50 Natural Pools that you NEED to take a dip in
Do you love to swim? We do too! We prefer to ditch the conventional swimming pools and are guilty of spending HOURS swimming in waterfalls, hot springs, lakes, lagoons, etc. A bath in a natural swimming hole is a fun way of becoming one with nature.
Let’s take a look at 50 spectacular natural pools from around the world. Some of these spots involve getting off the beaten path, but the picturesque rewards are worth the effort.
1) A waterfall with a private natural pool in South of the El Yunque rainforest (Puerto Rico)
By Alyssa Ramos of MyLifesAMovie.com
This beautiful, private natural pool and waterfall in the El Yunque rainforest is only accessible by private trails leading from the few houses in the area. I stayed at one of them that is now a bed and breakfast called Casa Flamboyant, which had two trails on the property to two different natural pools!
2) Lagoon on Secret Beach, Goa (India)
By Rachel of Hippie in Heels
It’s unique because of the lagoon which is a sweet water, or fresh water, lake so near to the ocean. The huts the line each side are simple and sweet and it is the perfect place to relax. The beach is called Cola beach.
3) Kawasan Falls in Cebu (Philippines)
By Erica Villas of Girl, Unspotted
After a three hour trek through a river with the bluest water I’ve ever seen, we reached this paradise. We had to jump and slide off at least five different waterfalls and maneuver our way through rocky terrain, which was 80 percent water. The journey enough to get here was already an unforgettable experience, but reaching Kawasan waterfall and jumping in its turquoise water was definitely one for the books.
4) Nanda Blue Hole, Santo (Vanuatu)
By Simone Lye of The Aussie Flashpacker
Following our University graduation my best friends and I treated ourselves to a P&O South Pacific Cruise. Our first stop was beautiful Santo in Vanuatu. We spent the day exploring the island and our favorite place was Nanda Blue Hole. A stunning, magical blue hole located in the middle of the island. The blue hole is filled cool, fresh water and is colored the most beautiful of blues! It is an incredible feeling to be swimming in fresh, clear water surrounded by natural rainforest!
5) Kikuletwa Hotsprings, near Moshi (Tanzania)
By Nikki Godwin of Where Is Noodles
This beautiful oasis is completely off the beaten track, hidden away among twisting fig trees in the middle of a dusty landscape. The crystal clear waters are a lovely warm temperature making it the perfect place for a relaxing dip. You can even get a free fish pedicure with all the tiny fish that nibble away at your feet (you’d pay a lot for that in the UK!)
6) Akchour Waterfalls near Chefchaouen (Morocco)
By Alexa Albanese of She Tells Travel Tales
A 30 minute grand-taxi ride and 2 hours hiking will bring you to the stunning waterfalls of Akchour. Water bursts through forested cliffs and crashes into a deep, turquoise plunge pool. A perfect place to cool off and lounge in the sun after a long hike through the beautiful Rif mountains of northern Morocco.
7) Erawan Falls, Kanchanaburi (Thailand)
Named after a mythical white three headed elephant, this waterfall has 7 levels, each with a pool you can swim in! The beautiful blue pools are lost in the jungle, surrounded by beautiful banyan tree roots and frequented by electric blue dancing dragonflies – it’s a truly magical place.
8) Pamukkale (Turkey)
By Kiara Gallop of Gallop Around The Globe
The most amazing natural pools I’ve ever taken a dip were in Pamukkale, Turkey. Mineral-rich waters travel down the mountainside, leaving behind these unique terraces of calcium carbonate deposits. This bizarre natural phenomenon was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1998, so although the travertines spread for almost two miles across the Turkish countryside, there is only a small section remaining in which visitors are permitted to bathe. The waters are lovely and warm, and you can scrape the gooey silt from the pool floor to use as a face mask, whilst admiring the incredible views all around you.
9) The Devil’s Pool, the Zambian side of Victoria Falls (Zambia)
By Nicole Smoot of The Adventures of Lil Nicki
Sat perched on the edge of one the largest waterfalls in the world is the Devil’s Pool. The pool has been formed by the creation of a lip on the edge of the falls over thousands of years by erosion. From August to January (times can vary) you can hop in and sit right on the edge of a thundering waterfall with an over 100 meter drop to the bottom of the gorge.
10) Kilangin Falls, in Majayjay Laguna (Philippines)
By Karla Ramos of Karla Around The World
My favorite natural pool is Kilangin Falls, in Majayjay Laguna, Philippines. Also known as Bukal falls which literally means “spring”, the place itself is like reincarnated Fern Gully. The water is crystal clear that you can literally see through the bottom, refreshing though can be very cold. Best of all, it’s not that far from the city and quite a relaxing hike to get to. Just the perfect chill getaway on a hot summer day!
