Sensational Swimming Spots to Impress Your Friends
Over half (51%) of global travelers* are looking to experience something a little different on their next getaway, hoping to visit a place that none of their friends have been to or perhaps even heard of. If swimming is at the top of your list of vacay musts, you should consider swapping the conventional pool or popular beachside retreat for one of these truly unique swimming spots. From ancient underground grottos to an indulgent geothermal retreat, these swimming holes are sure to induce some real FOMO from all of your friends.
Cenote Ik Kil, Chichén Itzá, Mexico
For travelers who find themselves in Mexico, a swim in a cenote, meaning "sacred well", is a must. The ancient Mayan civilization believed that the cenotes were portals to speak to the Gods and constructed their villages around them. Today, these underground grottos nestled in the lush Mexican jungle are famous for their jewel-tone waters. If you're travelling through the Yucatán Peninsula, a quick dip in one of these photogenic swimming spots is the perfect way to end a day spent exploring the nearby complex of Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. Whether you want to float on your back and ponder the meaning of the universe or jump from the diving platform carved into the limestone wall, the 85-foot descent into the deep natural pool at Cenote Ik Kil will be a memorable experience for even the most seasoned of swimming hole enthusiasts.
Where to stay: The Hacienda Chichen Resort and Yaxkin Spa is an eco-friendly resort located within the Mayan city of Chichen Itza. After spending the day visiting the impressive ruins and cooling off in one the nearby cenotes, take your immersive Mayan experience to the next level by trying some authentic cuisine at the Hacienda Chichen restaurant or relaxing at the Yaxkin Spa, which offers holistic Mayan healing therapies.
Dead Sea, Israel
At over 400 meters below sea level, the shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest dry land on Earth. Bordering Israel and Jordan and surrounded by majestic mountains, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Masada and the Judean and Negev deserts, its legendary waters have such a high salt concentration, travelers can easily float on the water. The mineral rich much from the Dead Sea is also known for its healing properties and is highly sought after all over the world. For a truly unique experience, unwind in its pale blue waters and allow the minerals to soothe your tired muscles as you marvel at the stark natural beauty that surrounds you.
Where to stay: Set in the moshav of Neot HaKikar, Dead Sea Tamar's Cabin is an ideal home away from home, just a short drive from the iconic Dead Sea. After relaxing in the salty waters, head home to your own swimming pool and hot tub, surrounded by mesmerizing mountainous vistas.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
For an otherworldly swimming experience, go for a dip in the famed milky-blue waters of the geothermal Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Enclosed by striking black lava fields, the average temperature of the water is 39°C (101°F) all year round, so is perfect to bathe in no matter how cold it might be outside. Plus, the seawater is rich with minerals such as silica, which will leave your skin feeling smooth and rejuvenated.
Where to stay: The Northern Light Inn will leave guests feeling completely rested and restored, with an onsite wellness spa, fitness center and free shuttle buses to the Blue Lagoon. You'll feel at one with nature as you enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the Reykjanes Peninsula’s moss-covered lava fields. Sample authentic Icelandic dishes at the Northern Light’s restaurant and breathe in the fresh, icy air as you take a tour of the area on horseback.
Havasu Falls, USA
The remarkable Havasu Falls are nestled deep in the Havasupai Indian Reservation within Grand Canyon National Park and are the perfect spot to cool off after a long hike in the Arizona desert. The translucent aquamarine waters are a striking contrast to the red rocks of the canyon and the area's unspoilt natural beauty will make you wonder if you've actually stepped into a mirage.
Where to stay: Wake up to a hearty buffet breakfast at the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon before embarking on your hike through the desert. The hotel also provides a hot tub, just in case your swim at Havasu Falls wasn’t enough of a splash.
The Blue Cave, Croatia
The Blue Grotto, located on the Croatian bay of Balun, will hypnotize you with its luminous sapphire waters. Found in a small cove on the east side of the island of Biševo, about 4.5 nautical miles from Komiža, the water has a silvery-blue color, created by refracted sunlight that enters the cave through a crack in the stone.
Where to stay: The charming Hotel San Giorgio is only a short walk from the beach on the historic island of Vis. It’s the perfect location for those wanting to explore vineyards, picturesque villages, sandy beaches and endless azure waters.
* Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 21,500 respondents, across 29 different markets (including 1,000 respondents from Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Spain, the US, the UK, Russia, and 500 respondents from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2018, be planning at least one trip for 2018 and either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in August 2018.