1. Steepest peak on Earth: Mount Thor, Nunavut, Canada
At 5,495 feet tall, Mount Thor is not the world’s highest peak, but it is the steepest.
The most famous summit in Canada and made of pure granite, Mount Thor
has a 4,101 foot vertical drop, at an average angle of about 105
Despite the fact the mountain is in a remote area, it’s a
popular destination for avid mountain climbers. If taking on the peak is
too much for you to handle, you can also visit the site and camp out
2. Coldest inhabited place on Earth: Oymyakon, Russia
As the coldest inhabited place on earth (with a recorded
temperature of -96.16 degrees F in 1924), the small Russian town of
Oymyakon, with a population of 500, was
once only used as a location for political exiles. Winter temperatures
average at about -58 degrees F, the ground is permanently frozen
all year long and the town currently has only one hotel. Popular sports
include skiing, ice hockey and ice fishing. The small town has even been
visited by celebrities as diverse as Burt Reynolds and Paris
Hilton (along with her Chihuahua, of course).
3. Driest place on Earth: Atacama Desert, Chile
According to both NASA and National Geographic, the Atacama
Desert in Chile has soil
comparable to that of Mars. (Fun fact: Mars scenes from the
television series Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets were filmed
here.) From October 1903 to January 1918, the Atacama Desert did not see
so much as one drop of rain, making it the longest rainless period in
the world’s recorded history. Sparsely populated, the Atacama Desert has
several hotels to choose from that cater to tourists who come to explore the land.
4. Closest place to Outer Space: Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador
An inactive volcano that last erupted in approximately 550 AD, Mount Chimborazo stands at over 20,000 feet high. While
Mount Everest is over 29,000 feet tall, due to the position of the
mountain on the earth’s surface the peak of Mount Chimborazo is the
furthest spot from the center of the earth. That also means that
standing on it will put you closest to outer space that man can
ever reach on foot. Its peak is completely covered by glaciers, but this mountain has several routes for climbers.
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5. Hottest Place on Earth: Lut Desert, Iran
Here, temperatures soar as high as 158 degrees F.
According to a local legend, the name Dasht-e Lut means “toasted wheat”
in Persian, referencing a story about a load of wheat
that burst info flames after being accidentally left out in the desert
for a few days. Though tourists visit this desert land, it’s a
destination only for those willing to take on the challenge of surviving
the heat and the unbearably dry climate.
6. Most isolated place on Earth: Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom
Looking for a getaway from the everyday? This is about as far away from it as you can get. Though formally part of the British Overseas Territory, Tristan da Cunha
is over 1,750 miles away from the nearest land in Africa.
Discovered by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha in 1506, the island is home to fewer than 300
inhabitants and has no airport; Tristan da Cunha is accessible only by sea.
7. Coldest continent on Earth: Antarctica
With a population estimated at somewhere between 1,000 and 4,000 people,
the world’s fifth largest continent is a land of extremes, the coldest and driest continent on the planet. Travelers
can only reach it by ice-strengthened vessels made for toughing the
rough seas. Though known for its breathtaking scenery, visitors who trek through the wilderness must be well prepared or
accompanied by a tour operator who knows the area well.
8. Wettest place on Earth: Mawsynram, India
This Indian town receives
an average of 467 inches of rainfall every year. In 1985, the
Guinness Book of World Records dubbed it the Wettest Place on Earth
after it saw 1,000 inches of rain in a single year. Plagued by
subtropical climate and monsoons, Mawsynram is both a difficult place to
live and an interesting trip for tourists.
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9. Tallest waterfall in the world: Angel Falls, Venezuela
Although Angel Falls is located in an isolated jungle region and is not
reached all that easily, it remains one of Venezuela’s top tourist
attractions. The falls are approximately 3,212 feet high and includes a 2,648-foot plunge and a quarter of a mile of sloped cascades and rapids.
10. Most treacherous waters on Earth: Gansbaai, South Africa
Since 1995, cage diving with Great White sharks has been a major tourist
attraction in Gansbaai, South Africa. With one of the densest
populations of these beasts in the world, Gansbaai is the top
destination for an up-close view of the
deadly creatures. If you want to play it safe and steer clear of the Great
Whites, whale watching is also common in Gansbaai, from the sandy white
shores of Pearly Beach.