Everyone should have a bucket list. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a list of places to see or things to do before you die. Not everyone gets to see much of our planet, but if you’re lucky enough to, these are some of the most amazing places in the world you have to witness before you kick the bucket.
1. Caño Cristales, Colombia
Located in the Serrania de la Macarena Colombia, the Caño Cristales is sometimes referred to as the “Liquid Rainbow” or “River of Five Colours” due to the riverbed’s rocks being coloured in red, blue, black, yellow, and green. If there was ever a river to visit, it would be this one.
2. Parícutin Volcano, Mexico
Located on the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in Michoacán, the Parícutin Volcano is a bit of an anomaly in the volcanic world. In 1943, it didn’t even exist. It was a cornfield that one day rocketed to 1,102 feet in the span of a year. Sadly, the villages around it are now buried in lava, but you can visit the volcano and even climb it.
3. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay is a popular tourist destination in northern Vietnam, loved for its floating fishing village and beautiful limestone karsts. The landscape comprises around 1,600-2,000 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by human presence. The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
4. Table Mountain, South Africa
Surrounded by civilisation, Table Mountain is a famous natural landmark that towers over Cape Town, South Africa. The main plateau overlooks the city 2 miles from side to side, and can sometimes be covered by low-flying “tablecloth clouds” that are beautiful whether you’re at the top or bottom.
5. Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in the African continent. It also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, and as a result a major climbing destination. Featuring three volcanic cones, the mountain has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields. If you plan on trekking up it though, be prepared. You don’t want to kick the bucket before you finish the climb.
6. Yellowstone, USA
Yellowstone National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, and some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world. One of the most unique features of the park is the fumaroles, which are hydrothermal structures where water is boiled underground by a magma source (from the supervolcano there). Toxic gases are often released from them, some of which can silently suffocate passersby, so get those selfies and keep moving!
7. Wulingyuan, China
These breathtaking sandstone pillars of Zhangjiajie’s Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area number in the 3000s, and feature an assembly of geological wonders like ravines, gorges, streams, pools, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. You might have seen the quartzite pillars in some Chinese martial arts movies, but it’s probably not the best idea to start practicing flying kicks on top of them.
8. Socotra, Yemen
Once described as “the most alien-looking place on Earth”, Socotra is an archipelago comprising four islands in the Arabian sea. Its most distinct features are the socotra aka dragon’s blood trees that abound various spots across the islands. As one of the most biodiverse places in the world, researchers have counted almost 700 endemic species there that are found nowhere else on earth.
9. The Great Blue Hole, Belize
It might not pull in matter and light, but one can’t help see some similarity to black holes…only flatter. The good thing is, you don’t have to travel into space or be prepared to die in order to see it up close. The Great Blue Hole is a circular submarine sinkhole, with a depth of 124 metres and a width of 300m. The sinkhole’s darkness hides an elaborate system of submerged caves, where stalactites indicate that it must have been formed above sea level over 153,000 to 15,000 years ago. It is considered one of the best places for scuba diving, so get your flippers on!
10. Angel Falls, Venezuela
At 3,212 feet, the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall stands strong in the jungles of Venezuela. Despite many indigenous people knowing of its existence for centuries, the waterfall remains named after American aviator Jimmie Angel, who flew a plane over the landmark in 1933. The size might be intimidating, but once you stand at the top it’s a whole other feeling.
11. Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale is Turkish for ‘Cotton Castle’, and it’s easy to see why it was given that name. Due to the rare calcium carbonate deposits and hot waters, the area was made a natural health site in the Roman era. The hot water creates natural blue springs that warm to 36 degrees Celsius, and together with the cotton walls and view of the mountains, it not only makes it a perfect tourist destination, but a therapeutic one too.
12. The Eye of the Sahara
Described by NASA as Earth’s bull’s-eye, the Eye of the Sahara also known as the Richat Structure is an almost perfect circular structure that stretches to 40 km in diameter. The various sedimentary and igneous rocks produce the radial colour changes you can see in the image, making it a rather unique feature for a desert. The Eye was once thought to have formed from an asteroid impact because of the high degree of circularity. Further study by geologists has revealed that it is actually an eroded maar, and extensive research found no evidence of extraterrestrial collision.
13. Chocolate Hills, Philippines
In the Bohol province of the Philippines, as many as 1,776 domed hills strew over an area of 50 square kilometres. The hills are made of limestone and have a grassy coating that turns eponymously brown in the dry seasons. The limestone holds numerous fossils of marine animals, as well as corals and algae. Even if you’re in the 1% of people who don’t like chocolate, this place is a must see.