“It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy…”
And when temps rise, we like to cool off at our local sandy beaches and lakes. We’re fortunate we have wonderful natural swimming spots here in Victoria, Canada.
Thankfully, though, the world is full of beautiful beaches and great places to swim!
Surprising places to swim
Some of the most unusual places we’ve swum are Mexico’s underground cenotes in the Riviera Maya.
Guest contributors Agness and Cez of eTramping have also wondered what amazing places to swim our beautiful planet is hiding. And they’ve found some quite unique spots to cool off and admire the scenery. Ready to check them out?
Let’s dive right into their post on these surprising places to swim…
1. Gippsland Lakes, Australia
The star trails at Wilsons Promontory ensure that the Gippsland Lakes will be one of the most magical places you’ll ever get the chance to swim. Dreamy starry nights aside, there’s something else that makes this place worthwhile to visit.
The waters in the area are filled with a special kind of dinoflagellate. When the water is disturbed, they create a fantastic bioluminescent effect. Now you can swim amongst the stars, quite literally. Of course, don’t miss the chance to spot the Aurora Australis if you’re in the area. No Vegas light show will ever match what nature has on display.
2. Havasu Falls, Arizona, United States
Among the vast redness of the Grand Canyon lies one of the most beautiful places to swim in the state, and maybe even the entire country. This hidden gem lies on Havasupai territory, which is native land. If you want to swim at the base of these falls, you’ll need a permit.
Oh, and since the area is so inaccessible, you’ll have to hike all the way there. Hikers reading this will gleefully tap their feet in anticipation of the challenge. Even if you’re not particularly fond of hiking, all those thoughts will disappear once the falls caress your skin – perfect after a hot Arizonan day!
3. The Blue Grotto, Croatia
The island of Vis in the Croatian Adriatic hides some truly mystical places to swim. After a short ferry ride from Split or Dubrovnik, small boats can access the area through an entrance on the side of the cave. Travelers are usually taken here just before noon because that’s when the cave is most spectacular. The sea takes the sun’s rays and splashes them throughout the limestone cave to create a mesmerizing blue effect.
Vis also houses another similar cavern, called the Green Grotto. As you might expect, instead of the sapphire blue, you’re met with an emerald green hue.
4. Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
A short drive away from the capital of Muscat, this beautiful sinkhole can be found within the Hawiyat Najam Park. The area has picnic sites to make your visit more pleasant. As for the water in this place – it’s the very definition of “crystal clear,” with limestone reflections giving it its emerald green color.
We wouldn’t call it a place to cool off, so to speak, as the water is actually quite warm. Still, it’s probably better than the hot Oman sun. Swim with the little fishes that hang out there, or observe the sea turtles coming up for air just a few hundred feet away.
5. Kuang Si Falls, Laos
The area around Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and with good reason. Not only do the villages have their usual East-Asian architectural merit, but the unspoiled natural splendor of the place will have your jaw on the floor in no time. You can also find one of the most serene places to swim here. After haggling your way through the myriad of tuk-tuk drivers offering to take you to Kuang Si, you’re in for a treat. The tropical trees leave only threads of light touching the warm crystalline waters.
The best part about Kuang Si are the vines that hang from the trees. Experience the feeling of being Tarzan for a day, and swing from tree to tree. Or dive right into the water for a big splash – just be careful of the swimmers below. You might find some less visited, secret pools if the crowds are too much, though we won’t spoil the surprise.
6. Llyn Cau, Wales
Situated in the impressive Welsh mountain range of Cadair Idris, Llyn Cau is a deep blue lake surrounded by steep walls that remind us of a natural citadel. It’s one of those places to swim if you’re a writer looking for inspiration.
Not surprisingly, local legends say that anyone who sleeps on the summit of Cadair Idris will wake up a poet. Of course, the same myths imply that you might wake up a madman. Nonetheless, you’ll definitely enjoy the quiet surroundings. Those looking to get away from the usual racket of tourist traps will especially appreciate the place.
7. Deception Island, Antarctica
We don’t think anyone packs a swimsuit for their Antarctica cruise. Who would be crazy enough to take a dip in the freezing waters of the south? A lot of people, apparently – near the comically-named Deception Island.
If you want a place to swim that gives you the ultimate in bragging rights, we hear this is it. Of course, don’t expect to splash around like at your local swimming pool. Most often, people take a short plunge and then scurry back to the ship’s crew, waiting for you with fresh towels. So your swim will be short – but you can console yourself the rest of your trip by peeking at playful penguins sliding down snow-covered slopes and wondrous icebergs more humungous than most buildings.
Disclosure: Agness and Cez are heading off to Antarctica with Oceanwide Expeditions in January, 2018 (when it’s summer there) – and they can’t wait!
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Agness Walewinder, together with Cez Krol, are creators of eTramping, a travel blog providing best tips on how to slowly but surely explore the world. Originally from Poland, they seek out intense and unique trips – from cycling across Vietnam to exploring the spiritual in Portugal’s Sanctuary of Fatima.