10 Best Natural Escapes – Time For Your Great Green Getaway!
Obviously, I love a bit of alliteration – who doesn’t. You know what else I love? Nature. Forests, jungles, rivers, reefs whatever form it may come in if it’s outdoors and natural I want to go. And with nature-based tourism bringing in the highest revenue for countries across the globe, it seems so do many of you. Spending your holidays in nature makes sense. Scientists have proven time and time again that as little as 15 minutes a day in nature can improve you happiness, so just imagine what a week or two could do! If you’re a fellow nature lover and wish to explore all the greenery on this fine earth you’ve come to the right place. Whatever your chosen type of great green getaway (maybe even a blue one) every nature lover is covered here.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
A UNESCO World Heritage listed site, Ha Long Bay is a beauty to behold! The bay is littered with hundreds of limestone islets, or karsts, of all sizes, many covered in thick, green vegetation. A number of the karsts, who have been worn down over the last 500 million years, also hide caves inside. Some of those caves even have their own lakes!
The most common way to explore this unique bay is by boat. By Vietnamese junk boat, to be more specific. Whether you’re out on the bay or just want to explore this incredible display of nature, Ha Long Bay is definitely worth a visit.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Set deep in the heart of Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world at a staggering height of 979 metres and a plunge of 807. Yet, Angel Falls is only part of incredible nature you will encounter when visiting, the UNESCO world heritage listed, Canaima National Park. The 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi) of national park is made up of plateaus of rock called tepuis, rugged cliffs, winding rivers ending in even more waterfalls and lush tropical rainforests. Accessing Angles Falls, though through thick vegetation, isn’t an easy task and because of this, the site is relatively untouched. Nature at its most raw, unshaped by human hands, a truly natural experience!
Torres Del Paine, Chile
One of the largest and most visited national parks in Chile, Torres Del Paine National Park contains some very otherworldly natural formations. The most notable of these formations are the Torres Del Paine. They are three staggeringly tall granite formations in the Paine Massif mountain range. The park is also home to deep valleys and winding rivers, pristine lakes and tall white and blue glaciers starkly contrasted by the dark rocks that surround.
The only whole nation to make it on my list, this Carribean escape has earned its nickname “Nature Island”. Unlike many of the more popular Caribbean islands, Dominica is a not a tourist-filled party paradise, but rather a gloriously untouched one. Dominica is the ecotourists centrefold girl. It’s a gloriously green wonderland with volcanoes surrounded by rainforests, natural hot springs and incredible dive spots.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you’ve had enough green under these pristine waters you’ll find reds, blues, yellows, purples and oranges. Australia’s Great Barrier reef is the largest coral reef in the world. Home to such an incredible variety of colourful coral and marine life. Whether you choose to snorkel, scuba or any variation of the two you will come face to face with an underwater world that will have you wishing you could grow gills and live down there forever!
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
OK, so this is another great green getaway on the UNESCO world heritage list, lots of them are. It’s just such a great place to start when looking for your perfect escape into nature. The world heritage listed, Plitvice Lakes national park is home to the lakes that gave it its name. These aren’t just any ordinary lakes. They’re surrounded by dense, at times vibrant green vegetation, connected by a system of waterfalls. It’s a popular site and infrastructure has been put in to allow you to walk, along boardwalks, between the different lakes. The best time to go is summer, but also any time is a good time to see this incredible site.
Jiuzhaigou National Park, China
This high elevation, highly protected national park hides lakes with mirror-like surfaces, waterfalls and reedy marshlands in its ever-changing woodlands. The colours you’ll see in this deciduous park depend on what time of year you visit. With every season bringing with it unique beauty. There is also some pretty incredible fauna to go along with the Flora and water. When visiting you may be lucky enough to come across the illustrious giant panda or perhaps the more colourful golden monkeys and blue sheep!
Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
One of the largest nature conservation areas in Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen Valley is something else. If you’re a lover of falling water, I don’t mean rain, then you’ll be in heaven hiking past the 72 thundering waterfalls found there. Exploring the valley you’ll also discover rocky cliffs, colourful meadows and quaint villages.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher are all about the views. Castles, cliffs, distant islands, hidden beaches and rolling green hills are what make this absolutely stunning place, so stunning. The cliffs are one of the most visited sites in Ireland but with a little know-how, you’ll be able to get a photo with just you or the scenery in it. The official Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk is 18km long starting from Hag’s Head. Along the route you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get the perfect photo.
Put those hiking shoes away! Well, you can still wear them if you want to, but the best way to see Tortuguero National Park is definitely by boat. You can go on a guided tour or you can rent a kayak or canoe and give your arms a workout. Nature at a much more chilled pace, you can spend the days exploring the rivers and lagoons that weave through the national park. At night an even greater treat. Three breeds of turtle the Green Sea Turtle, leatherback and Hawksbill turtles all come ashore here to lay their eggs here. You’ll need a guide to experience this incredible spectacle of nature, as no visitors are allowed on the beach without a guide after 6 pm.
Fernando De Noronha, Brazil
Of the 21 Islands and Islets that make up this archipelago only one Island is inhabited. To reach the site you have to come by plane, but once there you won’t be short of things to do or see. A famous dive spot, the crystal-clear waters, of Fernando de Noronha, are so warm you won’t even need a wetsuit to explore them. This particular attraction can come with a pretty hefty price tag and only a set number of people can access the beaches per day. If this is the only great green getaway to tickle your fancy be sure to consider those factors when booking your trip.
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, Madagascar
All you lemur lovers better move it, move it all the way over to Madagascar! In the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, you can come face to face with unique biodiversity, including lemurs. There are some incredible treks through the reserve, some that cross hanging wood-plank bridges. The treks offer magnificent views of the natural landforms and are an excellent chance to spot one or more of the 11 lemur species that inhabit the area. You may also come across iguanas, bats or even mongoose hidden in the vegetation. Beyond the plants and animals, the reserve also has a number of astonishing rock formations including canyons, gorges and truly bizarre limestone needle forest.
Nicknamed the “Garden Island” this Hawaiian great green getaway is about as green as they get. The volcanic origins of this Island have resulted in fertile soil that lush forests have sprung up from. The high rainfalls doesn’t hurt the greening process either. A popular destination for honeymooners there truly is something romantic about the place. With it’s stunning beaches, towering sea cliffs, waterfalls, incredible hiking trails and pristine bays. Kauai is the islands I imagine when I imagine an island.
If you made it through every great green getaway in the list without running to pack and book your flight well done! If you’re looking for more motivation and also some excellent travel packages head here.
What is your favourite great green getaway on the list? Or is there another natural escape that you love and I’ve missed? Let me know about it in the comment section below.
For more nature check out our blogs on The World’s Most Amazing National Parks or Legends Behind The Ten Top Natural Wonders Of The World.