Skradinski Buk is the name given to the series of tiers of cascades and waterfalls located in Krka National Park. The water flows from the Krka River and the volume is so great that it literally thunders as it rages, full force, over the karst landscape and lush vegetation. Ponds occupy the flat parts of the tiers.
We were there on a hot summer’s day so being in the park was a great way to cool off though I wished I had brought a swimsuit as swimming is allowed in certain areas. The water was crystal clear. We also happened upon a picnic area where there were many happy folks sitting under the shade of trees, eating, laughing and just having a good time. Note to self. On next trip, bring food!
Size wise, Krka National Park compares to a US state park so a few hours is enough. In addition to Skradinksi Buk, there are paths that wind up through the woodland and you can catch glimpses of...
Swimming holes are, by nature, off the beaten path. Often accessible only on foot, these natural pools afford beautiful views and refreshing swims well worth the hike (and far from the tourists). We have curated our favorite places to take a dip, from Croatia to Nevada City, shown to us by locals. Jump in!
Crystal clear, cool water in the stunning setting of a large, open cenote near Tulum, Mexico. Don't let the touristy nature of the attraction deter you from this incredibly unique experience.
Three miles into Yellowstone from the North Entrance and before you reach Mammoth Hot Spring is a small parking lot on your left. Park and walk down the trail (400m). At the confluence of the Gardiner and Boiling River is a fun swimming hole. Mostly known by locals, you'll enjoy the sensation of hot thermal waters from the Boiling River mixing with the icy water of the Gardiner. Take 30 minutes and enjoy.
A great way to cool off on the blistering tropical days in Laos. Luang Prabang is the cultural capital of Laos and is quiet and lovely.
On the second day of our trek to Poon Hill in the Annapurna Sanctuary, my friend Brill and I stumbled upon this absolutely gorgeous waterfall pulsing through a deep, green canyon.
It was the early morning--about 7:30 when we first got to the river and it was quite cold outside. About 53 degrees cold. And then we dipped our feet into the water and it was quite cold. About 53 degrees cold.
Yet somehow, after much heated discussion, Brill and I established that jumping into this waterfall was quite simply something we had to do. Forget the frigid water, forget the frigid air--we didn't come to Nepal to stay warm and safe and dry.
So I stripped down to my board shorts and hopped up on the little ledge on the right. I dropped to the ground and pumped out 20 pushups--doing whatever I could to jack up my body temperature. And then I jumped.
The water was ice. Absolutely freezing. I surfaced...
I just spent the weekend following the 4th of July up near Nevada City. It got over 90 degrees during the day, so we headed to the river. Although lots of people had similar ideas, I was with a local who directed us to this spot and we had it to ourselves. You park near the bridge and hike along the ridge above the river (about 10 minutes - wish I'd had some tennies instead of just flip flops), but it was well worth it. The water was fantastic and the scenery was beautiful. The rocks in the canyon are unusually rounded/smooth.
I took a day trip from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and headed an hour north to the Ananuri fortress. The ancient 17th century complex is perched on a hill overlooking the sparkling turquoise-colored Aragvi River and Zhinvali Reservoir. It offers some spectacular panoramic views of the mountains (beyond of which Chechnya lies, or so I was told), the reservoir, and the famed Georgian Military Highway. Take a walk on the beaten dirt paths that snake through the castle fortress, and stumble upon centuries-old frescos,a bell tower and domed churches. Make sure to bring your suit in the summer and take a dip with the local Georgians on the platform outside the fortress! Finish your day of with some hot khinkali dumplings at a nearby restaurant.
On the border of the state of Chiapas (Mexico) and Guatemala, there is a national park, Lagunas de Montebello. It contains numerous lakes and cenotes, mostly spring fed from waters deep in the mineral depths of the earth. Each body of water is blessed with its own distinctive color. From sea foam green to avocado, midnight blue to five shades of teal, the lakes can be separated by ten meters yet worlds apart on the color spectrum. Tours of the park are available from San Cristobal, Tuxtla-Gutierrez, or Palenque.
Relax in the warm of volcanic water emerged from deep underground, these area of natural spas was known as far back to the Roman who came here for their yearly health retreat
If you rent a car in Belize, make sure to cruise the Hummingbird Highway from Dangriga to Belmopan. Take your time and check out all the amazing locations, such as Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce Factory, St Herman's Cave, Five Blues N.P. and the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is an oasis of cool blue water, which is refreshing after stopping and exploring all the sights in the blazing Belizean heat. The Blue hole is created by a horizontal opening in the limestone, similar to a verticle cenote. The Blue Hole is well posted on the highway and worth a stop, so bring your swimwear with you.
