Who wouldn’t like to travel to a distant planet and experience beauty beyond what we can imagine? Well, it turns out that you may not have to look very far. Our planet is filled with surreal landscapes that will have you feeling like you are nowhere near Earth. From the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to the Glowworms Caves all the way in New Zealand, not forgetting the Emerald Ice that glows under the snows of Russia…Mother Nature really is spectacular.
Perhaps one of the best parts is that each one of our continents offers all these amazing and surreal places, meaning that no matter where you’re from, there is probably an amazing otherworldly-like place that is just a short plane ride or even drive away, so you won’t have to look very far to experience this beauty.
Because of the fact that we’re able to travel to places far and wide and experience different landscapes that we’re not used to, it often takes a lot for many of us to be blown away. If you’re sceptical and adamant that you’ve seen it all, trust us – you don’t want to click to another page just yet. These following images will just remind you of how spectacular our planet really is.
20 Fly Geyser, Nevada
This picturesque wonder is also referred to as the Fly Ranch Geyser. One look at it and you’ll probably ask yourself which planet it’s from. Well, it’s from our dear Planet Earth, all the way in Washoe County, Nevada, to be precise. The interesting thing about this phenomena is that it was accidentally created in the ‘60s during well drilling as explorers were in search of geothermal energy and then were shocked as dissolved minerals started rising from it. This water has not stopped rising since and the geyser releases water into around 40 pools. The color of the geyser is said to be due to thermophilic algae that have accumulated over time.
19 Lake Natron, Tanzania
One look at the images of Lake Natron and you can’t help but wonder where on earth the striking red color is from since no other lake looks like this. The alkaline water from the lake is caused by the minerals that flow into the lake from hills that surround the lake and it has pH levels as high as 10.5 (in case you were wondering – yes, that’s pretty high). The waters can be toxic to animals that aren’t adapted to it. Photographer, Nick Brandt, showed how deadly the lake can be in his book “Across the Ravaged Land”, which had him capture haunting imagery of flamingos and other animals that never stood a chance against this lake.
18 Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
This entry is probably one of the most magical on the list. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand in the near future, do yourself a favor and head to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The caves are a hit with tourists and you won’t be disappointed if you book yourself a tour. Just as the name suggests, the caves are literally filled with worms that glow. Together with the other visitors, you’ll be able to enjoy a boat ride like no other. As you follow the meandering of the river, you will be enchanted by the thousands of luminous glowworms in the caves as they light the way for you.
17 Socotra, Yemen
This island in Yemen will have you convinced that you’ve just taken a trip to a planet far, far away. Unfortunately, you won’t really know where exactly you’ve landed because there isn’t quite anything like this…anywhere. Socotra has long been a gem to Yemen. A gem that is truly unique. This is because a third of the plants on this island are found nowhere else on this Earth. The most noticeable are the trees which look something like flying saucers, rather than the trees we’re used to. The island is quite secluded and is located right at the edge of the Gulf of Aden.
16 Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
One cannot help but be in awe at the striking colors of this spring. The largest hot spring in the United States, the Grand Prismatic Spring, is located in Wyoming. Discovered all the way back in the 1800s, the spring has its enchanting colors because of the microbial mats that are around edges of the water which is rich with minerals. These mats then, in turn, produce the amazing striking colors that we see in the pic above. It is interesting to note that unlike the edges, the center of the spring is sterile because of the very hot temperatures and this then gives it the intrinsic blue color of the water.
15 Cenotes Dos Ojos, Mexico
This underwater cave system will have any diving fanatic going crazy and feeling captivated. Cenote Dos Ojos, which means Two Eyes Cenote, has this name because of the long passageway which is connected by 2 sinkholes. It is the deepest underwater cave passageway that we know of in the world and is perfect for both diving and snorkeling fanatics. Besides how perfect it looks, the temperature of the water is also warm throughout the year so you’ll definitely want to see this place on your next trip to Mexico. The crystal blue waters can also be appreciated. The natural light from outside strikes the waters so perfectly that many have been simply mesmerized by this Mexican site.
14 Dallol, Ethiopia
All the way from the east of Africa, we find yet another wonder that is simply so different from what we’re used to seeing in our day to day lives that we cannot ignore it. In Northern Ethiopia, you’ll find Dallol. Temperatures in the area can reach up to 94°F (think about that next time you complain about the heat). Although the temperatures in the area are enough to make you feel like you have left planet Earth, another feature worth mentioning is the hot springs in the region. The striking colors are due to the chemicals and minerals in the water, the heat, and the springs being inactive for a very long time.
13 Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), Chile
Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon all the way back in 1969. Since then, he has inspired many people to pursue astronomy. But even those who are not pursuing that particular career path can still be captivated by the idea of exploring a distant place. Hollywood has also helped us dream even further by providing us with movies such as The Martian. However exciting the idea may be, the truth is, very few people will ever be able to travel to the moon. Don’t sulk though, because Valle de la Luna partially makes up for it. This valley in northern Chile has dunes and rock formations that undeniably resemble the moon.
12 Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
When we think of Brazil, we can’t help but have imagery of colorful streets, people, as well as hot temperatures. Most of the tourist attractions of the country are the perfect beaches that rival some of the best in the world. No one would think that there is a white sandy dessert with puddle-like waters that stretches for what seems like infinity. Lencois Maranhenses National Park is, therefore, a surprise to many people. It is located in the country’s north Atlantic coast and is a scenic desert of bright white sand dunes, topped off with the perfect amount of seasonal rainwater lagoons that make this dessert one of a kind.
