10Best: Weird and Wonderful Lakes

  • slide 1

    Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

    Sitting some 14,000 feet above sea level, the russet-colored Laguna Colorada in Bolivia certainly has a strange color - mostly due to microorganisms living in the water - but it also has a flock of unusual residents. One of only three cold-weather flamingo species can often be seen wading through the lake.

    Photo courtesy of VV-pics/iStock

  • slide 2

    Jellyfish Lake, Palau

    In the middle of an island in Palau, the marine Jellyfish Lake is home to millions of sting-less golden jellyfish who make a leisurely migration from one side of the lake to the other each day.

    Photo courtesy of Kayce Baker/iStock

  • slide 3

    Grüner See, Austria

    Grüner See, or 'Green Lake' in Austria, is a favorite hiking destination in winter when the water is rather shallow. But in summer, melt water causes the lake to rise some 30 feet, submerging the park that surrounds it. Scuba divers come to swim past park benches, a bridge and walking trails.

    Photo courtesy of JovanaMilanko/iStock

  • slide 4

    Kelimutu Crater Lakes, Indonesia

    On the island of Flores in Indonesia lie three volcanic crater lakes called Kelimutu. These three bodies of water are unusual in that they change colors independently of each other, changing from green to red to black.

    Photo courtesy of pius99/iStock

  • slide 5

    Frying Pan Lake, New Zealand

    Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand enjoys the distinction of being one of the world's largest hot springs, and as the name implies the waters are really hot, hovering between 110 and130 degrees Fahrenheit in the shallow areas.

    Photo courtesy of GeorgeBurba/iStock

  • slide 6

    Lake Hillier, Australia

    Australia has a number of unusual lakes that share one thing in common, they're bubble gum pink! The most famous of them is Lake Hillier, and scientists aren't quite sure what gives the lake its odd color, but it could be due to bacteria living in the salt crusts.

    Photo courtesy of KonArt/iStock

  • slide 7

    Lake Baikal, Russia

    Lake Baikal in Siberia, the world's deepest and biggest lake, has a few other strange traits as well. For starters, it's home to the nerpa, the only species of freshwater seal on the planet.

    Photo courtesy of withgod/iStock

  • slide 8

    Tonle Sap, Cambodia

    During the monsoon season in Cambodia each year, so much rain falls into the Mekong River that it begins to flow backward, flooding Tonle Sap Lake to five times its normal size. Because of this annual flooding, entire villages are built on stilts.

    Photo courtesy of takepicsforfun/iStock

  • slide 9

    Resia Lake, Italy

    In 1950 a reservoir was dammed, and the Italian village of Curon was nearly completely submerged. All that remains of the town is the steeple of the town's church, which to this day juts from the surface of the artificial Resia Lake.

    Photo courtesy of Franky_P/iStock

  • slide 10

    Lake Superior, Michigan

    When you think surfing, you probably don't think Michigan. But that's exactly what local residents do on Lake Superior in the winter months. Winds blowing across the surface of the lake create breakers that average between two and six feet.

    Photo courtesy of bobtema/iStock

  • slide 11

    Klikuk Spotted Lake, Canada

    In the winter, there's nothing too unusual about British Columbia's Klikuk Spotted Lake, but in summer when the water begins to evaporate, it leaves behind a series of "spots" with natural walkways winding between them.

    Photo courtesy of Lijuan Guo/iStock

  • slide 12

    Lake of Five Colors, China

    Pictures of the Lake of Five Colors inside China's Jiuzhaigou National Park look Photoshopped, but they're not. The crystal clear waters really are that clear and that turquoise. You can even see fallen trees lying across the lake's bottom.

    Photo courtesy of Culantor Lin

  • slide 13

    Lake Nakuru, Kenya

    It's not the waters that make Kenya's Lake Nakuru so special; it's the hundreds of thousands of flamingos that come to feed on algae in the lake, creating one of the world's most spectacular birding experiences.

    Photo courtesy of Mogens Trolle/iStock

  • slide 14

    Erta Ale Lava Lake, Ethiopia

    In Ethiopia, Erta Ale is famous as one of the driest and hottest places on the planet. Unfortunately, there's no cooling off in Erta Ale's lake, as it's filled with lava.

    Photo courtesy of filippo_jean

  • slide 15

    Medicine Lake, Canada

    Visitors to Jasper National Park in summer might assume Medicine Lake is like any other mountain lake in the Canadian Rockies. But in the winter, the lake disappears completely as if someone pulled the drain plug in a bathtub, leaving behind a mudflat.

    Photo courtesy of Dianne Graham

  • slide 16

    Lake McKenzie, Australia

    Step onto the powdery white sands of Lake McKenzie and you might feel like you're in the Caribbean. The lake sits in the middle of Fraser Island but is fed solely by rain water, giving it amazing visibility.

    Photo courtesy of bamse009/iStock

  • slide 17

    Dead Sea, Israel

    The Dead Sea, located between Israel and Jordan, isn't a sea at all, but a lake. It's unusual for two main reasons: 1) it's the lowest place on Earth at 1,486 feet below sea level and 2) it's waters have a salt content of 35 percent, making it 10 times saltier than pretty much any other body of water.

    Photo courtesy of Itamar Grinberg/Israel Tourism

  • slide 18

    Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

    Croatia's Plitvice Lakes are unusual in that they look like something out of a make believe land of fairies. The series of sixteen lakes, surrounded by cliffs and forest, are connected by dozens of waterfalls.

    Photo courtesy of Philipp

  • slide 19

    Aral Sea, Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan

    The Aral Sea, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, has shrunk at an alarming rate in recent decades as the rivers that feed it have been diverted for irrigation. Today, dozens of rusted ships lie stranded in huge expanses of sand.

    Photo courtesy of DanielPrudek/iStock

  • slide 20

    Lake Titicaca, Peru

    Some lakes have islands, and Lake Titicaca earns a spot on the list of unusual lakes because of its floating islands, made over and over again from reeds by the Uros tribe.

    Photo courtesy of OSTILL/iStock

About Lydia Schrandt

Lydia graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Philosophy and quickly bid farewell to the United States for good. She's traveled throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and has lived in Albuquerque, Galveston, Austin, Thailand, Korea, China, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.

Lydia is currently "slow traveling" through South America in search of a place to call home. Florianopolis, Brazil currently serves as her base of operations. She speaks a little Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese, and loves cooking, photography, knitting and watching Spanish soccer. She hopes to get her first novel published in the next year.

Read more about Lydia Schrandt here.

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