If visiting pink lakes in the world is on your bucket list, you came to the right place. In collaboration with other travel bloggers, this blog post enlists some of the most stunning natural phenomena you can see around the globe.
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PINK LAKES IN EUROPE
Laguna Rosa de Torrevieja, Spain
Torrevieja Pink Lake is a salt lake in the Costa Blanca region near the town of Torrevieja. This bubblegum pink lake takes the color from bacteria and algae that grow in the salty water. Near the pink one, there’s also a green lake, and the two comprise Las Salinas de Torrevieja. However, the green is not as appealing in color as the pink lake.
Torrevieja town depends on its salt lakes and has obtained the mineral for centuries. From the 19th century, it officially became the core producer of Spain’s salt industry.
Visiting the pink lake is possible by car as a day trip from Alicante and other small towns along the Costa Blanca coast. However, it’s a topic of discussion whether you can swim in the lake or not. Some sources say you can, while others note that it might result in a hefty fine. Just be careful and mindful.
Check best ways to get from Alicante to Torrevieja.
Salin d’Aigues Mortes, France
The south of France is home to one of the best pink lakes globally and in Europe – the Salin d’Aigues Mortes. This is one of 6 Salins in the region, and they have been harvesting salt here for thousands of years – at least since Roman times.
The water is pink because of the algae combining with the saltwater. You’ll see hundreds of flamingoes here, which eat the algae (the more algae in the water, the pinker the flamingo!) The water is pink all year round, although rain or overcast skies can make it less vivid, so try to visit on a sunny day if possible.
Nowadays, the region is protected as a heritage site, and it’s only possible to get a tour out onto the flats using a tourist train or by doing a guided 3-hour cycle tour. It’s not possible to walk as the ecosystems are so fragile. There is plenty of parking at the entrance, even for more oversized vehicles – applicable if you’re motorhoming in France.
A tour is well worth doing, as it tells you about the area and the salt mining. It’s in French, but you can request the paper version in English from the ticket office. There aren’t many stops on the train tour, but you are allowed out to walk up the slope and get an incredible view across the Salins. Don’t forget to visit the fortified city of Agues Mortes while you’re in the area. It’s a great place to explore.
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PINK LAKES IN THE USA, SOUTH AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Great Salt Lake, USA
There are so many hidden gems in Utah. However, one of the best-hidden gems is seeing the pink water at the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, currently sitting at 75 miles long and 35 miles wide. The pink color comes from salt-tolerant bacteria and algae that survive in the highly-salinated Great Salt Lake.
Something significant to note is that only certain lake areas have a pink hue. The two best places to enjoy the pink water are Stansbury Island and the Spiral Jetty. And the best time to see the pink water is in the spring or the fall.
To see the pink water from Stansbury Island, take Stansbury Island Road to the Island’s north point for a perfect viewing spot. Plus, Stansbury Island is only about a 1-hour drive from downtown Salt Lake City.
Or you can see the pink water at the Spiral Jetty, a unique art installation and a fun destination all its own (2-hours from Salt Lake City). However, to find the pink water here, you may have to walk a half-mile or more depending on the lake’s current water level.
No matter which viewing point you choose, experiencing the pink water in the Great Salt Lake will be a memorable experience for everyone.
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The Atacama Desert, Chile
The colors in the Atacama desert in Chile are unlike anywhere else in the world. Various pastels, shades of greys, browns, and pink combined to create one of the most photogenic places in the world. After hiking the W trek in Chilean Patagonia, many travelers make Atacama their next destination.
Considered to be one of the driest places on earth, the animals that survive in the water here, primarily pink shrimp, are what make many of the lakes in the area have this stunning, pink color. The best time to visit is during the summer, which in Chile falls in December, January, and February. To reach the lake, you must book a flight to Calama and then either rent a car or take a bus that will take you to San Pedro de Atacama, a cute town that is the center of tourist activities in the Atacama desert.
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Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary, Bonaire
One of only four designated areas in the world where flamingos go to breed, the Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary in Bonaire is also home to multiple bright pink lakes in the world. These result from the seawater evaporation process used to mine salt on this Caribbean island.
The salt mining process results in super salty water, creating halophilic bacteria containing pink carotenoid pigments. This attracts large quantities of brine shrimp that feed on it, turning them pink. The flamingos then eat the pink brine shrimp making the Caribbean flamingo the most colorful of all flamingo species.
While the Flamingo Sanctuary is not open to visitors, you can view the pink lakes from the road next to it year-round. It is often rated one of the best things to do in Bonaire as you’re also likely to see tons of flamingos here, mainly if you visit between January and July, which is their breeding season.
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PINK LAKES IN MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
Maharloo lake, Iran
Maharloo lake is the largest of two pink lakes in Iran, located 27 kilometers southeast of Shiraz. The lake is 3 meters deep, and the width depends on the amount of rainfall the region has received. The best time to visit the lake is the middle of summer, when the water starts evaporating in the summer heat, allowing the potassium and high salts to turn the lake into a deep hue of pink. During this time, the area also becomes busy with local salt miners.
There is no entrance fee to the lake, but due to its relatively remote location, you will need to hire a local driver in the city of Shiraz to take you to the lake (expect to pay 9.070.000 IRR). When you get back to Shiraz, make sure to check out the Nasir-Ol-Mosque (pink mosque) and the historic ruins of Persepolis too.
If you are a woman traveling in Iran, you will be obliged to wear modest clothes covering your knees and elbows as well as a headscarf.
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Pink Salt Lakes of Walvis Bay, Namibia
For the adventurous traveler, make your way to Namibia to find one of the pink lakes in the world and then head to Walvis Bay. This city can be reached by flying into Walvis Bay International Airport or driving 4 hours from Windhoek.