11) Ma’In springs (Jordan)
By Anne Slater-Brooks of TravelTheGlobe4Less
Imagine natural hot springs cascading into a sultry hot pool surrounded by canyon walls 600 metres below sea level. Just a short hop from the Dead Sea, you reach the Ma’In springs split into a public area with small and large waterfalls, and the private springs of the Six Senses Ma’in.
12) Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang (Laos)
By Matilda and Patti of The Travel Sisters
Kuang Si Falls is a spectacular multi-tier waterfall near Luang Prabang, Laos. Water from these falls flows into numerous turquoise pools locals and visitors use as swimming holes. The water is clean and refreshing (read: chilly) but definitely worth taking a dip. For the more adventure-inclined, look for the rope swing to fulfill your Tarzan fantasies. Picnic tables and wooden huts to change into swimming gear are conveniently located nearby.
13) Los Patos De Barahona (Dominican Republic)
By Federica Xotti of travelliAMO
The particularity of this place is that, in the same area, salted and sweet waters coexist: a little river, the shortest of the Antilles, comes down from the mountain creating some little waterfalls and an amazingly beautiful pool, really close to the Caribbean Sea. Los Patos De Barahona, that is not a typical touristic place, is instead full of Dominicans during the week end, when families go there to stay together and refresh in its fresh and clean water.
14) Lake Baikal, Siberia (Russia)
By Stefan and Sebastien of Nomadic Boys
Lake Baikal is the deepest fresh water lake in the world, located in Siberia, Russia. We spent a week at Olkhon island on Lake Baikal during one of our stop overs as part of our Trans Siberian adventures through Russia. Naturally, the sunset over it is also quite impressive!
15) Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan (Philippines)
By Jayce Cairo of Chasing Jayce
The cleanest lake in the Philippines – and possibly in all of Asia – the Kayangan Lake is one of the seven enchanted lakes of Coron. Its crystal-clear waters give a mesmerizing view of the underwater rock formations and provoke an irresistible urge to swim. It’s simply impossible to not fall in love with it.
16) Laguna 69 (Peru)
By Gia of Mismatches Passports
Set among the stunning Andean mountains of northern Peru, Laguna 69 is a beautiful glacial lake that you can visit on a day hike. The trek is not easy since the lake is at about 4000 masl altitude but the surreal view is definitely worth every gasp for air. If you plan to travel to Peru, go north and visit Laguna 69.
17) Semuc Champey (Guatemala)
By Sarah & Nathan of Live Dream Discover
Semuc Champey is a series of stepped turquoise pools that sit atop a limestone bridge naturally created by the Cahabon River. It is a little difficult to get to but is well worth the effort. We actually hope that they don’t improve the road there so as not to spoil the beauty and seclusion of the place.
18) Glacier Pool in Alaska (USA)
By Natalie Morawietz of Infinite Adventures
When thinking of a glacier is swimming the farthest thing from your mind? But on a sunny and warm day, you have the chance to do a polar plunge into a crystal clear pool on Root Glacier in Alaska! I have to admit: it takes some guts to jump into a pool where you know the bottom might lead into a river underneath the glacier. But you know,… it’s that once in a lifetime thing: Do it now or never!
19) Magpupungko pool on Siargao island (Philippines)
By Bogna of Boogie Planet
It’s a natural pool of seawater that shows up when the tide is low, meters away from the coastline. It has all shades of green, blue and turquoise and a rock in the middle of the pool from which people tend to jump into the water. Several meters ahead there is a rock called Magpupungko from which the place has taken it’s name, it looks like someone has plunked it upside-down. I’ve never seen anything like this, anywhere in the World.
20) Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park (Australia)
By Shandos Cleaver of Travelnuity
In the tropical heat of Australia’s Top End, a refreshing swim in a waterhole is the perfect way to chill out. However, firstly you need to ensure that there’s no saltwater croc lurking around. Luckily, the waterholes at Litchfield National Park, 100km south of Darwin, are all crocodile free during the dry season. With its twin waterfalls, the waterhole beneath Florence Falls is my pick for a lazy afternoon swim.
21) El Limon (Dominican Republic)
By Katharina of A Life Beautifully Travelled
One of my favorite Pools has to be El Limon in the Dominican Republic. It takes about 3 hours on horseback to the 52m high waterfall and a little longer by foot. The torrent of whitewater forms a natural pool at its base and we couldn’t resist a dip in the clear water. Our tour guides, two young lads, took the opportunity to show off and jumped from the cliff into the deep water below.
