From high above, turquoise blue waters shine brilliantly in the sun along the Exuma Islands in the Bahama.

Clearest Waters in the World — Top 10 Destinations

Do you dream of swimming in clear blue water you only see on Instagram? Clear water exists in more places than you may think. We’ll take a look at the top ten destinations. 

Keep reading to learn why some ocean water is clear blue and which ocean is the bluest. Then you can get your travel planner and visit some of the best places. 

Let’s jump in! 

From high above, turquoise blue waters shine brilliantly in the sun along the Exuma Islands in the Bahama.
Exuma Islands, Bahamas

Why Is Some Ocean Water Clear Blue?

The reason some ocean water looks like a swimming pool is due to the absorption and scattering of light. Light absorption in water is strong in red colors and weak in blue colors. As a result, the blue color remains, and that’s what is visible.

For those who want a deeper dive into the scientific reason, turquoise blue water in some oceans results from bright white calcium carbonate spheres reflecting light. What you see is a coccolithophorid bloom making a clear blue color. 

Which Ocean Has the Bluest Water?

The Weddell Sea in the Antarctic has the bluest water in the world. While most people on earth won’t have the opportunity to see it, scientists boast of its clear waters.

Enter an iceberg that just tipped over in the Weddell Sea, showing us a real “spectacle in blue”.

Most of the Weddell Sea is frozen year-round. However, when there are breaks in the ice, you can see dazzling clear blue water among the icebergs.

Clearest Waters in the World — Top 10 Destinations

Are you ready to add to your bucket list? Let’s examine the top ten most transparent ocean waters in the world. You might want to add one or all to your must-visit list. 

1. The Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula

The Weddell Sea is the most challenging to access on our list. It’s in the Antarctic, and typically only scientists explore it with specialized boats and equipment.

The submerged portion of an iceberg floating in the Weddell Sea can clearly be see through the clear bright blue water.
Weddell Sea

However, you can visit on an expedition cruise ship. It’s not cheap, but it will be the trip of a lifetime. You’ll experience a frozen wonderland and observe the Emperor Penguins.  

2. Exuma, Bahamas

The Exuma Islands in the Bahamas are more accessible than the Antarctic. You’ll find spectacular clear blue water in this district of the Bahamas. Snorkeling, diving, sailing, boating, and swimming are popular activities.

Swimming with PIGS and STINGRAYS on this beautiful island of Exuma.

You can also stop to see their famous swimming pigs. The Exumas have several resorts and vacation rentals. Because the islands are somewhat remote from the rest of the Bahamas, you’ll find fewer crowds. 

If you’re looking for a place where time seems to slow down, Key West is calling. Check out the Top Rated Snorkeling Tours in Key West.

3. The Maldives

The Maldives is a country in the Indian Ocean with about 1,200 islands and sandbanks. People inhabit 200 of the islands. The turquoise blue water surrounding the islands and atolls is magical.

Aerial view over white sand beaches with turquoise waves rolling up the shores of the Maldives.
The Maldives

When you fly to this remote nation, you’ll get the best birds-eye view of the clear ocean below. Snorkeling and diving are popular here. We highly recommend staying in an over-the-water suite at a resort.

4. Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines, is famous for its crystal waters and excellent dive sites. You can explore the ocean or kayak to caves and beaches.

A cove in Palawan, Philippines, with tall jagged rocks and foliage surrounded by clear blue waters.

The water is picture-perfect, with limestone rocks cascading above the shoreline. There are numerous opportunities to explore.

5. Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is a lake on a volcanic crater inside a national park. Rain and snow feed the lake, the deepest lake in the U.S.

Crater Lake

The blue water is mesmerizing, with a mountain surrounding it. You can visit Crater Lake National Park and take a scenic drive to the rim or hike in the area. 

6. Knip Beach, Curacao

Grote Knip Beach in Curacao

Knip Beach is on the Caribbean island of Curacao. Popular for swimmers and beachgoers, the clear blue water is inviting. There is a reef for snorkeling near the beach, and Curacao residents frequent it, so you know it’s a good one! You’ll find some picnic tables and umbrellas on the shore, but we recommend packing your beach gear for the day. 

7. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in one of the most popular attractions in Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool in Iceland. Its turquoise-blue water is as warm as it is compelling. You can visit for the day or stay overnight here. Besides the pool, there is a spa with various skincare treatments. In addition, there is a restaurant onsite. 

8. Peyto Lake, Canada

Peyto Lake is in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Many know the lake for its beautiful blue water. It is glacier-fed and has an epic viewpoint.

Towering mountains and forests ring the clear blue Peyto Lake in Canada
Peyto Lake

While Lake Louise is likely the most famous lake in Banff, we highly recommend visiting Peyto Lake. In our opinion, its color is more distinct than any other waterways in the area. 

9. The Blue River, Greenland

The Blue River is a kayaker’s paradise. Flowing through glaciers in Greenland, its clear blue waters are unforgettable.

A large meandering melt stream feeding the north lake eroded this brilliant blue river in Greenland.
Ian Joughin | CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 | Image via

While the river is ever-changing, it provides a unique opportunity to explore the Arctic. You may even see some wildlife along the way. Tours are available for visitors, and the best time to go is between December and April.   

10. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

Whitehaven Beach – Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Beach is in the Whitsunday islands in Australia. The clear water and white sandy beaches are dreamlike. Sailors frequent the beach, and for a good reason. It’s one of the most beautiful coastlines in Australia.  

Is Visiting the Clearest Waters in the World Worth It?

For water and beach lovers, visiting these clear waters is worth it. We highly recommend adding one or more destinations from our list to your travel itinerary. 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a snorkel trip, or a glacier wonderland, there’s something for everyone. If you can explore one of these waters, tag us in some photos so we can share your experience. 

Which of these destinations would you most like to visit?

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