Special Report

45 Amazing Places You Never Knew Existed

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Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

This red salt lake in Bolivia, sitting at 14,000 feet above sea level, is flecked with white borax deposits and lined with contrasting dark blue. The water is only three feet deep, and the area is home to multiple flamingo populations, including the nearly extinct James’ flamingo.

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Socotra, Yemen

Socotra is a remote island off Yemen that is known for its unusual plant life, including the iconic dragon’s blood tree. A third of the island’s plant species are only found on Socotra. The island is believed by some to have been the Garden of Eden or the Sumerian paradise known as Dilmun.

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Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Kitakyushu, Japan

From late April to mid May, the wisteria flowers bloom at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan. In this private garden, 20 different species of wisteria grow around a tunnel, and their hanging flowers are celebrated during an annual Wisteria Festival at the end of April, open to visitors.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana

Mount Roraima is a massive plateau with sheer 1,300 foot cliffs on all sides. It is the highest mountain in Guyana’s Highland Range, which contains some of the oldest geologic formations known, dating back two billion years. Many plant and animal species on the plateau don’t exist anywhere else in the world.

Caño Cristales, Colombia

Best viewed during June and November, this rainbow river in Serranía de la Macarena National Park in Colombia owes its seasonal color bursts to aquatic plants that thrive only when the water level is neither too high (which obscures the plants) nor too low (when it’s too dry for them to grow). Tourism is a threat to the delicate environment, and visitors are asked not to swim if they are wearing sunscreen or bug repellent.

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