22) Plitvice Lakes (Croatia)
By Kirstie Jeffries of Venga, Vale, Vamos
Plitvice Lakes National Park is made up of a series of the clearest, bluest lakes and waterfalls you can imagine. Depending on how much time you have and your fitness levels, the park has a variety of routes that combine walking and transportation by boat or tram. Get lost on the paths surrounding the pristine pools of this UNESCO World Heritage Site for sights that are straight out of a dream.
23) Hotsprings on Snaefellsness Peninsula (Iceland)
By Tessa Cruz of Viajera Filipina
We were on a 3-person tour of West Iceland / Snaefellsness Peninsula. Our guide Jonas drove the van off-road into a field with no signs or paths. When we got to the spot, I doffed my outer garments and slowly slid into the warm water. It was a fantastic experience and made me feel connected to the earth and to nature.
24) Waterfall on Wadi David Hike in Ein Gedi (Israel)
By Harley Konner of Wanderlust Travel Productions
There are a few waterfalls in the middle of the desert! I’ve been there once in 1997 and again in 2015 and the water level is still the same which is astonishing. Even my dad was there in the 60s and 70s and he said it hasn’t changed either. The waterfalls appear on this hike in the middle of desert and mountains and then you turn the corner and viola – there’s water! It’s amazing. And just when you think you’ve had or seen enough, you go a little more and there’s another one!
25) Lake Louise in Banff (Canada)
By Taylor Lorenz of Taylors Tracks
Lake Louise is known as one of, if not the most iconic image of Banff National Park, and that’s because of it’s spectacular, picturesque beauty not only in person but in pictures as well. It’s stunning color is as blue in person as it is in the pictures, and the lake itself is framed perfectly by the famous rocky mountains. The cool lake is made from glacier water and surrounded by hiking trails, making it a place to visit not only for those who love the outdoors, but for anyone who can appreciate its natural beauty. It’s possible to swim here in summer months.
26) Barracuda Lake in Coron, Palawan (Philippines)
By Liz Villasenor of Lizzie Meets World
Apart from perfect beaches, Coron is also home to several magnificent lakes, one of which is the Barracuda Lake, so-called because of its barracuda residents. It’s a curious lake because of the sudden temperature changes — there are patches of cold water and with temperature as high as 38C, said to be volcanic in origin. It’s also composed of layers of fresh water, salt water, and brackish water. It is best enjoyed just floating around or swimming along its jagged rocky walls. Perfect for divers, too!
27) Olivine Pools on Maui (USA)
By Nat & Tim Harris of A Cook Not Mad
Olivine Pools on Maui is one of our favorite natural pools. The trek down is short but a little treacherous, what you’re rewarded with are a few deep pools that are sheltered from the crashing waves. It’s a great place to hang out with a picnic.
28) Tavoro Waterfalls, in Bouma National Heritage Park, Taveuni Island (Fiji)
By Carole Terwilliger Meyers of Travels with Carole
This amazing hideaway can be reached via a grassy trail that is full with tiny frogs. There is has a ledge behind the waterfall, off which people jump into the water. The sounds are heavenly.
29) Monkey Pools near Lusaka (Zambia)
By Tabitha and Tamina Buchner of We Found A Way
Going to take a dip in the beautiful Monkey Pools is perfect for a day-long getaway from busy Lusaka. To get there, you have to pay entrance to a private club where the pools are located, but in exchange you get full Access to all the facilities around, including BBQ, a swimming pool (if the natural pools aren’t enough), a fire pit and a huge Green area. If you go before noon you will often have the pools all to yourself! Bring some food, take a hike around the area and enjoy your day in the sun.
30) The Sea of Galilee, a.k.a. Kinneret (Israel)
By Hadas Aharon of The Fashion Matters
Located in Tiberias, North of Israel, the Kinneret is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. For visitors, Tiberias offer a wide variety of water sports, hot springs, and luxury hotels.
31) Angseri Hot Springs, Bali (Indonesia)
By Meritxell and Roger of Tourism With Me
Angseri Hot spring are In the district of Tabanan, there are two open air pools and 4 small private cabins. The color of the water in green as its composition is full of sulfates and minerals.The place is for locals and we only saw another couple of tourists, do not expect a fancy spa but if you look at the pictures is worth it and surrounded by nature.
