Some of the dangerous and most difficult-to-reach destinations are the wildest and most magical when discovered. Natural geographical formations are always awe-inspiring. And that’s why the thrill-seekers are on a constant lookout to find a way to nature’s best-kept secrets. The next time you head out, make sure one of these natural jewels finds you in your best health, and the inner cliff jumper in you dives straight into these secret swimming spots.
1. Jellyfish Lake, Palau, Pacific Ocean
Some jellyfish are immortal, some glow in the dark, and you can get stung by most of them except a few like the ones inhabiting the marine lake in Eil Malk Island in the distant archipelago of Palau, lost in the Pacific Ocean. In fact, these friendly creatures allow you to swim with them. The uninhabited rock island in Palau is a natural formation surrounded by ancient coral reefs that date back to the ice age. No wonder this place has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The secluded lake is inhabited by Golden Jellyfish and Moon Jellyfish. Earlier, swimming with jellyfish was banned owing to their dwindling number. However, in the recent past, their increasing numbers have allowed the visitors to swim but not scuba dive.
Best time to visit: Dry seasons from November to April
2. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Brave enough to enter the cold water of Fairy Pools? Trek the tremendous undulating trails to discover the magical aura of Fairy Pools, a stunning spectacle of pools, streams, and waterfalls, situated in the Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides. The journey to the Fairy Pools is no less magical as it takes one through rugged terrain, picturesque landscape, fishing villages and medieval castles to arrive at this crystal-clear beauty. The place is so surreal, it feels straight out of a fairy tale, thus the name Fairy Pools. Carry a wetsuit no matter the season as the water here is always cold.
Best time to visit: April to October
3. Rabbit Hole, Reach Falls, Jamaica
Remember Alice falling down the rabbit hole and finding herself in a different world? Well, there exists one in Jamaica, and the mystery doesn’t end with going down this rabbit hole either. The natural cave hidden in the Reach Falls Waterfall can only be found after taking a daredevil plunge. A rush of the adrenaline is a must before jumping into this unknown. And those who do dive in get to discover the secret cave. But the question is who amongst us is courageous enough to take the plunge.
Best time to visit: Early in the morning; February to April
4. Ik-Kil Cenote, Yucatan, Mexico
Ik-Kil is a 5-minute drive from Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The Place of the Winds, as it is called in the Mayan language, is one of the most beautiful cenotes or underwater caves. High walls, surrounding vines, and a gorgeous staircase welcome one to the Mayan way of living. To reach the swimming platform, a circular stairway has been carved out of the limestone to make an easy passage for visitors. In the blue natural pit, vines descend from the top while little droplets flow and make their way through it.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year, (Open from 09:00—17:00)
5. Santa Rosa Blue Hole, New Mexico
Not too far from Yucatan, the United States’ New Mexico State, lies Santa Rosa, also known as the City of Natural Lakes. Santa Rosa has astonishing blue pristine water and many unexplored caves. Those taking a road trip on the Route 66 should visit Santa Rosa, that lies a small way off the highway. This popular spot is ideal for cliff jumping, diving, snorkeling, and swimming. The clear blue water tempts visitors to jump off the cliffs, swim, and dive to explore many hidden underwater caves. Tip: Don’t mistake it for Park Lake, which is close to Blue Hole.
Best time to visit: May-September
6. Figure 8 Pool, Lilyvale, Australia
Just over 50 km south of Sydney, in the Royal National Park is the infamous Figure 8 Pool. Reaching here is no child’s play as it involves 6 km of trekking on steep and uneven terrain. Once a secret hotspot, it is now a major tourist attraction. Surrounded by cliffs and a wide ocean, this perfect 8 shape is a natural formation but for one to arrive here, it is as difficult as swimming in the azure blue water of the pool. The notorious pool has a history of a few mishaps. So be wary of its slippery nature and the big waves during high tide. It is advisable to keep water bottles as the trek is rough, and there are not many options to refill them along the way.
Best time to visit: Round the year, in low tide