We compiled a guide to the most «unearthly» places of our planet. They look as if you are in a distant, distant galaxy or even in a parallel reality.
On the Internet, you can often find a selection of photos with extraterrestrial landscapes. But the big question is: will it be possible to get to them and examine them personally? We deliberately did not include in the review those objects that can be estimated only from the orbital station (for example, the Eye of the Sahara), or those where the entrance is ordered to tourists (like a cave of giant crystals in Mexico). All the places on this list are open for visiting at any time — for example, as part of the excursion group.
Saline of Uyuni, Bolivia
Perhaps this is the most untwisted «unearthly» place on our planet: it is a dried salt lake with an ideally smooth surface. In fact, this giant crystal is about 8 meters thick and has an area of more than 10 square kilometers. In the drought season, the solonchak is covered with hexagonal crusts, like huge honeycombs or a cosmic puzzle. The best time to visit this unique place is the rainy season (November to March): the surface of the lake becomes a huge mirror, where the clouds reflect the photographic accuracy, creating an optical illusion of the sky underfoot. A trip to the Uyuni solonchak is one of the most popular excursions in the South American continent. Local residents have learned to use the demand for a miracle by building hotels near the salt blocks, where you can stop for the night.
Glacier Perito Moreno, Argentina
The National Park of Los Glaciares, where a very strange but beautiful-looking piercing blue Perito Moreno glacier is located, is very popular with travelers. Accordingly, many tours have been developed, allowing you to get acquainted with this unearthly miracle closer, including walking tours on its surface and inspection from boats on the side of the lake. By the way, the best time to visit the glacier is the South American summer, which corresponds to winter in our latitudes.
Beach of Playa de Amor, Mexico
On the islands of Marieta is, perhaps, the most unusual beach in the world. It is covered with a rock dome, in which there is an almost perfectly circular hole, as if adapted for landing a spaceship. The islands are given the status of a reserve. Due to the fact that this place is loved by tourists (for the opportunity to swim in the waters of this fantastic bath, and also watch octopuses, rays, turtles, dolphins and whales), it is easily accessible from the Mexican Riviera. The best time to visit is the South American summer.
Lassen-Volkanik National Park, USA
Wave-shaped valleys are gently pink and richly violet, where needle-like trees grow — a truly unearthly species. The National Park is located in sunny California, which attracts tourists from all over the world, and therefore from visitors there is no release. In addition to the unusual color of the hills, the reserve can boast of all four kinds of volcanoes existing in nature. Among them: lava cone, slag cone, shield volcano and stratovolcano.
Geyser Fly, USA
In Nevada there is a curious object — the Geyser Fly, which for a long time was not accessible to visitors, as it was on private lands. But two years ago — hurray to all unusual! — this area was bought by the organizers of the Burning Man festival, which in the near future are going to turn it into a sight-free attraction. By the way, Burning Men itself is an impressive sight: hundreds dressed in phantasmagoric dresses of participants, quaint transport, works of art from the category of «radical modern» — so, probably, could look like an intergalactic city-spaceport. Unfortunately, to take a look at this action for a couple of hours and go will not work: spectators are not allowed to visit him, you need to buy a very expensive ticket of the participant and come to the festival fully armed and with full entourage. But do not be discouraged: for the impressions for a lifetime enough and fantastic geyser Fly.
Lake Kliluk, Canada
This lake is also called Spotted, which is directly related to its unusual appearance: it was as if painted by yellow, orange and green circles, a playful child. North American Indians consider the reservoir sacred and even bought the land to protect it from tourists, which, of course, only spurred the general interest. Kliluk is noted in all the guidebooks and is perfectly visible from the adjacent highway. The best time to visit the lake is summer, then the spots become more saturated.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Perhaps this would look like the lakes of Mars, if there was water on the red planet. The natron is covered with a crust of salt, several times a year acquiring a red color. On the surface of this poisonous alkaline lake, a surreal view of the funnel is visible. Water here is dangerous to all living things, and the skeletons of animals and birds on the banks serve as proof. Surprisingly, a single species feels here very freely — these are small flamingos that walk around and over in the ominous red waters. There are no separate excursions to Lake Natron, but it usually includes a tour to the volcano Oldoino-Lengai, located nearby. You can come here by yourself, renting a jeep in the town of Arusha.
Depression Danakil, Ethiopia
If you want to see something really unearthly and very extreme — go to the vicinity of the Dallol volcano in the Danakil hollow. Here are just a few facts: this is the hottest place on the planet; here is the lowest volcano (below sea level at 70 meters); it was here that archaeologists discovered the remains of an Australopithecus named Lucy; the surface of the volcano is very similar to the landscapes of the planet Io — the satellite of Jupiter. There is nothing surprising in that, despite the unfavorable conditions and wild heat, the Danakil depression is one of the most coveted tourist sites in Africa. Strange stone outgrowths, bright red and acid-yellow fields, bubbling lakes — all this will not leave indifferent even the inveterate traveler, who, it would seem, has nothing to surprise. The best time to visit is from July to September, early in the morning. Tours are best booked with local guides in Ethiopia.
Colored Rocks, China
The «striped» mountains of the Danza geological park seem to have come down from the canvas of the Impressionist: Nature has so generously endowed them with its palette. Red, orange, yellow, white, blue, green — are there such rocks on Earth? The mountains are notable for their forms: they are extremely diverse, many unusual elevations, grottoes, caves, ravines. It is dangerous to walk alone on them, therefore it is possible to examine the reserve only as part of an organized group. Tickets are sold directly at the entrance. The way from the big cities of the Middle Kingdom like Shanghai and Beijing to Gansu is not a distant one, but it’s worth it. The best time to visit is summer.
Firefly Forest, Japan
Every year in Japan during the rainy season (June-July) can be observed a wonderful phenomenon. Some forests for two months turn into a fabulous jungle from the fantastic world of «Avatar». Tiny fireflies illuminate the forests with green, yellow and red lights. This is a mating season, and obeying the instinct, the males gather in groups, creating whimsical drawings of high light intensity — kind of beacons for females. Where to look: in the forests of Nagoya, Maniva, prefectures of Aichi, Oita and Okayama.
«Unearthly» places on their native planet are enough, and they are found on all continents. Going on the road, do not forget a spare battery and a USB flash drive for the camera, because you want to shoot a lot! And in order to find the way back to human habitation, download the map of the desired region to the phone in advance and do not worry about the absence of the Internet.