Warning! No running. No jumping. No diving. No life guard on duty! Bombing prohibited!
These are all signs that greet us at public pools the world over. Sure, safety is important, but so is having fun, and there is only so much pleasure one can derive from green hair, flapping inflatables and wearing chlorine like perfume.
Swimming wild in lakes, pools, ponds, underground caverns and secret rivers is an opportunity to experience the best of untouched nature at its most spectacular. Far from the maddening public bath houses and crowded beaches there exists a watery treasure trove of wondrous places waiting to heal all wounds, alleviate all aches and restore balance to mind, body and soul (if you’re into that sort of thing).
From the beautiful blue waters of glacial lakes and lazing in a steamy thermal spa to doggy paddling through ancient Mayan caves and swimming with friendly jellyfish, here are some of our favourite spots to swim wild around the world.
1. Jellyfish Lake, Philippines
Fancy taking a dip with millions of jellyfish and live to tell about it? Enter jellyfish Lake in the centre of Eil Malk Island in Palau, Philippines. Here you can swim wild with real jellyfish without the fear of that nasty stinging sensation spoiling your fun!
What is wilder than taking a dip in a geothermal spa? Getting into your locker or buying drinks without a bracelet with a chip in it! Voted as the best medical spa worldwide by Conde Nast Traveller, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a “by product” of the nearby Svartsengi power plant and water temperature averages at around 40 °C (104 °F) year round.
3. Emerald Lake, Canada
Emerald Lake is located in the Yoho National Park in British Columbia, Canada. With nothing but cool water and ancient green mountains for miles around this is the sort of place where you can act like you are in a Shampoo commercial and see the calm waters ripple to infinity without landing up on Youtube.
4. Lake Malawi, Tanzania (Malawi and Mozambique)
Baptised the “lake of stars” and wedged between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, Lake Malawi was “discovered” by Dear Dr. David Livingstone just over 150 years ago. Home to over 1,000 species of fish and surrounded by rustic villages, it is Africa’s third largest and second deepest lake and the world’s first freshwater park. Dive bombing is allowed but be sure to pack extra strong hippo repellent!
5. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Nestled at the foot of the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia is Lake Bled, a remnant of the last ice age and the most visited attraction in Slovenia. This glacial lake features a church on an island and an ancient castle on the banks, (not to mention a glitzy Casino and an Irish Pub).
Read more: Join us paddle boarding across Lake Bled
6. Yal-Ku Lagoon & Ecopark Kantun Chi, Cancun
About an hour south of Cancun in the heart of the Mayan Riviera lies the Yal-Ku Lagoon. Here you can take a dip at your leisure or head down to Kantun-Chi Eco Park and explore several fresh water cenotes (caves) dramatically lit up like a watery Mardi Gras.
Discover a vortex of calm in the Torres del Paine National Park and explore the ancient forests, breath-taking glacial lakes, snow capped mountains and expansive river valleys of the Chilean Lake District. If you are one of those adventurous spirits with an unquenchable thirst for waters less travelled, why not join us on our next 11-day Group Getaway to Chile?
Images: Flash Pack and Shutterstock