Picture the scene: you’re on holiday in some sunny, far-away location. You then come across a beautiful expanse of water, and as luck has it, you’ve brought your swimming costume. But before you decide to take that dip, it might be worth remembering that not all lakes, ponds and seas are that safe at all. So from acidic waters in Spain to shark-infested shores in America, let’s take a look at 40 of the most dangerous places to swim around the world.
40. The Nile River
As we all know, the Nile River is one of the most iconic beds of water on the planet. This breathtaking sight stretches over 4,000 miles across Africa. But whatever you do, don’t jump in for a dip! You could disturb the locals. We’re not referring to people, though. You see, the river is teeming with crocodiles that won’t hesitate to attack a swimmer.
39. Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin is an incredible sight to behold, and it stands out as one of South America’s biggest attractions. Yet it’s safe to say that you’ll be taking quite the risk by swimming in its waters. You’d no doubt come across aquatic beasts like barracudas and piranhas, as well as candirus. The less said about the latter fish, the better.
38. Mono Lake
Located in California, Mono Lake is one of the most unique beds of water in America. And your eyes will no doubt be drawn to the rocky spots that pepper the area. They look like mini-mountains, right? As for the lake itself, it oozes a chemical compound called carbonate, so you might want to avoid swimming in it. Maybe just go to Lake Tahoe instead.
37. Kipu Falls
From a distance, you’d be hard-pressed to name a more idyllic spot in Hawaii than Kipu Falls. And if you’re an experienced swimmer, the temptation to dive into the water below may be too great to ignore. Though we’d implore you to resist the urge. Sadly, a number of people have lost their lives under the surface. But how? Well, according to the Ice Pop website, local folklore tales have blamed a number of things from hidden whirlpools to ancient gods.
36. Rio Tinto
Spain is a beautiful country that holidaymakers love to visit throughout the year. After all, the paella and sangria is more than enough to draw anyone in. If you ever come across the Rio Tinto, though, you should probably go back to your hotel. This river is an acidic nightmare thanks to previous mining operations. And that’s not all. The water has a chilling blood-red shade, too.
35. New Smyrna Beach
Florida has its fair share of beaches, but New Smyrna boasts a terrifying title that could well put you off. As per the Fox News website, it’s referred to as “the shark attack capital of the world.” So as enticing as the waves may be, you might be better off at another beach. You know, without the watery predators.
34. Hoover Dam
No trip to Nevada or Arizona would be complete without a visit to the Hoover Dam. This spectacular structure is absolutely massive, yet whatever you do, don’t take a dip in the water. Not only is it illegal, but it’s incredibly hazardous too thanks to the heavy flow of the stream. Yep, it just isn’t worth it.
33. The Strid
Sure, the Strid might not sound like the most appealing area in Yorkshire, England. But don’t let the name fool you. This flowing stream is actually very treacherous due to the pull of the water. So if you go for a dip, one wrong move could drag you below the surface and end in tragedy.
32. West End
If you hate sharks, Grand Bahama’s West End probably isn’t the place for you. For everyone else, though, take this warning on board. The waters are teeming with predators like tiger sharks, and that’s how Tiger Beach earned its name. So unless you’re a professional, you should think twice before jumping in.
31. Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls are a must-see attraction for anyone who visits Zambia. But did you know that people can actually swim at the precipice of the water falls? Not that we’d suggest it, mind. While these small pools would give you an unrivalled view of the area, you’re actually inches away from disaster. Yep, they’re not named “The Devil’s Pools” for nothing.
30. Lake Kivu
At first glance, Rwanda’s Lake Kivu looks like a nice place for a swim due to the surrounding vegetation. In truth, though, you could be putting your life at risk. According to Science 101, the bed of water is referred to as an “exploding lake.” Thanks to a local volcano, the floor is prone to firing out helpings of carbon dioxide.
29. Gulf Of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand boasts bright blue waters that will tempt any swimmer to take a dip. Plus, the hot weather makes it even more enticing. But be warned. The box jellyfish is a local aquatic resident, and they could kill you with a single nip. Their sting has the strength to temporarily paralyze you, which isn’t good news when you’re underwater.
28. Laguna Caliente
Yes, Laguna Caliente is one of the coolest names for a bed of water. But the temperatures certainly aren’t. The English translation is literally “hot lagoon,” and it’s situated in a Costa Rican stratovolcano. Apparently, the acidic levels mean that it supports little or no marine life, and a dip in it could literally burn your skin off. So maybe just take a picture of the water and be on your way.
