The Mayan ruins of Labna in the Puuc region (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico).

                                      Photo by: S. Greg Panosian

                                      S. Greg Panosian

                                      5 Stunning Places You Never Knew Existed

                                      By: Lucy Sherriff

                                      Marvel at these awe-inspiring places from around the world.

                                      May 13, 2020

                                      While travel is restricted during this time, here are some amazing places around the world to daydream about and look forward to visiting one day in the future.



                                      Aerial view of the lagoon and with Mount Lidgbird and Gower in background,Lord Howe Island,New South Wales,Australia

                                      Photo by: Peter Unger

                                      Peter Unger

                                      Lord Howe Island, Australia

                                      The crescent-shaped island in the Tasman Sea lies between Australia and New Zealand and is just 10km (6.2 miles) long. Despite its complete isolation, the island is populated, by around 380 people. The number of tourists is not allowed to exceed 400, while the majority of the population holds Australian citizenship.

                                      The island, which is essentially the remains of a 7-million-year-old shield volcano, was discovered in 1788, by a British commander, who spotted the island enroute to Norfolk Island with a cargo of convicts. It’s known for its geology, birds, plants and marine life, while cycling is the main mode of transport on the island.

                                      Lord Howe Island Group, the collective name for the mainland and its surrounding uninhabited islands, has been deemed a World Heritage Site of global national importance, thanks to its virtually untouched forest and the fact that many of its plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world.



                                      Keahiakawelo, also known as Garden of the Gods, Lanai, Hawaii

                                      Photo by: Ron Dahlquist

                                      Ron Dahlquist

                                      Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods), Hawaii

                                      Don’t try to attempt to reach Keahiakawelo, on Lanai island, Maui County, without a 4x4. The otherworldly, Mars-esque landscape gets its nickname from Alexander Hume Ford, who visited in 1912 for an article for Mid Pacific Magazine and compared the place to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado.

                                      Boulders as tall as six feet fill the lunar-like surface, which is barren of trees, flowers or grass.

                                      Hawaiians call Keahiakawelo “wahi pana”, which means celebrated, noted or legendary places which have cultural significance. As legend goes, the priest of neighboring Molokai island, a man named Lanikaula, was angry at the people of Lanai, so he lit a fire wishing ill will to the island’s people.



                                      Photo by: Sudhanva Kashyap / 500px

                                      Sudhanva Kashyap / 500px

                                      Thor’s Well, Oregon

                                      A circular hole formed after a sea cave collapse lies in the Pacific North West of America, in the middle of Cape Perpetua.

                                      Also called “the drainpipe of the Pacific” or even sometimes, “the gate to hell”, the hole appears to swallow the Pacific Ocean. Geyser-like ocean sprays erupt in winter time, thanks to ocean pressure and the gusting wind. It looks more sinister than it is though; it is in reality just around 20 feet deep. The natural bowl is spectacular to watch, particularly during low tide when the sea surges up towards the surface before draining back down into the depths of the cavernous rocky hole again.



                                      View of an ancient Mayan frieze in the ruins of Balamku, Mexico

                                      Photo by: DC_Colombia


                                      Balamku (Cave of the Jaguar God), Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

                                      Re-discovered in 2018, the sacred cave was stumbled upon accidentally by archaeologists who were searching for a sacred well. Located in the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá, the cave chambers hold more than 150 ritual objects used by the ancient residents of the city, from vases and incense burners to decorated plates with markings of the sacred ceiba tree and depicting the face of Tlaloc, the god of water,

                                      The seven-chambered cave was initially discovered in 1966 but was sealed up and forgotten about. Caves were considered openings to the underworld, and this one is no different. The 1000-year-old cave is a labyrinth of tunnels 24 meters below ground. The name means jaguar god, an allusion to the divine quality Mayans attributed to the animal, which they believed had the ability to enter and leave the underworld at will.

                                      The cave is so unexplored, that archaeologists are still mapping it out, and have only ventured into the first 450 meters of the chambers.



                                      Photo by: Ignacio Palacios

                                      Ignacio Palacios

                                      Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil

                                      This protected area on Brazil’s north Atlantic coast is known for its vast desert landscape of towering white sand dunes and seasonal rainwater lagoons.

                                      The name translates as “bedsheets of Maranhão”, the state in Brazil where this natural phenomenon is located. The dunes fringe 600 square miles of coastline and are formed by the Parnaíba and Preguiças Rivers bringing sand to the ocean, and then the ocean’s currents – coupled with the inland-gusting winds – carrying it back away from the shore.

                                      Although the rolling dunes look like they belong to an arid desert, the area gets around 47 inches of rain a year and is inundated with torrential rainstorms which form crystal clear lagoons reaching up to 10 feet deep, making them a great spot for swimming.

                                      Next Up

                                      5 Magical Reasons to Visit Iceland

                                      Be prepared to be wowed by this unique island country.

                                      Jacob's Well Is a Dangerous Natural Wonder

                                      This natural spring has claimed the lives of many divers.

                                      Exploring Isolation: Inside the Minds of Legendary Explorers

                                      In the time of quarantine, exploration legends Kathy Sullivan, Bertrand Piccard, and B?rge Ousland know a thing or two about facing the challenges of isolation.

                                      Holy Land, U.S.A is an Abandoned Christian Theme Park With A Dark Past

                                      The theme park included a Garden of Eden, life-sized scenes from the Bible and statues of Jesus.

                                      A Spot in Washington Is One of Only 12 Silent Places Left in the U.S.

                                      The most endangered sound on Earth doesn't come from a near-extinct animal or an outmoded form of transportation — it's silence.

                                      Every Year, Thousands of Glass Orbs Are Hidden on This Oregon Beach

                                      When you think of treasure hunters, it's typically Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones that come to mind. But modern-day treasure hunters do exist. In the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon, beachcombers flock to the sand in hopes of finding one very specific treasure: glass fishing floats.

                                      New Decade, New Adventures: Where Your Travels Should Take You Next

                                      With a new decade comes new opportunities, and there’s no time like the present to start exploring parts of the world you’ve never dared to venture to before.

                                      A Life-Changing Voyage to Antarctica

                                      Take a trip to explore Antarctica. It's not just a physical experience but a spiritual adventure that you won't forget.

                                      Allegedly, There Is a Secret Underground Alien Base in Dulce, New Mexico

                                      This little town is home to unimaginable experiments and technologies.

                                      We May Finally Know How the Pyramids Were Built

                                      Scientists have discovered new evidence that may explain how these iconic structures were built.