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Around the world, many pink lakes astound and amaze with their undeniable beauty and intrigue. These beautiful pink lakes are a natural phenomenon and a stunning sight to behold that you won’t forget in a hurry.
While most of these beautiful pink lakes call Australia home, you’ll find them worldwide. From the pink flamingos of South America and Africa to salt harvesting in Spain and the famous Great Salt Lake of the US, they’re a global treat!
All pink lakes are salt lakes, and it’s often considered that the high salinity nurtures their unique pink color. The conditions the salt creates only allow specific microbes to thrive, such as certain types of algae and/or halobacteria with rosy pigmentation. Moreover, when salt deposits grow, as the water evaporates during a dry season, the vibrancy of color in these stunning pink salt lakes intensifies.
Below, we’ve listed 12 of the best pink lakes around the world to consider choosing for your next vacation for a truly unique experience.
12 Best Pink Lakes in the World
1. Lake Hillier
Location: Middle Island, Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia
Coordinates: 34°05’45″S 123°12’10″E
Lake Hillier, Australia, is perhaps the most famous of all the Pink Lakes we’ve popped on this list. Its water is permanently pink; even if you take a sample away for testing, the color will remain unchanged.
There are many theories about why this salt lake looks like a giant blob of bubble gum from the sky. The most plausible suggests this is due to a species of algae called Dunaliella Salina, which thrives in the high salt concentration in this vibrant pink lake.
Lake Hillier is tough to access via land due to the dense vegetation surrounding it. So, the best way to get there is with a licensed tour operator from a nearby agency, which typically includes a scenic flight with a guide who can tell you about the rich history of this stunning lake.
2. Lake Retba (Lac Rose)
Location: Dakar, Senegal
Coordinates: 14°50’14″N 17°13’50″W
The salt content in Lake Retba (Lac Rose) is around 40%, which means it is almost as salty as the Dead Sea in Israel. Its beautiful pink water depends on a few factors, one of those being the amount of sunlight that hits it and what season you visit Lake Retba; the dry season is ideal!
While the area benefits greatly from tourists looking to make their way to Lake Retba to see its bright pink water, salt harvesting is also important to the local economy. Thousands of tons of salt deposits are collected each year, which is used both locally and exported to nearby countries.
While you could happily float on the salty surface of this pink lake, exposure to the salty water over a long time can damage your skin. To safely access the water for leisure or work, local people will smear a butter-based oil on their skin to protect it from damage. This lake’s distinct pink hue also depends on the amount of sunlight that strikes it.
3. Hutt Lagoon
Location: Yallabatharra, Western Australia
Coordinates: 28°09’13″S 114°14’31″E
Due to the fact Australia has more pink lakes than any other country, expect to see a few Aussie additions to this list! The second Australian pink lake worth a mention here is Hutt Lagoon, Australia.
Fed by the Hutt River, the salty Hutt Lagoon on Australia’s Coral Coast is one of the most stunning destinations on the western coast. Hutt Lagoon gets its pink color from the pink algae that spills into the lake from the Indian Ocean but is separated by a series of barrier dunes.
Hut Lagoon is particularly useful commercially, containing the largest microalgae production plant in the whole world. About 620 acres of the area is a valuable source of beta-carotene, used for food coloring and as a natural source of Vitamin A.
If you’re looking for places to stay close to Hutt Lagoon, look no further than the small fishing village of Port Gregory; make a booking at the Caravan Park to enjoy the great outdoors. But if you prefer something more luxurious, head south to Geraldton and book a room at the delightful Ocean Centre Hotel.
4. Lake Eyre
Location: Central South Australia
Coordinates: 28°21’59.99″S 137°21’59.99″E
Lake Eyre comprises two lakes, North Lake and South Lake, and sits at the lowest point in all of Australia, at 15.2m below sea level. The two separate lakes are joined by the Goyder Channel, which runs 15km between the two.
Every eight years, flood waters top the lake up, although it’s only ever been filled to capacity a total of three times over the last 160 years. While it’s mostly dry, with water in the lake comes a whole host of interesting wildlife. Millions of waterbirds, comprised of over 80 species, flock to the area after the rain.
