The 7 “New” Wonders of the World *Videos*

I recently read an article about the “new” 7 natural wonders of the world and was surprised to find that I’ve visited 6 out of the 7 awardees. (Although I’m not sure why I was surprised given that I’ve spent the last two years traveling galloping around and I have a keen appreciation of natural landscapes.)

Here’s a list of the recently inaugurated 7 natural wonders, my impressions, videos and a few favorite photos:

1.  Amazon River, Brazil / Peru / Ecuador / Colombia

The Amazon River is the world’s longest, widest, “mightiest” river. During the rainy season, the Amazon empties 20% of all the fresh water on earth into the ocean. I admit, I was amazed at the sheer size of the Amazon basin, as well as the diversity of flora and fauna. In just 4 square mile area, the region offers:

  • 760 species of trees
  • 125 classes of mammals
  • 400 types of birds
  • 100 varieties of reptiles
  • 60 types of amphibians

A way to enjoy the Amazon is to follow the river up-stream from the Brazilian city of Manaus to where it intersects with the Rio Negro. At this point, you can actually see the two bodies of water mixing: the crystal clear waters of the Rio Negro and the darker, silty waters of the Amazon. Very cool!

2.  Table Mountain South Africa

South Africa’s Table Mountain is named after the 2-mile plateau that sits atop this 1,086 meter (3,563 foot) peak. It’s often covered by a thick cloud, affectionately referred to as the tablecloth, that lies right smack on top of the mountain.

I experienced Table Mountain from two vantage points – both of them offering a bird’s eye view. First, my friends and I climbed the mountain, celebrating by lying flat on the top of the mountain, peering over the cliff’s edge at the harbor and Cape Town far below.

Second, I decided to parachute over the mountain. (This was my first – and last time – jumping out of a plane.) Luckily I have a video of the entire jump!

Cant’ see the video? Click on this link: Erin Parachutes over Table Mountain

3.  Iguazu Falls, Argentina / Brazil

Iguazu Falls was my latest natural wonder. I just visited at the beginning of November and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of these amazing falls. Here’s my recent account of this magnificent view: Falling for Iguazu *Videos*

4.  Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long data – Ha Long Bay comprises nearly 2,000 islets, most of which are limestone and have been forming over the last 20 million years.

This gradual evolution has produces a rich biodiversity that includes 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Instead of a quick day trip from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, I decided to fully take in Ha Long Bay and booked a 3-day cruise of the islands. And I’m glad I did! Taking the time to kayak, visit the floating school and absorb the haunting landscape.

Here I am onboard our junk in the middle of the misty waters:

Cant’ see the video? Click on this link: Erin in Ha Long Bay

5.  Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Komodo National Park actually consists of 3 islands in the Nusa Tengaara island chain: Komodo (the largest) Padar and Rinca. I visited both Komodo and Rinca, but saw many more dragons during our second island visit.

The ferocious and famous Komodo dragons are the largest living species of lizard, reaching up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length and more than 150 pounds. Here I am giving a quick overview of our new friends

Cant’ see the video? Click on this link: Erin with Komodo Dragons

6.  Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines

I’m a tad surprised that the Underground River made it into the top echelon, especially since it is no longer considered the longest underground river (there’s a longer one discovered in Mexico in 2007).

But then again, maybe I’m not so surprised, since the park authorities made you sign the petition when you bought your entry ticket…

Underground River travels more than 8 kilometers underground, giving access to St. Pauls Cave.

The limestone cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites (and if you look real close you may also see miraculous images of Catholic saints etched in the rock formations).

Here’s a quick peek as we enter the mouth of the river:

Cant’ see the video? Click on this link: Erin in the Underground River

7.  Jeju Island, South Korea

I’ve never been to South Korea – and now I have an excellent reason to go! My friend Seok, from my African safari, was actually telling me about Jeju not so very long ago, and I admit he whetted my appetite to see this beautiful spot.

JeJu is a volcanic island, off the southern coast of Korea. It’s the largest island in Korea and is home to the country’s tallest mountain Hallasan, which stands nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. The island also has 360 satellite volcanoes scattered around the main volcano. Sounds cool!

How many of these natural Wonders have you visited? Which one is your favorite?

Here’re a few more of my favorite natural wonders:

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2013 and is filed under Travel Favorites, Travel Favorites.

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