It was August, so it seemed a perfectly sensible idea. I'm in Norway, land of the fjords - let's go for a splash in one! Bergen has a lovely little lido that offers you just that opportunity. Sure, you can swim in its heated outdoor pool, but the real attraction is the small roped-off area of (lifeguard patrolled) fjord. Having warmed up - not literally - in the lido, I dipped my toe in the sea and, before I could register how cold it truly was, launched myself in. It was cold. Colder than an ice bath. Colder than locking yourself in a beer cellar (it's not that far, remember, from the Arctic). And, once my horrified body had recovered from the shock, it became one of the most enlivening experiences of my life. Just don't stay in there too long.
Most visitors to Australia have heard of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, but few realize that neighboring Nitmiluk National Park, four hours south of Darwin, is actually more spectacular. During the wet season, from November to April, electrical storms streak across the sky, Nitmiluk’s waterfalls transform into thundering cascades, and immense flocks of magpie geese, brolga cranes, and jabiru storks converge on the wetlands. Year-round, the Katherine River carves a path through 13 sandstone gorges—Nitmiluk’s main attraction.
The custodians of this land are the Jawoyn, Aboriginal people with one of the oldest living cultures on earth. Jawoyn-owned Nitmiluk Tours rents canoes and guides visitors through the gorges in flat-bottom boats. Arrange for excursions at the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, where the Jawoyn also run arguably the best restaurant in a 220-mile radius: the...
I WWOOFed at the Sans Souci Inn for a month and my wonderful hosts sent me on many adventures. I hiked up to Rawhiti Cave, the largest cave opening in NZ; got coffee on "Jacques Cousteau's Pirate Espresso Ship;" admired wood pigeons in The Grove; took a swim on my February birthday; ate avocados straight off the tree; and got totally lost in the neighboring preserve - after climbing up into the overgrown rock formations via rope.
This fresh water pool is easy to miss while walking along the bay, but I urge you not to. Not only is it a refreshing dip in the hot Kona sun, but it is essentially a lava tube that goes much further back than it appears. There are the two "pukas" (holes); the one in the forefront has a ladder to help you in to the the chilled water. The second hole is further back where my parents are standing. I encourage you to swim past the second puka all the way back to the edge of the caves for a little thrill. It's shallow enough to walk, but it's a good idea to bring a waterproof flashlight. ;)
In March of 2012 we stayed at Zion Country Eco Beach Cabins in Portland Parish Jamaica, in part due to their commitment to sustainable tourism. The proprietor Free-I is a respected member of the community and is able to connect guests with local resources and guides. The tours at nearby Reach Falls recently became government-regulated, and outside guides were hired in lieu of the local Rastafarian community who have traditionally taken visitors to the magnificent main falls. Free-I eschews the regulated tours and instead directs guests to Renny, who with great wisdom and wit led us down a sloping path in a banana plantation to an aquamarine creek... which became a river... which led to pool after perfect pool below the falls. We hiked and played in the water all morning, jumping off rock faces into deep pools and swimming behind small falls to find hidden caves. Eventually we reached...
Just outside of Tulum there are a bunch of Cenotes that are a must visit when your in the area. The water is super soft and is enjoyable to soak in when you want a break from the sun. We ended up going to the Gran Cenote but were told about several others that were farther away and had cool features like swimming under a divide to get to another pool.
Just returned form 4 weeks in Sicily. The time we spent on the Aeolian Islands was incredible. Italy with no crowds, unbelievably fresh seafood and days spent boating around the small islands (Salina was our favourite), stopping to swim wherever the urge took us. In the evening we could see Stromboli erupting in the distance. We traveled with our 3 kids (6,9 and 11) and they loved it too!
The water in Mexico isn’t only by the beach. This is Misol-Ha. Located deep in the jungles of Chiapas, the waters of Misol-Ha cascade 35 meters down into a 13.7 meter deep pool of water. The entire area is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
From the parking lot, a path leads through the rainforest, to the falls. The path actually takes you behind the waterfall and you can feel the spray of mist from the water splashing into the pool. The rocks are slippery so be careful as you walk. As you continue walking behind the curtain of water, the stone ledge above has crevices that the water showers down through; we took full advantage to dunk our heads under the natural shower to cool off.
You can swim in the pool though there are no lifeguards around so do take a plunge, do it with caution.
There is a restaurant on the site as well as facilities to change clothes if you are planning to go...
Kobarid is also known as Caporetto, because the town—on the border with Italy—was annexed by the Italians for part of World War I.
The brutality of that war has been erased—and scenery like this has survived (you can revisit the war at the museum dedicated to the Battle of Caporetto in the center of town).
