Earth’s greatest hits
Mother Nature sure knows how to make a statement. The planet is dotted with all sorts of gorgeous creations, from cascading waterfalls to towering volcanoes to otherworldly salt flats you won’t believe are real, and all of these natural wonders of the world tell the story of a particular destination. Of course, people travel far and wide just to get a glimpse of the most famous landscapes and the equally stunning but lesser-known natural wonders, and for good reason. Whether you’re interested in diving the Great Barrier Reef, hiking the Grand Canyon, admiring the northern lights, or just taking a tour from your couch and daydreaming about your bucket list, you’ll definitely be inspired by these natural wonders of the world.
Poás Volcano, Costa Rica
One of the most visited volcanoes in Costa Rica is also one of the oldest – it actually helped form the Central Valley. Sitting more than 2707 metres above sea level, Poás Volcano has been active for hundreds of years, though its last major eruption was in 1910. Visitors can still get up close and personal with it at the national park where it’s located (with a reservation, that is). If you’re lucky enough to get a view of the crater, it can be breathtaking; however, views may be obstructed by clouds due to fickle and unpredictable weather conditions, which change by the hour. Dress warm and bring an umbrella, as precipitation is common at the top of the mountain.
The volcano is about an hour’s drive from the centre of San José. But you’ll definitely want to build some extra time into your schedule so you can sample fresh strawberries at the fruit stands along the way or go on a tour at Doka Estate to learn how coffee is made.
Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora
Bora Bora was first made popular during World War II, when soldiers were stationed on the island. Mount Otemanu is the island’s main attraction, and it has an interesting history. “During World War II, the American soldiers used the cave to check the horizon to see if any enemies were coming,” says Marania Teuru, a representative for Tahiti Tourisme. Years later, it was rumoured that women went inside the caves to give birth because giving birth on the island was not permitted. The massive mountain, which stands 727 metres above the lagoon of Bora Bora, is now the perfect backdrop for dreamy Tahitian sunsets. A few of the luxury resorts offer great views of the mountain, including the St. Regis Bora Bora and the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, which have become hot spots for honeymooners.