The world is a diverse place that offers a wide array of different landscapes. In fact, some landscapes look like they might not be from Planet Earth at all! Places rife with otherworldly beauty are few and far between, making them all the more special.
All travel lovers hit with a spell of wanderlust should add some of these unforgettable destinations to their travel list. Here are some of the world’s best otherworldly landscapes that you can’t afford to miss!
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
If you’ve ever dreamed of walking on clouds, the salt flats of Bolivia is the place to go. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering 4,086 square miles. This incredible area is caused by changes in ancient lakes over time. The salt goes yards deep, and its perfect flatness contrasts the nearby Andes mountain range.
While the salt flats are a wonder to behold in the dry season, a light sprinkling of rain makes the expanse perfectly reflective of the sky above. Those looking for an adventure can head over to Copacabana and see Lake Titicaca. As Bolivia borders conveniently on the southern region of Peru, travelers can also cross the border, see the famous Inca Trail, and hike up to Machu Picchu.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Senegal is a country on the coast of West Africa. Lake Retba is one of the highlights of Senegal, due to its brilliant pink color. Depending on the time of year, the lake can vary anywhere from a transparent fuchsia to an opaque Pepto-Bismol pink. Also known as Lac Rose (Pink Lake), the color is caused by a specific breed of algae. The lake is extremely high in salt content, which is harvested by the locals.
The area surrounding Lake Retba is also beautiful. With terracotta clay and bushes in various shades of red and pink, this otherworldly landscape is the focal point of the small local community. Visitors often stay in Dakar, the nearby capital city of Senegal.
Cenotes, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico
The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a fascinating place. This incredibly flat area rests atop a hidden cave system that stretches for hundreds of miles under the ground. It’s expected that the longest of these underwater cave tunnels stretches almost 100 miles, making it a dangerous area to explore for cave divers.
The cenotes are pools of pure water within these caves. Travelers can visit designated cenotes and swim in crystal-clear water as fruit bats circle 30 feet above among the stalactites. You’ll even see the roots hanging down in curtains from the trees above ground, trying to get a sip of water. The best part is that this otherworldly destination is near the Mayan Riviera and Cancun, two popular tourist destinations.
Waitomo Glow-worm Caves, New Zealand
New Zealand is an incredible country with a diverse landscape. Explorers love traveling through New Zealand and seeing the amazing landscapes it has to offer, especially the filming locations from “The Lord of the Rings.” However, it’s not the sets from Middle Earth that seem almost otherworldly; it’s the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves.
The Waitomo Glow-worm Caves are home to a species of glowworms that are found only in New Zealand. Visitors can take a boat tour into Glow-worm Grotto, where hundreds of these little creatures glow like stars in the darkness. The cave is also home to the rare albino ant and giant crickets.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Jordan is an Arab country bordering Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. Wadi Rum is often referred to as the Valley of the Moon, as it is seemingly carved from rock in crater-like formations. The sand, however, is a brilliant red which gives visitors the feeling of stepping onto Mars. This otherworldly locale often reaches temperatures of about 93 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmer months.
Venture up the Desert Highway and you’ll stumble upon Petra, an ancient city and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This architectural wonder was built over two thousand years ago and still stands today.
Devil’s Den Spring, Florida, USA
Located in Central Florida, Devil’s Den is a spring unlike any you’ve seen before. Located inside an ancient spring, this underground cave is a wonder to behold. It gets its name from the ominous smoke that wafts from its entrance every morning, looking like a den that would belong to the devil.
If you dare, you can venture into the 120-foot-across cave to explore the underwater treasure for yourself. This is a popular spot for divers and snorkelers, but you’ll want to be an experienced swimmer since many divers have lost their lives here in underwater caves.
The Pinnacles, Australia
Venture to the Land Down Under for this next otherworldly landscape. In Western Australia, you can find the Pinnacles. This is a collection of thousands of limestone spires that seem to jut from the Earth like raw crystals. Located in the desert of Nambung National Park, you can venture to this place only by foot, making it one of the most remote finds on this list.
Stiltsville, Florida, USA
This otherworldly destination is also located in Florida. At the very tip of Miami, off the coast a few miles, you’ll find a city on the water. Stiltsville is a group of wooden stilt houses on the edge of Biscayne Bay. These homes rise 10 feet above the water, and the homes have managed to withstand hurricanes, tropical storms, and the Florida sun for almost 100 years.
Stiltsville used to be a popular tourist destination for social clubs, local parties, and boating events. Today, only a few of the homes on stilts remain, and you’ll need to be a member of the Miami Boating Club to gain access. Still, it’s well worth a view from the sea. With the Miami skyline in the background, this is truly an out-of-this-world spot.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
If you’ve ever wanted to feel what it’s like to live in an icy world, now’s your chance. With more tourists flocking to Iceland than ever before, you’ll want to visit the Blue Lagoon while it’s still relatively untouched. The Blue Lagoon is full of geothermal mineral waters that give it the famous blue glow.
To take it a step further, venture beyond the Blue Lagoon to visit one of the many ice caves nearby. You can even hike across a lava field. Talk about fire and ice!
Devils Tower Monument, Wyoming
If you’ve ever seen the alien classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” you’ve already seen Devils Tower Monument in Wyoming. This laccolithic butte is a steep hill with a flat top. The hill rises a startling 867 feet from the plains below, and researchers still aren’t completely certain how the natural structure came to be.
If you visit, you’ll want to climb the rock for yourself. Just make sure you have the right gear and you’re an experienced climber. This isn’t for the faint of heart. Once you’re up there, you’ll want to stay until it gets dark outside, as the stargazing is spectacular.
Traveling gives people a unique opportunity to travel through space and time without ever leaving their home planet. Add these incredible otherworldly landscapes to your travel bucket list; you won’t want to miss them.
Post written by Wendy Dessler of Luxury Retreats