Wanderlust of the wet variety.
Sitting in Los Angeles, I should consider myself lucky that I am not plagued by the cold like the rest of America, but it still isn’t warm enough to hit the beach. The big bad world boasts a ton of different water-related beauties. Here are my top 15 water wonders!
1. Durdle Door:
I am not going to lie, I don’t really like the beach, but this is an exception. In Dorset, England the Welds Family so graciously opened their Luluworth Estate to the public. This is the nicest thing ever because if this was my private beach the public could suck it. The natural limestone arch sits along the Jurassic Coast and looks pretty darn beautiful. Plus its name rhymes with “turtle.”
This bad boy separates Zambia and Zimbabwe and was named after Queen Victoria, but the indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, is way more badass. Meaning “The Smoke that Thunders,” this giant waterfall creates chronic rainbows. Rave Waterfall!
This atmosphere isn’t exactly habitable, unless you’re a penguin, because eight different species are chillin’ (pun intended) there. It is the coldest, windiest, and driest place continent and the sea supports all of the wildlife. You couldn’t pay me to be one of those people on the Discovery Channel that goes down there to take pictures like these, but bless them for doing so so that I don’t have to.
4. Fairy Pools:
On the west coast of Scotland, on the Isle of Skye, you’ll find the dark and jagged Cullins mountain range. At the foot of the mountains, right between the forest and the beach, are these merry, magical fairy pools. The beautiful clear pools make for great swimming for those brave enough to battle the freezing waters, but they otherwise make for great photos and, possibly, magic wishes!
5. Blue Lagoon:
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland. The Blue Lagoon is actually unnatural, but it’s so pretty that it deserved a spot anyhow. The warm waters are chock full of minerals like silica and sulfur, and are reputed to have natural healing powers for skin issues like psoriasis. The lagoon is fed by a water output by a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, which uses fresh water and uses the natural heat of the lava to pump boiling water into peoples’ hot water taps. Back to the lagoon. It also generates electricity by having the water that’s being pumped from Svartsengi go through turbines. To make sure that gross people don’t ruin everyone’s good time, you have to shower before and after you get in and the water is changed every 48 hours. It’s also spectacularly beautiful because the hot water meets with the cold air; a steamy, romantic, blue lagoon.
This underground beauty is just outside of Guilin, China. The Reed Flute Cave is bathed naturally in purple-blue light and was created by an underground river more than 500,000 years ago. Today, the cave is naturally a huge tourist attraction, but back in the day, the cave doubled as an air raid shelter during WWII, making it the most beautiful air raid shelter in the world.
This tall glass of water (pun intended) can be found in Ibaraki, Japan. It’s located near the northern city of Daigo. It’s been named one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The Taki River, which uses the waterfall as a passageway, starts at a spring just about the fall. It ultimate joins the much larger river, the Kuji River, and has been known to freeze completely in winter. I feel like that’s literally like Mother Nature taking a snap shot of how pretty the world can be.
Woohoo! Another one that’s relatively close to me. The narrow Subway section of Zion National Park in Utah forces hikers through a unique tunnel sculpted by the Left Fork of North Creek. The churning water chisels the rock floor, forming shallow potholes. Because of the different colors of the walls of the hole and the way that sunlight hits the curved chamber, cause the pools to have a variety of colors. This would be the most beautiful pothole to lose a tire in.
There are a surprising amount of big holes filled with water all over the world, but this one is a world-class tourist destination. Found in Kimberley in the Northern Cape of South Africa, The Big Hole started out as a diamond mining site in 1871. The mining ended in 1914, but not before it yielded more than 6 tons of diamonds from 22.5 million tons of excavated earth. As a result, a crater more than 700 ft deep and more than a mile in perimeter has been left behind for tourists to ogle at. Surrounded by a lot of the original mining buildings, The Big Hole also has other attractions around it due to an investment by, you guessed it, a huge diamond company (De Beers Consolidated Mines.) They added a facility that provides unique insights into diamonds, diamond mining, and the process of recovering rough diamonds and how they’re made into the polished gems you see behind fancy glass cases today.
Iceland’s most famous waterfall is a cascade that drops a 200 feet into a tiny, serene pool below. The coolest part about this awesome site is that you can hike behind the falls and view it from the inside out from a glowing cavern and, I am guessing, feel just like Batman in his Bat Cave. Aside from being the coolest thing ever, you can also camp here. Oh, and paraglide.
Told you there were a lot of pretty sinkholes. This one can be found in Mexico. You walk down into a deep cavern and, as you find your way through tropical plants and vines, you eventually stumble upon the bright blue waters of the coolest underground swimming hole. Jump in! Apparently everyone does!
12. Fly Geyser:
So I think this is more hilarious than beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a spot on this list. This geyser, which resides in Nevada, is another location on the list that isn’t 100% natural, it was actually formed by accident. In 1964, drilling for geothermal energy sources caused otherwise unnatural minerals to rise to the surface in this very, very strange shape. The multi-colored, bumpy geyser sits on top of a variety of oddly shaped pools, but, as weird as it is, it’s cool to see what would otherwise be underground be out of ground!
Time to go to Chile / Argentina. General Carrera Lake, which is shared by the two nations, is almost 2,000 feet deep and was formed by glaciers way back in the day. The lake is a hot destination for trout and salmon fishing. Sounds boring. What’s not boring is the unsual geological formations located at the center of the lake. Known as The Marble Caves, The Marble Chapel, and The Marble Cathedral. These caverns, columns, and tunnels were formed in monoliths of marble, created by wave action over the last 6,000 years. I wonder if you can get married in the Chapel / Cathedral.
While we are in South America, we can just make a pitstop at Caño Cristales in Columbia. Widely known as “The Liquid Rainbow,” due to the incredible colors at the bottom of the river. These colors explode only during a short period of time, when the local plant Macarenia clavigera turns red and seeps into the water, joining the green and yellow sand under the crystal blue waters. It only lasts for a few weeks of the year, which makes sense because all beautiful things must come to an end.
15. The Blue Grotto:
Off to Capri, Italy to see the intense, natural blue light that floods this famous cave. The deep royal blue of the water is caused by two teeny, tiny holes in the cave wall that are barely visible to the naked eye. Visitors lay on their back in little boats while being rowed through the cave by guides. Because of the conditions of the cave and the nature of those two little light holes, if you put your hand underwater, it will glow. Though you could also be because you’re an alien. Who knows?