Photo: David HarwoodBy David Harwood
Communications Specialist

Planet Earth is an amazing place. It’s home to a diverse range of landscapes, climates, and ecosystems filled with natural wonders of every kind. From monumental topography to remarkable wildlife, here are the seven natural wonders of the world that should be on every luxury traveler’s bucket list.

Victoria Falls

Situated on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) is the largest singular waterfall in the world. Visitors can enjoy a variety of adrenaline-fueled activities in the vicinity, including bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, and elephant-back safaris. At night, they can retreat to their relaxing base at opulent colonial-themed hotels overlooking the falls.

natural wonder: victoria falls
Victoria Falls – the world’s largest single waterfall – is a popular natural wonder with luxury travelers

From May to October, visitors can walk along the lip of the falls and bathe in the Devil’s Pool at the very edge of the sheer drop. This is without a doubt the ultimate infinity pool – created as a result of thousands of years of natural erosion.

Son Doong Cave

Located in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam, the world’s biggest cave is about as unique a landscape as you could find anywhere on Earth. With a limit on the number of tourists permitted to enter the massive cave each year, this natural wonder is top of the list when it comes to exclusivity.

Over the course of several days trekking through the cave and surrounding jungle accompanied by a private entourage of guides and porters, visitors will descend a 262-foot vertical drop; camp inside the cave; explore a passage containing 300-million-year-old fossils; and encounter native creatures such as monkeys, hornbills, and flying foxes.

Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis is a natural wonder visible from northern parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. It’s far from the only attraction in the far north, however.

natural wonder: northern lights
Travelers to northern Canada, the US and Europe can take in the stunning natural wonder that is the Northern Lights

The arctic region is home to several endangered species including polar bears, arctic wolves, and whales. You can witness them up close on an arctic cruise. Luxury travelers can also partake in such rarified experiences as sled dog tours across the frozen tundra; meeting native Yupik, Iñupiat or Inuit inhabitants; and relaxing hot air balloon rides high above the icebergs.

Grand Canyon

There are many impressive stats on the U.S.’s most iconic natural wonder. It’s 277 miles long, more than a mile deep, and 18 miles wide at its widest point. The Grand Canyon attracts about five million tourists each year. But for most, the only grandeur they experience is the exquisite beauty of the natural wonder itself.

Luxury travelers can enjoy plenty of extravagant enhancements: a relaxing burro ride down to the canyon floor, a thrilling white water rafting trip down the Colorado River, or a private helicopter ride to watch the breathtaking sunset.

Great Barrier Reef

Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the world’s largest coral reef is home to a diversity of marine life. That includes more than 1,500 species of fish alone. Deluxe ships will take luxury travelers to prime locations of this natural wonder. There both novice and experienced divers alike can get up close to schools of colorful fish and coral gardens.

natural wonder: great barrier reef with coral and fish
The Great Barrier Reef is so large that it can be seen from space

Also available are tours of the reef in comfortably appointed glass-bottom boats accompanied by expert commentary. Or take a helicopter excursion to get a bird’s-eye perspective of this underwater wonder that’s so large it can be seen from space.

Mount Everest

The summit of the tallest mountain on Earth remains the exclusive domain of professional climbing expeditions. But luxury travelers wishing to experience Everest’s majesty up close can travel with expert guides to one of the two base camps. At 16,900 feet above sea level, the North Base Camp is situated more than halfway to the peak.

After days of trekking to witness this true natural wonder, enjoy a hearty meal surrounded by the splendor of the Himalayas. Upon your return from the mountain, soak in the spirituality on offer by nearby Tibetan monasteries and temples.

Costa Rica

natural wonder: boy walking on rope path in forest in costa rica
Luxury travelers headed to Costa Rica can trek through forests, visit active volcanoes, or lounge on the beach

With almost a quarter of its land comprised of national parks, wildlife preserves, and other protected areas, visitors to Costa Rica can trek through lush forests, safely visit several active volcanoes, or lounge on one of the numerous tropical beaches.

The ultimate awe-inspiring experience, however, has got to be riding a zip line 130 feet above the rainforest floor. Affluent travelers can take advantage of opulent amenities at five-star lodgings while enjoying the many opportunities for adventure and relaxation this ecotourism hotspot offers.

Visiting These Natural Wonders

For expert advice on how to experience one or more of these natural wonders, contact a Virtuoso travel advisor. They have the knowledge and contacts to VIP your natural wonder experience. You’ll experience these breathtaking sites in a new way – and cross them off your luxury bucket list.