15 UNBELIEVABLE PLACES THAT ACTUALLY EXIST
If you’re a frequent traveler, you may think you’ve already seen a lot. We’re not here to disappoint you but to show you some places that even we cannot believe exist.
Photos you’re about to see and stories you’re about to read will blow your mind. You might think these images are from the movie avatar or perhaps some distant Earthlike planet. We present 15 unbelievable places.
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#15 Underwater Waterfall | Mauritius
Mauritius is known for its idyllic beaches and crystal clear sea. Still, there's an unbelievable phenomenon at the island's southwest corner. It appears to be an underwater waterfall. Despite how it looks, this isn't actually a flowing region of water, but instead, an optical illusion that happens because of the sea floor structure.
The island sits on an ocean shelf no more than 500 feet deep at the edge of the shelf. However, it soon plunges to depths of almost two and a half miles. And what you're actually seeing in the underwater waterfall is not water falling down into the abyss but particles of sand that are being pushed over by the current.
#14 Glow Worm Caves | New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most scenic countries in the world, but beyond the peaks of the mountain ranges, the deep valleys, and the glaciers are a series of caves that seem to have come straight from a fairytale. This is because they're home to glow worms, the species of fungus known locally as TT Y, which means projected over water.
The bioluminescence produced in the insects' abdomens is designed to attract prey. It results from a chemical reaction between a Lucifer's enzyme and a molecule of Lucifer. It creates one of the most stunning sites you can see in the natural world. It makes for a magical boat ride through the cavern when thousands of glow worms are active.
#13 Tianzi Mountains | China
China's Tianzi Mountains in the Hunan province are some of the most unusual mountain formations in the world, covering an area of around 17,000 acres. They're made from quartz sandstone and first began to emerge from the earth about 400 million years ago.
The subsequent rock erosion has created these skinny mountains, which reach a peak of 3,976 feet. They are named after the legend of a farmer who revolted against an oppressive regime and called himself the “son of heaven”. There's something mystical about the mountains when they are covered in mist. And it's no surprise they were the inspiration for mountainscapes in movies like Avatar. They're one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.
#12 Grand Prismatic Spring | Wyoming, USA
The stunningly colorful Grand Prismatic Spring is in Yellowstone national park and is the largest hot spring in the USA. It's bigger than a football field at about 370 feet wide. And with a depth of at least 160 feet, you could fit a 10-story building inside.
The spring is fed through a crack in its floor, through which as much as 560 gallons of water is released into it every minute. Its normal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, it's surrounded by such vibrant rings. The color is created by the presence of microbes that live in hot environments. And depending on the time of year, you'll see reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues.
#11 Mount Roraima | Venezuela
We're so used to seeing natural formations that have irregular shapes that it seems almost impossible for something to have a rigid design to it. Mount Roraima in Venezuela isn't your ordinary mountain, though. And its 12-square-mile summit is surrounded by 1300-foot-tall cliffs, almost in a square shape. It's actually on a tripoint border between Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil and has long been part of local belief.
The Paymon and Capone people believe it to be the stump of a giant tree that once bore all the fruits and vegetables in the world. And the seemingly unscalable cliffs have inspired numerous stories, including 'The Lost World' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and paradise falls in the movie “Up”.
#10 Lake Retba | Senegal
On the Northwest coast of Africa, about 18 miles Northeast of the Senegalese capital Dakar is a lake like anything you'll find elsewhere in the world called Lake Retba. It has extremely high salt content, which provides ideal conditions for Dunaliella salina to thrive, which are bright red-colored to make the water appear pink. This unusual hue is far more prominent during the region's dry season between November and June. And the effect is accentuated by the Magenta Bushes that grow around its shores.
The lake is an important economic center too, with thousands of people relying on retrieving and selling the salt deposits and fishing the waters. Catches here don't quite match what's possible in other lakes. However, to survive in such salty water, the fish only grow to around one-quarter, the size they would do elsewhere.
#9 Red Beach | Panjin, China
China is a country that's full of incredible geographic sites. Still, there's perhaps none as surprising as the Red Beach in Panjin. It's around the mouth of the Panjin Shanghai Sea River, where the soil is so alkaline that very few species of plants can grow. One that does particularly well is the suede salsa, which has a deep red color and is why the region looks so remarkable. Mars was once thought to be red because it was covered in Crimson plants. And if that were true, the beach at Panjin is surely how it would've appeared.