32) YS Falls located in Cornwall (Jamaica)
By Tip and Tarah Vongbouthdy of Fit Two Travel
Arriving on a tractor to YS Falls was absolutely breathtaking. The view of the clear blue falls cascading over seven levels was pure beauty. It was so refreshing to jump off the cliff and land in the natural body of the falls.
33) Krka Natural Park (Croatia)
Claudia & Pasquale of Due cuori e una Ciccions
This natural pool is a paradise on earth where you can take a bath under the waterfall. We reached the “pool” with a long promenade through water and trees, totally immersed in the nature. The water is the coldest we’ve ever tried but it has been worth it!
34) Ojo de Agua on Ometepe Island (Nicaragua)
By Jennifer Doré Dallas of Moi, mes souliers
Not too far from town, this beautiful natural swimming hole and mineral water refuge is a perfect getaway in the hot Nicaragua sun. Although the bottom has been reconstructed for safety, the natural pool is still authentic and fun to visit!
35) Bristol Falls. Lincoln, Vermont (USA)
By Dana H Freeman of Find and Go Seek
This Vermont swimming hole offers enough areas for everyone to swim from babies to teenagers to adults. The focal point here are of course are the falls. You will find the most courageous folks leaping off them, going down on their bottom like a slide or any other way it seems feasible to get down. For those who want to try cliff jumping, there are high ones, low ones and varying heights in between. There is even a rope swing. A bit farther down the river where the falls let out, the water is very shallow, clean and clear. There are boulders to sit and plenty of room to swim and explore.
36) Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park, NT (Australia)
By Vi of Short Travel Trips
Don’t pass by Bitter Springs if you are traveling through Northern Territory in Australia. You won’t find better place to relax after long day drive then these crystal water thermal pools surrounded by palms and tropical woodlands.
37) Waterfall in White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire (USA)
By Cathy Merrifield of RoarLoud
The crystal clear water of the pool is rather cold but refreshing on a hot summer day in White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire. This beautiful waterfall is on Crawford Path trail to Mt. Pierce near the town of Twin Mountain. The day was special because it was taken on my third date with Frank after he completed hiking his first 4,000 foot mountain on a very hot 4th of July.
38) Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, Texas (USA)
By Estefania Hernandez of Find New Adventures
The most amazing natural pool that I have taken a dip in is Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, TX, USA. I went with my family and we had an amazing time! While swimming I saw many turtles of different sizes. There is also a trail that you can hike that takes you to the Pedernales River and it is very pretty.
39) Secret Lagoon in Fludir (Iceland)
By Katelyn Michaud of Diaries of a Wandering Lobster
While most people head to the famous Blue Lagoon, Iceland is full of amazing natural and manmade lagoons and natural pools. Reykjavik is home to over 7 natural swimming pools with a cheap entrance fee. However, the best natural pool is the “Secret Lagoon” located just off the Golden Circle loop. It’s quiet, full of locals, and extremely relaxing. Not to mention way cheaper than the Blue Lagoon!
40) Purple Glow Lake, Nanjing (China)
By Chris Walker-Bush of Aussie on the Road
China’s built up eastern coast isn’t renowned for spots of tranquility, and bustling Nanjing certainly makes it hard to get away from the crowds and traffic. Purple Glow Lake, located in the Purple Mountain park on the edge of town, is a deliciously cool swimming spot far from the majority of the city crowds. Surrounded by weeping willows, the lake is a popular swimming spot with youthful expats and aging Chinese locals – making it a great place to take a dip and then indulge in a little people watching.
41) Church’s Blue Hole, Andros Island (Bahamas)
By Natalie Vereen-Davis of Cosmos Mariners
Hidden away on the largest (but least populated) Bahamian island is this massive blue hole. The opening stretches over half a mile wide: if that wasn’t daunting enough, it’s estimated that the blue hole is at least 400 feet deep. Since Church’s Blue Hole is a part of the limestone underground cave system that runs under Andros, there’s no way to really tell how deep it is, as the majority of the system has never been explored. If you ever find yourself in northern Andros Island, head into the woods, climb up on the diving ladder, hold your breath, and take a leap!
42) Lake Siljan (Sweden)
By Laura of Travelers Universe
Lake Siljan is Sweden’s sixth largest lake. It is located in the Dalarna Region where the cute painted wooden horses come from. The lake is like it’s been taken out of a fairytale. It is surrounded by little villages, pine forests and lots of camping sites. I prefer colder climates, and I found Siljan not only beautiful but also relaxing, with very few tourists, which meant plenty of opportunities to interact with the friendly locals.
