Top Secret Swimming Holes Around the World

Instead of another trip to the beach have an adventure tracking down these breathtaking Mother Nature-made pools. From an electric-blue waterfall in Costa Rica to a 100-foot-deep grotto pool on a volcanic island in Samoa, here are 20 of the most unique, secluded, and hard-to-reach swimming spots in the world. 

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Photo By: EIM Adventures; Emily Winiker

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Photo By: Doron Nissim Israel Nature & Parks Authority

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Photo By: New Mexico Tourism

To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa

There’s swimming holes, then there’s To Sua Ocean Trench. This 100-foot-deep jade green, saltwater swimming hole is on a volcanic island in Samoa. It's nothing short of magical and worthy of a pilgrimage to the South Pacific alone.

Bottomless Lakes State Park, New Mexico

New Mexico’s first state park, Bottomless Lakes, is home to eight small sinkholes filled with underground water. Swimmers love to take a dip in the deepest -- Lea Lake. The 90-foot-deep water gives the illusion it is bottomless because of its dark greenish-blue water and steep walls.

Rio Celeste River Waterfall, Costa Rica

You haven’t seen blue until you arrive at Rio Celeste Waterfall in northern Costa Rica. This river and waterfall in Tenorio Volcano National Park are a surreal shade of piercing electric-blue due to volcanic minerals, and just as inviting are the numerous natural hot springs along the river’s edge.

Bassin Bleu, Haiti

Hidden in the hills outside Jacmel, Haiti, Bassin Bleu is an oasis of turquoise-blue pools and cascades. After a bumpy ride through palm-tree lined dirt roads, you’ll be rendered speechless when you arrive at Bassin Bleu’s highest waterfall that’s sure to have a few local boys taking jaw-dropping jumps into the shimmering swimming hole below.

Explore more of Haiti’s hidden gems with Haitian-led tour company EIM Adventures.

Seljavallalaug, Iceland

Escape the Blue Hole crowds for a more private dip in one of Iceland’s oldest geothermal pools. At the base of a narrow valley on the country’s south coast, Seljavallalaug is filled with hot spring water trickling down from volcano/glacier Eyjafjallajökull (yes, the one that erupted in 2010).

Ik-Kil Cenote, Mexico

With an estimated 7,000 cenotes in the Yucatan, Ik-Kil, near Chichen Itza, Mexico, is known to be one of the most beautiful with crystal-clear waters and dramatic hanging roots.

Playa Nicuesa Waterfall, Costa Rica

After a day of hiking in the jungles of Piedras Blancas National Park, take a dip at the waterfall near Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, so remote that it is only accessible by boat. Listen for the sounds of the area’s howler monkeys and the calls of the area’s unique 250 species of birds.

Emma Gorge Waterfall, Western Australia

With dramatic gorges, El Questro Wilderness Park in the remote area of Kimberly, Australia, wows visitors with its natural wonders, including this secluded waterfall and swimming hole amidst the towering cliffs of Emma Gorge.

Jellyfish Lake, Palau

This isolated saltwater lake on an uninhabited rock island in Palau, an archipelago paradise 500 miles from the Philippines, is known for its millions of golden jellyfish. But don’t worry, this special species only give a mild sting, making swimming here not only safe, but an unforgettable adventure.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

When you think of Scotland, swimming holes might not come to mind, but a plunge into the crystal clear Fairy Pools on the River Brittle will certainly be nothing less than exhilarating (read: very cold) and perhaps a bit magical. Consider packing a wetsuit.

Dorset Quarry, Vermont

When the summer temps hit stifling levels in Vermont, there’s no place you’d rather be than at this 60-feet-deep swimming hole. Part of the country’s oldest marble quarry, there’s plenty of smooth stone ledges for basking in the sun or for taking a leap into the cool water below.

Saturnia Thermal Baths, Maremma, Italy

An hour’s drive south of Siena through the Chianti countryside, you'll find natural hot springs that border ancient Etruscan ruins. Saturnia's series of rock pools and cascades are opaque white due to the sulphurous minerals and hover around a steamy 98 degrees Fahrenheit. If you get too hot, cool off in the nearby Albegna Lake.

Queen’s Bath, Kauai

While this natural lava rock tide pool in Princeville, Kauai looks inviting, caution is extremely advised due to rapidly changing surf conditions and rogue waves.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Austin, Texas

In the outskirts of Austin, lies this jade green pool, part of a collapsed grotto and 50-foot-waterfall once revered by the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches that lived in the area. Part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Hamilton Pool requires reservations.

Blue Hole, Georgetown, Texas

Texas summers are scorchers, but luckily the state has numerous swimming holes to take the edge of the heat. Blue Hole Park is home to a refreshing lagoon in the south fork of the Gabriel River that’s only a half-hour’s drive from Austin and offers free entrance.

Berekhat Zefira, Dead Sea Region, Israel

For a truly under-the-radar waterhole, head to the Northern Negev in Israel’s Dead Sea region. With the expertise of a local guide, adventurous hikers can explore the hidden pools and water basins in the canyons northwest of Masada, just south of the Dead Sea.

David Stream, Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, Israel

After hiking through the Ein Gedi, a nature reserve and national park with spectacular views of the Dead Sea, you’ll reach a waterfall oasis, a dramatic and refreshing contrast to the surrounding desert landscapes.

Devils Bathtub, South Dakota

In the Black Hills of South Dakota, there’s a deep swimming hole the locals have dubbed Devil’s Bathtub. Hike upstream to find a number of smaller hidden pools carved into the limestone, and even further you’ll come upon the ruins of the Cleopatra Mine north of the creek.

Cascada Verde, Ecuador

Located in the rainforest of the western slopes of Ecuador, the remote Cascada Verde waterfall can be reached on motorcycle with Ecuador Freedom Bike Tours. After a 20-minute hike through the rainforest, this waterfall offers a refreshing dip after riding the mountain curves.

Santa Rosa Blue Hole, New Mexico

An 80-foot deep crystal clear blue spring fed swimming hole and diving mecca, Santa Rosa Blue Hole is suprisingly located off Route 66, among the arid desert landscapes two hours east of Albuquerque.

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