27. Berkeley Pit
If you ever find yourself in Butte, Montana, you might stumble across Berkeley Pit. The quarry houses a lake that’s close to 1,800 feet in depth with a width of half-a-mile, according to Science 101. Due to the pit’s former use as a copper mine, though, the water is packed with harmful substances. Simply put, it’s one of the last places you’d want to dive into.
26. Mumbai Beach
The Indian city of Mumbai is a wonderful place to visit for your holidays. But you might want to think twice before diving into the water there. Residents have been dropping their rubbish in there for a while now – making it incredibly dirty. Yep, one look at the washed-up waste on the shore should be enough to put anyone off.
25. Lake Nyos
Cameroon’s Lake Nyos harbors an incredibly dark history that should put you off taking a dip in its waters. As the stream is situated on the Cameroon Volcanic Line, explosions are apparently a very real possibility. And that’s exactly what happened in August 1986. Carbon dioxide which fired out of the lake took the lives of 3,000 animals and 1,700 residents, according to Science 101.
24. Barbados Coast
As any well-traveled person will tell you, you can’t go wrong with a vacation to Barbados. But did you know about the dangers that lie on the north and east coasts? The waters there are particularly treacherous thanks to the windy conditions and huge waves. So if you fancy a swim, stick to the west or south of the island.
23. Potomac River
Swimming in rapids is never a good idea – especially when the surrounding area is covered in jagged rock. Potomac River is no different in that regard, as the powerful currents will drag you down to depths that you might not escape from. Trust us, there are better things to do in Maryland than risk your life here.
22. Reunion Island
From its beautiful beaches to the enticing blue waters, Reunion Island in Madagascar is a paradise for tourists looking to relax. Yet the area does harbor some very real danger for those who enjoy swimming. You see, sharks are lurking, and they aren’t afraid to attack. As per Science 101, 39 incidents had been recorded by February 2020.
21. Blue Lagoon
Ever fancied swimming in bleach? No? Well, you’d better swerve the Blue Lagoon in Derbyshire, England. This pool looks absolutely gorgeous from a distance thanks to its vibrant color, but the contents are very problematic. Yes, the water apparently harbors levels of alkalinity that you’d see in strong cleaning products at home.
20. Ganges River
The Ganges River is one of India’s most well-known locations. Trust us when we tell you, though, you don’t want to jump into it. Unless you like the feeling of animal waste and human sewage on your body of course. This bed of water is also full of industrial waste and plastic rubbish, so a simple dip could make you quite ill.
19. Beqa Lagoon
Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon is an eye-catching spot for beachgoers due to its picturesque conditions. Mind you, a simple peek below the water’s surface could get your blood pumping. The lagoon apparently attracts both tiger sharks and bull sharks, so relaxing swims are probably off the table.
18. Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria holds the distinct honor of being the biggest bed of water in all of Africa. Yet we wouldn’t advise that you take a swim in it. You see, the weather near the lake is more volatile than on the mainland, meaning bad conditions could be just around the corner. Keeping that in mind, Science 101 reported that roughly 5,000 people die there every 12 months.
17. Bubbly Creek
Chicago, Illinois, is known for a lot of things, but it’s safe to say that Bubbly Creek isn’t one of them. The aforementioned spot can be found in the Chicago River, and it houses waste that’ll make your toes curl. It gets worse, though. As the muck rots away, it causes the water to bubble – hence its name. The local wildlife avoid it like the plague, and so should you.
To many of us, the name Gansbaai might not mean all that much. But it might paint a better picture if we told you that it’s nicknamed “Shark Alley.” As that moniker suggests, the South African town is infamous for the number of aquatic predators that prowl its waters. And according to the website Get Away, it’s home to the world’s densest population of great whites. So we don’t recommend taking a swim.
15. The Gulf Coast
When you think about idyllic areas, America’s Gulf Coast probably won’t pop into your head. But if you do visit, take extra care if you decide to go for a dip. The water harbors snakes, you see – including the lethal rattlesnake. And if they want the spot, they can have it!
While it’s easy to make a joke about the number of dangerous animals in Australia, it’s not so funny when you get there. For instance, Queensland is particularly horrifying – especially if you want to go swimming. The website Ice Pop notes that you’ll find stonefish, sharks, crocodiles, box jellyfish and blue-ringed octopuses in the water.
