Swimming with penguins is adorable. Swimming with whale sharks is magnificent. But swimming with pigs?
In the Caribbean, there’s a bay of pigs where you can experience for yourself what that’s like. No, not the Bay of Pigs, as in the site of the CIA’s failed invasion of Cuba1. This (literal) bay of pigs is located in the Bahamas, on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay — one of the 365 Exuma islands that stretch out in an arc south of Nassau. That’s where you’ll find beach Babes swimming in the clear waters and frolicking on the golden sand.
Technically, a “swimming hole” is any deep place for swimming in a stream, lake or river. But for this post — where are share our picks for the world’s best, coolest and most picturesque swimming holes — Spot Cool Stuff’s travel editors decided on a more ridged set of criteria:
First, we considered only swimming spots that were inside some sort of hole in the earth. That is, our swimming holes had to be substantially surrounded by rock or dirt or the like. So somewhere like Idaho’s Redfish Lake, which a popular travel magazine named as one of their best swimming holes, wouldn’t count for us because, really, it’s just a regular lake.
Second, we decided to count only naturally occurring swimming holes. Sadly, this eliminated a very cool hidden swimming spot in Mexico that was created by a giant bomb — check back for our post on that later.
Finally, we only considered swimming holes that offered temperate waters. Because, well, we are cold water wimps. Spain’s wonderful, meadow-surrounded Playa del Gulpiyuri is unfortunately ruled out of contention on this count.
So what swimming holes made the cut? Read on . . . .
The collection of life-sized human casts resemble an underwater Pompeii
Ah, Cancun. The sun. The beaches. The shopping. The tequila shots. The drunken college kids on spring break. The massive underwater sculpture park?
Even some of those familiar with the attractions Cancun offers above sea level are surprised at what they can find underneath it: a museum. The Museo Subacuatico de Arte, to be specific.
It seems unlikely that a 60-year-old ship of war would end up as the home of a surreal art gallery. Which is an example of exactly why Spot Cool Stuff so loves to travel:
The world is full of unlikely attractions in unlikely places. And some of those places aren’t even on land.
So it is with Vandenberg: Life Below the Surface, an underwater art exhibit off the coast of Key West, Florida.
Somehow, kids make it look easy the first time they hop on a SurfStream simulated wave.
For such a sun-drenched, humidity-soaked, tourist-filled region, the Caribbean has surprisingly few really great water parks. Perhaps the best of them, and certainly the largest, is at the all-inclusive Beaches Resort in the Turks & Caicos. It’s there that Pirates Island beacons the young — and the young at heart.
Swimming in Berlin’s Spree River is not something most people will want to do†. But swimming in a pool that is in the Spree River—now that’s cool!
And that’s exactly the experience the Badeschiff offers.
The German word translates to “bathing ship,” which is as good a short description as any. The Badeschiff was fashioned from an old river barge cargo container filled with 400,000 liters (about 100,00 gallons) of chlorinated fresh water. The whole thing literally floats in the river, tied to a dock in the same way one might moor a houseboat.
Every day around dusk the world’s smallest penguins waddle up on a stretch of coast near Oamaru, New Zealand
Is it possible to dislike penguins? There’s something universally adorable about them. Maybe it’s their waddling. Or their tuxedo outfits. Or how they are portrayed in popular culture, as in the wonderful March of the Penguins documentary.
Most penguin stories, including March, take place in Antarctica. However there are several other places on the planet to see wild penguins. At a few of those you can hop in the water and swim along side these friendly, feathered creatures. Here’s a look at our favorite: