Top 8 Natural Wonders of the World

Posted on February 23, 2010 by

Massive volcanic craters, acres of raw jungle and stretch of deserted sand dunes: the work of Mother Earth is beyond our imagination. Thanks to these natural wonders, our Earth has been blessed with gorgeous landscapes and undulating backdrops. Without environmental protection, they might be gone faster than we expect. To pay tribute to these phenomenal sites, here’s my roundup (based on readings and travels) of the world’s top natural wonders.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world’s largest coral reef system stretches over 2,600 kilometers and can be seen from outer space. Supporting a wide diversity of marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage site since 1981. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as overfishing and tourism. A trip to Australia would be ideal from November to May, when summer temperatures are pleasant and Queensland’s vibrant aquatic life is at its most active.

Getting there: You can take a flight to Hamilton and Prosperine Islands from some major cities (Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, and Melbourne) on Australia’s mainland. Heron Island is where we stayed when we visited, and is a great option for easy access to the nature and wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef. There is fantastic accommodation on the island with spa and diving add-ons available. If you’re looking to stay on a different island, you can research the best one for you and book your hotels online.


Photo by Brewbooks

2. Amazon Rainforest, South America

An extensive forest covering most of the Amazon Basin of South America, is spread across 8 different countries and covers over 5.5 million km sq. Home to proliferate wildlife and nearly-extinct primitive tribes, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest and most species-rich tropical rainforest in the world.

The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with Rio de Janeiro as the best place to enter the jungle from. We trekked through the Ecuadorian part of the jungle, visiting tribes and exploring the forest at night.

I traveled to the Amazon from Baños, Ecuador, on a three-day trekking trip that includes nocturnal walks, boat trips on dugout canoes and visits to the Indigenous tribes. Here we learned that the Amazon offers all kinds of adventure activities, from bungee jumping to white water rafting, as well as the chance to get up close and personal with unique wildlife.

Getting there: To get to the Amazon, you can enter from any one of the following nine countries — Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. On our trip, we entered from Ecuador and trekked into the forest with a guide.


3. Grand Canyon, USA

A steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in Arizona is one of the most awe-striking natural site in the United States. The Grand Canyon is a creation formed by over two billions years of nature’s work. Aside from casual sightseeing from the South Rim, the floor of the valley is accessible by foot, mule or rafting. Other activities like whitewater rafting, hiking and running are especially popular.

Getting there: The easiest way to reach the Grand Canyon is by flying into Las Vegas, Nevada, then catching a bus, renting a car, or taking a guided tour out to the canyon. The journey takes around 4 hours each way. There are a handful of resorts to stay in at the park, or you can return to Las Vegas on the same day and spend the night there.

3157603312_5d5154f02e_b Photo by Andy Won

4. Sahara Desert, North Africa

The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert covering over 9 million km sq of area. Spanning most of Northern Africa (Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Algeria), it’s almost as large as the continent of Europe. Consisting of rocky formations and large sand dunes, a trip through the Sahara is one of mystique and desolation. Visitors can experience the various cultures around the desert through the little Saharan villages.

Getting there: The Sahara is best reached by car from entry points in Morocco, Tunisia, or Egypt. In the vast majority of the desert area, camping inside or outside of your car is your only option for accommodation.

4300437105_fc42fd515e_b Photo by wonker

5. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Over 972km west of continental Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands have been secluded from humans for thousands of years, resulting in unique and endemic species of wildlife. This volcanic archipelago of 13 islands is sprouting with marine lizards, giant land tortoises and blue-footed boobies everywhere. An opportunity to visit the islands makes one feels privileged to experience such rare sights in this modern world. Visiting the Galapagos Islands is worth the trek, and can be done even if you are on a budget.

Getting there: Flights are available from mainland Ecuador to nearby islands (Isla Baltra and Isla San Cristobal) daily, and they are the most efficient way to reach the islands. From there, you can take a boat to the island in which you are planning to stay. We stayed in the Hotel España in Puerto Ayora ($30/night for a double) on Santa Cruz Island, which is accessible by boat from Baltra.

A marine lizard

6. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

The crater is a sprawling conservation land in Tanzania, with one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. As a natural sanctuary to thousands of birds, lions, zebras, black rhino, it is often called Africa’s Eden.

Known as the “largest unbroken caldera in the world”, the crater is 610 meters deep and 260 sq km. Only the indigenous tribe of Maasai are allowed to live in the land. The crater is most popular for bird watching, photography, walking safaris, and game viewing.

