Daily Escape

man stands in ancient egyptian ruin with sunlight filtering in

Photo by Pete Rojwongsuriya / BucketListly Photos

Luxor Temple

Luxor, Egypt

The construction of Luxor Temple, which is more than 3,000 years old, spanned the reigns of 3 different pharaohs before it was finished. The site — still used as a place of worship today — is especially impressive at night, when it’s all lit up.


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Mayapan Ruins
Mayapan Ruins

Mayapan Ruins

Also known as the Banner of the Mayas, Mayapan is considered the last great Maya capital. The Pre-Columbian Maya site is south of the town of Telchaquillo, which is in Yucatán, Mexico. More than 4000 structures, most residences, are packed with the ancient city’s walls. Archeologists believe that Mayapan’s main temple is a smaller version of Chichen Itza’s Temple of Kukulkan. 960 1280

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Labna: Gateway Arch

Labna: Gateway Arch

Located in the Puuc Hills region of the Yucatán Peninsula, Labna is a ceremonial center located south of the Uxmal archaeological site. The Gateway Arch (pictured) is not an entryway into the city; it’s a passageway between public areas. 960 1280

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Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the largest Maya cities, and it is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. More than 1 million tourists visit the Mayan ruins every year. The Temple of Kukulkan (pictured) -- also referred to as El Castillo -- stands 98-feet tall with 9 square terraces, and it’s a big draw for crowds during the spring and fall equinoxes. As the sun sets, visitors crowd around the pyramid to see the shadows on the steps that resemble a snake. 960 1280

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Copán Ruins

Copán Ruins

In western Honduras, Copán -- another Maya archeological site -- was once the capital city of the Maya civilization from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. It was occupied for 2,000 years, and more recently, the Copán River was diverted to protect the site from damage. 960 1280

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Tikal Ruins

Tikal Ruins

Tikal, located in the Guatemala’s Peten Basin was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. It was the capital of a state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the Maya. It is part of the Tikal National Park. 960 1280

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Ek Balam Ruins

Ek Balam Ruins

Built in the Maya Classic Period, Ek Balam has a grand central pyramid, 2 large palaces and numerous other temples and buildings. At the height of its history, it was a large city, and the architecture dates back to the Late Classic period. 960 1280

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Lamanai Ruins

Lamanai Ruins

Belize’s Lamanai Mayan ruins are surrounded by the jungle’s thick vegetation. And in case you didn’t know, the word Lamanai comes from the Maya term “submerged crocodile” -- a nod to the reptiles that live along the banks of the New River. 960 1280

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Xel-Ha Inlet and Ruins

Xel-Ha Inlet and Ruins

Mexico’s Xel-Ha ruins, part of the Xel-Ha Lagoon Eco-Park, is located between 2 Maya archeological sites -- Akumal and Tulum. The lagoon was a popular trade port between towns along the coast and to Cozumel. Some structures still have painted hands and other drawings of the Maya. 960 1280

Angelique800326, Wikimedia Commons  

Muyil Entry Plaza

Muyil Entry Plaza

Although rarely visited, the Muyil ruins is one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya sites, located south of Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. These ruins are found along a Caribbean trade route that was once accessible via a series of canals. 960 1280

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr  

Xunantunich's El Castillo

Xunantunich's El Castillo

Just 80 miles of Belize City, Belize, Xunantunich sits on a ridge above the Mopan River, where visitors can clearly see Guatemala’s border. El Castillo (pictured) -- 130-feet tall -- is the second tallest structure in Belize, after the temple at Caracol. 960 1280

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The Church of Coba

The Church of Coba

In Quintana Roo, Mexico, Coba’s Nohoch Mul is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán Peninsula. It is 12-stories tall and has 120 steps to the top, where you can get a panoramic view of the jungle and the tops of the other ruins in the area. 960 1280

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Xlapak Palace

Xlapak Palace

The Xlapak Palace (pictured) was located in a Maya ceremonial center in Yucatán, Mexico. The Palace is only 20-meters long adorned in typical, but stylish Mayan architecture style with columns, colonnades, geometrical figures and superimposed Mayan masks of Chaac, the Mayan god of rain. 960 1280

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr  

Uxmal, Pyramid of the Magician

Uxmal, Pyramid of the Magician

Uxmal is the Maya word for “thrice-build,” which refers to the construction of the Pyramid of the Magician (pictured). The Maya would often build a new temple over an existing one, and in this case, 5 stages of construction were found. At its height, Uxmal was home to about 25,000 Maya. 960 1280

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Kinch Kakmo Pyramid

Kinch Kakmo Pyramid

In Izamal, Mexico, visitors come to see the magnificent Kinch Kakmo pyramid. Kinch Kakmo -- the Maya word for fire parrot -- was believed to descend to Earth to consume offerings made at the top of the pyramid. 960 1280

