Whether a geological wonder, a UNESCO heritage site or simply a drool-worthy Instagram destination, these lakes are some of the most unique and unusual in the world. Add them to your YOLO list today!
The Pink Waters of Las Coloradas, Mexico
A tiny fisherman hamlet on the Yucatecan coast in Mexico, Las Colorados lies inside a Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Boasting a surreal landscape of pink lagoons and snow-like salt flats, this desolate part of the world is a must-addition on any traveler’s bucket list.
Rich in microscopic algae, the water of the lagoon has a deep pink tint that makes it extraordinary. With miles of dunes, mounds of salt, mangroves and wetland surrounding you, and a pristine white sand coastline along the way, this road trip from Merida is one you won’t soon forget.
The Brilliant Blue Color of Lake Moraine, Canada
Glacier fed Moraine lake lies in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Canada. At the elevation of 1885 meters, the lake owes its deep shade of blue to the rock silt deposited in it. Explore the lakeshore trail and enjoy stunning views of the rugged Mount Fay and the aqua lake. The 2.4 km long trail winds back and forth through the trees on the lakeshore and takes about 45 minutes to hike.
The beautiful deep-blue water with a backdrop of towering snow-capped mountains is one of most beautiful and photographed spots in Canada. But the lake does not start to thaw until June, so if you want to be floored by Moraine’s majestic blue, make your plans for summer.
The Suspended Wonder of Hanging Lake, Colorado US
Hanging Lake is a geologic wonder, located approximately 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs in Colorado. Popular with travelers for its awe-inspiring beauty, this striking lake is suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs. The clear turquoise lake and the waterfalls that spill into it are a breathtaking sight after the rigorous uphill climb.
Hanging Lake is formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. Geologically speaking, there are few places in the world that can compare to this marvel of nature.
The trail to get there follows Dead Horse Creek, with footbridges spanning the creek along the way. A steep mile-long climb with uneven rocky terrain, this trail requires proper footwear, plenty of water and two to three hours to complete. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
The Volcanic Laguna Caracol, Patagonia
The GPT (Greater Patagonia Trail) is the largest trail in South America, extending beyond 500 miles. The GPT starts South of Santiago, near the city of Talca and goes for about 1000 miles from there through 27 different sections down to Lago General Carrera.
The stunning Laguna Caracol near the volcano Descabezado, is based near the beginning of the GPT trail in Central Chile. The lake was created by a volcanic eruption and you have to cross a two mile wide lava river to reach it. Its waters are rich in porous volcanic material that shapes the entire area. The Laguna Caracol makes for an unforgettable stop in this once-in-a-lifetime hike.
The Jellyfish Lake in Palau
Located in the Eil Malk island of Palau, the Jellyfish Lake is connected to the ocean through fissures and tunnels in the limestone of an ancient Miocene reef. Because of the isolation and low diversity of species, the golden jellyfish thrive in this lake. Head to Palau to snorkel and watch millions of jellyfish migrate from one side of the lake to the other in a swarm of gold.
The Turquoise Beauty of Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
An Instagrammer’s dream, the turquoise lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks including Mt John, home of the Mt John Observatory and a grandstand view of the night sky in a world renowned dark sky reserve. On Lake Tekapo’s shores sits the Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most picturesque little church buildings on the planet.
The lake-dwelling Inthas at Inle Lake, Myanmar
Bathe in tranquility at the Inle Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Myanmar. At 900 meters above sea level and spanning an impressive 13 miles, this serene highland lake is a must-see. Dotted along the lake are enchanting villages, with stilted houses along the water’s edge, inhabited by many different ethnicities of the area.
The laid-back highland life is delightful. The Intha people are the Lake dwellers who are renowned for their leg rowing. Leg rowed traditional boats are the main ceremonial attractions of the Inle Lake. Most boat trips around Inle Lake start at the town of NyaungShwe. Glide down the emerald waters and explore the surreal Floating Gardens and Markets.
The Geothermal Wonder of Blue Lagoon, Iceland
A man-made lake, the unrivaled Blue lagoon in Iceland is one of the wonders of the world. The lake gets its water from 2,000 meters below the surface, where freshwater and seawater mix at extreme temperatures. The water features three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals and gets its brilliant blue from silica and its reflection of the sunlight. But when poured into a glass the water itself is actually a milky white!
The Blue Lagoon spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The lagoon contains 9 million liters of water which recycles itself every 40 hours. The water temperature ranges between 37°C and 40°C (98-104°F) – perfect for that relaxing soak.
The Breathtaking Towers at Lagos Las Torres, Chile
Lago Las Torres National Reserve is a national nature reserve in Southern Chile. The reserve itself was named after the lake. Located 125 km north of Coyhaique and bordered by Argentina to the east, the reserve is situated right beside the Carretera Austral and allows visitors to benefit from the services like shelters for camping, lodging inns, food and excursions.
Overlooking the Lagos Las Torres are the famous Torres del Paine (Spanish for “Towers of Paine”, “Paine” being the color blue). These three formidable rock towers give the National Park Torres del Paine its name. Lying on the southern tiers of the Andes, the National Park features the most breathtaking landscapes in the world from rugged mountains, snowy peaks to stunning aqua lakes and unforgettable glaciers. The Las Torres trek to the Lagos las Torres is the most famous one in the Torres Del Paine National Park.
The Tufas of Mono Lake, US
On the eastern side of the spectacular Sierra Nevada range from Yosemite lies the the dramatic bare beauty of Mono Lake – an oasis in the dry Great Basin and a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. At the small town of Lee Vining, close to the junction with the Tioga Road, a short hike through tufa ridden trails leads to an unforgettable other-worldly vista of this unusual, ancient, alkaline lake.
Surrounded by volcanic hills, Tufa (calcium carbonate) towers emerge out of the salt-heavy water as it reflects the scarlet sky in its quiet stillness. Deposited over thousands of years around underwater springs, these structures now lie exposed. Though the lake levels have been receding, Mono Lake’s beauty sure hasn’t.
The Floating Park at Loktak Lake, India
In Manipur, lies the largest fresh water lake in the northeast of India — the Loktak Lake. Famous for the floating phumdis — a heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, thickened into a solid mass, the lake is a unique tourism destination, home to the world’s largest and the only floating park, Keibul Lamjao National Park.
The Spotted Kliluk Lake, Canada
A saline endorheic alkali lake – Kliluk is located northwest of Osoyoos in British Columbia, Canada. In summer, as most of the water in the lake evaporates, the minerals underneath harden and form a pebbled “path” between the hundreds of small bodies of water. For this breathtaking phenomenon, this one-of-a-kind lake is called the Spotted Lake.