Color enchants us, entices us and fascinates us. We use colour to choose what we want to wear, what we want to eat and how we want to feel. Color is all around us and Mother Nature is no stranger to making our lives a brighter place. One of the more unique ways color is displayed throughout nature is in lakes. From bubblegum pink to blood red to emerald green to powder blue lakes all around the world are creating stunning visual landscapes bursting with color. Crater lakes created by volcanic eruptions, brilliant cold glacier lakes and a magical winter lake that transforms into a mirrored sheet of glass are just a few of the dramatic bodies of water that scream color. While color is seen differently by everyone we can all agree on one thing; these lakes certainly aren’t normal. Dare to take a dip into the bubblegum pink lake or the frigid blue waters of a glacier lake? Many of these lakes are either too dangerous or protected to swim in but that won’t stop visitors from taking amazing pictures and building lifelong memories. Discover 10 epically visually appealing wonders of the lake world from freshwater to salt.
10 Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Translating to “Red Lagoon” this shallow salt water lake is home to water that has taken on a deep red-orange hue; due to the red algae and microorganisms that live in it; according to National Geographic. Dotted with large white pools that are caused by massive borax deposits and surrounded by rolling hills and mountains, this lake sets the stage for a spectacular landscape. An extremely rare breed of flamingoes flock to this lake as it is rich with plankton and shallow enough for their liking. This three feet deep salt water lake ranges from blood red to rust color to orange depending on the season and activity of the microorganisms.
9 Lake Hillier, Australia
A saline lake that is perched on the middle island of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago is shockingly bubble gum bright pink. Scientists have argued for years over what causes the pink color says Australia.com; some speculating that the color comes from the bacteria that live in the salt crusts. Unlike other pink lakes, Lake Hillier remains pink all year around and even when bottled it keeps its pink hue. The only way to see this lake is by air and as part of a protected reserve visitors are not allowed to land on the island. So throw those hopes away about swimming in this salty pink lake; you’ll have to find another one.
8 Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
With Mt. Cook standing tall in the background and the shimmering and vibrant jewel blue water stretching over 150 kilometers it’s not hard to justify why this breathtaking lake makes the list. This alpine lake gets its color by the fine-grain minerals that come from the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers nearby. With the rocky shoreline, the unchanging water color and the surrounding landscape this might just be paradise. It is possible to swim in this lake but beware of the rocks on the bottom and the frigid temperatures; it is a glacier lake. The blue color remains as you get close and the pictures are truly unbelievable from this dramatically colored lake.
7 Moraine Lake, Canada
Listed as one of the most spectacular lakes in the World by The Huffington Post; Moraine Lake in Banff is one of the most famous lakes in the Canadian Rockies. The glacier waters which are full of rock particle have turned this water into an amazing powder blue color. The shorelines are full of wildlife including moose, deer and bears. Visit between late June and October when the lake is full and the blue color shines through in its finest. Plenty of hiking trails surround this lake to provide ample opportunity for visitors to take picturesque photos of the lake; in fact the top of the Rockpile Trail looking down at the lake is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada!
6 Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
A series of sixteen lakes connected by waterfalls all ranging in color from blue, green, grey and azure are perhaps the most interesting and awe-inspiring lakes on this list. The natural dams of travertine that are deposited by moss, algae and bacteria give the lakes their unique colors. Depending on the quality of the minerals along with the placement of the sun allows them to be ever-changing in color. According to Lonely Planet it takes upwards of six hours to explore the lakes on foot but the parks free boats and buses can help shave some time off. This is a highly desired tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will truly amaze every single visitor.
5 Lake Baikal
The world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake is not only stunningly beautiful in the summertime with its deep blue waters and amazing mountains views but becomes even more interesting in the wintertime. Lake Baikal does not so much take on a color in the winter but becomes a mirror of glass; so transparent and see through it is hard to believe one can actually stand on it. Huge blocks of emerald green ice emerge on the surface and the yellowish-orange cliffs jutting out only make this landscape more dramatic. Beautiful in the summertime but unbelievable in the wintertime; bundle up and join the brave souls as you discover this larger-than-life winter playground.
4 Kelimutu Lakes, Indonesia
Three crater lakes are located atop the same volcanic peak; Kelimutu in Indonesia but could look no more different than they do. Each is a different color and this phenomenon is the only place on earth where one can see this. The Daily Mail reports that scientists have been baffled for centuries trying to discover why they spontaneously change color; and each changing a different color at that. Colors have ranged from red to green to blue to black to even white. The chemical reactions from the minerals that are triggered by the volcanic activity cause the color changing but no one quite knows why they don’t all change the same color. Regardless of the reason; these three lakes are striking, beautiful and ever changing.
3 Emerald Lakes, Tongariro New Zealand
New Zealand’s oldest national park boasts our next amazingly colored lakes. The Emerald Lakes are seen on The Tongariro Alpine Crossing; the most popular one day hike in New Zealand. Theses lakes are shimmering green from the minerals that have leached from the surrounding rocks according to National Geographic. You won’t want to get to close to them as they steam vents give off a pretty heavy sulfur smell. The gleaming green three crater pools are worth the visit though; provided this active volcano doesn’t decide to blow. This trek takes visitors through purple hills, rain forests and to volcanic summits; sounds like a pretty good excuse to us to go see these amazing green lakes.
2 Okama Lake, Mt. Zao Japan
Also known as the five colour pond; this crater lake was created in the 1720’s by a volcanic eruption. Known to change colour depending on the weather this is one of the most popular tourist spots in the area. The lake’s main color is a stunning teal but it has been known to change to a striking bright green colour, light or dark blue and even grey. According to Japan Tourism Information the lake is highly acidic and in fact no creatures can inhabit this lake. Active fumaroles around the lake often let out gases and perhaps the best way to see this lake is safe inside an airplane from above.
1 Lake Retba, Senegal
Known as Lac Rose by locals this bright pink lake is similar in color to Lake Hillier in Australia; with one notable difference. Visitors can actually swim in this pink lake. The salina bacterium which is attracted by the lakes salt content produces a red pigment in order to absorb the sunlight, thus turning the water red. This bacteria produces no harm for humans and visitors will more often than not see salt collectors (lathered in shea butter to protect their bodies) working at the lake. Go ahead and have a swim but beware salt levels can reach up to 40%. Visit in the dry season when the lake is at its pinkest.