Getting there: Fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport, then make your way to Arusha. From Arusha the crater is about a 3 hour drive.

hippotamos in Ngorongoro

7. Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay – meaning ‘Descending Dragon Bay’ in Vietnamese- is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It features thousands of limestone karsts and oddly-shaped islets rising from emerald green waters. The evolution of these limestone karsts has taken over 20 million years to form, under the impact of the tropical wet climate. With such biodiversity and ecologically-rich grounds, there is also a thick cultural and historical side to the country.

Getting there: To reach Halong Bay, fly into Hanoi and organize a tour to the bay. The bus takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to reach Halong Bay, and if you go with an all-inclusive tour the operators should escort you directly from the bus to your boat.

Halong bay -photo by Ethan Crowley Photo by Ethan Crowley

8. Iguazu Falls, South America

Located on the Argentinean-Brazilian border, Iguazu Falls divides the countries, as if the waters were plunging off the edge of the tectonic plates. It has been compared with the Victoria Falls and Niagara Falls, but the Iguazu definitely offers better views and well-designed walkways. At the Devils’s Throat, you are standing in the midst of the torrential waters, surrounded by 360degrees of waterfalls. Visitors can see the falls from the Brazilian side (Foz de Iguacu) or the Argentinean side (Puerto Iguazu).

Getting there: It is fairly straightforward to get to the falls from both Brazil and Argentina. Buses and flights are available from most major cities to Iguazu.

Devil's throat

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

63 Responses to “Top 8 Natural Wonders of the World”

  1. Yee Peng Kong February 23, 2010 11:59 am #

    Great Picks.Thanks for sharing.I visited Ha Long Bay last October and enjoyed the spectacular scenery.

  2. Brian February 23, 2010 1:51 pm #

    Great list though it may be a bit premature as there is currently a worldwide / internet wide competition to name the New 7 Wonders of Nature (with some of the above in the running). You can check it out here my own personal favorite goes to El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico :o)

    • Nellie February 23, 2010 3:48 pm #

      Yes thanks for sharing the link – I'm off to vote for my favourite!

  3. Victoria February 23, 2010 2:07 pm #

    If in my lifetime I get see all of these, I will die a happy person! And there was me thinking that the Brecon beacons were beautiful, they are nothing in comparison!

  4. Laurens February 23, 2010 4:21 pm #

    Great selection, it's very difficult to pick only 8 natural wonders! I've been to 6 of them, but missing from your list and the new7wonders list is anything in the Antarctic or South Georgia. Absolutely phenomenal scenery and wildlife, only Galapagos comes close!
    Also, in terms of a complete nature experience Angel Falls just tops Iguazu for me.

    • Nellie February 24, 2010 8:49 am #

      ooh yes the Antarctic..and Angel Falls! I haven't been to these places, that's why I didn't include them in the list. But I'm definitely checking them out – I'd love to see the Victoria Falls in Zambia too.

      • Richard February 26, 2010 8:42 am #

        Yes, Vic Falls is WELL worth the trip! And after viewing the falls, try a raft trip just downstream, now THAT is some serious whitewater!!

  5. pab February 25, 2010 6:54 am #

    Great places but Ángel Fall and Roraima Tepuy deserve to be on this ranking

  6. Laura February 25, 2010 4:14 am #

    This is a great list. So far I've only made it to one of the places you mentioned – Iguazu Falls. It was pretty amazing. It will be interesting to see which of these sites make it on to the upcoming 7 wonders list.

  7. Dom March 1, 2010 4:20 pm #

    More pictures of Grand Canyon here :

    • Nellie March 5, 2010 4:39 pm #

      Thanks Dom for sharing your photos with us, you've got some amazing shots there!

  8. Federico March 6, 2010 5:15 pm #

    Glad to see you included Halong Bay …it truly is one unique place i the world. I would also throw in the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia…. there is no similar one in the world. ..but then there are so many nice places right?Happy global travels!

    maitravelsite dot com

    • Nellie March 7, 2010 5:52 pm #

      Oh yes, how could I forget the Salar de Uyuni! It's definitely one of a kind – I remember watching the sun rise across the white crystalline surface of the salt flat, stretching into the endless horizon. Nothing like this elsewhere in the world! Thanks Federico for sharing. :)

  9. martartw April 2, 2010 9:44 pm #

    we have seen two of these great natural wonders but we still have 6 to go!

