16 Amazing EarthCaches to See Before You Die
There are over 21,000 active EarthCaches around the world, but who has time to find them all? If you want a manageable bucket list of amazing places to visit in your lifetime, look no further. These 16 EarthCaches are geological marvels and anomalies—and they're well worth a visit.
Active volcano crater lake – Oregon, USA (GC123H6)
The island pictured above is actually a developing cinder cone formed inside the crater of an active volcano. If that's not a setup worthy of this EarthCache, we don't know what is.
Cascading lakes – Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (GC1FNKR)
Plitvice Lakes is a place that warrants multiple visits. Depending on the quantity of minerals and organisms in the water, the lakes can range in color from azure blue to grey, to emerald. Find this EarthCache and you'll learn how this series of cascading pools and waterfalls developed. Try not to let your jaw drop too much—you might just fall in.
Mysterious rolling stones – California, USA (GC2FFRV)
The rocks at Racetrack Playa in Death Valley are moving. This wouldn't be that odd—except that the playa is flat, the stones are big, and nothing is pushing them. This mysterious phenomenon is still unexplained, but visit this EarthCache and maybe you'll uncover the mystery behind the rolling stones.
Karst mountain topography – Yangshuo, China (GC32N82)
It'll take a bit of a climb—and maybe an international flight—to reach this EarthCache, but rare is the geocacher who regrets it. This EarthCache takes you on a short hike above the city of Yangshuo in northern China. The area is known for its dramatic karst mountains, which are the focus of this cache's earth science lesson.
Jellyfish Lake – Palau (GC11A56)
Lake Ongeim’l Tketau, one of about 70 rock islands in Palau, is filled with golden jellyfish. We think it's the perfect place to go for a swim. The cache owner doesn't require you to post photos of your swim in the lake, but we think you seize the opportunity.
Punakaiki's pancake rocks – South Island, New Zealand (GCN98H)
The pancakes of Punakaiki are a strange sight in many ways, and they probably won't make you hungry. The name derives from the layered stone columns which litter the shore here—remnants of biological and mineral processes from a long-ago sea.
Mud volcano – Santa Catalina, Colombia (GC1KKQC)
It's a little less regal than a snow-capped mountain at sunrise, but this EarthCache in Colombia is a lot of fun to visit. Visitors to this small yet active mud volcano, Volcan de Totuma, have the chance to get dirty—by taking a bath.
The Giant's Causeway – Ulster, Ireland (GCPCPX)
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1986, the Giant's Causeway on the coast of northern Ireland almost looks like it should be of human design. Thousands of mostly hexagonal and pentagonal columns crowd the coastline, looking like sentinels down at the sea. Find this EarthCache to learn the story behind their formation.
Dead sea salt – Dead Sea, Israel (GC1PR3D)
So named because the salinity makes it too harsh an environment for animal and plant life to flourish, the Dead Sea is anything but empty. Thousands of visitors float in these buoyant waters every year. Those who are geocachers can find this EarthCache and learn more about the Dead Sea's formation.
Namib Desert dunes – Sossuvlei, Nambia (GC14W63)
'Namib' means 'vast' in the Nama language, but we're not sure if the word does justice to the scene you'll find here. If you make it out to this dry, dusty, and somewhat lonely corner of the planet, you'll be treated to a view of shifting dunes upon dunes, part of one of the oldest deserts in the world.
Blue lagoon – Grindavik, Iceland (GC25643)
The Blue Lagoon (Bláa lónið in Icelandic) geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, so you might not be completely alone when you visit. The lagoon itself is man-made, but the super-heated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow via a geothermal power plant nearby. It's a unique way to experience geothermal activity.
Iguazu Falls – Misiones Province, Argentina (GC2PFGZ)
Iguazu Falls are located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, on the border of Argentina and Brazil. They're protected—both sides of the falls are designated national parks and a World Heritage Site. The falls are actually a series of waterfalls and cataracts broken up by numerous islands. If you visit, you'll have the chance to walk along a boardwalk above the water—just don't forget your rain poncho.
Okavango Delta – Botswana (GC4P93T)
The Okavango Delta is a vast oasis in the middle of an even vaster stretch of sand—the Kalahari Desert. It is the greatest of Africa's wetland wildernesses, and among its last. Find this EarthCache and you'll learn why the Okavango isn't actually a delta, strictly speaking.
The Moeraki Boulders – South Island, New Zealand (GC124MY)
This beach might be the best place on earth to watch a dinosaur hatch. Hundreds of huge boulders, some cracked or cracking like an egg, others almost perfectly spherical, litter the sands at Moeraki. The mystery of their presence is the subject of this EarthCache.
Eternal Flame Falls – New York, USA (GC10VMY)
Yep, that's a waterfall that's on fire. Well, sort of—a steady stream of natural gas leaks from a grotto under this waterfall. It's been lit, and the small flames produced burn nearly year-round. They're trapped by a curtain of water or ice inside the cave. It's an unusual sight, and well-worth a visit.
Table Mountain – Cape Town, South Africa (GC1ABZK)
If you're lucky enough to catch Table Mountain without its characteristic fog tablecloth, you just might find yourself making plans to move to Cape Town. The huge, definitely table-like mountain rises out of the city bowl, hemming the city in on one side, with the Atlantic on the other.
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