11 Pamukkale, Turkey
The Turkish have named this majestic place, Pamukkale, which means “Cotton Castle”. The area is situated in southwestern Turkey, in the River Menderes valley and has earned its name due to the glistening, white limestone that is evident all over the icy mountains. This has been due to the thermal springs of the area, which happen to be calcium-rich. Tourists, as well as locals in the area, have for a very long time appreciated the site of the cold waters on ice that make their way slowly down the vast mountains, to the grandiose pools all the way down below.
10 Emerald Ice On Baikal Lake, Russia
“Captivating”, doesn’t even begin to describe number 10 on the list. When one thinks of Russia, it is expected to think of snow…lots of it. Of course, many people love the sight of snow but it can be found in many countries in the world. However, many countries in the world do not have what looks like Emerald, glistening beneath their snow. Lake Baikal of Russia has some of the clearest waters in the world with a beautiful turquoise hue. When this lake freezes over in the winter time, it is simply fascinating how the beautiful color of the lake shines through from beneath the ice.
9 Zhangye Danxia Landform, China
This one on the list could perhaps be the perfect place for hikers who seek the ultimate view at the end of their trail. Just like all the other previously mentioned majestic places around the world, Mother Nature shows off once again here but this time, she does a little extra. While many of the otherworldly-like places have specific colors or shades that can be noted, Zhangye Danxia Landform in China chooses to mimic all the colors the rainbow has to offer and much more. The colors of the mountains are alleged to be due to mineral deposits and red sandstone that have accumulated over 24 million years.
8 Monte Roraima, Venezuela
One look at the image above and you’ll be convinced that this could be from an otherworldly place. If not from another planet or galaxy, then perhaps it is crafted by talented moviemakers in an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster because this place can’t be real…surely? Well, Monte Roraima is definitely real. Only one word is necessary to describe this South American site – breathtaking. This magical site’s peak is actually shared by Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, although the easiest route is from the Venezuela side. We know that we've said that we think that Mother Nature was showing off before but right here is where we can all agree that we have an amazing, one of a kind planet.
7 Glowing Beach, Maldives
So earlier on in the list, we spoke about the glowing caves in New Zealand that are caused by the glowworms. Here’s another glistening spectacle and this time, it comes from the ocean waters. The Maldives are a popular holiday destination for many people as the weather and their beaches are some of the best in the world. If you’ve taken a trip to the Maldives before, chances are, you’ve come across glowing specks on the beach, which can be seen properly at night time. If you’re wondering what on Earth is causing this phenomenon – it is the ostracod crustaceans organisms from the sea. No need to try to pronounce that tongue-twister, just marvel at this picturesque beauty found right here on our planet.
6 Red Beach, China
When we think of a beach, we think of beautiful ocean waters and sand…lots of sand. Sand that gets all over you as soon as you put one step on the beach, even when you try to rinse it off at the end of the day before leaving. This sand is normally white, pale cream, and even sometimes golden. So what’s up with the red beach in Panjin, China, you ask? Well, it turns out, that there is actually no sand. The red is caused by Sueda, which is the sea weed found there. The perfect time to visit is from Autumn as that is when the sea weed turns vividly red.
5 Painted Dunes, Lassen Volcanic National Park
It is no wonder why this is called the Painted Dunes. The image above could easily be mistaken for a painting done by a famous artist. This image could also pass for another world because quite simply, our dunes don’t look like this…or so we may have thought. Well, the truth is, these dunes DO exist and they are in North America – in the state of California, USA, to be specific. The Painted Dunes have this exquisite colouring due to the volcanic ash oxidation that fell on the dunes and decided to paint in some of the most beautiful colours.
4 Ice Cave Near Mutnovsky Volcano, Russia
So Russia has given us yet another site to marvel over. As mentioned above, the largest country in the world has already given us the beautiful Emerald Ice on Baikal Lake that offers just spectacular glistening imagery of frozen ocean waters and now, Russia’s ice has made its way into caves. This surreal phenomenon was caused by glaciers from a nearby volcano that have been melting, which has resulted in the roof of the cave being increasingly thin and allowing more and more sunlight through in recent years. As the sunlight has been penetrating through the roof, it has given splendid light to the ice in the caves.
3 Lake Retba, Senegal
There is a pink lake in West Africa. Yes, you read right. A PINK lake. There is no photoshop on this image of this Senegalese wonder. There is no added coloring by human beings who sometimes, unfortunately, like to interfere with nature. There is no temporary sheet put over the lake. Nope. There is none of that. This lake is all natural and very much pink. How, you ask? Well, the water is high in salt and is home to micro-algae referred to as dunaliella salina. The combination of the salt and algae results in the pink hue of the lake.
2 Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth, Mauritius
Earlier on in the list, we spoke of Mother Nature showing off in China with the beautiful mountain hues of Zhangye Danxia Landform. Well, it seems like Mother Nature likes showing off in the same way, on different continents because the perfectly named Chamarel Seven Coloured Earth is all the way in Mauritius and also boasts rainbow colors on its rocks. It is no wonder why this region has become one of Mauritius’ tourist attractions. Besides the remarkle views that one will undoubtedly get when on a hike in the area, one can’t help but feel like this belongs in a faraway land.
1 The Wave, Arizona
Number 1 on the list looks like someone took a paintbrush (a very large one) and ran it through the mountains, creating the incredible lines that are evident. The Wave is a true phenomenon that looks incredible at dawn or dusk as the soft lighting from the sunlight hits the lines and gives the utmost dramatic effect. Arizona is home to this marvel that looks like it could be from anywhere but Earth.
We live on an incredible planet, don’t we? Although many may wish to explore what is outside our planet, after going through all this imagery, there is truly no place like Earth.