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Ten must-visit natural wonders for travel enthusiasts

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One of the most exciting parts of traveling is seeing breathtaking natural scenery.

Traveling is an excellent and fulfilling hobby. The world is filled with exciting places, each different from the next, allowing you to experience breathtaking sights and unique cultures.

Tourism is a massive contributor to the global economy. Despite the drop it experienced during the pandemic, international tourism is slowly getting back on its feet. In 2022, people worldwide spent almost $4.1 billion on leisure trips.

One of the most exciting parts of traveling is seeing breathtaking natural scenery. These places had little to no human intervention, becoming true testaments to the innate beauty of nature itself. Here are 10 natural wonders to add to your bucket list:

1. Aurora Borealis

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The Aurora Borealis, sometimes called the Northern Lights, is a natural light display in high-latitude regions near the Arctic Circle. It involves a mesmerizing display of greens with hints of blues, purples, pinks, and yellows.

The Northern Lights occur due to an interaction between particles from the sun and the planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere.

Multiple places allow you to witness auroras, typically in destinations under the “auroral zone.” This zone covers areas within an approximate radius of 2,500 kilometers from the North Pole. Popular destinations to see the Northern Lights include Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Alaska, and Norway.

2. The Grand Canyon

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Carved by the forces of the Colorado River for millions of years, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA, is a geological masterpiece that defies imagination.

This immense canyon, with its intricate rock layers and colossal cliffs, is a tactile testament to the world’s geological history. It is incredibly immense, spanning 4,000 feet deep on average for an entire 277 miles. Its deepest point measures 6,000 feet.

You can stand at the canyon’s rim to take in the panoramic views or hike down to its depths. Your visit will surely leave you in awe of time and nature’s unique way of manipulating itself.

3. The Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef, located on Australia’s northeast coast, is the world’s biggest coral reef system. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts a colorful reef full of diverse marine life and vibrant coral formations.

It consists of over 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of coral, and 4,000 types of mollusks. It also serves as a habitat for many endangered creatures, such as the large green turtle and the dugong or sea cow.

If you enjoy responsible diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, or boat rides, you can visit this reef and get up close and personal with its marine life. Many local tours offer various activities. Some even allow you to interact with whales and dolphins.

4. Uluru/Ayers Rock

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Situated in the heart of Australia, Uluru is an iconic natural monolith sacred to the Pitjantjatjara—the aboriginal people indigenous to the area.

Around Uluru, you can find springs, rock caves, and ancient paintings, a testament to the area’s rich history and cultural significance to its indigenous peoples.

This colossal sandstone formation is a sight to behold, as it changes colors throughout the day, growing more vibrant during the sunrise and sunset. The view itself can be enough to warrant a trip, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal culture in central Australia.

5. Iguazu Falls

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Located on the border straddling Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls is a jaw-dropping natural spectacle bringing millions of visitors annually. It comprises 275 individual waterfall drops scattered across the Iguazu River.

The vastness of this waterfall network spans two national parks in Argentina and Brazil. The national parks have numerous boardwalks and trails for visitors to enjoy different vantage points. A trip to Iguazu Falls allows you to immerse yourself in the booming sounds and soak in the lush surroundings.

6. Ha Long Bay

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Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is a breathtaking landscape filled with thousands of limestone karsts and islets rising from emerald waters. This site presents a serene environment with a picturesque seascape of over 1,600 islets.

You can book a boat and cruise through the bay to explore hidden caves and floating fishing villages. Learn more about the people who live in the area and explore its biodiversity, with dozens of endemic plant and animal species.

7. Lake Nakuru

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Nestled in the center of Kenya’s Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru is a paradise for biodiversity, landscape, and bird enthusiasts. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts a flock of flamingos, making for a colorful pink scenery.

Aside from flamingos, it is home to diverse wildlife, such as other bird species, baboons, warthogs, and rhinos. The place provides an immersive safari experience, allowing visitors to witness the coexistence of these different creatures with the lake’s picturesque landscape.

8. Table Mountain

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Looming over the skyline of Cape Town, South Africa, Table Mountain is a flat-topped sandstone formation. This iconic wonder attracts millions of tourists annually.

Whether you hike up the mountain or ascend via motorized cars, the plateau presents a marvelous sight. It boasts a wide selection of unique flora and fauna, making it a diversity hotspot.

When the clouds descend upon the mountain’s plateau, they form a sort of tablecloth that is nothing short of breathtaking.

9. The Matterhorn

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Nestled in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn stands as one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable peaks. It stands as a pyramid-shaped, almost symmetrical mountain with a summit at 4,478 meters above sea level.

Its towering height has lured mountaineers and adventurers for centuries. Climbing the Matterhorn is an incredibly challenging endeavor that rewards those who reach its summit with panoramic views of the Alps and great accomplishment.

If you’re not the active type, you can still visit the area and marvel at the scale and majesty of the Matterhorn. The way it appears amidst the rest of the Alps is a sight to behold.

10. Marble Chapels

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In the remote landscapes of Patagonia, Chile, the Marble Chapels, or Capillas de Mármol, emerge as a geological masterpiece sculpted by the elements. They comprise three limestone formations, standing out for their beautiful columns and the clear blue waters surrounding them.

You can access the Marble Chapels by boat, providing a serene and enchanting experience that allows you to witness the unique beauty of these natural formations.

Safety tips for outdoor adventures
Traveling and going on outdoor adventures can be exciting and rewarding. However, you should always prioritize safety, especially in unfamiliar territory. Consider the following outdoor tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Research. Plan your trip and research the area to know what you must bring and prepare.
  • Check the weather. Monitor weather forecasts before and during your outdoor adventure. Prepare for sudden changes in outdoor conditions. Bring an umbrella, raincoat, or sunscreen.
  • Pack your essentials. Pack everything you need for the trip, such as a change of clothes, snacks, water, and a first aid kit. You can also bring flashlights or handgun lights for overnight stays.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring enough water and be mindful of your body’s needs.
  • Know your limits. Choose activities that match your skill and fitness level.
  • Stay on marked trails. Stick to marked trails and paths, avoiding shortcuts or unknown routes. Follow any posted regulations and respect trail closures.
  • Communicate. Carry a fully charged phone or satellite communication device. Make sure you note any emergency phone numbers or locations.
  • Leave no trace. Pack all your trash and waste and leave no trace as a sign of respect for your surroundings.
  • Don’t go alone. Go with a group or keep a buddy system. Before leaving, establish a meeting point in case the group gets separated.

Marvel at the world’s wonders
The earth has existed for billions of years, forming beautiful sights we can only admire. Add these ten places to your travel bucket list to witness the incredible beauty and diversity our planet offers.