I’m a huge fan of travel rankings, for they inspire me to dream of new places… hope to do the same for fellow globetrotters 🙂
My ten favorite nature sites are, in some sort of preference order:
1- Mount Everest and the Himalayas (Nepal and China). I hiked in this region with Elena in the Spring of 2015, right during the massive earthquakes, and was equally fascinated by the magnificence of the mountains and the warm soul of the Nepalese people. The Everest Base Camp trek remains my favorite multi-day hike in the world… and I’m toying with the idea of returning to attempt the summit one day.
2- Perito Moreno (Argentina). I explored the glacier region of Patagonia in the Summer of 2008 (southern hemisphere Winter) with my mom. I will never forget the first time I saw Perito Moreno, from the aptly named mirador de los suspiros (sigh viewpoint). I’ve seen many glaciers around the world, but none of them can compete with the grandiose beauty of this one; it’s just perfect.
3- Iguazu Falls (Argentina and Brazil). I visited the famous falls in the same 2008 South America trip, while backpacking on my own. This is simply the most impressive water spectacle in the world, makes you feel tinny and blessed.
4- Maasai Mara and Serengeti (Kenya and Tanzania). There is a reason why these parks (really one park, separated by a man-made border) are the number one safari destination in the world. Elena and I chose it as our first immersion into Africa in the Summer of 2014, and it lived up to our wildest expectations.
5- Lencois Maranheses (Brazil). One more from my 2008 backpacking trip, this one a hidden gem that I had to grind off-the-beaten-path to reach… and it was so worth it. A unique combination of sand dunes and rainwater lagoons like nothing I had seen before or since.
6- Antelope Canyon (USA). My personal favorite among all the amazing parks in the West Coast of the US. I visited it with friends in the Fall of 2014 and then again a couple of years later, it’s visually stunning and one of the best spots in the world to take pictures.
7- Northern Lights in Alaska (USA). A once-in-a-lifetime experience… that I experienced twice in the Spring and the Fall of 2016. Pure magic.
8- The Great Barrier Reef (Australia). The ultimate destination for any diver; I had been dreaming about it for many years, and finally got to go in the Winter of 2016. The underwater scenery and life is at a whole other level.
9- Tongariro Crossing (New Zealand). Elena and I did this hike in the Winter of 2017 (southern hemisphere Summer) and agreed with those who call it the best day-hike in the world. The landscapes are out of this world, especially when you reach the Red Crater and the Emerald Lakes.
10- Polynesian lagoons and motus (French Polynesia and Tonga). I discovered the South Pacific in the Summer of 2015 in the best way possible: on a catamaran with friends. Paradise on earth, the most gorgeous water, beaches and reefs.
Wow this list is harder to write than I thought, I had to leave out amazing places like the Amazon river (Brazil et al), Canaima and Angel Falls (Venezuela), Corcovado, Manuel Antonio and Rio Celeste (Costa Rica), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Uluru and the Red Center (Australia), Cappadocia (Turkey), the Kelimutu Volcano (Indonesia), the waterfalls, glaciers and volcanic fields of Iceland, the Atacama desert (Chile), the Alps (Switzerland et al), the rice terraces of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines), the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce and the Napali Coast (USA), Banff (Canada), or Ngorongoro (Tanzania).
And obviously there are a lot of places that I still haven’t been to, and will surely alter my list: Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Okavango Delta (Botswana), Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia), Plitvice Lakes (Croatia), Vitoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia), the Sahara and Namib deserts, Antarctica… Let’s never stop traveling!!