Photo: Vincent Croos

40+ of the Most Otherworldly Spots on Earth

Insider Guides
by Carlo Alcos Nov 16, 2016

I LIVE in the mountains of British Columbia. It’s vast, wild, and the scale is hard to grasp. It takes some bizarre looking landscapes to give me a jolt and remind me just how diverse the planet is. If you’re looking to travel to some out-of-this-world destinations without leaving Earth, here are some good places to start.

Note: These are all taken from travelstoke, a trip-planning and trip-sharing app that makes it super easy to connect with locals and other travelers, from anywhere in the world. Are we missing an otherworldly spot here? Add it yourself!

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada

Located in Alberta’s aptly named Badlands. This looks bad-ass.

 Dinosaur Provincial ParkIddesleigh, Canada#camping #canada #travelstoke #travel #landscape #badlands #explore #dinosaurs #hiking #extreme

Elowah Falls, Oregon, USA

Is anyone else reminded of Star Wars and Ewoks looking at this?

 Elowah FallsCascade Locks, United StatesOne of my favorite places to visit in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s best in the winter or spring when the water level is highest, like in this photo. #hiking

Big Four Ice Caves, Washington, USA

It doesn’t look it, but this hike is accessible to all ages and hiking abilities.

 Big Four Ice CavesGranite Falls, United StatesThe big four ice caves is an easy 2.2 mile roundtrip hike out on mountain loop highway in Washington.

Rio Secreto, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

A cenote is a “natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.” Yes, and looks alien!

 Rio secretoChacalal, MexicoThe most incredible cenote experience in Mexico. Take the 3 hour tour where you don a wetsuit, swim through the cenote sand follow a guide through the dark caves. The light used is only his headlamp and the flash of a camera #extreme #hiking #caves #caving #spelunking #adventure #water #snorkelling #canyoning

El Potrero Chico, Hidalgo, Mexico

Some of the limestone peaks in this rock-climbing area are 2000 feet high. It’s one of the top places in the world to sport climb.

 PotreroHidalgo del Parral, Mexico#extreme #climbing #mountains

Salinas Grandes, Argentina

This is only 2300 square miles. No big deal.

 Salinas GrandesSalta, ArgentinaNote: this is NOT Salta. This is in Jujuy province. The mapping functionality doesn’t let you pin locations.

Northern Argentina has so many diverse landscapes. We opted to travel by gravel road to visit more remote communities and visited the salt flats in Jujuy province. You’re only there a short time, and the sun is blinding, but it’s worth it to see such a unique landscape #argentina #jujuy #salinasgrande

 Salinas GrandesHumahuaca, ArgentinaA smaller version of the Bolivian Salares de Uyuni, Salinas Grandes are a nice detour from the rest of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. If visiting right after it rained, the reflection of the sky, clouds and surroundings in the water will offer many good photo opportunities.

Cheltenham Badlands, Ontario, Canada

More Badlands, this time in Ontario, and only an hour away from Toronto.

 Cheltenham BadlandsCaledon, CanadaThis place is in the middle of nowhere and out of place but super cool. Definitely worth checking out if your in the Toronto area.

Pacaya volcano, Guatemala

The volcano was dormant for around 100 years and then blew its top in 1965. It’s been continuously erupting since then.

 Pacaya volcanoEscuintla, GuatemalaWhy hiking the Pacaya Volcano is one of the ultimate hikes in the world!

This active volcano 20 minutes outside of Guatemala city can be hiked round trip in 3-4 hours depending on if you take a jeep up the first half of the hike. Once you reach the petrified lava flow at the base of the volcano, you will surprisingly come across the tiny “Lava Store” where artisans Fernando and David make jewelry out of petrified lava and coconut shells. This world famous store is dangerously perched at the base of Pacaya. Since the store opened in 2010, it has been “relocated” almost a dozen times due to the volcanic activity and lava flows taking it out. From there, it is about an hour hike straight up uneven shifting rocks to the mouth of the crater. You have to be careful, since the volcano is spewing noxious gases and could erupt at any time, but the beauty and views from over 8,000 feet high of the nearby volcanoes and potential danger of this hike has voted it one of the top 20 best hikes in the world by National Geographic.

Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii, USA

Ever walk through a bamboo forest? The sound due to the wind blowing through the bamboo is out of this world.

 Haleakalā National ParkKula, United StatesFollow the Pipiwai Trail once you get to the end of the Hana highway. It is about a 1 mile hike that will take you to the bamboo forest. #hiking #forest #outdoors

Kirkjufellsfoss, West Region, Iceland

 Kirkjufellsfoss, IcelandBeautiful spot in the western part of Iceland. 
This photo was taken close to midnight when I had the whole waterfall to myself.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Humans have lived in this area since pre-historic times.

 Wadi Rum Protected AreaWadi Rum Village, JordanIf you’re a desert landscape lover, you’ve met your match. From sand dunes to otherworldly rock formations, Wadi Rum has it all. #landscape #photography #rideacamel

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

This hike in World Heritage site Tongariro NP is about 12 miles long.

 Tongariro Alpine CrossingTongariro National Park, New ZealandIn my opinion, this hike is a must, the best tramp of the north island. It’s a full day, 20km through hike, and worth the effort. Recommend starting at Mangetepopo Car park. You’ll also pass by Mount Doom of LOTR fame. #hiking

Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

That cannot be on Earth.

 SossusvleiSwakopmund, NamibiaNone of the thousands of pictures online can prepare you for your first glimpse of this pan surrounded by dunes. It’s a photographer’s paradise. #surreal #namibia #desert

Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Bali, Indonesia

I’ve seen rice terraces in person, but this perspective looks unearthly.

 Tegalalang Rice TerraceTegallalang, IndonesiaThis is a drone shot from the beautiful Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Bali. This is a must see spot when visiting Ubud.
#Bali #Indonesia

Laguna Roja, Camarones, Chile

Local folklore attributes supernatural powers to the “red lake” — there have been many mysterious disappearances by people who’ve drank the water.

 “Laguna Roja”Camarones, ChileIt’s a long and often harrowing drive to get there, but the laguna is really cool. You can do a full two-day trip from Iquique with Magical Tours Chile–or you can rent a 4WD and go yourself, but it’s not easy to find.

Kakslauttanen Igloo East Village, Finland

The first time you see the Northern Lights in person you might wonder which planet you’re on.

 Kakslauttanen Igloo East VillageKakslauttanen, FinlandFive ways to becoming a Solar Storm Hunter

Pamukkale, Denizli Province, Turkey

Its name means “cotton castle” in Turkish.

 PamukkalePamukkale Belediyesi, TurkeyUnbelievable natural formations of hot spring pools made out of calcium deposits trickling down the side of a gorgeous cliff overlooking the fertile farming town of pamukkale.

#hotsprings #relax #nature

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

Surely waters that blue and sand that white can’t exist on Earth.

 Whitehaven BeachWhitsundays, AustraliaAMAZING!
September 2016

Slickrock, Moab, Utah

Wandering around the slickrock in Moab is like being on another planet.

 Slickrock Bike TrailMoab, United StatesA “mecca” for mountain bike enthusiasts? I think so. But too difficult for our moderate tastes so we just hiked along and around it. The slick rock in Utah is so cool… It’s not slick at all but provides great traction for rubber even when wet. I think it was named so because it wasn’t so great for shod horses. #mountainbiking #hiking #desert

Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland

 Fjaðrárgljúfur, IcelandThis was one of my favorite spots in Iceland. You can walk along the rim of the canyon which is what I did to get this shot with my drone looking back on the canyon.
#Iceland #hiking

Valle de la Luna, Atacama desert, Chile

It’s called the Valley of the Moon because it looks like the moon.

 Valle de la LunaCollo, ChileIt’s hot as hell. It’s sandy. By personal experience, it’s not recommended you try this hike while hungover from yummy Chilean Carmenere wine. But do try this hike that’s only about 12km from San Pedro, and plan one of the full moon hikes if your trip coincides. #hiking

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