  10. David April 14, 2010 7:13 pm #

    Hi Nellie, love the series here and I am headed to Halong Bay in May. Gonna love visiting this place! Too bad Malaysia was not included in this list :)


  11. Andre June 2, 2010 12:43 pm #

    Rio de Janeiro as the best entry to the Amazon basin?
    If you talking about international flights to Brazil, then you maybe right.
    Rio de Janeiro is 2.000 km south of the Amazon forest, and the best cities to enter it from are Belém and Manaus.

    • admin June 4, 2010 2:49 pm #

      Oops thanks Andre for pointing out my mistake. I’d taken a trip into the Amazon from Banos, Ecuador and had heard from other travellers that it’s actually nicer to see it from the Brazilian end. Thanks for letting us know!

  12. Ariel June 10, 2010 4:00 am #

    Oh my those photographs are to die for. My heart was racing as I was reading through this list. Though I also know that there are many wonders of our world. The list could go on and on.

  13. André July 14, 2010 2:06 pm #

    I´ve been to 6 of those. Im proud to have 2 of them in my own country. Specialy Iguazu Falls, 600 kms from where I live.

    Despite of you say that Rio de Janeiro is in Amazon Basin (same distance Sydney to Singapore), I really think that the view over the christ statue should be the 9th.

    Anyway the list is absolutly right. Congrat for your website. I follow you at twitter.

    André – Brasil

    • admin July 15, 2010 9:43 pm #

      Thanks André! I bet everyone is envious of you, being Brazilian and having so many amazing wonders at your doorstep. I went on a 6-month trip around South and Central America, actually skipped Brazil because I wanted to spend more time exploring the country alone. So I’ll be back next year, definitely stay in touch! :)

  14. aop August 17, 2010 10:39 am #


  15. Natural Wonders September 17, 2010 7:59 am #

    Hey, you got a great collection here. Ha Long bay is my favorite by the way.

  16. krobinsonrikhav November 1, 2010 1:35 pm #

    Amazing pictures! That is a nice and informative site. Took time to read all the really nice comments, but I really enjoyed. It proved to be Very helpful. It is always feel nice when you can get not only be informed, but also get knowledge!

  17. justin November 11, 2010 4:14 am #

    ive been to great barrier reef amazing

  18. Vahkuxia November 23, 2010 10:47 am #

    Beauiful, Haha, one of the older wonders was in New Zealand `The pink and white terraces' was the eighth one but since they are gone now due to the tarawera eruption in 1886, i dont think they are anymore.. never got to see them.

  19. crazy fun traveler December 15, 2010 1:16 am #

    Great post, Nellie :)

  20. February 22, 2011 5:47 am #

    Very nice indeed!

  21. liberty July 26, 2011 7:55 pm #

    i love the high quality photo of sahara desert. hope to get there in the near future.

  22. adina July 31, 2011 10:29 pm # 7 miracles of the world

  23. adina July 31, 2011 10:29 pm # 7 miracles of the world

  24. MARVIN ALFEREZ January 26, 2012 5:21 pm #


  25. Elly Surkamer March 14, 2012 2:33 pm #

    Woman Gaga presented the woman’s Born With this Groundwork, the non-profit the girl produced to empower youngsters and inspire resourcefulness, on Harvard College or university throughout Cambridge, Muscle size.

  26. Perth Flights April 2, 2012 9:58 pm #

    Really amazing nature great……………………..

  27. zubairminhas August 27, 2012 5:59 pm #

    i like these top wonder of world so nice and beatiful

  28. zubair.minhas August 27, 2012 9:22 pm #

    what a beautiful place to visit i really like it i would like to see these wonder of world once upon a time in my life what.Also that is a informative site.Very nice indeed amazing world.

  29. vehicle2hire uk September 18, 2012 6:15 am #

    Speechless after looking at such a wonder full places…God is best artist, no question on this…

  30. jeffrey cute October 12, 2012 7:02 am #

    i want to live in sahara desert!!!!

  31. pradip January 3, 2013 6:40 am #

    its really great work by nature..

  32. FUCKER July 18, 2013 11:12 am #

    I am from brazil FUCKERS I know what you've been saying about me I just want to fuck some really hot chink and lick her from head to toe


  33. jjjxj July 18, 2013 11:38 am #

    fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck god damn it pissy lickers pisyy


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