Two worlds collide when viewing outer space from Earth at these four stunning destinations — some of which even make you feel like you're walking amongst extraterrestrial terrain. Gazing up at the galaxies beyond inspires a sense of awe and wonder at how small we are in comparison, especially when experiencing these views from a new continent. So astronomers and thrill-seekers alike, come get cosmopolitan to view the cosmos.
For a cosmic connection to nature and sky, head to the sparsely inhabited Puerto Rican island. This small, lush island nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea is totally free of movie theaters, stop lights, and chain restaurants. With room to roam, you’ll find unadulterated beaches, wild horses, a huge wildlife sanctuary, and a spectacular bioluminescent bay that glows like the moon.
With a population of slightly more than one million spread out over some 58,000 square miles, New Zealand’s South Island is stunningly beautiful and pretty empty. Fewer people mean fewer buildings, and that means very little light pollution, which brings you incredibly close to the stars right here on Earth. The Southern Cross, Magellanic Clouds, the Aurora Australis, and the Milky Way — just some of what you'll see clearly within the 2,700-square-mile Lake Tekapo region.
Travel south to one of the driest and most astonishing environments on planet Earth. The eerie silence and striking lunar-like landscape will take your breath away. Sloping sand dunes, dry lakes and alien rock formations have been carved out by thousands of years of intense wind and little rain. Scientists have deemed this valley the ideal spot for prototyping the Mars rover. Stargazing in this dry, high altitude desert is considered some of Earth's best.
Behold otherworldly terrain, both in the sky and on the earth around you: black volcanic lava beaches, spacey igneous rocks, and jagged glacier ridges point towards the beautiful views above. Bring a bikini – volcanic activity pulses under the island, producing geothermal energy that powers natural hot springs year-round. Surrounded by bubbling geysers, the slight scent of sulfur and the Northern Lights coloring the sky above, it's not hard to imagine that life is possible on one of those gaseous planets out there.