35 of the most beautiful natural wonders around the world



Slide 1 of 36: 
 There are unbelievably beautiful natural wonders across the
 world - from the tops of mountains to the deepest caves. 
 Photographs capture the vibrant colors of canyons, forests,
 and rocky shorelines. 
 In Colombia, a unique plant turns a river bright red every
 year, and in the Maldives, bioluminescent plankton make the
 beaches glow at night. 
 Visit
 Insider's home page for more stories. 
 Natural
 wonders come in all shapes and sizes. From Hawaii's Na Pali
 Coast to the Verdon Gorge in southeastern France, there are
 incredible places all over the planet.
 Keep reading to learn about 35 of the most beautiful natural
 wonders on Earth.
Slide 2 of 36: 
 Also known as "the river of five colors" or "liquid rainbow,"
 this body of water actually looks pretty normal most of the time
 - at least until it explodes into color from around July through
 November.
 During this time, Macarenia clavigera, a unique plant that lines
 the bottom of the river, turns a vibrant red, interspersed with
 blue waters, green moss, and yellow sand.
Slide 3 of 36: 
 Thousands of twinkling glow worms
 light up these caves, which have been open to the public
 since 1889, but known to
 the indigenous Maori people for much longer. In fact, 
 Waitomo comes from the Maori wordswai, for water, and tomo, for hole or entrance.
 The magical experience is
 heightened by the fact that visitors silently glide through the
 caves by gondola.
Slide 4 of 36: 
 The bubble-gum pink lake defies
 science: no one knows why it's as pink as it is, or why the color
 is actually stronger the further from the lake you are.
 Most believe that it's caused by a specific
 algae in the lake that
 is drawn to its high salinity, as well as a pink bacteria known
 as halobacteria.
 Whatever the reason for its
 unique hue, the lake sits on Middle Island, an island on the
 Recherche Archipelago that is used solely for research purposes,
 and can only be viewed by helicopter.

Slide 5 of 36: 
 Sitting at 1,410 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the
 lowest body of water on Earth's
 surface. Located in a desert and featuring a high
 concentration of salt, it's the perfect spot for floating.
 The water is beautiful enough on its own, but the deposits and
 columns of salt that rise out of the water give it a unique,
 otherworldly look.
Slide 6 of 36: 
 As the name implies, this is
 basically a 
 150-square mile forest made of stone - and it's a whopping
 270 million years old. The giant, otherworldly pillars are
 ancient karst formations, created by water and wind erosion, as
 well as seismic activity. The forest also features caves,
 waterfalls, ponds, and lakes, as well as an underground
 river.
Slide 7 of 36: 
 When lakes near these Bolivian salt flats overflow, they create a
 majestic mirrored surface that reflects the sky and clouds above.
 The Salar de Uyuni are the largest of their kind and cover a whopping 4,050 square
 miles of the Bolivian Altiplano.
 The vast oasis of salt boasts a horizon that never seems to end,
 making this spot a photographer's dream.
Slide 8 of 36: 
 Masazir Lake is not far from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
 This 
 pink saline lake gets its color - which is strongest in the
 summer - from microorganisms
 called halophiles.
Slide 9 of 36: 
 Ha Long Bay's natural beauty makes it one of Vietnam's number one
 tourist sites. The bay is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 The best way to see Ha Long's awe-inspiring limestone towers is
 by boat. In fact, many tourists stay overnight on a boat in the
 bay.

