Seventy-one percent of our planet is covered in water, from oceans to mountain lakes to jungle lagoons. Over time, the names and boundaries of these bodies of water have continuously changed to reflect political, geographical, and historical occurrences. No matter their current names or in whose territory they lie, hundreds of these bodies of water attract visitors year after year due to their crystal-clear nature and vibrant blue appearances — and as long as they’re well cared for, they’ll continue to do so for years on end.

Check out these 20 locations where you can find some of the clearest and bluest waters anywhere on Earth.


Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Home to a multitude of luxury resorts on stilts above the water, Bora Bora attracts tourists from all over the planet looking to get an up-close view of the island’s clear, turquoise waters. The fine white sand surrounding the island accounts heavily for the clarity and color.
Photo: Pierre Lesage


Dog Island, Panama

Dog Island is one of the San Blas Islands off the north coast of Panama.
Photo: Scott Sporleder


Five Flower Lake, China

Five Flower Lake is part of Jiuzhaigou Valley, one of China’s nature reserves and national parks. The clarity of the shallow lake allows visitors to see the many crisscrossing ancient tree trunks that have fallen into it. The lake often takes on many colors from the surrounding forest.
Photo: Peter


Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

The Phi Phi island chain consists of two large islands (Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh) as well as several smaller ones. The waters are famous for their clarity as well as the limestone karsts that jut out from the sea. The filming of notorious backpacker movie The Beach took place on Ko Phi Phi Leh.
Photo: Mike Behnken


Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

One of the most low-key destinations on our list, the Cayos Cochinos are protected by the Honduran government and remain off limits to commercial fishing. The islets are a true example of the word “pristine”—and we all know how overused that is. They're also home to some of the best, and mostly still undiscovered, scuba diving in the world.
Photo: Scott Sporleder


Moraine Lake, Canada

Situated in Alberta’s Banff National Park, Moraine Lake is fed by glaciers. The glacial sediment deposited by the runoff gives the lake its blue-green color. Moraine has been used in background images for Windows 7, Bing, Blackberry, Palm, and Android products.
Photo: Karl Johnson


The Maldives

The Maldives, also known as the Republic of the Maldives, is an island chain in the Indian Ocean. It has the lowest elevation of any nation in the world. The waters surrounding the 26 atolls provide for some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving anywhere.
Photo: Nic Adler


Navagio Beach, Greece

Found off the coast of Zakynthos, one of the Ionian Islands, Navagio Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach) attracts thousands of tourists annually. In addition to its limestone cliffs and clear blue water, it's famous as a BASE jumping spot.


Linapacan Island, Philippines

Located in the remote province of Palawan, Linapacan is surrounded by quiet beaches and super clear water.
Photo: Scott Sporleder


Jenny Lake, USA

Located just east of the Grand Tetons in western Wyoming, Jenny Lake's clear waters often create some picturesque reflections.
Photo: Jeff Clow


Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Deriving its strong blue color from glacial flour, New Zealand’s Lake Pukaki is a glacier-fed alpine lake. It’s the largest of three near-parallel lakes, which run north to south in the Mackenzie Basin.
Photo: Florian Bugiel


Mo'orea, French Polynesia

Due to its picture-perfect blue waters and surrounding scenery (which is mostly green), Mo’orea is a popular honeymoon destination for Westerners looking to kick back and take in the sights. Arthur Frommer (you might have heard of him thanks to a certain travel guide) once declared Mo’orea the most beautiful island in the world.
Photo: vgm8383


Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Known as the world’s largest coral-reef system and the most popular diving location on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is submerged in clear, blue water. Thanks to this clarity, the reef can be seen from space.
Photo: Scott Sporleder


Corfu, Greece

The waters off the coast of Corfu, the second largest of the Ionian Islands, offer amazing visibility and clarity. The island is visited by tourists from around the globe, but predominantly attracts them from Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The beach at Canal D’Amour in Sidari is one of Corfu’s most famous.
Photo: Trish Hartmann


Lake Tahoe, USA

After the Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe is the United States’ largest lake by volume (and the deepest after Oregon’s Crater Lake). While many parts of the lake may not appear to be incredibly clear due to its depth, size, and storm-water runoff, less-impacted spots on Lake Tahoe’s shores show the water’s true colors.
Photo: Steve Dunleavy


Tulum, Mexico

While Tulum is home to the ruins of a pre-Columbian Maya city, it attracts tourists in droves for its white sand and clear water as well.
Photo: Camilo Gonzalez


Peyto Lake, Canada

Peyto Lake is found in Banff National Park. Images of the lake may look computer generated due to the vibrant colors of the water. The large amount of rock flour, deposited from the glacial runoff, give the lake its powder-blue color.
Photo: Dave Hensley


Panari Island, Japan

Panari, also called Aragusuku, and the other Okinawan islands make up the most remote part of Japan, located a few hundred miles east of Taiwan.
Photo: Ippei & Janine Naoi


Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Two main islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kesil, make up the Perhentian Islands off the eastern coast of Malaysia. When paired with crystal-clear water, the white sand of the islands provides for an epic snorkeling experience. Jellyfish, turtles, reef sharks, and colorful reef fish can be found among other coral residents.
Photo: exilism


To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa

Found in Lotofaga, a small village on Upolu, Samoa, the To Sua Ocean Trench is a large swimming area surrounded by lush greenery on all sides. The clear water, appearing as a vibrant blue, is 30 meters deep. To Sua translates to “big hole.”
Photo: Abhimanyu Sabnis


Whitehaven Beach, Australia

The sands of Whitehaven Beach, a 7km stretch of coast in Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands, are composed of 98% silica, which accounts for their fine texture and bright white color. In turn, the clear waters and shallow sands create an impressive swirling pattern when seen from above.
Photo: Jeremy Vandel


Crater Lake, USA

The main attraction of Oregon’s national park of the same name, Crater Lake has a dark, deep blue color—its water clarity is also remarkable. The lake sits in a caldera, which was created after the collapse of the Mount Mazama volcano over 7,000 years ago.
Photo: Raul Diaz


Wineglass Bay, Australia

Famous for its white sand beaches and sapphire waters, Wineglass Bay is a secluded area in Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park. Hiking, sailing, and fishing are popular in the area. When seen from a bird’s-eye view, you can appreciate just how blue the waters are—from the turquoise shallows to the dark blue depths.
Photo: Rob Taylor