Natural wonders, intriguing places bordering on the fantastical, our planet conceals a multitude of unsuspected places often unknown to the general public which could well change your perspective on the world for good. We have selected seven unmissable places, accessible mainly by boat, which could well give you the wanderlust!
THE GREAT BLUE HOLE (BELIZE)
Sensitive souls refrain, this oceanic black hole is enough to make you dizzy! Located off the coast of Belize in Central America, about 80 km from the mainland, it is one of the most fascinating places in the world. With a diameter of more than 300 meters and a depth of 124 meters, this marine UFO is the dream of diving enthusiasts. Appearing in the Ice Age as a limestone cave, the black hole made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau became the sinkhole that can be seen today when the ocean level rose and the cave gradually collapsed. And that’s not all ! Studies on the subject could well help scientists understand the decline of the Maya civilization !
THE SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO (NORWAY)
Also known as Spitsbergen , its main island, the archipelago whose name means “cold coasts” in French is one of the northernmost lands, located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, on the trajectory of many cruise ships. As well as being a dazzling place with its Northern Lights visible during the winter months, polar bears and penguins, it is also home to the World Seed Vault where one million seeds from the four corners of the globe were stored. A veritable vegetable Noah’s Ark or “doomsday vault” as it is sometimes called, this reserve could save humanity in the event of natural disasters, wars or other surprises that the future may hold for us.
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS (ECUADOR)
Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Archipelago, which inspired Darwin’s famous theory of evolution by natural selection after his visit in 1835, is a collection of isolated lands still unspoiled where animals have not integrated fear of humans, having had little interaction with them in the past. This unique marine reserve in the world is the kingdom of blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, land iguanas and plants and insects found almost nowhere else. This ecosystem, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is among the richest in the world and will always give you the impression of being on another planet!
THE MARBLE CATHEDRALS (CHILE)
It is on Lake General Carrera in Chile, on the border with Argentina, that there is this pile of calcium carbonate dating from the Paleozoic in which the glacial waters of the lake carved the Marble Cathedrals , a group of impressive caves, in the over millions of years. Visitable only by small boat from Puerto Río Tranquilo, the nearest port, this unspoiled landscape, set in crystal blue water, is a surreal spectacle for the eyes. The famous cathedrals (or Catedrales de mármol ) live up to their name. Indeed, this extraordinary complex natural monument is reminiscent of the meticulously designed vaults and arches of religious buildings.
THE RIVER OF FIVE COLORS (COLOMBIA)
Located in the Sierra de la Macarena, the Caño Cristales ; (or crystal stream) in Colombia is often considered to be the most beautiful river in the world. From September to November, the water is adorned with red, green and yellow tones, passing through blue and purple, created by the presence of endemic plants and sediments – a real trip to paradise! The rest of the year the river is at its most mundane so make sure you pick the right time to visit!
CAT ISLAND (JAPAN)
On Aoshima, wild cats rule. In this former fishing village, the cat population has drastically increased in recent years, particularly because of the absence of predators. Here, we quickly have the impression of finding ourselves in a Wes Anderson film but in a cat version. Big cats have been on the island since the eighteenth century and were originally introduced to hunt mice that harmed fishing gear. Today, they are six times more numerous than humans and attract more and more cat-lovers to Japan every year.
THE WATERFALLS OF BLOOD (ANTARCTIQUE)
Worthy of a horror movie, the blood-colored waterfalls of Taylor Glacier, located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Victoria Land, are no longer a mystery to scientists who have been studying the phenomenon for several years now and samples have recently shown that hese were actually iron-rich springs from an underground lake of salt water trapped inside the glacier, coming into contact with oxygen. If you have the chance to travel to Antarctica, this curiosity is a must-see !