You've heard the tall tales. You've studied the legends. Your curiosity is piqued. Can monsters be real?
Everyone loves a little mystery and monster lore has been around for centuries, translated into every language and culture across the globe. But there are some mythical creatures that are just a little more famous than others. Believe it or not, there are still a few places out there that you stand a chance of catching a glimpse of one of these alleged beasts. If you're keen on chasing the unknown, keep your camera ready because a clear shot of these guys is front page news.
The Loch Ness Monster - Loch Ness, Scotland
Arguably the most famous monster, the first documented sighting of Nessie was way back in 565 by St. Columba with numerous claims since. If you're keen on some Nessie face time, head to Drumnadrochit, Scotland. A town south of Inverness that is home to the Loch Ness Centre & Expedition and the lighthearted Nessieland, both museums are full of information and theories about what might be lurking below the depths. If you really want to get in on the action, several tour companies offer cruises of Loch equipped with underwater sonar.
The Yeti - Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet
Yeti or "abominable snowman" sightings were first documented in the 1800s, though there are claims of a "glacier being" or "wild man" in some of the local pre-Buddhist stories. Described as a furry ape-like creature that walks upright, most of the high profile Yeti sightings have occurred in Nepal, though that may just be because they see a greater number of mountain trekkers. An Everest expedition alone is on many people's bucket lists, and a Yeti sighting would be an extra bonus. There are many tour companies that can pair you with a Sherpa guide to take you on a mountain trek and regale you with plenty of Yeti lore.
El Chupacabra - Puerto Rico
The word "chupacabra" literally means "goat-sucker," and while these creatures have been reported all over the world, it started in Canovanas, Puerto Rico in 1995. Local livestock were found with puncture wounds in their chests, drained of blood. A similar incident in 1975 was initially blamed on a satanic cult, but since, several more sightings cropped up around Latin America. Of course there is no guarantee you'll catch sight of a chupacabra in Puerto Rico, but it's a pretty small island so the odds are in your favor.
The Mokele-mbembe - Congo
Since the Land Before Time, every kid has dreamt of finding a live dinosaur, right? Your best bet to search is in the Congo River Basin. Believers theorize the mysterious creature is a Sauropod left over from dinosaur age. Legends abound about the alleged Congo Dinosaur, although there has been little proof uncovered after many expeditions to find the Mokele-mbembe. The Congo is vast -- it could still be there waiting for you to discover it.
Bigfoot and Sasquatch - The Pacific Northwest
America's most famous monster, Bigfoot reports are similar to that of the Yeti, a large ape that walks on two legs. His popularity has inspired several hoaxers, but that doesn't mean the truth isn't out there. Sasquatch are said to live in remote wooded areas of the Pacific Northwest, so you're best bet is to go exploring. We think this incredible gorge would be a pretty good place to start.