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Water is the essence of all life. Our existence is dependent on a healthy ocean and an abundant supply of fresh water. We are all connected to this life source and in turn all connected to each other. For this reason and many more, the following aquatic experiences will have a special effect on your mind, body and soul, as well as being truly spectacular in nature.
The Havasupai Falls are located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The beautiful blue-green lagoon below the falls and the canyon colored background are breathtaking. This exquisite place attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Havasupai people are intimately connected to their land and the water, so it is important that you respect this special place when you visit. You can absolutely swim beneath the falls though, which will feel quite amazing after the 16 kilometer (10 mile) hike in.
The Great Blue Hole is the largest sinkhole in the ocean and is located off the coast of Belize next to Lighthouse Reef. This massive hole is 300 meters (984 feet) across and 125 meters (410 feet) deep. It is home to an incredible variety of marine animals and vibrant coral formations. The crystal clear water, abundance of sea life and sheer magnitude of this blue hole attracts divers and ocean enthusiasts from around the world. If you are a diver, this must make it onto your bucket list.
During the rainy season, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park turns into a vast pool system. There are hundreds of brilliant turquoise colored lakes that form between the sand dunes. The pools can reach up to three meters (10 feet) deep and temperatures sustain around 30°C. Taking a dip in one of these magnificent pools is truly divine in the heat of the desert. There are so many that you can definitely have your own private dipping pool.
While there are multiple places in Costa Rica where you can enjoy volcano-heated hot springs, the most famous area is around La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano. There are several resorts that offer access to these body and soul soothing springs, as well as a few local spots. The hot springs have healing properties because they are enriched with wonderful minerals from deep within the earth. There is nothing quite like taking a natural hot tub after a long day of adventuring around Costa Rica.
Crystal River is the manatee capital of the world. There is no where else on the planet that you will find such a large population of manatees during the winters months than here. The manatees congregate in the crystal clear river during the winter because the water temperature here is a steady 22-23°C year around, while the temperature elsewhere during these months is typically around 18°C. There are over 70 springs that feed into Crystal River’s King Bay. You can take a snorkel tour and swim with these gentle giants in the most pristine and translucent river you’ve ever seen.
Big Mayor Cay in the Little Exumas in the Bahamas is home to the world famous swimming beach pigs. The pigs are not native to the island, but have settled into this tropical paradise. No one is entirely sure how the pigs ended up on the island, but some speculate they were survivors of a ship wreck. The island is uninhabited by humans, so you will have to take a boat to visit these amazing island piggies. The best time to visit them is in the morning. During hurricane season, the pigs are relocated for their safety by a local water sports company.
The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is a highly coveted attraction in Iceland. It is located in the lava fields in Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The hot mineral rich water stays around 37–39 °C (99–102 °F). The lagoon is manmade but earth-powered. The opaque blue water is full of silica and sulfur and has been known to heal skin aliments. It is sure to melt away all your worries and warm your bones in the chilly Icelandic climate.
The Dead Sea is located between Israel and Jordan and is the lowest point on the planet. The Dead Sea, or Yam Ha-Melakh in Hebrew, is so salty that no fish can survive in it. However, its waters are incredibly healing and can do wonders for your health. What’s quite extraordinary about swimming in the Dead Sea is that you become shockingly buoyant due to the incredibly high salt content. The surrounding Negev Desert is a worthy site in and of itself too.
Whale sharks stick around the Maldives all year long. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Program has identified 298 individual whale sharks since 2006 and has since had 4,063 whale shark encounters. In other parts of the world, the whale sharks are seasonal visitors. It is easy to understand why a large population of whale sharks would permanently remain in the Maldives though. Who wouldn’t want to live in warm crystal clear seas with an abundance of food?
There is a lake in the middle of the Rock Islands in Palau, Micronesia where you can swim with millions of jellyfish. This bizarre lake is filled with innumerable stingless jellyfish. These “friendly” jellies have lived in this lake for an estimated 12,000 years and over time lost their ability to sting because they have no natural predators in the lake. This experience is absolutely mesmerizing and surprisingly very peaceful.
The Devil’s Pool is a rock pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls. This experience is not for the faint-hearted. From photographs, it looks as if you would get swept right over the falls if you were to get in, but due to thousands of years of erosion, the pool is actually contained by a barrier wall. With the thunderous roar of the falls and rushing water just meters away, a dip in the Devil’s Pool is an experience that will make your heart pound and your adrenaline soar.