I think I had never seen water this color before, though it was shockingly cold. You can hike out of Kobarid and along the Isonzo River, stopping to swim or picnic.
I used to live in Maui, right at the start of the Hana Highway, and driving the famous road was a weekly ritual. I recently went back to visit and found it still as breathtaking as ever. To avoid the tourist traffic (Mustangs seem to be the tourist car of choice), leave early and take the time to actually get out of the car and explore. My favorite stops are always the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden where they filmed the opening sequence for Jurassic Park (ok, kind of touristy, but totally beautiful and worth a stop if you're a nature geek); Black Sand Beach where the super adventurous can swim out to the bunny ear-shaped rocks and dive into the ocean; Hamoa Beach for body surfing and Oheo Gulch, where you can do the four-mile round trip hike through a bamboo forest to the 200-foot Makahiku waterfall.
This place is in the middle of nowhere in Southern Albania. There is no bus stop. You just have to motion to the driver to pull over at the side of the road when you see a promising looking dirt trail. You take that trail off the main road, all the time assuming that you couldn't possibly be in the right place. And then, almost inexplicably, there is a sign for the Blue Eye and a guard, sitting in a booth along the road. He'll collect a few coins from you, and then you keep walking. If you're lucky, a truck driver or local tourist will pick you up along the stretch of windy, dusty road that weaves along the side of a body of water that gets ever clearer as you move along. At the end of the trek, you'll find the clearest, bluest water you've ever seen, and if you're lucky you'll be able to eat on the little floating deck they've installed in the river that flows out of the Eye. The...
Once tucked in to the Rockhouse, be sure to take a leap from the catwalk between Palapas 11 and 14. You'll drop 20' into warm, clear water where you can swim to a ladder to do it again or spend time snorkeling. (Gear avail at the pool bar and grill; $5/day) After, prepare for a nap poolside post-grilled sandwiches and delish drinks.
This is Packer Lake, http://www.packerlakelodge.com/, which lies near the center of what is called the Lakes Basin recreation area in Northern California's central Sierra, about 50 miles north of Lake Tahoe. The hike to the top of the Buttes, in the distance, takes two to four hours, depending on your starting point. Also within hiking (and/or short driving) distance are dozens of other lakes, great for trout fishing and swimming, with such names as Gold, Deer, Tamarack, Salmon, Sardine, Goose, and Haven. I've taken versions of this photo over the course of five decades; it only gets prettier. And the number of visitors to this area--off Highway 49, just west of where Highway 89 traverses the Sierra Valley---seems to have barely increased over that time. Closest towns: Sierra City and Downieville.
Vang Vieng could be considered a touristy town, but don't hold that against it. It's a magical place, and if you don't find it floating down the river, rent a bicycle and head straight out into the countryside.
This image was taken after climbing down into a cave to swim in an underground lake, and just before watching a river of bats fly overhead on their way to dinner. Every moment in this place felt like a fairytale, and the landscape only made it all the more surreal.
Bicycles can be rented from any hostel in town, but make sure to come prepared with a flashlight. On a side note, don't pass up the barbequed fish being cooked on restaurant patios all over town, it's some of the best I've ever had.
Montezuma was a must-stop recommendation of all the beaches, so when we two Floridians finally arrived on the miniature, desolate coast in this small town we were confused. The communal bonfire atmosphere described seemed unlikely and the view was dreary on the cloudy days we were there, but our uncertainty was stifled when a gruff looking man came running to shore mid-catch (translation: bloody fish in hand) to show us his hostel rooms. We took one to end the awkward pressure of the circumstance and headed to the highly anticipated beach to relax. Having fulfilled this trip's bucket list, we saved laying in the sun and doing nothing for last, but a few hours of being the only two people on the beach under the clouds proved disappointing. Holding on to hope that this town would measure up to its reputation, we searched for the known waterfall to redeem it. Looking up the creek I...
Struggle all morning and afternoon through the canyons leading to the Havasu Reservation at Havasupai to be met by some of the most gorgeous water you've ever dreamed of swimming in. Rich with lime, the water constantly changes the landscape, building new pools and "living walls," making this an absolutely unique and refreshing swimming hole.
The red rocks around Sedona are a trekker's dream, and if you know where to go, you can jump in a creek as well. Just to the southwest of Sedona, check out Red Rocks State Park. Take a short hike then cool off with a swim below Cathedral Rock.
(By late June/early July, afternoon thunderstorms are the norm--come for a short hike in the morning and play in the water before the clouds build up. For more info: http://azstateparks.com/parks/rero/index.html)