There is nothing more relaxing and awe-inspiring than visiting a pool that has been carved from nature, untouched by the human hand and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. All over the world Mother Nature amazes us with superior swimming holes, towering waterfalls and beautiful lagoons. From the top of the largest waterfall in the world to crystal clear turquoise pools complete with spa fish; here are 8 natural pools to visit for the ultimate relaxation.
8. Havasu Falls -Supai, Arizona
This breathtaking waterfall/swimming hole is located way off the beaten path and requires a $40 permit to enter. It’s awfully hard to get to as it requires either a chartered helicopter ride, a 10-mile steep hike or a pack animal that you have hired. The price, the hassle, it is all worth it as you approach this magnificent natural oasis. A torrent of water streams across the rock face of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, cascading into a pool 100 meters down. The water stays about 72 degrees down in the pool and looks as turquoise as the waters of the Caribbean. Because this swimming hole is so hard to get to, plan on having this spot to yourself. Float on your back, gazing up at the surrounding crater and you will feel the ultimate relaxation.
7. Erawan Falls -Erawan National Park, Thailand
This seven-tiered waterfall spans over 1.5km and each tier falls into a wonderfully bright blue swimming pond, full of harmless fish. This waterfall is named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, as the falls are said to resemble it. The first four tiers are easy to get to, while the final three require some fitness and good shoes. The cascading white waters, the lush tropical rainforest and the clear waters in the pool makes you feel as though this is heaven on earth. We suggest going during the week to avoid the crowds and starting with the highest waterfall and making your way down, stopping to swim at each pool. It is easy to find a quiet pool to sit in and relax while the spa fish nibble at your feet and enjoy the warm sun, the cool waters and the absolute stunning scenery around you.
6. Gunlom -Kakadu National Park, Australia
Gunlom is the magical combination of waterfall and serene plunge pool, surrounded by tall gum trees in Kakadu National Park. Climb to the top of this steep waterfall for some amazing views of the southern most parts of the park. At the top of this climb are amazing, clear rock pools just beckoning you to come in and swim. If you swim upstream at the top of this waterfall you will come across another secret hidden waterfall that many miss. The deep clear, green pools that feed the waterfall and large pool beneath are crocodile free and offer a great way to cool off after your hike. The plunge pool at the bottom of the falls has to be one of the most picturesque scenes in the world, and although this area receives many visitors, it never feels overcrowded.
5. Pools of Oheo -Maui, Hawaii
These famous pools that are often referred to as the seven sacred pools are found just south of Hana on the beautiful island of Maui. These beautifully tiered pools are fed by stunning waterfalls and weather permitting, visitors can take a dip in them. The stream enters into the mighty deep blue ocean while waves crash against the coastline. To avoid the crowds here you will want to explore these pools before noon, preferably on a weekday. Although these pools are often referred to as seven, there are in fact many more than seven pools in the gulch, each surrounded by the unique Hawaiian flora. You will see many visitors and locals jumping into the pools, although officials don’t recommend it due to the dangers. These pools are often closed due to flash flooding that occurs but if you happen to be there when they are open; this experience is on any bucket list for visitors to Maui.
4. Kuang Si Falls -Luang Prabang, Laos
The amazing waterfalls and pools here look so serene you have to see them to believe they actually exist. The water is bright blue, clear and refreshingly cold and while the three-tiered waterfall is quite the site, it is the numerous blue pools that catch our eyes. Walkways and bridges guide visitors around the pools and although one is closed as it is a sacred site, the rest are open to visitors. The very top pool is our favorite, loaded with spa fish that love to nibble at your feet, taking the need away to get a pedicure when you get home. Make sure you hike all the way to the top of the falls for quieter, more relaxing pools. Visitors should make sure they come early in the day and pack a picnic lunch that can be enjoyed in the lush surrounding area.
3. To Sua Ocean Trench -Samoa
To Sua actually translates into big hole and that is exactly what this amazing, breathtaking natural pool is. The swimming hole is actually 98 feet deep and requires swimmers to climb down a ladder to reach the platforms to jump off into the water. The pool itself is tidal and the water goes in and out, taking swimmers with it so make sure you hang onto one of the ropes provided in the trench. During low tide you can actually swim from the trench into the ocean, an amazing experience that should never be missed. The surrounding sites are just as beautiful, lush tropical gardens, an incredible small beach, blowholes, lava fields and tidal pools. If you can close your eyes and imagine what paradise looks like, this is it.
2. Devil’s Pool -Victoria Falls, Zambia
It may just be the most dangerous natural pool in the world and is certainly not for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t mean soaking in this pool isn’t relaxing. Visitors will literally feel as though they are on top of the world, as the pool lies on the top of Victoria Falls, a drop of 360-feet to the bottom. Swimming here is only possible from September to December when the water is low, and at least one person dies going over the falls a year, but if you are a thrill seeker, the pictures and memories are priceless. This is indeed the ultimate infinity pool as the rock lip keeps swimmers from going over the falls. With the force of the Zambezi flowing past you and crashing over the edge, there is no place on earth you would rather be sitting. Just remember, make sure you are a strong swimmer and there are plenty of guides to make sure you aren’t swept off the falls.
1. Fairy Pools -Isle of Skye, Scotland
These beautiful crystal clear pools are located on the River Brittle and entice visitors from all over the world. Although the water is chilly, on a hot sunny day these pools with views of the Black Cuillins are hard to beat in terms of awesome experiences. Visitors here will need good walking shoes and at least an afternoon to spare to find these pools that form in the waterfalls. Hike from the bottom up and as you pass more and more crystal clear blue pools, you will wonder how they get any better. A natural infinity pool sits high on a grassy island bounded by a natural stone wall, and above that are two pools high up on the glen. One choppy from the current of the waterfall, the other prenaturally still, separated by an underwater arch. Although cold, these pools are great for hopping in and out of, enjoying a world away from your own.