People and water have been bonded to each other for centuries, maybe even thousands of years. So, it’s no shock to anyone that when a new place if found with great location, cool water, and picturesque settings, people go there to go in the water. Whether it be a lake, an ocean beach, or a river bank, they are all attractive for a place to soak, jump in and just relax, forgetting all the demands of life for a bit. Or maybe it’s just about reconnecting with nature a bit, we love water.
Unfortunately, not every great-looking lake or beach is an ideal spot to take a soak. A good number of places have some real dangers in them. From sharks, to chemical poisons, to snakes, these special places have some real bad news for anyone senseless or ignorant enough to get in the water. Here’s 20 of these locations around the world:
Known as the “boiling lake,” Dominica has a beautiful collection of water that literally sits on a magma vent.
As a result, the water is scalding hot, and the lake boils regularly. Folks have heard of natural hot tubs but this will literally turn a swimmer into a poached egg.
Located in South Texas, Jacob’s Well is a demon in disguise. This lake has amazing clarity. Its water is so pure, one can easily right to the bottom of the lake, or so it seems. However, down towards the bottom there are multiple tunnels with openings into the lake. Many swimmers find their curiosity too strong, and they try to hold their breath long enough to explore the depths inside.
And that’s where the trouble begins. People get stuck, lost and lose their air. Even those with scuba tanks have run into trouble. The tunnels are disorienting, and a number of explorers have gotten lost and also ran out of air as well.
The ancient Egyptians worshiped the Nile River as their life-giver, the reason they survived in what was otherwise a desert. However, while the Nile might beautiful to see by boat, no one wants to go swimming it. Unfortunately, the Nile is also a great home for a whole bunch of crocodiles.
They are aggressive, nasty and dangerous, and these over-sized lizards will go after anything in the water, especially pretty that doesn’t look like its comfortable or fast. A human splashing around awkwardly is a great target. Nile attacks aren’t rare either. Over 100 crocodile attacks and injuries occur annually in the Northern part of the Nile near communities. Sometimes it’s better to just stay on land. Better yet, go look at the pyramids, much safer.
Hawaii is supposed to be paradise, right? That’s a bit of an overrated marketing theme that’s long worn off its luster. However, the islands aren’t a bad place to live or hang out at. The beaches are generally fun, even when crowded. And most only have the major risks of sun burn, coral scratches, and lost beach toys. However, on Hanakapiai Beach things are a little different.
More than 80 people have been killed here in recent times, much of it due to the extremely strong waves and a vicious undertow. People of all ages have been pulled out to sea quickly only to drown due to exhaustion swimming or they were knocked out by the wave.
The Chicago River has a good number of swimming locations, as well as some locations that aren’t such a good idea to be in. Bubbly Creek is one of them. Part of the problem is pollution. Bubbly Creek got its name due to the runoff that ends up in this location, draining into the river.
The muck is a nasty mixture of trash, chemical, rotting food, fecal waste and other things that make you throw up as soon as you smell them. The water in this area is so bad, nothing can live in it.
Every picture we’ve seen of Thailand is one of beauty. Even after the devastating tidal wave that hit in the 2000s, the place has recovered and the beaches are once again a South Asian paradise. However, the Samaesan Hole is another story.
That location is a diver’s challenge, but when one gets down deep, all light disappears. And when that happens, divers can get disoriented, not even knowing up from down. Get lost too long, and one runs out of air before finding a way back up.
In the middle of Russia is a lot of land, but in one location there is a lake that literally is a pot of toxic poison. Unfortunately, Russia’s past is full of a lot of chemical production that poisoned a lot of places. Lake Karachay is one place where the old Communist government decided to dump or allow poisoning with chemicals so toxic, they would kill a person in less than 60 minutes of swimming in it.
Fortunately, the lake is going to eventually get covered with cement, but it wasn’t soon enough for an occasional child who went swimming where he or she wasn’t supposed to before the remedy started.
The water itself in the Eagle’s Nest is swimmable, but that’s not the real problem. It’s a very attractive place to dive into because the sinkhole is so deep.
And that makes it possible to dive in and get stuck in one of the undersection without an ability to come back up where there is air. At least 10 different divers have been killed here as a result.
When bad things happen is a given place, it tends to build a reputation, and in old times it would be associated with bad spirits and evil threats from the unnatural world.
Whatever the case, Kipu Falls still has some kind of danger to it because tourists keep getting killed there. One of the most common causes, however, doesn’t involve bad spirits. Instead, distilled spirits tend to be the culprit with drunk tourists being among a crowded throng and occasionally someone drowns.
One, the Amazon is big. Two, it has a lot of critters in it from piranhas to alligators and deadly snakes.
