The New 7 Wonders Foundation, in Zurich, Switzerland, announced the seven provisional Wonders of Nature, 2012, on Friday. The wonders were chosen based on the first count of vote results.
The foundation, which has listed natural wonders of the world every year for the past four years, were chosen from a list of 440 locations from across 220 countries. The list of the provisional winners was chosen from a shortlist of 28 and included the Puerto Princesa underground river in the Philippines, Vietnam's Halong Bay and South Africa's Table Mountain.
The final list will be announced in early 2012.
The organization did also say that the final list could have wonders currently not on the provisional list, as the number of votes could change.
Nevertheless, browse on to know why the seven provisional winners are natural wonders and worth a visit.
1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
The Iguazu Falls, situated on a river of the same name in Argentina, spans the border between that country and Brazil. The falls itself, at 80 meters in height and 3 km wide, is an ensemble of numerous cascades and a surrounding vast canopy of subtropical rainforest. Popular tourist activities include boating, fishing, cruising and hiking. The Brazilian city of Foz do Iguacu, the Argentinean town of Puerto Iguazu and the Paraguayan city of Cuidad del Este are gateways to the falls. The nearest airports are at the aforementioned Brazilian and Argentinean cities, while public buses run from the latter to the falls.
2. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
A popular tourist destination, the 5 mile long (8.2 km) Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Dec. 4, 1999, for its ecological value. In addition, it features a limestone formation and an underground river that is reputed to be the longest navigable such river in the world. The nearest airport is in the capital city of Manila and it takes approximately an hour from there to reach Puerto Princesa, by a second flight. Another option is a day ferry (operates to and fro), from Iloilo City.
3. Halong Bay, Vietnam
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination in Vietnam, Halong Bay is definitely a natural wonder. The evolution of limestone rocks in the bay illustrates the environmental impact of the tropical wet climate. Located about 170 kilometers east of the capital city of Hanoi, Halong Bay can be reached either by bus or car, from the city's airport. The nearest Vietnamese city is Haiphong, which is well connected by trains, trams and buses from Hanoi.
4. Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island, or Cheju Island, a part of South Korea, is a popular romantic destination. The island is often described by one of two terms - three abundance, referring to three abundantly found things on the island, i.e. rocks, wind and women; and three non-existent, referring to the lack of crimes, the idea of gated residences and beggars. In addition, a mild coastal climate, beaches, horse riding, hiking and many similar adventures conspire to make the island more than just a natural wonder. A number of airlines offer flights from Jeju International Airport and most cities in China and Japan, like Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing and Shanghai.
5. Komodo Island, Indonesia
Komodo is an absolute must-go-to spot that showcases some of Nature's most wonderful creations - one of the world's seven pink-coloured beaches. In addition, the island is also home to the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), which is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of three meters and weighing up to 70 kilograms. Komodo Island is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Ferry services between the cities of Sape on Sumbawa Island and Labuanbajo on Flores drop travelers on Komodo Island.
6. Table Mountain, South Africa
The iconic backdrop to the South African city of Cape Town, the flat-topped Table Mountain is one of the country's most prized historical landmarks. Popular outdoor activities around the region include rock climbing, wind surfing and cycling. The city's landmark draws droves of tourists keen to bask in the warm southern hemisphere's summer season and take in the scenic views. Table Mountain can be climbed by foot or by a cableway that connects travelers to the westernmost end of the mountain. The nearest airport is the Cape Town International Airport, which is well connected with New York City and Washington D.C. via Johannesburg.
7. Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon Rainforest, or the Amazon Jungle, spread across nine countries in South America is a wondrous sight, if only for its size. Most of the forest lies in Brazil and Peru and it is a haven for some of the most exotic animals and plants known to mankind, as well as several indigenous tribes; there is speculation that there may be several other tribes who have had no contact with the rest of humanity. Canoeing through many forest rivers is the most popular tourist activity in the Amazon.