Slide 10 of 36: 
 Danxia refers to a special type of landscape found in
 southwestern China. The colorful, striped mountains are made up
 of layers of minerals and rock, which were disrupted when
 tectonic plates caused the island that is now 
 India to collide with the rest of the Eurasia continent.
 Now a protected UNESCO World Heritage
 Site, the once little-known wonder is a popular tourist draw
 - and for good reason. Chances are you've never seen anything
 like it before.
Slide 11 of 36: 
 A fjord is best described as an underwater valley. Formed by
 glaciers, these long and narrow waterways are deep and surrounded
 by steep mountains on all sides. The Geiranger Fjord is one of Norway's most famous,
 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 Go in the warmer months to see lush greenery offset by deep blue
 waters.
Slide 12 of 36: 
 Gorgeous Lake Nakaru sits in a
 national park famous for its epic bird-watching - especially its
 bright pink flamingos. The large, shallow lake is surrounded by
 marshes and grassland, and also home to rhinos, hippos,
 waterbucks, and buffalo.
Slide 13 of 36: 
 Indonesia is known for its terraced rice fields - and Tegalalang
 is one of the most well-known. Entering the vibrant green
 landscape with its towering palm trees will make you feel like
 time has stopped. And there's some truth to that feeling. Farmers
 here use an irrigation system that's been
 passed down for centuries.
Slide 14 of 36: 
 You probably won't want to sunbathe on Reynisfjara, but
 that doesn't mean it's not worth a visit. The stunning beach
 looks otherworldly thanks to its black sand, basalt stone
 columns, and the fog that sometimes envelops it. If you're lucky,
 you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Slide 15 of 36: 
 The Verdon Gorge's blue-green waters are a picturesque setting
 for activities ranging from swimming to kayaking.
Slide 16 of 36: 
 One of Ireland's most-visited natural attractions, the
 Cliffs of Moher stretch along the country's west coast for five
 majestic miles. The rugged cliffs offer unparalleled
 views of the ocean below.
Slide 17 of 36: 
 The Grand Canyon is Arizona's most well-known natural beauty, and
 for good reason: between its immense size and breathtaking views,
 this natural phenomenon is a must-see.
 The canyon stretches on for 277 river miles and spans 18 miles from side to
 side. While the South Rim is open all year
 round, the North Rim is open to visitors on a more seasonal
 basis.
Slide 18 of 36: 
 Because it's a rainforest, the weather might not always be ideal
 at Monteverde, but the fact is it'll feel and look like a jungle
 paradise no matter if it's misty or not.
 Even better, this biological reserve is known to be home to a
 multitude of species. In fact, it's one of only a few places
 around the world that boasts all six species of the cat family.
Slide 19 of 36: 
 Between the colorful cliffs and the azure blue waters below,
 Hawaii's Na Pali Coast is sure to wow any visitor. Hiking the
 cliffs will afford you 4,000-foot-high views of the
 Pacific Ocean and Kalalau Valley, as well as plenty of
 beautiful waterfalls along the way.
Slide 20 of 36: 
 Skógafoss flows from not one, but two glaciers
 (Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull). According to legend, a
 viking named Thrasi hid his chest of gold under this
 stunning waterfall.
 Gold or not, the heavy amount of spray that the waterfall
 produces makes a sunny-day rainbow sighting here very likely.
Slide 21 of 36: 
 The largest gypsum deposit in the world, White Sands National
 Monument is a serene expanse of glittering, white sand that's
 located in the Chihuahuan Desert. The gypsum that forms
 these gently sloping dunes comes from a nearby ephemeral lake that has a
 high mineral content. As the water from this lake evaporates,
 minerals remain, which then form gypsum deposits that are carried
 by the wind.
Slide 22 of 36: 
 To experience the Maldives' magical glowing beaches, you can
 visit any of
 the 1,190 islands that comprise the South Asian sovereign
 state. Some of the top spots to see this natural light show - the
 result of bioluminescent plankton - include Athuruga,
 Reethi, and Mirihi.
Slide 23 of 36: 
 Located in Patagonia on Lake General Carrera, 
 Chile's Marble Caves (also known as the "Marble Cathedral")
 were created more than 6,000 years ago by waves that eroded the
 rocks. The caverns' stunning colors vary as water levels
 fluctuate throughout the year.
Slide 24 of 36: 
 Mono Lake, which spans 65 square miles, is known for eye-catching,
 calcium-carbonite structures known as tufa towers. With a
 high salt content, this ethereal lake is also extremely buoyant.
Slide 25 of 36: 
 Situated outside of San Juan, El Yunque National Forest earns the
 distinction of being the sole tropical
 rainforest in the US National Forest System.
Slide 26 of 36: 
 Skye's enchanting Fairy Pools are only
 accessible on foot via the Glen Brittle forest - but it's
 worth the hike to see the clear waters of these natural pools in
 person.
Slide 27 of 36: 
 You'll do a double take when you see the rocky arches at
 the Beach of the Cathedrals: these
 incredible buttress-like formations were shaped solely by
 nature.
Slide 28 of 36: 
 Created by glaciers during the ice age, this fjord - located off
 the coast of New Zealand's South Island - is renowned for its
 dynamic scenery, from waterfalls to
 soaring mountain peaks.
Slide 29 of 36: 
 Jeju Island boasts South Korea's highest mountain, Hallasan, a 
 dormant volcano that towers nearly 6,400 feet above sea
 level.
 The island is also known for its spectacular lava tubes (caves
 formed by cooling lava).
Slide 30 of 36: 
 It may seem hard to believe, but there are volcanoes in the
 arctic. Mt. Erebus, the world's southernmost active volcano, 
 dates back 1.3 million years and stretches a whopping 12,448 feet
 above sea level.
Slide 31 of 36: 
 Kjeragbolten is a
 177-cubic-foot boulder nestled in a mountain crevice. It's
 surprisingly accessible (you don't need special equipment to
 reach it), which makes it a popular photo op for 
 adventurous Instagrammers.
Slide 32 of 36: 
 Spanning Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are part of a
 massive waterfall system that 
 totals around 275 waterfalls.
Slide 33 of 36: 
 Situated 5,000 feet above sea level, Tianmen Cave is one of
 the highest naturally formed arches on the planet. Visitors have
 to mount a 999-step "stairway to heaven" to reach the site.
Slide 34 of 36: 
 Known mostly for its pink sand beaches, Harbour Island remains
 mostly untouched by humans, at least compared to the rest of the
 Bahamas.
 The island's other draws include Devil's Backbone, a coral reef
 filled with marine life, and Dunmore Town, whose pastel-colored
 homes will charm any visitor.
Slide 35 of 36: 
 For gorgeous natural views, go for a hike along the Blyde River
 Canyon, which sits
 at an elevation of more than 2,600 feet. This canyon, known
 for its unique geology - including the Pinnacle, a looming
 quartzite column - also boasts diverse flora and fauna.
Slide 36 of 36: 
 The Garni Gorge is characterized by vertical cliffs
 notable for their basalt columns. You can only reach this
 breathtaking site by car. 
 Read more: 
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 everyone should take in their lifetime 
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 best places to visit in the world, ranked 
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 breathtaking view in every state

Natural
wonders come in all shapes and sizes. From Hawaii’s Na Pali
Coast to the Verdon Gorge in southeastern France, there are
incredible places all over the planet.

Keep reading to learn about 35 of the most beautiful natural
wonders on Earth.

Caño Cristales River, Colombia

Also known as “the river of five colors” or “liquid rainbow,”
this body of water actually looks pretty normal most of the time
– at least until it explodes into color from around July through
November.

During this time, Macarenia clavigera, a unique plant that lines
the bottom of the river, turns a vibrant red, interspersed with
blue waters, green moss, and yellow sand.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Thousands of twinkling glow worms
light up these caves, which have been open to the public
since 1889, but known to
the indigenous Maori people for much longer. In fact,

Waitomo comes from the Maori wordswai, for water, and tomo, for hole or entrance.

The magical experience is
heightened by the fact that visitors silently glide through the
caves by gondola.

Lake Hillier, Australia

The bubble-gum pink lake defies
science: no one knows why it’s as pink as it is, or why the color
is actually stronger the further from the lake you are.
Most believe that it’s caused by a specific
algae in the lake that
is drawn to its high salinity, as well as a pink bacteria known
as halobacteria.

Whatever the reason for its
unique hue, the lake sits on Middle Island, an island on the
Recherche Archipelago that is used solely for research purposes,
and can only be viewed by helicopter.

The Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan

Sitting at 1,410 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the
lowest body of water on Earth’s
surface. Located in a desert and featuring a high
concentration of salt, it’s the perfect spot for floating.

The water is beautiful enough on its own, but the deposits and
columns of salt that rise out of the water give it a unique,
otherworldly look.

The Stone Forest, China

As the name implies, this is
basically a
150-square mile forest made of stone – and it’s a whopping
270 million years old. The giant, otherworldly pillars are
ancient karst formations, created by water and wind erosion, as
well as seismic activity. The forest also features caves,
waterfalls, ponds, and lakes, as well as an underground
river.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

When lakes near these Bolivian salt flats overflow, they create a
majestic mirrored surface that reflects the sky and clouds above.
The Salar de Uyuni are the largest of their kind and cover a whopping 4,050 square
miles of the Bolivian Altiplano.

The vast oasis of salt boasts a horizon that never seems to end,
making this spot a photographer’s dream.

Masazir Lake, Azerbaijan

Masazir Lake is not far from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
This
pink saline lake gets its color – which is strongest in the
summer – from microorganisms
called halophiles.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay’s natural beauty makes it one of Vietnam’s number one
tourist sites. The bay is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The best way to see Ha Long’s awe-inspiring limestone towers is
by boat. In fact, many tourists stay overnight on a boat in the
bay.

Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, Gansu, China

Danxia refers to a special type of landscape found in
southwestern China. The colorful, striped mountains are made up
of layers of minerals and rock, which were disrupted when
tectonic plates caused the island that is now
India to collide with the rest of the Eurasia continent.

Now a protected UNESCO World Heritage
Site, the once little-known wonder is a popular tourist draw
– and for good reason. Chances are you’ve never seen anything
like it before.

Geiranger Fjord, Møre og Romsdal County, Norway

A fjord is best described as an underwater valley. Formed by
glaciers, these long and narrow waterways are deep and surrounded
by steep mountains on all sides. The Geiranger Fjord is one of Norway’s most famous,
and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Go in the warmer months to see lush greenery offset by deep blue
waters.

Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Gorgeous Lake Nakaru sits in a
national park famous for its epic bird-watching – especially its
bright pink flamingos. The large, shallow lake is surrounded by
marshes and grassland, and also home to rhinos, hippos,
waterbucks, and buffalo.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Tegalalang and Ubud, Indonesia

Indonesia is known for its terraced rice fields – and Tegalalang
is one of the most well-known. Entering the vibrant green
landscape with its towering palm trees will make you feel like
time has stopped. And there’s some truth to that feeling. Farmers
here use an irrigation system that’s been
passed down for centuries.

Reynisfjara Beach, Vik, Iceland

You probably won’t want to sunbathe on Reynisfjara, but
that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. The stunning beach
looks otherworldly thanks to its black sand, basalt stone
columns, and the fog that sometimes envelops it. If you’re lucky,
you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Verdon Gorge, France

The Verdon Gorge’s blue-green waters are a picturesque setting
for activities ranging from swimming to kayaking.

The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

One of Ireland’s most-visited natural attractions, the
Cliffs of Moher stretch along the country’s west coast for five
majestic miles. The rugged cliffs offer unparalleled
views of the ocean below.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States

The Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most well-known natural beauty, and
for good reason: between its immense size and breathtaking views,
this natural phenomenon is a must-see.

The canyon stretches on for 277 river miles and spans 18 miles from side to
side. While the South Rim is open all year
round, the North Rim is open to visitors on a more seasonal
basis.

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Monte Verde, Costa Rica

Because it’s a rainforest, the weather might not always be ideal
at Monteverde, but the fact is it’ll feel and look like a jungle
paradise no matter if it’s misty or not.

Even better, this biological reserve is known to be home to a
multitude of species. In fact, it’s one of only a few places
around the world that boasts all six species of the cat family.

Na Pali Coast, Hawaii, United States

Between the colorful cliffs and the azure blue waters below,
Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast is sure to wow any visitor. Hiking the
cliffs will afford you 4,000-foot-high views of the
Pacific Ocean and Kalalau Valley, as well as plenty of
beautiful waterfalls along the way.