These lakes are enormous salt deposits that produce most of the salt exported in Sub-Saharan Africa. A unique microorganism in these salty plains is responsible for releasing the highly pigmented pink color you’ll see. The pinkness doesn’t stop in the lake. The water evaporates into the sky, resulting in slightly pink color in the clouds above.
These lakes are best viewed during midday, where the harsh lighting of the sun shows off the bright pink hues of this lake. Seriously, the color you see in the photo is not from editing; it is that pink!
And if you haven’t had enough pink yet, you’re in luck. The city of Walvis Bay is famous for its large flamingo settlement. Usually, you’ll find them on the beach, but there are usually a few hanging out right by the pink lakes.
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PINK LAKES IN AUSTRALIA
The beautiful and vibrant Hutt Lagoon lies the drive between Port Gregory and Kalbarri. It is a pink lake that has formed because of the abnormally high salinity level. Carotenoid-producing algae – Dunaliella salina, which is used in makeup and dietary supplements.
Like elsewhere in Western Australia, Hutt Lagoon is remote and is around 6 hours north (555km) from Perth if you follow the Indian Ocean Drive. There are different ways to see the lake. For example, you can stop at one of the lookout spots for free or even swim in the lake – if you desire. Alternatively, you can go on a scenic flight leaving from Geraldton or Kalbarri, where you can see how the color contrasts with the Indian Ocean.
The best time of the day to see the lake pink is on a clear day around midday or at sunset when the colors change – it is magical. To get the most out of your experience, you should time your trip with the wildflower season, from July to September.
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Located in Middle Island in the Goldfields-Esperance region, off the south coast of Western Australia, Lake Hillier is a beautiful bubble gum pink lake. The lake’s pink color is because of the presence of algae and other microbes, and it is an extremely saline lake as salty as the dead sea.
Though the lake is off-limits to visitors via road, it doesn’t mean it can’t be seen at all. Over the years, Lake Hillier has captivated people from all over the world by the name of Esperance’s pink lake. The fascination to see it is so natural that there are two ways to see it – cruise to the Island, by helicopter, and via a scenic flight.
The cruise to Middle Island only takes place in January at limited dates with very few people on board with Esperance Island Cruises. It allows you to see the lake from the lake’s viewing platform, and the added benefit of taking this cruise is the wildlife encounter along the way. The experience comes at the cost of AUD 390.
The helicopter ride starts from the helipad of Esperance moving towards Cape Le Grand National park and finally orbiting Lake Hillier. The helicopter lands at a natural rock formation, and you will be given a guided walking tour as you walk on the edges of Pink Lake. The experience of seeing the lake from above is a lifetime experience but comes at a whopping cost of AUD 1295.
Another way to see Lake Hillier is by taking a scenic flight with Goldfields Air Services that cost AUD 425 per person, and the total flight time is about one hour and 40 minutes.
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Rottnest Island lies off the coast of Perth in Western Australia. The Island is very popular among tourists who come here for the incredible beaches, fascinating wildlife, and of course, the iconic pink lake.
In the center of the small Island, you’ll find an assortment of shallow saltwater lakes, including the famous pink lake. It is unclear why the lake is pink at times, but its color does tend to vary according to the season. It is usually pinkest in the Australian winter and sometimes even dries up entirely in the summer.
The best way to see it is via bike, which you can rent on the Island. Rottnest is perfect for a cycling trip to let you see all the best spots and hidden gems. The many beaches are usually more popular than the pink lake, so you’ll have no trouble finding a quiet place to yourself.
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PINK LAKES IN MEXICO
Laguna Rosada, Yucatan
Though Las Coloradas in the Yucatan Peninsula is Mexico’s most famous pink lake – there is another, off the beaten lake called Laguna Rosada (Pink Lagoon). It is also much easier to access than Las Coloradas, located just 45-minutes from one of Mexico’s top travel destinations, the colonial city of Merida.
One of the best day trips from Merida is to the quiet beachfront pueblo of Telchac, Puerto, Mexico. Besides Laguna Rosada, there’s also a large flock of flamingos in Telchac, a small Mayan ruins site, X’cambó, and a beautiful beach. It costs 200 pesos ($10USD) to visit Laguna Rosada.
To see the pink lakes in their brightly-colored glory, you must visit Laguna Rosada on a very sunny day. Luckily, the Yucatan Peninsula, located in the tropics, has many sunny days – but on cloudy days, the water won’t show pink at all.
Laguna Rosada gets its color from red and pink algae, brine shrimp, and plankton in the water. Due to its high salt content, visitors are not permitted to go in the pink water, which can harm your skin. You can, however, buy some of the pink salt from vendors around Laguna Rosada.
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Las Coloradas, Yucatan
Las Coloradas pink lakes in the Yucatan region of Mexico are private property and are part of a salt factory owned by Industria Salinera de Yucatan. The pink water is natural, thanks to the mineral content and algae, so the brightness varies depending on the weather. Try to visit around the middle of the day and avoid cloudy days for the best chance of bright pink color.
Foreigners have to pay 193 Mexican pesos to take a tour to go inside the gates to get close to the water (it is cheaper for Mexican nationals), although you are not allowed into the water itself. There is also a viewing platform to see the lakes from high up, which costs an extra 70 pesos. You are allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 minutes, and there is an additional fee for an English-speaking guide.
There are also unofficial tour guides who offer tours of the area outside the salt factory, including the chance to see flamingos. Some tours to Rio Lagartos include visiting the pink lakes, but check the exact details, as most visit the natural reserve nearby and not the factory, so you may not see the pink lakes.
To get to Las Coloradas, it is possible to take a bus from Valladolid, changing in Tizimin; however, the schedules are erratic, and it takes a long time. The trip is much easier and quicker if you have your car or join a tour group.
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