Three, there are also barracudas with really sharp teeth. Four, the Amazon has the candiru, a nasty fish blamed for genital damage to the unwary swimmer. Ouch.
Africa has lakes. Some of them are very, very big. Lake Victoria takes the cake as the third largest inland body of water on the planet. Because of that fact, the lake can generate its own weather pattern.
And that can be quite dangerous when the weather turns within the day, and the person is out in the water swimming or on a boat. Sitting in a body of water during a storm is not a smart place to be.
One would think with all the environmental laws on the book, California would be a pretty clean place.
However, the state is home to Horseshoe Lake, a toxic swill created by natural earthquakes that freed up carbon dioxide into the water from below.
The Rio Tinto is easy to find. The water is literally reddish from all the pollution dumped into it. Much of the waste was a result of mining activities in the area for years, all the wash off was sent draining into the lake.
Eventually, the acid built up into a poisonous pot of death water.
The Ganges River has long been associated with religious beliefs in India. It’s also one of the most polluted places on earth due to human waste and industrialization. Everything from basic trash to chemical pollution to factory waste goes into it.
And yet worshippers still go to the Ganges to bathe for religious ceremony. Faith may be strong, but there’s no need for anyone else to get put in the hospital bathing there.
If you’re looking for sharks in the water, one of the best places to find them is the coast off of Gansbaai. There are so many sharks in the area annually, it has its own nickname, “shark alley.”
Yet people still amazingly go in the water, and that eventually presents an opportunity for a shark attack.
Folks need to understand one very clear thing about dams. When the roped off area becomes visible, stay away. Just because there’s a dam doesn’t mean the water isn’t flowing.
What happens is that the water near the dam is draining through the controlled exists. And if someone is ignorant enough to get near that area, that person could get caught in the tow. That in turn goes through the intakes, turbines and eventually out far below. Unfortunate swimmers have never survived this fate.
Like many parts of Southeast Asia, Indonesia has many parts people would easily label paradise. Unfortunately, one of them is not the Citarum River.
Like many areas in the region, the River is literally covered with a surface of floating trash, which hides worse things underwater.
Some dangerous waters are simply natural occurrences, having nothing to do with development or pollution. The Blue Lagoon is a natural result of high alkalinity in a body of water.
In fact, this lake has such a high pH score, it could easily be compared with bleach or similar cleaning agents. And, no, its not a good place to get your hair bleached.
Water and snakes go together. Most people don’t know this, but snakes are quite at home in water and can easily swim across it. In the Gulf Coast, particularly the warm regions, there are a lot of snakes, and many are so poisonous, they regularly kill people unwary enough to come across one in the water.
And it’s not just one type of snake. The warm waters are so attractive to snakes, all kinds of reptiles go swimming to warm up, including water moccasins and rattlesnakes.
South Africa isn’t the only place with sharks. Madagascar has its own nest of swimming killing machines, making a good run for the title of the world’s shark capital.
In one year, the Reunion Island shark attack statistic hit a whopping 39 deaths. No surprise, the Island should probably be on the list of no-swim locations for anyone visiting Madagascar.
Deep in Yorkshire, England there is an extremely dangerous swimming place named the Strid. It’s a fast-moving creek cutting through rock with high walls and lots of boulders along its path, creating mini-currents.
Someone foolish enough to swim in it can get sucked under, and then its just a matter of minutes before they drown.
Back on the other side of the planet in the southern hemisphere, Australia hits the list with its shark-infested Queensland beaches. It’s so obvious and so bad, the shark infestation is noticed with big obvious signs all over the beach strip.
Yet people still swim and still get bitten. You wonder about evolution sometimes. To make matters worse, there are other critters there too, including crocodiles, stonefish and jellyfish. Ouch!
Australia doesn’t hold the singular title for shark problems, however. Bolinas Beach, CA has the unwanted problem of being a prime feeding ground for great white sharks in the upper cold Pacific.
The fact that there are so many seals there makes it the equivalent of a Walmart for sharks. Come and get it!
Great white sharks aren’t picky, however. They will attack prey on either side of the U.S., and Florida’s island, New Smyrna, is just as good a place for a bite as anywhere else.
The Florida locale is dangerous both for swimmers as well wading fishermen, a common visitor type trying to catch some quick dinner but also making themselves a potential dinner too.
It’s beautiful and magestic, but swimming in the water just before Victoria Falls could end up meaning your certain death if you get stuck in the flow and go over the falls.
The drop is the equivalent of falling off of a skyscraper, so the impact at the bottom will certainly kill if one is lucky enough to avoid the rocks on the way down. Zambia can be extremely hot during the day, making the water near the falls attractive, especially the small pools. But it’s still better to avoid them altogether.
