Sparkling blue, crystal clear, refreshingly cool, and more than nine football fields long, this lagoon is what vacation dreams are made of.
Imagine an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Now imagine more than 20 of them lined up in a row.
Add a few extra feet of beautiful, clear saltwater and you’ll have the lagoon at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile. Yes, it’s that big—big enough to sail a boat on, kayak on, and paddleboard on, if swimming is just too old school for you. A little more than nine football fields long, this enormous man-made pool by Crystal Lagoons holds 66 million gallons of water and is 11.5 feet deep at its lowest point.
Most striking, though, this outdoor pool is crystal clear, with blue waters to rival the Caribbean. And with an area of almost 20 acres surrounded by beautiful white-sand beaches, anyone enjoying its refreshing waters would think they were actually in a secluded island paradise, not on South America’s Pacific coast, less than 70 miles from Santiago, Chile’s capital.
Though more than twice as large as Guinness World Record's Largest Swimming Pool by Area, this lagoon does not have the honor of holding that title—probably because swimming, for safety, is restricted to cordoned-off areas, while the rest of the colossal pool is reserved for watercraft. (Note, though, that the World Record Academy does name the San Alfonso lagoon as the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool.)
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After it was finished in 2006, the San Alfonso del Mar lagoon did hold the title of Largest Man-Made Lagoon—at least until the almost 24-acre Citystars lagoon in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (another Crystal Lagoons build, pictured above), stole the title. Another, even bigger, lagoon by the same company is in the works in Dubai. It’s expected to be more than 90 acres, larger than California’s Disneyland park.
So what’s so special about these lagoons?
Designed, built, and maintained by Miami-based Crystal Lagoons, these lagoons bring the Caribbean beach lifestyle to resorts, communities, and developments around the world, according to a press release from the company, which also calls itself a “water innovation company.”
These mega-lagoons are sustainable, self-cleaning, and crystal-clear, thanks to Crystal Lagoon’s patented water filtration technology. They use up to 50 times less energy than conventional pool filtration systems, with fewer chemicals and less water.
The lagoons can also be of unlimited size, so that epically huge Dubai development might be just the beginning. Crystal Lagoons currently has more than 600 projects in different stages across 60 different countries, including 14 announced projects in the U.S. The first U.S. project, in a community near Tampa, Florida, is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2017, while a second (also in Florida, rendered above) has already broken ground. Other projects are located in Las Vegas; Dallas, Texas; and Miami.
Want one of these crystal lagoons in your own backyard? Good luck. The Tampa development, a community with a 7.5-acre lagoon and more than 1,000 new homes around it, already has a 3,700-person waiting list. This first community, dubbed Epperson, is one of four—perhaps a house on one of the remaining three is in your future!
In the meantime, scroll on for more images of these spectacular lagoons:
All photos courtesy of Crystal Lagoons