millions of years by the Colorado River, Arizona's Grand
Canyon measures 277 miles long, four to 18 miles wide
and one mile deep. It offers striking, beautifully
colored landscapes and is one of the most studied
geological areas in the world. It has also been
designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hiking, mule
rides and white water rafting are popular ways to
explore and experience the canyon.
The Great Barrier
Reef, off the northeast coast of Australia, is the
largest coral reef system in the world and can be seen
from outer space. It is comprised of more than 2900
separate reefs, spanning more than 1600 miles. The best
way to experience this natural wonder is under water --
snorkeling or diving opportunities are offered on many
tours that visit this site.
Rio de Janeiro
When visiting Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil, travelers can't miss the spectacular
vistas of the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, which was
created by erosion from the Atlantic Ocean. Several
mountains, including Sugar Loaf, Corcovado and the hills
of Tijuca, surround the harbor and offer perfect vantage
points. Though not a natural wonder, one of the most
recognizable sights here -- the "Christ the Redeemer"
statue -- sits atop Corcovado Mountain.
The peak of Mount
Everest is the highest spot in the world at 29,029 feet
above sea level. This massive mountain is located in the
Himalayas, on the border of Nepal and Tibet. Tours that
include Mount Everest are for the truly adventurous;
most include strenuous treks to Everest Base Camp, which
stands at 17,600 feet.
Fed by Zambia's
Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is the tallest and widest
waterfall in the world. It measures a mile wide and 360
feet tall. The mist created by the falls as the
thundering curtain of water plummets into the Zambezi
Gorge can rise 100 feet in the air, explaining the name
given by the Kololo tribe in the 1800s: Mosi-oa-Tunya
-- "the smoke that thunders."
known as Ayers Rock, is a sandstone rock formation in
the heart of Australia, rising to a height of 1142 feet.
It features caves, waterholes and springs, and is known
for the way it seems to change color over the course of
the day. Tours that visit Ayers Rock typically offer an
opportunity to view the monolith at sunrise or sunset,
when the colors are most vibrant.
One of the most
incredible places on Earth, in my opinion, is Tanzania's
Ngorongoro Crater. Created when the upper two thirds of
a towering volcano collapsed into its base, the
Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken
caldera. Often called "Africa's Garden of Eden," it
encompasses more than 100 square miles of desert,
grasslands, forests, lakes and streams, and is home to
more than 25,000 large animals and the greatest
concentration of mammalian predators in the world.