How well do you know this little blue planet you are living on? Do you know where the tallest waterfall or the deepest blue hole can be found? Why should you even care, you ponder?
Well, beyond the pride associated with having climbed the Kilimandjaro or walked the Salar de Uyuni, there is something extremely sobering about these world-class natural marvels.
At the top of such world wonders, there are the world-record holding places that you can actually visit. From the peak of the tallest mountains to the deepest abysses to the most daring harsh environments for extreme tourists, here are 15 offbeat adventure destinations you must — and can — visit… if you dare. They are definitely worth a photo.
Record Holders Of Depth
1. Marianas Trench – Challenger Deep
43 miles wide, almost 1,600 miles long, the Marianas Trench is the deepest place on Earth known to mankind with a known depth of 7 miles. But no one has never reached or seen its bottom, yet.
2. Bentley Subglacial Trench – Ellworth Mountains
Imagine a valley, deeper and wider than the Grand Canyon hidden under the ice of West Antarctica. That is the Bentley Subglacial Trench estimated to be tens of millions of years old and more than 15 miles wide. Discover this record-holding canyon here.
3. Krubera Cave – Georgia
Don’t say bottomless pit, say Krubera Cave. Also known as the Voronya Cave, it is the deepest cave in the world with a known depth of 7,208 miles — and no, that is not the bottom. There are ongoing expeditions of people constantly trying to break the record depth.
4. Baikal Lake – Siberia
5,400-feet deep, Baikal Lake is known as the deepest lake in the deepest lake in the world. But it also contains one fifth of the world’s freshwater making it the biggest reserve on the planet. A water so pure, you could see to the bottom and the sunlight colors its ice cubes of a perfect blue when it freezes during wintertime.
5. Dean’s Blue Hole – Bahamas
The world deepest sinkhole has a depth of 600 feet with a sunken entrance. It means that the picture-perfect sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters of the Bahamas are not even the beginning of the fun. Things get serious when you snorkel deep into the Dean’s Blue Hole to uncover the most beautiful underwater tropical sealife there is.
Dahab’s Blue Hole – Egypt
Another notorious blu hole worth mentioning is in the Red Sea off the shores of the Egyptian city of Dahab. It is infamous for being a sinister record holder. It has claimed more than 150 souls of divers who fail to miss its concealed entrance and dive too deep to their doom. Would you dare to explore the “divers’ cemetery”?
Record Holders of Height
6. Mauna Kea – world’s tallest mountain
Mount Everest might be the highest mountain — when you measure from sea level — but the Hawaiian Mauna Kea is by far the tallest. With 14,000 feet showing above water, most of this dormant volcano is underwater. It is the highest peak in the US, for sure, and probably the tallest in the world as well.
7. Angel Falls – Venezuela
Inside the Canaima National Park, a World Heritage Site in Venezuela, you will find the world’s highest waterfall. With plunges of more than 2,500 feet, and plenty of rapids and cascades, this angelic site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. A must-see!
8. Titicaca Lake – Peru
At 12,500 feet above sea level, Titcaca Lake is the highest lake in the world. This 300-square-mile natural marvel of the Andes is also the largest lake of South America. It is definitely a popular tourist attraction and a must-see place on Earth, especially its floating island made of nothing but straw.
9. Burj Khalifa – Dubai
Dubai is a name you will see in every world record list. Its impressive Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world. Its 1,500-foot-high observation deck is not only the highest in the world, it is also the best vantage point to gaze upon the lavish skyline of Dubai.
Record Holders of Extreme Conditions
10. Atacama Desert – Chile
The Atacama Desert is a wasteland between Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. It records less than an inch of rain per year making it the driest non-polar desert in the world. Regardless, The Atacama is a place of great beauty caught between the snowcapped plateau of Atacama and the Pacific coastline.
11. Le Rinconada – Peru
At 16,000 feet above sea level, you would think that oxygen would be precious than gold. But it is the quest for the yellow stone that brought humans to settle in this mining town lost in the Peruvian Andes. Le Rinconada is known as the highest human settlement and is an attraction only for gold diggers and extreme tourists.
12. Death Valley National Park – California
The Death Valley National Park is not the most welcoming place in California. Since 2013 and the recorded temperature of 135 F, it became the hottest place on Earth. Death Valley is nonetheless a US national park everyone should dare to visit at least once in their life.
13. Dallol – Ethiopia
You will never see anything as amazing and unnatural as the Dallol’s lakes and their neon yellow-orange tint. The odd coloration is due to the sulfur and acid from the local volcano. Dallol is only accessible by camel back and temperatures here average 96 F year round. That makes it the one most remote and harshest inhabited location on Earth. Yes, people live here.
14. Oymyakon – Russia
Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place on Earth with its year-round sub-zero temperatures. The coldest temperature on record is about -90 F. Only the Vostok Station — located at the Southern Pole of Cold — has ever seen colder climate. Dress warm if you plan to visit.
15. Cave of Crystals – Mexico
With 99% humidity, 138 F air temperature, it is impossible to survive more than a couple of minutes here without special equipments. Nature has created the harshest atmosphere in the Cave of Crystals to protect the natural wonders it houses. The cave is full of beautiful and impressive crystals; the largest measure as much as 39 feet long and weigh more than 50 tons.
The world is indeed a wonderful place. There are many reasons to explore its natural wonders and other man-made marvels. We can only hope that this overview of the craziest places out there will make you want to get off the safe beaten paths to explore — and discover — more unconventional attractions.
Do you know other places that should be on this list? Tell us all about it in the comments.