While various lists and compilations of the world’s natural wonders exist, right from ancient times to the present day, the following compilation is our choice of fifteen natural wonders of the world in alphabetical order, which may exist on other lists as well, but is purely coincidental. Enjoy!
Caño Cristales – The River of Five Colors, Columbia
Located within the isolated mountain range of Serrania de la Macarena in the Columbian province of Meta, the Caño Cristales River transforms into a river of five striking colors (yellow, green, blue, black and particularly red) from June through November, between the wet and dry seasons.
This happens because, during this period, mosses and algae bloom on the river bed giving it a rainbow-like appearance. The predominant red color, however, is caused by the presence of Macarenia clavigera (Podostemaceae) on the river bed.
It is because of this unique feature that the Caño Cristales is more commonly known by its various nicknames, including “The Five Color River”, “The Liquid Rainbow” and “The Most Beautiful River in the World.”
Côte d’Albâtre, France
The Côte d’Albâtre, French for Alabaster Coast, owes its name to the chalk-white hue of the cliffs along the 130 km Norman coast, geologically similar to the limestone cliffs of Dover across the English Channel.
The result of eons of wind and sea erosion, the dramatically picturesque coastline is dotted with attractive resort towns, picture-perfect villages, fishing harbors, and pristine unspoiled beaches.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef consisting of over 3000 individual reef systems with hundreds of islands and coral cays.
Due to its unimaginable array of marine life including countless fish species, turtles, clams, and seaweed, it is a magnet for snorkelers and divers, both amateur, and professionals, who come to marvel at this natural wonder from all parts of the world.
The Great Barrier Reef the only living thing on the planet that is visible from space
Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
Hạ Long Bay, in the Quảng Ninh Province of Vietnam, is a paradise of towering limestone pillar-like cliffs topped by lush green forests, rising out of the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination, the bay is dotted by more than 1600 isles and karsts carved by wind and water into a myriad of shapes and sizes.
A majority of these breathtakingly beautiful islands are uninhabited due to their precipitous topography.
170 kilometers away from the capital Hanoi, Hạ Long city can be reached by car, minibus or bus, and if budget is not a constraint, an hour-long helicopter transfer is the best way of traveling to the site enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery from up above.
Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island, also known as Jejudo, is the largest island 130 km off the Korean Peninsula coast and is the main island of South Korea’s Jeju Province. It is home to the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, a World Heritage Site.
A central feature of Jeju is Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano, which rises 1,950 m above sea level. 360 satellite volcanoes are around the main volcano.
It has a humid subtropical climate, warmer than the rest of Korea, with four distinct weather seasons. Winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy.
Lac Rose – The Pink Lake, Senegal
Located some 30 km north-east of Dakar, Senegal, Lake Retba or Lac Rose, which means Pink Lake, owes its name to its pink waters caused by Dunaliella salina algae.
The lake is also known for its high salinity, as high as 40 percent in some areas. Locals work 6-7 hours a day mining the lake’s salt. To protect themselves from the salty waters of the lake, which is known to cause tissue damage, they apply shea butter as a protective layer on their skin.
The pinkness of the waters is more defined during the dry season which lasts from November through June as compared to the rainy season from July to October when the color is less visible.
Magenta colored samphire bushes flourish in the white sandbanks, and the sand dunes are terra-cotta-colored
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Part of the Banff National Park some 14 kilometers southeast of the hamlet of Lake Louise, in Canada’s Alberta Province, the glacier-fed Moraine Lake is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of about 6,183 feet.
Surrounded by mountain peaks, waterfalls, and lush forests, the scenic beauty of the place seems to have jumped straight out of a fairytale book.
The striking blue-green waters of the lake is caused by light refracting off fine rock particles called rock flour, which flow in with the waters of the glacier that feeds the lake.
Pamukkale, Turkish for “Cotton Castle,” is located in the River Menderes valley in Turkey’s south-western province of Denizli. This surreally beautiful landscape is known for its hot springs and its huge white terraces, a result of a carbonate mineral called travertine left behind by the flowing water.
Almost all transport to and from Pamukkale is via the nearby city of Denizli which has a large and active bus terminal, train station as well as airport.
Paricutin Volcano, Mexico
Also known as Volcan de Paricutin, the cinder cone Paricutin Volcano is located in Mexico’s Michoacan state near the city of Uruapan. It is the youngest volcano in the Northern Hemisphere which erupted rather suddenly from the cornfield of a local farmer named Dionisio Pulido in 1943.
The eruption continued till 1952, burying the villages of Parícutin and San Juan Parangaricutiro beneath ash and lava. The San Juan Parangaricutiro’s church spire sticking out of the now solidified lava rock is the only sign that a village existed at the site.
What’s unique about this volcano is the fact that it never existed until the day it erupted; making it one of the very few volcanoes that mankind has witnessed the birth of.
National Park Plitvicer Seen, Croatia
The National Park Plitvice Lakes is located in the mountainous region of central Croatia and is the most famous and oldest national park in the country and Southeastern Europe.
Founded on April 8, 1949, the Plitvice Lakes National Park was the first natural site ever to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
This untouched natural beauty spread over 300,000 hectares is home to numerous protected plants, such as the rare orchid species Frauenschuh. Wildlife including bears, wolves and wild boars abound in the dense forests of the park.
The main attraction of the park is the 16 lakes connected by overflows, waterfalls and cave systems covering a length of about 7 km and a height of about 135m. It draws close to a million visitors every year.
Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
Deep underground on the Filipino Island of Palawan, flows the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the world’s longest navigable underground river which makes for an unforgettable experience on one of the most popular islands in the Philippines.
The entrance to the subterranean river is a short hike or boat ride from the town of Sabang.
Zhangye Danxia, China
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Zhangye, China, is home to one of the world’s most incredible geological wonders – the Rainbow Mountains. Streaks of bright rainbow-like colors line the rolling mountains for as far as the eyes can see.
The reds, yellows, greens, and blues dominating the landscape are the result of minerals present within the sandstone. It is indeed one of the most magnificent sights one can ever hope to behold.