The Devil’s Pool
More than twice the height of Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls in southeastern Africa measures in at 108 metres tall and more than 1676 metres wide. But for some brave souls, the top of the Falls is just another swimming hole. With water levels at their lowest from September to December, swimmers venture into the Devil’s Pool, an area with minimal current, mere feet from where the water gushes hundreds of feet down into the gorge below. Not many natural pools can boast their own waterfalls!
Barton Springs Pool
Fed from freshwater underground springs that were once used for purification rituals by the Tonkawa Native American tribe, the Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas, covers three acres and maintains a temperature of about 20 degrees year-round. Admission to the 5.8-metre deep pool ranges from mid-March until the end of September. For residents, the cost is $3 for adults and $1 for kids (non-residents pay $8 for adults and $3 for kids).
Bondi Icebergs public pool
A 15-minute drive from Sydney’s CBD, where the southeastern coast meets the Tasman Sea, sits The Bondi Baths at Bondi Icebergs. The historic 50-metre public saltwater pool has been around for more than a century and features a small beach, bar and kiddie pool – not to mention the occasional wave crashing harmlessly into the pool. The entry fee ($7 for adults; $5 for kids) isn’t much considering the million-dollar view.
Hot Springs National Park
Located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA, Hot Springs National Park was designated by US President Andrew Jackson as a special reservation in 1832. The 47 61.6-degree natural pools and springs within the 2,225-hectare nature reserve have been a sanctuary for those seeking healing and solace for more than a century.
The East Fork Black River in southeastern Missouri, USA, cascades over and around billion-year-old lava rock to form dozens of small rivulets and wading pools in the 3,460-hectare Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
Dudu Blue Lagoon
Does floating in a secluded 30-metre-deep freshwater pool so pristine that it glimmers with a shade of cobalt blue sound like paradise to you? Then check out the Dudu Blue Lagoons, located near the town of Cabrera on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. The lagoon also features underwater caves, making it a popular scuba diving destination.
Cenote Ik Kil
Tons of natural swimming holes, known as cenotes, cover the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, but Ik Kil is deemed to be the most beautiful cenote, by far. Not only is the deep blue pool surrounded by hanging vines and serene rainforests, but it’s also a mere walking distance from the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.
These breathtaking waterfalls and blue-green natural pools can be found on the Havasupai Indian Reservation within Havasu Canyon in Arizona. Each year, the spectacular Havasu Falls attracts thousands of visitors.
Sua Ocean Trench
Volcanic eruptions on the Upolu island in Samoa created this stunning aquamarine grotto. Sua Ocean Trench literally translates into a “big hole” – the perfect name for a 30-metre deep pool. Visitors can descend into the tranquil waters by climbing down a long wooden ladder.
Cave of Poetry
The legend has it that a beautiful princess used to come and bathe in this sinkhole in Roca, Italy. Poets from all over Southern Italy came to be inspired by her beauty, and that’s how the name “Cave of Poetry” came about. Today, people from all over the world come to enjoy the turquoise waters.