Skógafoss, Skógar, Iceland

Skógafoss flows from not one, but two glaciers
(Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull). According to legend, a
viking named Thrasi hid his chest of gold under this
stunning waterfall.

Gold or not, the heavy amount of spray that the waterfall
produces makes a sunny-day rainbow sighting here very likely.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

The largest gypsum deposit in the world, White Sands National
Monument is a serene expanse of glittering, white sand that’s
located in the Chihuahuan Desert. The gypsum that forms
these gently sloping dunes comes from a nearby ephemeral lake that has a
high mineral content. As the water from this lake evaporates,
minerals remain, which then form gypsum deposits that are carried
by the wind.

Bioluminescent Beaches, Maldives

To experience the Maldives’ magical glowing beaches, you can
visit any of
the 1,190 islands that comprise the South Asian sovereign
state. Some of the top spots to see this natural light show – the
result of bioluminescent plankton – include Athuruga,
Reethi, and Mirihi.

Marble Caves, Chile

Located in Patagonia on Lake General Carrera,
Chile’s Marble Caves (also known as the “Marble Cathedral”)
were created more than 6,000 years ago by waves that eroded the
rocks. The caverns’ stunning colors vary as water levels
fluctuate throughout the year.

Mono Lake, California, United States

Mono Lake, which spans 65 square miles, is known for eye-catching,
calcium-carbonite structures known as tufa towers. With a
high salt content, this ethereal lake is also extremely buoyant.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Situated outside of San Juan, El Yunque National Forest earns the
distinction of being the sole tropical
rainforest in the US National Forest System.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Skye’s enchanting Fairy Pools are only
accessible on foot via the Glen Brittle forest – but it’s
worth the hike to see the clear waters of these natural pools in
person.

Beach of the Cathedrals, Galicia, Spain

You’ll do a double take when you see the rocky arches at
the Beach of the Cathedrals: these
incredible buttress-like formations were shaped solely by
nature.

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Created by glaciers during the ice age, this fjord – located off
the coast of New Zealand’s South Island – is renowned for its
dynamic scenery, from waterfalls to
soaring mountain peaks.

Jeju Island, South Korea

Jeju Island boasts South Korea’s highest mountain, Hallasan, a

dormant volcano that towers nearly 6,400 feet above sea
level.

The island is also known for its spectacular lava tubes (caves
formed by cooling lava).

Mt. Erebus, Antarctica

It may seem hard to believe, but there are volcanoes in the
arctic. Mt. Erebus, the world’s southernmost active volcano,

dates back 1.3 million years and stretches a whopping 12,448 feet
above sea level.

Kjeragbolten, Norway

Kjeragbolten is a
177-cubic-foot boulder nestled in a mountain crevice. It’s
surprisingly accessible (you don’t need special equipment to
reach it), which makes it a popular photo op for
adventurous Instagrammers.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

Spanning Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are part of a
massive waterfall system that
totals around 275 waterfalls.

Tianmen Cave, Zhangjiajie, China

Situated 5,000 feet above sea level, Tianmen Cave is one of
the highest naturally formed arches on the planet. Visitors have
to mount a 999-step “stairway to heaven” to reach the site.

Harbour Islands, Bahamas

Known mostly for its pink sand beaches, Harbour Island remains
mostly untouched by humans, at least compared to the rest of the
Bahamas.

The island’s other draws include Devil’s Backbone, a coral reef
filled with marine life, and Dunmore Town, whose pastel-colored
homes will charm any visitor.

The Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

For gorgeous natural views, go for a hike along the Blyde River
Canyon, which sits
at an elevation of more than 2,600 feet. This canyon, known
for its unique geology – including the Pinnacle, a looming
quartzite column – also boasts diverse flora and fauna.

Garni Gorge, Armenia

The Garni Gorge is characterized by vertical cliffs
notable for their basalt columns. You can only reach this
breathtaking site by car. 

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