Mother nature has some of the best natural pools and natural baths, created long before humans had ever invented them. It’s hard to limit this list to six as there are hundreds and thousands of beautiful natural pool locations around the world. It’ll be hard to resist adding them all to your bucket list – if you can’t visit all six pools, at least see one in your lifetime.
Natural Pools All Day, Everyday!
1. Terrace baths in Turkey
The turquoise filled white travertine terraces that cascade the side of the cliff are a spectacular sight. The geological phenomenon that is Pamukkale, translates to “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. It is also the site of the remarkably well-preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis. This unique combination of natural and man-made wonders sets Pamukkale apart from other hot springs around the world.
Hierapolis and Pamukkale are a joint UNESCO Heritage site, after taking a dip in the warm terrace pools spend the day walking around the ruins of the ancient spa city.
The Travertine Pools are open April 15-Oct 2 from 8am-9pm and Oct 3-April 14 from 8:30am-5pm. The entrance fee is TL35 ~ $8.80 USD ($11.38 CAD). The Antique Pool is open from Nov-March 8am-5:30pm, and April-Oct 8am-7:30pm. Entrance fee is TL33, around $8 USD ($10 CAD). Bring your own towel!
Tip: Go in the morning, it’s less crowded then!
2. To Sua Ocean Trench in Lotofaga, Samoa
Image via @siobhanstorey
Many people consider this giant natural pool in Samoa to be one of the most unusual places to swim. Funnily enough, they also consider it one of the best natural pools in the world. That being said, this natural wonder is breathtaking. The hole is about 30 meters deep and surrounded by gorgeous, lush greenery. To Sua formed during an ancient lava eruption when the land around it slipped away. It consists of two large holes joined by a lava tube cave. The main hole – the pool – is filled with seawater and is connected to the ocean by an underwater cave. The pool is fed by a series of canals and tunnels with water from the ocean pounding just metres away.
The turquoise water is accessed via a ladder – or if you’re brave, by jumping off of the rim of the hole. The water is exceptionally clear, colourful fish dart about, and the bottom – when you can reach it – is sandy.
To Sua is open Monday to Sunday from 7am to 6pm and costs $15 to enter.
3. Öschinensee Lake in Lötschberg, Switzerland
Lake Öschinensee is a pristine mountain lake, fed by the glacial brooks of the three-thousand-meter peaks of Blüemlisalp, Oeschinenhorn, Fründenhorn and Doldenhorn. The water in the lake warms up to 60 °F (20 °C) in the summer which is perfect for swimming! The rich mountain flora with orchids, gentian and Edelweiss combined with the herds of grazing sheep and cows grazing and wild animals on the mountain slopes attract nature lovers to the lake. Whether you come here to swim, hike, or simply sit and take in the view – you’ll enjoy yourself tremendously.
4. God’s Bath in Sonora, California
Image via @blainetc13
This natural pool got it’s name for a reason. This natural pool was once one of California’s secret swimming holes. These days it’s a pretty popular spot because it’s a pretty amazing. God’s Bath has clear water and smooth rocky architecture that provides a natural playscape. Waterfall slides, underwater bridges, crevices and ledges to jump from into abyssal depth. God’s Bath is not for the faint of heart. It definitely is the place for those of you who are adventurous or experienced with hiking. The hiking trail is rated as challenging and potentially dangerous, it is not suitable for children or pets.
5. The Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan
Bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan – is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments at area resorts. The Dead Sea has the lowest elevation and is the lowest body of water on the surface of Earth.
The Dead Sea is roughly 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish (hence its name). The high salinity prevents macroscopic aquatic organisms such as fish and aquatic plants from living in it, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present.
Due to it’s salinity, it is impossible to sink in the Dead Sea, so if you’re not a swimmer, this is a great place for you to go! The unique property of the water makes this one of the best natural pools, simply for the experience.
6. Havasupai, Havasu Falls in Grand Canyon
A unique hidden oasis in the midst of the canyon in Havasupai tribal lands with crystal clear blue water surrounded by green trees and the fiery red walls of the canyon. Havasu Falls is part of the Havasupai American Indian Reservation. This paradise is for those who can plan ahead and enjoy hikes of 8 miles or more. To reach this heavenly gem you’ll need to hike 10 miles (16km) both ways through the grand canyon! Use this hiking calculator to determine how long it would take you to do this hike based on your abilities whether you’re average, athletic or a seasoned hiker.
Be sure to bring A LOT of water. It will be even better if you get insulated bottles and fill them with cold water. There’s nothing better than cold water in the heat. Get super comfortable, high-quality hiking boots and water shoes. You will not be able to survive without them. If you’re carrying a backpack; think twice about what you’re bringing with you. The lighter, the better. That being said, pack smart and ensure you’re not forgetting the essentials or that you’re sacrificing safety. Be prepared , especially if you’re not an experienced hiker. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it if you’re up for this kind of adventure you mustn’t hesitate!
Contact the official Havasupai tribe tourist office for entry and camping permits!