13. Myrtle Beach
South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach is a nice spot to catch some rays during the summer. Sadly, though, the water isn’t as pleasant as the surroundings. If you take a dip, you run the risk of getting caught up in a rip tide, which can be incredibly dangerous. Outside of that, cannonball jellyfish are rife in the area too, so the threats are there.
12. Blue Lake
Russia’s Blue Lake is one of the most intriguing bodies of water on the planet. Thanks to its hydrogen sulfide measurements, the water gives off an eye-popping hue that few lakes can match. But questions about its size remain. According to The Style Inspiration website, it dwarfs the Seattle Space Needle, and it hasn’t stopped growing.
11. Lake Chagan
If you take a trip to Kazakhstan, you might want to visit a body of water called Lake Chagan. Whatever you do, though, don’t jump into it. After all, it’s also known as the “Nuclear Lake.” A Russian atom bomb which exploded beneath ground originally created the spot. And obviously the harmful remnants of it still remain.
10. The Novosibirsk Maldives
The Maldives is a tried and tested holiday spot that many people love. But what about the Novosibirsk Maldives? This area in Siberia got the name after social media users started to travel to a stunning blue lake there. We don’t think it’ll catch on, though. You see, the water gets its color from a coal factory’s waste, so people really shouldn’t swim in it.
9. Lake Michigan
If you’re a keen swimmer, summer in Michigan is the perfect time of year for you. Yes, Lake Michigan is a truly enticing spot – boasting lovely temperatures while people practice their strokes. Yet despite that, the lake is incredibly volatile thanks to the pull of its stream. According to the Rainforest Site, waves can also reach up to 23 feet, so that’s something else to keep in mind.
8. Condado Beach
Puerto Rico is a holiday spot that visitors love to travel to throughout the year. And if you’ve been, you might’ve heard about Condado Beach in San Juan. It’s a fairly hazardous area due to the unpredictable nature of the water – with rip currents and waves hitting the swimmers. Yeah, maybe just focus on your sun tan this time.
7. Jacob’s Well
Away from the usual landmarks, Jacob’s Well is one of the more attractive spots in Texas. On the surface, the bed of water looks safe enough for any swimmers eyeing a dip. But issues start to crop up the deeper you go. The lake actually harbors several tunnels at the bottom, which can overwhelm inexperienced divers. So if you want to avoid those concerns, stay near the top.
6. Hanakapiai Beach
Sure, Hawaii is a dream holiday destination. But were you aware of the dangers that lurk near Hanakapiai Beach? The massive waves would send a chill down the spine of even the most experienced surfer. And on top of that, there’s rip tides to contend with, too. Stick to the sandy shore we say. It’s not worth the risk!
5. Lake Karachay
Russia’s Lake Karachay was one of the country’s most infamous spots. Its waters were used as a dumping ground for contaminated materials in the past. If you dove in, you could be dead in 60 minutes, Science 101 claims. Such is the difficulty of finding photos of it, we’ve included a shot of a nearby lake here. It’s probably safer!
4. Horseshoe Lake
Hidden away below some mountains, Horseshoe Lake is a spectacular – and somewhat creepy – spot in California. The blue hue from the lake will certainly entice you to jump in, but we’d advise against that. Strongly. You see, the water is shrouded in carbon dioxide following numerous earthquakes. Due to that, plant life and trees have died from the lack of oxygen.
3. Bolinas Beach
The Red Triangle is a terrifying stretch of water in California that’s teeming with great white sharks. And Bolinas Beach sits within it. The problem, dear reader, is that its large concentration of seals attracts the terrifying fish to the area. You wouldn’t want to go swimming there now, right?
2. The Boiling Lake
Imagine that you’ve just brought a saucepan to boil when preparing your dinner. Now picture that sight on a massive scale inside a hole in the ground. Yes, Dominica’s infamous Boiling Lake does bear some resemblance to that, but people shouldn’t get too close. The heat comes from a layer of magma below the floor, so taking a dip in it would be an unspeakably bad idea.
1. Citarum River
If you ever find yourself in Indonesia, the Citarum River might not be on your itinerary list. But should you change your mind, don’t bring your swimming costume. This stretch of water is jam-packed with waste and rubbish – looking like a floating tip. Yep, it’s a horrifying visual that could put you off rivers altogether for a while.