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Craziest Destinations On Earth



There are a few locations on this spinning orb we call Earth that seem spectacularly out of place. Perhaps they seem to belong on an alien world. Maybe they belong in your imagination or dreams. These are seven of the most insanely, unearthly destinations on the planet.

Giant’s Table Mount Roraima – Venezuela

You have to see Mount Roraima to believe it exists anywhere other than a movie. In fact, this scenic mountain was the inspiration for the animated Pixar film, Up. Mount Roraima is a “tepui,” which is one of several ancient table-top mountains found in the Guiana Highlands of South America. Roraima is the largest, shooting 7,000 feet out of the mists of the Venezuelan jungle and forming an impossibly flat and expansive top that spans more than 30 square kilometers. Few geological features are as breathtaking as this one.

“The Door to Hell” –  Derweze, Turkmenistan

When the apocalypse finally occurs, the inhabitants of the Karakum Desert won’t be surprised at all. After all, they are the ones living blissfully on the doorstep of Hell. Darweze, also known as Darvaza or, “The Door to Hell,” is unlike the other locations on this list. It isn’t the result of all-natural forces, but actually formed in 1971 when Soviet oilmen drilled into the earth and were swallowed by it in a massive methane sinkhole. Luckily, nobody died, but an ecological disaster ensued, with the volatile greenhouse gas spewing out of the earth and wafting across the region. The solution? Set the gas on fire. That fire continues to burn to this day.

Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia

One of the better known destinations on this list, Salar de Uyuni is the  largest salt flat on earth, spanning 4,086 square miles in the Potosi and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia. There may be no better place in the world to snap a photo. The air above Salar de Uyuni is crystal clear, a result of its remoteness and 12,000-foot elevation. The weather is dramatic: because of its location at the edge of the Andes, massive cumulus clouds are born above Salar de Uyuni. The ground is remarkably flat and reflective when wet. These variables combine to create a dreamscape. When conditions are right, a mirror underfoot as far as the eye can see.

Cave of the Crystals – Naica, Mexico

The earth’s offerings beneath Chihuahua, Mexico are more magical than fiction. Witness the Cave of Crystals, a massive chamber discovered by miners in 2000 filled with white selenite crystal spires that stretch more than 30 feet in length and weigh more than 50 tons each. The cave is overgrown with these formations, which grow and reach from the walls like cosmic tree branches. If you want to see the Cave of Crystals in person, hurry. Mexican authorities say they will soon re-flood the cave, returning it to its natural state, to preserve the crystalline structures, which slowly decay when exposed to air.

The White Desert – Farafra, Egypt

If you’re partial to extreme sports in hot weather, then Farafra, Egypt’s White Desert might be your paradise. No, you haven’t reached one of Jupiter’s stark desert moons or a desert mirage. With wind-hewn chalk pillars rising from the sands, this earthly destination is simply otherworldly. Maybe we’ll try a little sandboarding the next time we’re in Egypt.

Iceberg Beach - Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Few natural wonders are more beautiful than centuries-old ice, shaped by the ages into perfectly unique curved forms. Imagine blue, white and transparent chunks of ice swirled in the ocean and then smashed by waves onto a beach of pitch black sand. That’s what happens at Jokulsarlon, or “glacial river lagoon,” in southeast Iceland. The occurrence is one of dozens of striking natural wonders found on the Island of fire and ice. Bring a thick jacket if you visit this freezing beach, which is made by the sand gurgled up by the island’s volcanic innards. Also, bring your camera.

Alien Island – Socotra, Yemen

Located 150 miles east of the Horn of Africa, Socotra is often called the most alien island on earth. For good reason: one-third of the native plant life found on Socotra is found nowhere else on earth (only Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands are home to more endemic species). The iconic dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena cinnabarilooks like it popped straight out of a child’s book, while the endemic cucumber tree and giant succulent tree make us wonder just what might be growing on planets outside our solar system. If it’s anything as odd as the flora that grows on Socotra, then alien worlds are weird indeed.

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