43) Lake Taupo (New Zealand)
By Shanti Burton of A Wanderphile
Gorgeous Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand. At 616 sq km (238 sq m) it is roughly the same size as Singapore! The lake lies in a dormant volcanic crater in the center of the North Island. It is well-known for trout fishing and cycling competitions around the perimeter. But for me it’s nostalgic for childhood memories when we braved the freezing water. My parents forced us to wash our hair in it and we collected pumice for my nana’s feet!
44) Hot Springs in Saturnia in Tuscany (Italy)
By Carol Perehudoff of Wandering Carol
Legend has it that the natural springs of Terme di Saturnia in the Maremma region of Tuscany was created by the god Saturn, after he became furious with man because of their constant wars. He threw down a lightening bolt in anger, causing the springs to burst forth. Today, the springs are known for their healing properties and are very popular with the locals.
45) Hierve el Agua near Oaxaca (Mexico)
By Emma Lindsey Rose of Fizzy Cola
A series of natural rock formations outside of Oaxaca in Mexico is home to one of the most unique natural springs I’ve ever visited. The flow of fresh water over the rocks has lead to a build up of calcium carbonate, and in turn, natural infinity pools. Visiting Hierve el Agua will be a welcome respite for many travellers due to it’s relaxing waters and stunning views. Most hostels and hotels in Oaxaca will help you find a tour group, where the springs can be visited along with the ancient ruins of Mitla for around 150-200 MEX Pesos.
There are gorgeous hidden natural water formations all throughout Mexico in fact. They are called cenotes. These vary in levels of extremity, with some cenotes being for the adventurous explorer, and others being both child and elderly friendly. Not an experience to miss if you take a trip to Mexico.
46) Hot Springs in Wulai (Taiwan)
By Laura Bronner of Collecting Labels
A day trip from Taipei, Wulai hot springs are free and sit along an icy cold river. Cross over the Nanshih River and turn right until you run into steaming pools full of retirees. Prepare for searing hot water (around 80C), but after a few minutes you can grab onto one of the ropes and throw yourself into the river to cool off.
47) Salt Lake, Salt Lake City in Utah (USA)
By Francia Benson Gone Wild of Francia Benson Gone Wild
The lake has tons of salt. It is surrounded by mountains. The reflection of the mountains in the water is amazing. In the lake even if you can’t swim you are able to float due to the amount of salt. I love floating with my eyes closed. You will see many buffaloes, antelopes, coyotes, and birds drinking water in the lake.
48) Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye (Scotland)
By Penelope Kopala of Phileas Fogg Adventures
Last summer I visited the amazing Fairy Pools in Scotland. These well-known pools attract visitors from all over the world that admire the crystal blue and green colors. Some brave people swim in the cold waters but I preferred to walk. It’s better to go there when the weather is good (not rainy) otherwise it will be very difficult to walk in the paths. The must-have accessories are a jacket, as it’s cold even during the summer, and your hike boots.
49) Kerosene Creek (New Zealand)
By Gemma Cleaver of Gemma Jane Adventures
It’s no surprise that the geothermal activity around Rotorua and Taupo in New Zealand have created interesting areas to visit, such as Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, with it’s famous ‘Champagne pool’. While it’s well worth a visit don’t miss out of the many natural hot pools dotted around the area. They are free to visit, and several pools are formed where a cool river and hot one meet, allowing you to adjust the temperature based on your location. Kerosene creek is one such pool, perfect for sitting or crouching in. The Waterfall provides a hot massage, and a row of rocks at the other side provide some respite if the water gets too hot. Why not make the most of them and go on a hot pool crawl, as I did, or simply find a good spot and enjoy a relaxing, free soak.
50) Ditumabo Mother Falls, Baler, Aurora (Philippines)
By Julia Anduiza of Kale Moss
Nestled inside a jungle near the Philippines’ surf capital of Baler lies Ditumabo Mother Falls. A very bumpy tricycle ride and a 30-minute trek on slippery rocks and bamboo bridges lead us to the 50-metre high wonder falls. Luckily, my family and I were the sole trekkers that day, allowing us full ownership – albeit temporarily – of the 30-metre wide pool. A refreshing and sensory experience after the rocky trail along the way for sure.
BONUS: Pong Dueat Geyser, Near Pai (Thailand)
Sandro of Drifter Planet
Pong Dueat Geyser can be reached by taking the road to Pai. This natural pool heated by hot springs, is in the middle of a quiet forest. If you’re lucky, you can share a bath with monks and come out clean and blessed like us.
So which of these natural pools did you like the most?
Which one will you visit next? Let us know in the comments!
A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Sonal Kwatra Paladini