World's Strangest Places
John Mitchell / Alamy
Las Pozas, Mexico
Built by Scotsman Edward James—poet, trust-funder, and Salvador Dalí–adoring art patron—the surreal sculpture gardens located in the rainforests of Xilitla (about eight hours north of Mexico City) were a labor of love. James broke ground in 1949 and kept adding to his architectural marvel with staircases to nowhere, off-kilter turrets, and open-sided atriums until his death in 1984. His home during those 35 years? A mock-Gothic castle bustling with hundreds of birds, 40 dogs, and—not altogether shockingly—a pet boa constrictor.
Insider Tip: Time your visit to the Xilitla between April and July, when the weather is warm and dry. James’s surrealist castle home is now a budget hotel called La Posada El Castillo (don’t worry, the boa’s long gone).