July 15, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Alli's Guide to the Worlds Best Swimming Holes

In summertime when the mercury teases the top of the thermometer like a whack-a-mole mallet the best place to cool off is a natural swimming hole. Do you plan on spending your summer vacation lounging by the pool?  Why not lay out by a natural swimming hole this year!  This blog locates some of the most incredible a natural pools, all of which are nestled inside a hole in the earth surrounded by rock. 

The Hamilton Pool, Texas

The first pool is located in the wonderful  of State of Texas near the city of Austin.   Aptly named the Hamilton pool, it is nestled in a grotto and fed by a 50 foot waterfall.  If you travel here during the humid months, you should get the chance of viewing the amazing moss covering the magnificent stalactites overhead.  Be sure to call the park ahead of time (512-264-2740) to verify if water levels are prohibiting people from swimming in it.  If you are permitted, please arrive  extra early as space is limited. $10 entry fee required, and please remember to bring comfortable tennis/hiking  shoes.  The trek to the actual pool from the parking area is considerable.

Cyprus Lake Grotto, Ontario Canada
The hike to the Cyprus lake is one of the Bruce Peninsula National Parks favorites.  It offers stunning, clear turquois blue water.

Yucatan Cenotes, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico is home to various cenotes.
A cenote is a hole caused by the natural collapse of limestone bedrock. There are 6-8,000 cenotes located in the Yucatan Peninsula but only 2,400 have ever been discovered.

Tamcach-Ha and Choo-Ha Cenotes

The Tamcach-Ha and Choo-Ha cenotes are located near the coba ruins and are generally I crowded considering how breathtaking their  glass-clear waters are.

The Xcanche Cenote

Another natural pool is called the Xcanche cenote, located near the EK Balam ruins. The 5$ entrance fee into this natural swimming hole includes the use of a number of scattered hammocks available to help you relax and bask in the glory of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Dzitnip Cenote

The dzitnip cenote is a natural pool located near chichen itza. This pool is filled with black fish below and black bats above creating a spooky yet spectacular cavernous cenote.

The Lk-Kil Cenote

The Lk-Kil cenote aka the sacred blue cenote is an archeological site of chichen itza and the perfect way to cool off after a long day of exploration.

The Dos Ojos Cenote

Lastly, the Dos Ojos cenote was featured in the IMAX movie "Journey into amazing caves."  Local guides are available to lead you through the maze like waters known for extraordinary scuba diving.  There is a restaurant located at the rim of the rim and palapa homes where you can stay overnight.   

Roca Vecchia, Italy

This archeological site is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia, southern Italy. Just kilometers away from melendugno and close to the city of Lecce.
Be sure to arrive early as the parking lot tends to fill up very quickly. The best preserved monumental architecture of the Bronze Age (2nd Millenium BC) was uncovered there by a team from the University of Salento. They also uncovered the largest set of Mycenaean pottery ever uncovered west of mainland Greece.

Bimmah Sinkhole, Hawiyat Najm Park, Oman

This swimming hole is located between Muscat and Sur off route 17. Keep in mind this natural swimming oasis is not for the timid, the little fish in the pool nibble on your feet while you swim. Also, should you decide to visit the Bimmah Sinkhole, be sure to bring plenty of food and refreshments as there is nothing for sale for miles.

Nanda Blue Hole, South Island, Vanuatu

Located in the volcanically formed South Island, Vanuatu is the Nanda Blue Hole. The hole is 13 miles deep and filled with sapphire blue water, surrounded by lush greenery.  This privately owned hole collects a 5$ entrance fee which is actually a steel considering the amenities included in admission. There is a slide, a rope swing, and even a pool side bar.  This pool is known to be chilly so you may want to pack a wetsuit just in case it's a little too cold for your blood. 

Peekamoose Blue Hole, Sundown NY

In the middle of the catskills forest, Rondout Creek pours through a rock gap creating this swimming hole of wonder.

The Blue Hole, Wimberly TX

Grassy banks offer prestine picnic spots.  Old growth cypress trees speckle the water, casting shade from the sweltering sun.  This hole also offers 2 rope swings for all your splashing needs. 

The Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Tis hole is located off route 66 in the scuba diving capital of the southwest. This hole is consistently 61 degrees year round.  This spring fed pond is the perfect way to cool off from the hot New Mexico sun.

The Homestead Caldera, Midway, UT

This 10,000 year old geothermal spring offers water that can reach up to 90 degrees.  Scuba divers can explore this only warm weather diving spot in the continental United States.  Historically, visitors had to repel through the 55 foot tall limestone dome.  Now there is a tunnel through the rock wall at ground level for easy access.

Aztec Falls, San Bernadino National Forest, California

No need to travel outside of California for some great swimming hole action.  This swimming hole offers some amazing cliff diving ranging from 5 to 60 feet in height.  To reach the falls it is a half mile hike from the Pacific Crest Trail and just 90 minutes east of Los Angeles.

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All photographs courtesy of Google Images

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