Secret Swimming Spots

Posted by Crooked Compass

The world is filled with the most stunning swimming spots - many of them hidden and often overlooked. From freshwater pools in remote regions of national parks and emerald green wadis in the middle of sparse desserts to turquoise waters on isolated beaches, we have created a list of our top 10 secret swimming spots we think you should visit at least once in your life!

Dog Island, San Blas, Panama
Dog Island, San Blas, Panama

1. Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu, Philippines

Kawasan Falls is a spectacular yet peaceful place where you can enjoy multiple waterfalls filled with cool natural spring water. From the entrance, you have to walk uphill for about 15km to get to the first waterfall. The first one is the largest of the three and usually the most crowded. Another uphill climb for 15mins will take you to the second falls, and another and another. The higher you go, the lesser the crowds.

Kawasan Falls, Philippines
Kawasan Falls, Philippines

2. Bonito, Mata Grosso do Sul, Brazil

One of the best water based activities to do in Brazil is to grab a snorkel and spend time floating down the crystal clear rivers of Bonito. The water here is amongst the three clearest river systems on the planet, offering stunning viability. The rivers teem with huge Pacu, Praputanga and the shining golden Dourado. Snorkeling with these huge fish is exciting, but this river system also home to giant otters!

Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

3. Cala Mariolu, Baunei, Sardinia, Italy

A stunning pebbled beach overhung by a chalky hillside covered by unique Mediterranean vegetation. The ocean floor here is rocky, which makes it a great habitat for fish, and great for diving, and as this beach is so infrequented by travellers, the fish here are not yet afraid of you. With some rocks emerging from the sea creating tiny islands, for the more adventurous, and if the tides are right, there are also rocks to jump from into the glistening blue waters.

Cala Mariulu, Sardinia, Italy
Cala Mariulu, Sardinia, Italy

4. Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas

Plunging to a depth of 202m in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island, Dean's Blue Hole is the world's deepest known blue hole. A blue hole is a term that is often given to sinkholes that are filled with water, while the entrance to them is located beneath the surface. At the surface, Dean's Blue Hole is roughly circular with a diameter ranging from 25-35m. After you descend 30m below the surface, the hole widens considerably into a cavern with a diameter of 100m.

Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas
Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas

5. Gruner See, Styria, Austria

Gruner See, literally 'Green Lake' is located at the foot of the snow-capped Hochschwab mountains. It is the lake where hiking and diving meet. During winter, the lake is only 1-2m deep and the surrounding area is used as a county park bursting with hiking trails. As the temperature starts rising in spring, the ice and snow on the mountaintops begins to melt and runs down into the basin of land below. During the summer, the lake swells up to flood the entire area including the park, reaching depths of around 12m!  You can dive or take a leisurely swim through the park, with all the facilities including benches, trees and paths submerged in the crystal clear waters!

Gruner See, Austria
Gruner See, Austria

6. Calanque de Sormiou, France

Sormiou is a an amphitheatre of calcareous hills, a beautiful beach and a small port still bearing all its authenticity. The sandy seabed and seagrass give the sea a spectacular blue turquoise colour. During the summer, some of the roads are closed and the bay is only accessible by local boat keeping numbers down and giving you a stunning private bay to swim in.

Calanque de Sormiou, France
Calanque de Sormiou, France

7. Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece

Witness the unique beauty of this lacustrine cave. At 3.5km long, 40m wide and 36m high, Melissanthi cave consitiutes a unique geological phenomenon. Lined by stunning forest and filled with numerous stalacitites and stalagmites, it has crystal blue water which is a mix of both fresh and sea water.

Melissani Cave, Greece
Melissani Cave, Greece

8. Kayangan Lake, Coron Islands, Palawan, Philippines

Kayangan Lake, dubbed the 'cleanest lake in the Philippines' is surrounded by the amazing scenery of limestone cliffs. Guarded and maintained by Tagbanua tribesmen, Kayangan Lake is one of only two lakes in Coron (out of 8 lakes) that is open to the public. At 70% freshwater and 30% salt water, the water is so clear you can see straight to the bottom.

Kayangan Lake, Philippines
Kayangan Lake, Philippines

9. Hidden Beach, Marietas Islands, Mexico

A hidden beach that seems to be aloof from the world outside. The hidden beach of Marieta Islands is an isle that has resulted from volcanic activity and has remained isolated ever since its creation. How has this beautiful beach remained so unspoiled? Well, besides being hoisted down from a helicopter, the only other way to access its sandy shores is through a very small opening on the tidal side of its cavernous walls.

Marietas Islands, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Marietas Islands, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

10. Wadi Shab, Al Sharqiyah, Oman

A spectacularly narrow mountain ravine, hemmed in by sandstone walls with a ribbon of date plantations and banana palms. There is no road into the wadi, after the first kilometre, access is on foot. The gorge narrows, with a small footpath running along a small rock ledge just above the wadi floor. You will find pools at the end of the trail, and after walking for nearly an hour, they are a refreshing place to swim! Make your way further along, you will have to swim through some smaller pools, and you will to get to the main attraction - a submerged cave with waterfalls! There are even ropes in the cave which you can use to climb up the waterfall and jump in the pool!

Wadi Shab, Oman
Wadi Shab, Oman

Looking for more information or more swimming spots? Download the Crooked Compass Travel App for more details!