Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Best of – 2011.02.01

Have we mentioned lately how much we love our contributors for adding such wondrous locales to our ever-expanding collection? Well, we do love you. A lot. Check out some of the newest crazy spots in the world to be included in the Atlas.  

You can add your favorite curious, wondrous, or just plain bizarre spot to the Atlas over yonder!


Mir Diamond Mine
 - Yakutiya, Russia

Mir Open Pit Diamond Mine - Yakutiya, Russia - Atlas Obscura Best Of

(source)

The world’s largest open pit diamond mine, Mir is more than 1,700 feet deep. With a diameter of nearly 4,000 feet, Mir is the second largest excavated hole in the world; it’s so big, in fact, that the airspace above it is closed because some helicopters have been sucked into the pit due to the downward airflow. Opened in 1957, Mir was excavated using jet fuel and dynamite to break through the permafrost in Siberia. It was mined so quickly, though, that it closed in 2001. It is owned by Alrosa, Russia’s largest diamond company.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on the Mir Diamond Mine in Yakutiya, Russia  

Tree Graveyard - Rialto Beach, Washington, United States

 Tree Graveyard - Rialto Beach - La Push Washington - Atlas Obscura Best of

(source)

Made famous by Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, La Push is home to the Native American Quileute Tribe that have a rich folklore explaining their home, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. No doubt the Quileute tell visitors tall tales about the giant stacks of grand trees piled haphazardly atop one another that line the misty shorelines of the Quillayute River. Deposited by storms, the uprooted, fallen trees appear quite ghostly as they’ve been bleaches by the sun. Rialto Beach, home to the infamous tree graveyard, is also known for its striking views of offshore islands known as sea stacks.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on Rialto Beach’s Tree Graveyard

National Hobo Convention - City of Britt, Iowa, United States

 Hobo Convention - City of Britt, Iowa, United States - Atlas Obscura Blog

(source)

Embraced by the people of Britt, Iowa, the National Hobo Convention has taken place during the first or second week of August every year since 1900. And every year, without fail, hundreds of hobos gather in this small town to celebrate their way of life. Organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, the National Hobo Convention is the largest gathering of hobos in the country. Traditionally, there is a big parade every year and a king and queen are named - the official website has a list of winners going all the way back to the very beginning.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on Iowa’s National Hobo Convention

El Avion Restaurant and Bar - Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

El Avion Restuarant Bar - Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica - Best of Atlas Obscura 

(source)

When the C-123 Provider was shot down over Nicaragua in 1986, it left behind a sister. You might remember that the sole survivor of the C-123, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured by the Sandinista Army and his testimony helped to shed light on what would only later be known as the Iran-Contra Affair, the bizarre arms sales that the Reagan Administration set up with Iran to win the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon. The plane’s sister, now retired, has been turned into a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop in Costa Rica, where it was sent by ocean ferry.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry for El Avion Restaurant and Bar

North Brother Island - New York City, New York, United States

North Brother Island - New York City - Best of Atlas Obscura New Entries 

(source)

Located on the East River between the Bronx and Riker’s Island, North Brother Island has a fascinating and tragic history. Uninhabited until 1885, when the city purchased the land in order to build Riverside Hospital, a place for people suffering from contagious diseases, this island is home to the biggest lose of life in New York’s history aside from the September 11 terrorist attacks: In 1905, over one thousand people died when the General Slocum steamship set ablaze near the island. Many of the hospital staff assisted in the rescue of some of the 321 survivors.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on North Brother Island in New York City.