With so many plants growing on the shores, Red Beach is the largest wetland area in the world. And together with the largest Reed marsh in Asia, which is also there, the whole region is a protected area of natural interest. It's home to more than 260 different species of birds and more than 400 species of other types, including the rare red crown cream and black mouth gulls.
#8 The Crooked Forest | Poland
Deep within a forest near the town of Grafino in Poland is a phenomenon that has confused researchers and visitors alike ever since it was first discovered called the Crooked forest. An estimated 400 pine trees have, for some reason, grown very differently from normal. It's thought they were planted during the 1930s when the region was a part of Germany. And after emerging from the ground, like usual, they bent towards the north for several feet before growing upwards again. It's not known why this has happened and why it's something that only these 400 trees have done.
But there are a couple of theories. The first is that it's the result of human design, perhaps because of a tool used when they were first planted. Or the alternative suggestion is that they were all subject to a freak weather event, such as a snowstorm, while they were young in their development. No records exist to support either theory. However, it's pretty possible, but we will never know for sure.
#7 Stone Forest | Madagascar
Madagascar is usually considered a place with an unusual amount of biodiversity. But its geographical features are equally impressive. Within the singing Tsingy De Bemaraha National Park, the Stone Forest began life hundreds of millions of years ago as a lagoon; limestone deposits formed on the bed and, due to tectonic activity, were lifted above the water surface.
As the lagoon receded, more limestone was revealed, which was worn away by the monsoon rains over the following millennia. This, combined with groundwater erosion that formed caves that subsequently collapsed, has left a series of towers with canyons between them, resulting in the largest such formation in the world. Its name means one cannot walk barefoot, which is an apt warning. These pillars, some of which are up to 2,600 feet high, are sharp enough to easily cut through flesh or equipment. So have to be traversed with the utmost care.
#6 Richat Structure | Mauritania
Also known as the Eye of Africa, the Richat Structure is a strange formation in the desert rock near the small town of Ouadane in Mauritania. The inverse dome is 25 miles in diameter and has exposed various layers of rock that appear like concentric rings. It's one of the easiest natural structures to see from space, but amazingly it's tough to see from ground level. And if you were there, you'd probably be unable to notice anything different about it from the surrounding. Entirely how it was formed has been the subject of scientific debate ever since it was first discovered in the 1930s, the first assumption was that it was an impact crater from a meteorite, but the lack of evidence of any super heated rocks has ruled this out.
Instead, it's been formed by millions of years of erosion of softer rock. That was probably deposited when the region was underwater. Quite why this happened in such a circular fashion is still unclear. Some ridges and valleys follow the concentric lines of the Richat Structure, and evidence has been found that humans have lived here for hundreds of thousands of years.
Ancient artifacts that have been unearthed date back to the stone age, such as tools and spheres strangely. However, none have been found at the center of this depression, which also discounts any possibility that this was a prehistoric mind of some sort. With such delicate rock, there are calls to make the structure a protected site to ensure it can be studied for years to come and hopefully reveal some of the secrets as to how this strange place came to be.
#5 Office | Vilnius, Lithuania
Or, in other words - the place where the magic happens. Or maybe it would be better like this - the place where the revolution starts.
2 years back in 2020, one young IT guy had a breakthrough and told the idea to another guy named Justin. The idea was quite simple yet revolutionary and hard to achieve. He showed a flight price comparison browser extension and asked whether there is the same one for hotels… There wasn’t. This is a story of how RatePunk was born.
The office in Vilnius sits on the side of a Neris river, and it welcomes everyone with its doors open. But the most interesting part is who lives here, not the building itself.
Today the team of 13 is shaking the travel industry upside down. We do our best to implement technologies into daily travel planning. Technologies aren’t meant to be scary and hard to understand. Instead, they are created to boost your confidence. Talking about RatePunk, 4000 people worldwide have tried it, and it changed their life. The one-of-a-kind browser extension design is absolute eye candy. The functionalities are still unbelievably made, so no one can even understand how deep into high-tech everything goes.
The browser extension RatePunk compares hotel prices live when you’re browsing on your favorite booking site. And when the lower price is found - it pops up, showing you where to book the same hotel for less. Our created technology is still a mystic for full-stack developers, and it shall be.
#4 Fly Geyser | Nevada, USA
Fly Geyser looks like it would be at home on an alien planet, but amazingly it's only about 20 miles north of the town of Gerlach in Nevada. Although you might think this to be a natural formation and actually the result of human activity, a well was drilled in 1916 to irrigate water. Due to the geothermal activity in the region, the water was close to the boiling point, so the well was abandoned.
