The Prettiest Waters Around The World

Whether it's waterfalls, seas, lakes, or oceans, there's something unbelievably tranquil and calming about the flow of water, isn't there? After all, it's one of the key five elements in Chinese philosophy, alongside earth, metal, fire, and wood, making it a great way to ground yourself back into nature.

But not all waters are created equal ... Some suffer from over-tourism, pollution, and oil spills, while others have become overrun with bright green algae bobbing at the surface. On the other hand, there are those amazingly well-protected by marine law, and as a result, they remain relatively untouched. Unsurprisingly, it's these bodies of water that are often the prettiest of them all — we're talking about those crystal clear, turquoise hues brimming with all manner of sea life.

So whether you're a keen scuba diver, avid snorkeler, budding surfer, or just want to sit on a beach and admire the sea views, here's everything there is to know about the most paradisal waters around the globe.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, part of the Cook Islands, is one of the most stunning remote islands in the world. Aitutaki is a beach lover's dream and home to one of the world's most beautiful lagoons. You'll feel like you've stepped into a picture-perfect paradise once you get a glimpse of the waters. The hardest part won't be planning this international vacation, it'll be saying goodbye.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest — and arguably most beautiful — island is a tropical dreamscape. This beautiful destination is next to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, meaning its pristine, clear blue waters are perfect for exploring by scuba diving or kayaking.

Cala Macarelleta, Minorca, Spain

Minorca is an island oasis in the Mediterranean comprised of over 130 miles of beautiful coastlines. On the Spanish island is Cala Macarelleta, a small but popular beach with crystalline waters bordered by towering cliffs. You'll have to ditch your ride and walk to reach the beach, but relaxing on the white sand next to clear waters is worth the walk.

Carmel Beach, California

Without a doubt, Carmel Beach is one of the best beach towns you've probably never heard of. Thanks to its prime position on California's sunny coast, the waters are always a sparkling dream. Try your hands at surfing or, if you'd rather enjoy the waters from afar, host a beach bonfire.

Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica

Declared a National World Heritage Site, the lake at Cocos Island National Park is one of the most beautiful places in this national park. The crystalline waters are perfectly blue and one of the best places in the world for scuba diving.

Coron, Palawan, The Philippines

Famed for its limestone cliffs and "Gatorade blue" waters, Coron is El Nido's lesser-known cousin, but it packs just as good a punch. From crystal clear Kayangan Lake and multi-colored Twin Lagoon to the vibrant coral reefs at Twin Peaks, this Filipino island offers some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Not to mention plenty of adventurous scuba diving opportunities — with a whopping 12 sunken Japanese wartime ships dating back to the 1940s.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is Oregon's most iconic landmark. It was formed more than 7,000 years ago when a volcanic eruption caused the destruction of a tall peak. Today, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the nation and one of the most beautiful on earth. Views of the gorgeous lake are available year-round whether you're swimming in the summer or exploring on snowshoes in the winter.

Devil's Bay Beach, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

You won't need a cellphone once you get lost in the beauty of Devil's Bay Beach. Located on the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda, the third-largest of the British Virgin Islands, Devil's Bay Beach has been described as a tranquil, private destination perfect for relaxing and water adventures like swimming and snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters.

Five Flower Lake, Jiuzhaigou National Park, China

Located in Jiuzhaigou National Park, Five Flower Lake is one of the world's most mesmerizing places. The water is so clear that the vibrant colors of algae, plants and rocks at the bottom of the lake are visible from its shores. Visit during the fall to see breathtaking foliage reflected on the clear water's surface.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system, is a milestone achievement worth doing at least once in your lifetime. The clear waters are perfect for diving deep with diverse marine life.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Located in America's happiest state, Hanauma Bay on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park formed by a volcanic cone. Voted the best beach in the United States, Hanauma Bay is a paradise perfect for snorkeling.

Kleine Knip Beach, Curacao

Knip Beach is a popular tourist destination that even locals love. The beautiful blue waters are perfect for swimming or — if you're feeling adventurous — taking a deep dive to explore the island's reef. Kleine Knip Beach is known for being an intimate spot, making it one of the most romantic destinations in the Caribbean.

Lake Pukaki, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Pukaki is a destination plucked straight from your favorite movie — literally. Scenes from "The Hobbit" trilogy were filmed here with the pristine, blue waters serving as a colorful backdrop. When you're not daydreaming about traveling to Mordor, Lake Pukaki and the looming Aoraki Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain peak, are gorgeous sites worth marveling at.

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Kayaking in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe is something every American should do in the U.S. in their lifetime. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the nation. And the deep, bluer-than-blue waters are especially photogenic thanks to the surrounding majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.


The area known as the Maldives is 99% clear, blue waters and just 1% land. So the list of ways you'll be able to enjoy the Maldives' waters is practically limitless. Swim with manta rays, play with the entire family on the beach or go diving among more than 1,000 species of fish.

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

Greece is a celebrity vacation hotspot, and you can live like the stars while vacationing on this secluded beach. Nicknamed Shipwreck Beach, Navagio Beach on the Greek island of Zakynthos still has an actual shipwreck sitting on its sands, creating the perfect photo opp for when you're not exploring the waters.

Pig Beach, Exuma, Bahamas

There's no adventure quite like traveling to Pig Beach in Exuma and swimming with the pigs. The Exumas are a Bahamian archipelago surrounded by sapphire-blue water. And Pig Beach is one of its most well-known and adorable destinations. Grab a selfie with the swimming piggies, pet a stingray or snorkel in the beautiful waters. Swimming with the pigs in Exuma is a fun activity every American should do when traveling abroad.

Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

Peyto Lake might be one of Canada's most beautiful sights. The lake became accessible to travelers in 1941 when the Icefields Parkway road was completed. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year because of its breathtaking blue waters that have to be seen to be believed.

Rio da Prata, Bonito, Brazil

Bonito is Brazil's capital of ecotourism and adventure tourism. There you'll find Rio de Prata — the town's most famous river. Rio de Prat is defined by heavenly blue waters so clear you can see the fish swimming between your feet. Visitors can take a walk through the river's water among beautiful species of fish and aquatic plants or go scuba diving. Other than Rio da Prata, Brazil is home to some of the best beaches in the world.

To-Sua Trench, Samoa

To-Sua — which translates to "giant swimming pool" — is a daydream-worthy swimming hole accessible by a wooden ladder. The cool, clear waters are ideal for diving or snorkeling. Because of its rare beauty, To-Sua Trench makes for one of the absolute best romantic adventures you can take.