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Becan Mayan Pyramid

Becan Mayan Pyramid

Head to the Campeche, Mexico, to see the Becan Mayan ruins. Visitors can explore 20 major ruins, including a number of temple pyramids immersed in the jungle. Becan was a major city, occupied from 550 BC and abandoned around the 9th century AD. 960 1280

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abandoned, wwII, maunsell sea forts, kent, england
The Maunsell Sea Forts, England

The Maunsell Sea Forts, England

The Maunsell Forts, located 10 miles offshore in the Thames Estuary in England, were built as gun emplacements during World War II. Now, these abandoned forts can be visited on boat trips, subject to tide and weather restrictions. 960 1280

Neil Brown/Moment/Getty Images  

Wreck of the SS America, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Wreck of the SS America, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Off the coast of the Canary Islands lies the shipwreck of the SS America, an ocean liner built in 1939. After a long history that included carrying everyone from Nazis to Navy troops to cruise passengers, it went adrift in a thunderstorm in 1993. Today, tourists can visit Garcey Beach, where the ship’s bow is still visible.  960 1280

Sandra von Stein/iStock/Getty Images  

Hotel del Salto, Colombia

Hotel del Salto, Colombia

With a dramatic location on a cliff overlooking Tequendama Falls, Hotel del Salto, outside Bogota, Colombia, was once a luxurious lodging catering to wealthy travelers. After Bogota River was contaminated, the area drew fewer tourists, and the hotel closed in the 1990s. The eerie, abandoned building is believed to be haunted because so many suicides have occurred there.  960 1280

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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Considered to be one of the most haunted locations in the world, this 11-acre abandoned prison in Philadelphia first opened its doors in 1829. Now, it offers many different tours year-round. Or you can watch the Ghost Adventures crew investigate its ghost lore.  960 1280

Terry Wilson/iStock/Getty Images  

Michigan Central Station, Detroit

Michigan Central Station, Detroit

When Michigan Central Station opened in 1913, it was the tallest train station in the world. The once-grand building that was a towering symbol of Detroit’s progress closed in 1988, and now, its dilapidated remains are home to vandals and thrill seekers.  960 1280

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images  

Chateau Miranda, Belgium

Chateau Miranda, Belgium

Chateau Miranda — also known as Chateau de Noisy, despite the fact that it has been silent and empty for 25 years — draws urban explorers and history buffs to its crumbling remains in Belgium. Built in the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style, the dilapidated chateau has suffered fires and storms and is currently in danger of being demolished.  960 1280
Six Flags/Jazzland, New Orleans

Six Flags/Jazzland, New Orleans

A Six Flags amusement park sits idle in New Orleans after it was severely damaged when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. Now, the abandoned remains are a popular spot for urban explorers.   960 1280

Bloomberg/Getty Images  

Kayaköy, Turkey

Kayaköy, Turkey

Once a thriving Greek village, Kayaköy, Turkey, is now an eerie ghost town after being completely deserted in 1923. The area’s 25,000 Greek inhabitants, along with more than a million other Greeks living throughout Turkey, were returned to their home country following the Greco-Turkish War.  960 1280

Christopher Biggs/Moment Open/Getty Images  

Wonderland Amusement Park, Beijing

Wonderland Amusement Park, Beijing

This Disneyland-inspired amusement park — intended to be the largest in all of Asia — was being developed just outside of Beijing. The failed project lost funding and was abandoned during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Plans are underway to build a shopping center in its place. 960 1280

Tong Lam/Moment Open/Getty Images  

New York World's Fair, Flushing, Queens

New York World's Fair, Flushing, Queens

The remains of New York’s 1964 World's Fair can be seen in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens. The Unisphere, a 140-foot-tall, 700,000-pound, stainless-steel globe, stands as a national treasure and a memory of this iconic moment in New York City’s history. 960 1280

The Photography Factory/Moment Open/Getty Images  

Sanzhi UFO Houses, Taiwan

Sanzhi UFO Houses, Taiwan

The Sanzhi UFO houses, also known as Sanzhi Pod City, are deserted, pod-shaped buildings in Taiwan. Once intended to be a colorful seaside resort, the project was abandoned in 1980 because of the loss of funding and strange accidents that led to speculation that it’s haunted. Currently, little remains of these unusually designed buildings, which recently have been demolished to nothing but ghost lore and rubbish.  960 1280
Holland Island, Chesapeake Bay, MD

Holland Island, Chesapeake Bay, MD

The last house on Holland Island, a marshy, rapidly eroding island in the Chesapeake Bay, fell into the water in 2010. Once 5 miles long, this island was home to a fishing community with more than 60 houses and other buildings, but the last residents left in 1922.  960 1280

Baltimore Sun/MCT/Getty Images  

greenland, iceberg, top 10 natural wonders
Glaciers and Icebergs, Greenland

Glaciers and Icebergs, Greenland

Combine the world's largest island with a total population of only 55,000 and Greenland provides the perfect backdrop for a true bonding experience with nature. Rent a kayak, originally invented by hunters here, and row arctic waters past towering icebergs and glaciers. The waters provide a home to many whale species, including humpbacks with tails up to 16 feet wide. Outdoor excursion opportunities abound, from mountain climbing to hiking and angling -- just be sure to bundle up! Temperatures range from 20 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and much colder in the winter. Experience round-the-clock daylight during the arctic summer or watch the Northern Lights paint dazzling colors across the dark autumn skies. 960 1280
Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef's vibrant coral and fish form an underwater tropical paradise that promises the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. Spanning more than 1,200 miles of crystal waters along the coastline, the reef system is the largest and healthiest anywhere. Its isolation from the mainland will put you one-on-one with marine life, seemingly cut off from human contact. Australia offers countless other natural gems in the raw wilderness of its outback, so after exploring the depths of the sea, you can hop in a four-wheel drive and adventure in a totally different world. 960 1280
Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone, Wyoming

More than 1,000 miles of backcountry hiking trails through Yellowstone lead travelers to pristine areas rich with extraordinary wildlife and steaming, bubbling hot springs. Your chances at spotting an endangered grizzly or elk are pretty good -- the park is home to the largest elk herd in North America and one of two grizzly bear populations. You'll no doubt leave with everlasting images of the grand sweep of the rugged Teton mountain range and nature's fireworks leaping from the geysers. 960 1280

Lorcel/iStock/Getty Images  

Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

Visitors here cannot help but feel awestruck by the unbelievable enormity of the coast redwoods, the tallest and oldest trees on earth. The tallest redwood on record, known simply as "the Tall Tree," is 600 years old and stands more than 350 feet. These majestic examples of nature, which can only be found in California and Oregon, take 400 years to mature and can live to be 2,000-plus years old. Emerging from the darkened paths on foot, bike or horseback, visitors may be shocked to find it is still daylight, and still the 21st century, in a place where time seems to stand still. 960 1280
Mt. Everest, Nepal

Mt. Everest, Nepal

The Sherpas and Tibetans worship Everest as Chomolongma, or "Mother Goddess of the Earth." Luckily you don't need to actually climb the 29,000 feet to the "Top of the World" to experience its magnificence and the beauty of the surrounding valleys and forests. 960 1280
Emerald Landscape, Ireland

Emerald Landscape, Ireland

Though all of Ireland's landscape is stunning, the southwest region shows visitors at first glance why this is called the Emerald Isle. Lush green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, and the colorful hills are cut with winding streams. The Lakes of Killarney offer some of the most refreshing natural scenery in the south, which can best be explored by bike or on foot. Take the time to visit the picturesque small towns and villages, like Adare and Kinsale, whose charm and tranquillity will soothe the soul. 960 1280
Diverse Ecosystem, Costa Rica

Diverse Ecosystem, Costa Rica

Thanks to the biological influences of neighboring North and South America and the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, this small mountainous country is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Thousands of miles of roads and nature trails make it easy to experience the wide spectrum of habitats, from steaming volcanoes to the cloud-shrouded jungles and deserted beaches. A model National Conservation System protects Costa Rica's invaluable natural heritage, including 9,000 different kinds of flowering plants and more species of birds than in the United States, Canada and northern Mexico combined. 960 1280
Gran Sabana, Venezuela

Gran Sabana, Venezuela

Located within Canaima, a national park the size of Belgium, Gran Sabana is the plateau region between Venezuela and Brazil. The hauntingly beautiful landscape is dominated by the unique "tepuyes" -- flat-topped mountains with steep vertical walls. Tours by jeep and canoe are popular ways of seeing the most scenic spots, but to get the full experience, guided walking tours are the way to go. The dense jungles house exotic plant life, some 20,000 species of orchid alone, and several species of endangered animals, including jaguars and giant armadillos. The rock is some of the oldest on Earth, dating back two billion years, making it one of the nine most ancient geological regions of the world. 960 1280

By Paolo Costa Baldi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

Desert Sand Dunes, South Africa

Desert Sand Dunes, South Africa

The southern states of Africa have been the most successful in not only conserving its diverse wildlife, but also in offering visitors the privacy and isolation of intimate camps apart from the mass tourism more common in the north. You'll surely want to plan a safari in one of these regions where more than 90% of the continent's rhinos and the largest herds of elephants can be found. Africa's stunning landscape of coastal cliffs, enormous desert sand dunes and magnificent waterfalls have been shaped by over four billion years of geological activity. 960 1280
Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

A trip to these enchanted islands puts humans in a unique and humbling second-place position to the untamed plant and animal life. Here we are mere visitors to the inhabitants of the protected national park that covers 97% of the land area. The islands were named after the giant tortoises that bask boldly on the sandy beaches and mingle with their reptilian brethren, most notably the marine iguana -- the only aquatic iguana in the world. Birds are the most diverse and abundant on the islands, many having evolved into unique species that can only be found here. 960 1280

By Pete from USA (Bartolome View) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

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