But a calcium carbonate cone began to form around the opening. A second hole was dug in 1964 by an energy company, but the water wasn't hot enough for their needs. So they abandoned it too. And the structure that formed around it is what we see today. It has a number of openings, which the water shoots five feet high out. And the entire structure is currently between 25 and 30 feet tall. Various platforms and pools have also been created across 74 acres. The water's unusually high silica content and the president of ALGA that thrive in the conditions are responsible for the solidified multicolored deposits around it.
And because it's heated to a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it produces quartz, which usually takes 10,000 years to happen in other Geysers. Even though a couple of other Geysers nearby have been formed similarly. None are as large or impressive as the fly. Geyser is, therefore, one of a kind and something you won't see anywhere else in the world.
#3 Naica Mine | Mexico
What's the biggest crystal you've ever seen? Well, however large you thought it was, it's nothing compared to what a team of minors discovered near NCA in Chihuahua, Mexico.
In 1910, a cavern was found at a depth of 390 feet, which has become known as the cave of swords, and to their astonishment, it was full of gypsum crystals that were up to 3 feet 3 inches long. Then, 90 years later, another mining crew took things a step further when they drilled a new shaft and found the giant crystal cave, which itself was 980 feet beneath the surface. This cave had once been flooded with hot water, which allowed minerals to deposit in the crystalline structure.
The largest of the crystals to have been seen was 39 feet long, 13 feet wide, and thought to weigh as much as 55 tons, making it the largest one ever to have been found in the cave. Conditions in the cave aren't exactly inviting to people, though. With temperatures reaching 136 degrees Fahrenheit and 99% humidity, humans can only be in there for up to 10 minutes without full safety equipment.
Even if you were prepared for this, visiting the cave is impossible. Currently, after a robber tried to steal a crystal and ended up suffocating and dying, it was shut permanently and allowed to refill with water in the hope that the crystals can be preserved and continue to grow until improved methods of exploration become available.
#2 Gates of Hell | Turkmenistan
Not only is the existence of the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan hard to believe, but the way it was formed is perhaps even more difficult to believe. If you had visited this place near the village of Darvaza 50 years ago, it would've looked just like the surrounding Karakum Desert, with sands stretching out in every direction.
In the 1970s, the country was part of the Soviet Union, and the authorities were on a mission to identify all areas of natural resources that could be mined and used to support the growing population. In 1971, geologists arrived in the area and believed the ground below contained a cavern full of oil. They set up a test rig to drill down and take further measurements. But soon found there to be a large pocket of gas just beneath the surface. There are no official Russian or took men records of what happened next, but according to the sources, close to operations at the time, the ground collapsed beneath the rig and swallowed the drill as well as several top Soviet scientists.
The remaining researchers were now faced with a problem. They could detect large quantities of methane being released from the hole they had just created, believing this to be a possible health hazard. Their calculation suggested that the best way to deal with it was to burn the gas and that it would run out within a few weeks.
It was then decided to throw a grenade into the hole, and the Gates of Hell was born. Unfortunately, someone calculated it wrong because the hole has been continually burned since that day, almost 50 years ago. The crater is now approximately 230 feet across and 66 feet deep and is filled with fires, boiling mud, and ferocious orange flames. Plans have often been drafted to try and extinguish it for good, especially considering it's set above more of the largest natural gas deposits that are anywhere on Earth, but such as the scale of the problem that no one yet has found an adequate.
Now it's one of the most popular tourist sites in the country and has become an area of biological research because of the organisms that are living in the center of the crater. It may perhaps burn out one day like the scientists in the 1970s thought it would, but based on current progress, it could be several more decades before it even seems to begin, slowing down.
#1 The Liquid Rainbow | Columbia
The Caño Cristales is a small tributary river that feeds into the Guayabero River of Columbia, but due to its unique plant life, it's also commonly referred to as the most beautiful river in the world. The fast-flowing water passes through a region on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, the Andes, and Eastern Laos and is almost perfectly clear.
The riverbed has numerous holes and dips in it because of the way the rocks caught in the current erode the bedrock. And this has produced the ideal locations for a species of plant called Macarenia clavigera to grow. During the summer months, it takes on a gloriously red hue. Also, it provides shelter for other species to grow, adding yellows, greens, blues, and blacks into the mix. It's no wonder this place is also affectionately known as the Liquid Rainbow. And it is so unusual that many visitors still can't believe that it's real, even when they're standing right next to it.