By Rachael Funk
There is nothing like exploring the natural scenery in a new country. Hiking through forests, climbing mountains, and swimming in serene lakes are all great ways to connect with nature during your trip. Hidden around the world somewhere between the tallest mountain peaks and the lowest valleys lay an overlooked wonders of the world: crystal clear waters. Though some are swimmable and some are protected, these refreshing stops are sure to provide a travel experience you won’t soon forget!
Image posted by Instagram user @miraclesofnature
Rotomairewhenua (Blue Lake)
Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand
Known as one of the clearest lakes in the world, Rotomairewhenua in New Zealand is estimated to have a visibility of almost 80 meters. Blue Lake’s water is so clean, its clarity is comparable to distilled water. The blue-violet hues of the lake are a natural phenomenon that only occur in such clear water. A two-day hike from the boundary of Nelson Lakes National Park, you can reach it on foot, or join a scenic helicopter flight to see the beautiful lake from above.
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Frazier Island, Australia
One of the most-visited natural site on Frazier Island, this lake holds only rainwater and is not fed by any other sources. The sand, which is pure white silica, acts as a filter that cleans the water and feels amazing to walk on. The varying shades of blues and greens in the lake make it not only beautiful to look at, but provide a great opportunity for humblebragging about your incredible vacation on social media.
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Formed after the collapse of a volcano thousands of years ago, this caldera lake is famous for its deep blue color and purity. The seventh-deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States, the view of Crater Lake is often obscured by the clouds thanks to its high altitude. Fed almost entirely by snowfall, the lake’s record clarity was measured at over 100 feet.
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Five Flower Lake
Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
The gem of Jiuzhaigou Valley, this lake dazzles visitors with its intense spectrum of colors. A local legend says a mountain goddess who lived in the Jiuzhaigou Valley and a god from west of the Jiuzhai Valley fell in love. As a token of his affection, the god presented the goddess with a beautiful mirror. In her eagerness to accept the gift, the legend says she dropped the mirror which broke into 108 pieces and became the 108 beautiful lakes covering Jiuzhaigou Valley.
Image posted by Instagram user @culturetrip
Petermann Glacier, Greenland
When the weather warms in Greenland, meltwater channels form from the runoff of the Petermann Glacier. Puddles and rivers form from the melting ice, which grow and often join together as they roll down the glacier. Though getting here in person can be treacherous, the striking contrast of the blue water and the white glacier are certainly visions to behold – a poignant reminder of the impact of climate change.
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Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
Creating a spectacular landscape in Brazil, the sand dunes in this region collect fresh rain water to create seasonal pools of crystal clear water. You can take a scenic flight over the pools or explore the area on foot and go for a swim when the mood strikes. The sparse surroundings provide an otherworldly ambiance as you explore a largely undiscovered wonder of Brazil.
Image posted by Instagram user @super_illy
To Sua Ocean Trench
Carved into a lava field near Lotogage village in Samoa, To Sua Ocean Trench is a surprisingly easy-to-miss swimming hole. An ancient eruption created the hole which is now filled with sea water and connects to the ocean via an underwater cave. You can reach the pristine water by climbing down the wooden ladder or, if you’re incredibly brave, by jumping. The tidal surge here is strong, so a rope stretches across the middle of the pool for swimmers to grab in case they feel the pull of the tide.
Image posted by Instagram user @jeffbalmain
Calanque d’En Vau
This gorgeous inlet just outside Marseille is accessible only by foot or by boat. Imposing cliffs surround the sparkling clear water, creating a dramatic view for those who stop by. The blues, greens, and whites of the surrounding area make Calanque d’En Vau an ideal spot for a picnic and a swim.