Deep enough to have easily allowed deep ships for cargo where the river joins the ocean, the Potomac has had a long history with early U.S. history. In terms of swimming there are plenty of locations along the river for dipping in.
The thing to be wary of is that the River also has undercurrents. And those can catch a swimmer and pull him or her under into the cold bottom.
If cold water isn’t your think, the Bahamas are a warm alternative. Most of the East Coast agrees with you and vacations there a lot. However, the West End waters also attract cranky critters in the form of tiger sharks.
Known to be one of the most dangerous and aggressive shark breeds, tiger sharks were the primary killer of many U.S. sailors in the South Pacific during World War II.
Dubbed the “exploding lake” the waters of Lake Kivu sit on a volcanic vent. And that means various geological burps can release massive bubbles of gases.
If you’re unlucky enough to be above one as it comes up, it can literally suffocate you, knock a swimmer unconscious and cause a drowning. As if Rwanda didn’t have enough problems in its recent history.
Florida’s east side is famous for its flat beaches, calm warm waters and great sun. No surprise, the area gets throngs of visitors multiple times a year to sunbathe and swim.
However, the area around Myrtle Beach is particularly a problem because of rip tides, which can pull a swimmer far out to sea. The person then tires before help can arrive and drowns due to exhaustion and cold.
Jellyfish look beautiful in the water. But you never want to get into contact with one of them. The poisons they leech can create a burning pain sensation that can last for hours.
And in the Gulf of Thailand the Box Jellyfish is so toxic, a swimmer with bad luck making contact can literally die in the water in minutes. And they are all over the Gulf versus just in one spot. So with beauty comes danger.
This particular body of water has so much hydrogen sulfide in the water, it literally gleams like a sapphire. The local rumors are that the deep part of the lake hides a particular threat that has caused dozens to drown.
But no one can say what the threat actually is. No one has bothered to go looking for it either. Maybe that’s a hint every swimmer should follow.
This lake used to be huge, but Los Angeles drained it over time to a much smaller version of the bigger body. That in turn exposed large towers of geological features that used to be under water.
That’s not where the problem is, however. Because there is much less water to dilute things, the remainder of the lake is filled with a high level of carbonates and similar components that are just plain bad stuff to swim in.
Any place that translates to hot lagoon should give a person pause before dipping his or her toes in it. Costa Rica’s Laguna Caliente sits smack on the top of a volcano, which means the water would pretty much boil a swimmer’s skin off in a matter of seconds.
But it would be one hell of way to go for a last swim on earth.
Any kind of a lake that was created because someone decided to ignite a nuclear bomb underground is probably not a good place to swim in, especially if you want to have children later in life.
Located between mountains in Kazakhstan, Chagan Lake was an ideal location for out of site Russian nuclear testing in earlier years, and the effects are literally a bowl of toxic soup nothing can live in our around for years to come.
The Lake sits on the border of a major volcanic seam which has a history of burping up large emissions of carbon dioxide. Even if on the shores, a person could get killed.
The clouds emitted from deep under the lake have in one instance killed over 1,700 people and thousands of animals, gassing them to death invisibly.
Another on the list of volcanically heated water bodies, Nyiracongo sits smack inside an active volcano and lava pit. How the water is still in liquid form with all that heat is a bit of a question, but no one can get close enough to even look.
There is so much carbon dioxide gas being spewed out, people would die just being in the near area and breathing.
Another lake that formed in a big hole created by something, this particular swimming hole involves water collected in what used to be a mining operation for copper.
The chemicals in the water, leeched out of the nearby rocks and mining activity, is so bad, a swimmer would react within minutes to a lethal dose.
Tropical lagoons are supposed to be paradise or something similar, not a deadly risk. Beqa Lagoon, however, is also a paradise for sharks.
So yes, you could go swimming there, but the sharks might decide you make a pleasurable dinner in the South Pacific instead.
It looks like a nordic lake and nothing else. The landscape looks normal. However, nothing seems to live in this place. No matter how many times the Russians have tried to stock the area with fish and wildlife, everything seems to die off or leave.
Animals aren’t stupid, but humans can be. We should probably listen to the animals a bit more when it comes to this location.
The City of Mumbai is adjacent to huge lakes, but unfortunately they are so filled with trash, waste and garbage that even going in for a quick dip could like give a swimmer a skin infection.
The waters never seem to get clean because the local population keeps dumping their daily waste into the water. And the industrial waste over the decades running off hasn’t helped either. Stay away, far away from the waters of Mumbai.