The Eight Best Swimming Holes Around the Globe
"Volcano cliff diving" sounds all right
This is just one installment of 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September.
Hard to relax this (almost) summer when you’re feeling kind of fried.
Blame work. Blame politics. Blame the weather.
Then dive into this: InsideHook’s guide to the best swimming holes all around the globe.
Some are hidden gems (if those gems were embedded within a volcano). Several are on sacred ground. One is pretty much a gigantic natural waterslide.
And all require that you strip down and jump in, from up to 100 feet in the air.
Time to make a splash.
For cliff diving: Grotta della Poesia
A natural, crystal-clear pool in Puglia (near a few beach resorts) where you can dive into the waters from the surrounding cliffs and through an abundance of sea caves. For something closer to home, there’s Kahekili’s Leap (Hawaii), the birthplace of cliff jumping, and a leap into the frigid but beautiful Lake Superior at Black Rocks (Michigan).
For a view for the top: Gunlom Plunge Pool
Mick Dundee called it “Never-Never Country.” But for you, it’s an abundance of waterfalls, monsoon forests, saltwater crocs, glamping and Aboriginal rock art galleries awaiting you in Kakadu National Park, located in the Northern Territory. While there, take in the Plunge Pool, an infinity pool located (admittedly) a rather big hike up—but worth it, as it offers a sweeping view of the park.
For a view below: Ik Kil
This beautiful, sacred Yucatan cenote — located about 120 miles north of Cancun and near plenty of Mayan ruins — is home to Red Bull Cliff Diving competitions. And you can jump in, but it’s crowded; better to navigate down the slippery stairway, lay on your back in the crisp water and look up 85 feet to the surface, as hanging vines drip down mini waterfalls around you. Go early to avoid the tour buses.
For color: Havasupai Falls
Blue-green waterfalls “adorned with “travertine columns, shelves and skirts”? That’s worth an ten-mile hike through the Grand Canyon. You’ll want to plan a few days around this, and you’ll probably have a hard time getting reservations.
For serenity: Carlon Falls
It’s “Yosemite on the cheap,” since you can hit up the waterfall and swimming hole without going through a manned entrance. Also great for fishing, seeing the occasional bear and short day hikes without the crowds (also good if you’re bringing kids).
Image: Wayne Hsieh
For close-by excursions: Barton Springs Pool
A natural three-acre pool filled with water from adjacent natural springs. Perfect for year-round swimming — the water temp is a cool 70 degrees — and, hey, it’s where Robert Redford learned to float. Plus, you’ve got a view of Austin, where you’ll undoubtedly spend your nights, and you’re just 50 minutes from Wimberley, where they filmed the swimming hole scene from Everybody Wants Some.
For a natural waterslide: Meadow Run
Something about slipping into the cold water running through Ohiopyle State Park and “barreling down flat sheets of sandstone” sounds fun. And dangerous — no lifeguards here, though the rocks are smooth.
For pop culture relevance: To-Sua Ocean Trench
The Travel Channel made this their first pick for their Top Secret Swimming Holes, and for good reason: Who wouldn’t want to dive into a 100-foot jade green, saltwater swimming hole (with optional scuba diving excursions) located inside a volcano?
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