Something about the flow of water gives any room or destination an extra soothing quality, which is why there’s little surprise people flock to areas where ocean waves lap against the shore or mighty rivers spill over cliffs to create stunning waterfalls. The graceful power of the world’s waterways has carved amazing sights all over the world and, with the beaches almost always being too crowded, there are ample opportunities for you to enjoy them on a leisurely cruise. When planning your next getaway, think about sneaking off to one of the world’s most beautiful rivers.
1. Rio Caño Cristales, Colombia
Legend has it this natural wonder hidden away in central Colombia is “the river that ran away from paradise.” Fueled by summer sunshine, algae bloom in the slow-moving waters, creating a bright red glow offset by the green and yellow moss peeking through the clear waters above. Part of a larger national park where the Amazon and Orinoco regions mingle, the horse- or donkey-back ride through the jungle to this gem is well worth it.
2. Zambezi River, Zambia and Mozambique
Covering nearly 1,700 miles in southeastern Africa, there is plenty to see along the flow of this river that separates Zambia from Mozambique. You can admire the diverse wildlife coming in from the surrounding plains to drink or, if you feel like embracing danger, swim in Devil’s Pool near of Victoria Falls. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, you can get very close to the edge of the 354-foot cascade – if you dare.
3. Danube River, Central Europe
Want to see a lot of territory on one voyage? A voyage along this wide European waterway winds along or through ten countries – almost a quarter of the continent’s total number! Beginning in Germany’s Black Forest and gently drifting to the Black Sea in Romania, it is impossible to avoid a feeling of history. Dotted with mountaintop castles, medieval towns and major cities, you’ll experience the growth of culture over more than a thousand years as you float along.
4. Rio Futaleufú, Chile and Argentina
If you’re in the mood for a bit of adventure, then you’ll want to paddle through the rapids of this river on the border of Chile and Argentina. Glacial runoff from the Andes Mountains produces bright blue waters that sweep through rocky canyons, churning and bubbling for large stretches ideal for whitewater rafts and kayaks. In more tranquil areas further downstream, you’ll find evergreen forests and freshwater fishing that are hard to beat.