers can have the great pleasure of rafting underneath cliffs and through complex caves with a guide to see the subterranean river in all of its natural glory. It’s often referred to as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Grand Prismatic Springs | Yellowstone, Wyoming
It can be difficult when visit the Grand Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone to know what exactly it is that you’re witnessing. An odd shaped lake with bright greens, oranges, yellows and blues? The Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone is a hot spring at least 10 stories deep, bringing hot water up from a crack in the Earth to the surface. The wild colors actually come from bacteria that feed off of the heated water. While it may be beautiful to look at, it’s best to keep to the designated viewing areas so you don’t get burned.
Ayers Rock (Uluru) | Australia
An important piece of cultural history in Australia, Uluru – or Ayers Rock as it’s more commonly known – is one of the largest monoliths in the world. Standing remotely in a vast desert, this giant structure seemingly made of sandstone, draws tons of tourists every year to see it glow at sunrise and sunset. The location of the rock and the way it hits the sun makes the formation appear to be glowing red. This occurrence is significant to locals, as they believe it to be the site of ancient and sacred visits from the gods. The locals are also solely responsible for taking care of the land and grounds of the site. Because it is considered a sacred site, tourists may not climb the structure.
Lake Retba | Senegal, Africa
This bright pink lake looks like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book. Located in Northwest Africa in the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, this natural phenomenon gets vibrant, pink looking water from a strand of salt-loving bacteria that congregates here to soak up resources from the lake. The bacteria turns red to attract more sunlight, making the lake look like it is full of pink water. Because the content of the water is so salty, there aren’t a ton of natural creatures that can inhabit it, leaving the reddish pink bacteria to claim the water. Believe it or not, there are other pink lakes in the world, and the water is completely harmless to humans!
The Cave of Crystals | Naica, Mexico
Deep in the caves of Chihuahua, Mexico, you’ll find giant caverns full of giant crystals connected to the Naica Mine. This cave is home to some of the largest untouched crystals in the world, some towering heavily over those who visit. If a giant cave of crystals isn’t enough to peak your interest, earlier this year, scientists discovered brand new microbial life-forms that have never been introduced to the world before. These are organisms trapped in the crystal that have been feeding off of the minerals and elements for tens of thousands of years in order to survive. While the cave is beautiful, it is located on top of a large pool of magma and can’t be visited for too long. With the high temperature inside cave, the atmosphere becomes too hot for anyone to further explore the cave and the crystals.