To get some seriously excellent bird-watching in, look to visit Lake Eyre between April and October. The monsoon rains will not only heighten your bird-spotting chances, but you can spot other wildlife attracted by the rains, like frogs and fish, as well as some beautiful wildflowers!
Once the river dries up again and food resources decline, birds will migrate away from the area, and it goes into sleep mode until the next monsoon rains hit!
5. Las Salinas de Torrevieja
Location: Torrevieja, Spain
Coordinates: 38°00’52″N 0°42’30″W
Torrevieja, Spain, used to be a fishing and commercial salt mining community on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It also has one of the most stunning pink lakes in the world today. Unlike other pink lakes on this list (despite formerly sharing a home with the salt production industry), Las Salinas de Torrevieja, Spain, isn’t quite as salty as the others.
The lake is a stunning spectacle, and the town is one of the most beautiful in this corner of Mediterranean Spain. Much of the city sits on an isthmus between the sea and the lake, providing a lovely little microclimate for Torrevieja. It is a wonderful place to visit virtually any time of year.
Visitors with kids should check out Hotel Playas de Torrevieja, which is just a few minutes walk from the beach and has its water park. If you’re after a more luxurious stay, try out the chic Isla Verde Apartment, which enjoys a central location in town with easy access to Torrevieja’s best restaurants, retailers, and the beach.
See Related: Spain Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting
6. Dusty Rose Lake
Location: Cariboo J, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates: 52°33’39″N 126°20’32″W
Unlike most other rosy natural wonders in this piece, Dusty Rose Pink Lake, Canada, lies in Tweedsmuir North Provincial Park and Protected Area and has no algae or salt content contributing to the color. No one really knows why this Canadian lake is permanently pink, but the most popular theory is it gets its coloring from pigmentation leeching in from the soil.
This masterpiece in British Columbia is a marvel that draws visitors every year, although it might also be one of the most difficult pink lakes to access with its remote location.
There’s little in the way of trails to reach it, and your best chance of seeing it is on a flight from Vancouver to Terrace, so long as you get a window seat on the side of the plane that faces east. Dusty Rose Lake is also completely lifeless, even on a microbial level, so if you do plan to visit Dusty Rose Lake up close and take a dip, you’ll be the only living thing in there!
7. Masazir Lake
Location: Masazır Gölü, Azerbaijan
Coordinates: 40°30’35″N 49°46’13″E
Just a short drive away from Baku, Azerbaijan, is Masazir Lake. For many locals, as well as tourists, the tranquility of Masazir Lake is a perfect escape from the bustling capital city.
Masazir Lake can pinpoint its pink color to the presence of halophilic algae and high concentration of salt in its water, as well as its shallow depths allowing sunlight to easily reach the algae and promote growth.
For over 200 years, the locals have mined and exported salt from this lake. Today, it’s still heavily commercialized in salt harvesting, with an estimated 1.7 billion tons of salt crust waiting to be harvested. For added fun, there are extensive sulfur deposits in the surrounding area, contributing to that charming rotting egg smell!
When looking to visit this beautiful pink lake, stay in Baku for easy access to the lake and other city treats. Book yourself into the Radisson Hotel Baku. With its free parking and excellent city center location, it’s a great base for resting before exploring Masazir Lake and the surrounding area.
8. Quairading Pink Lake
Location: Badjaling, Western Australia
Coordinates: 31°58’25″S 117°30’18″E
11km East of Quairading, and a short seven-minute drive, is the Quairading Pink Lake. Referring to it as a ‘lake’ is generous, though. It’s more of a pond, but a list of ‘The World’s Best Pink Ponds’ would be short and uneventful.
What makes this small pink lake unique is not that there’s a road that cuts through the lake. It’s not because it is in a fairly remote part of the country. It’s the fact that the lake generally develops two different shades of pink throughout the year because of the road passing through it!
Quairading Pink Lake is not always so wonderfully pink year-round. It’s best to visit this spot in summer when the summer heat causes the evaporating water to rise and the lake water level to drop. When the water is low enough, salt deposits will build up, and then once the water rises again, the lake will turn pink.
9. Laguna Colorada
Coordinates: 22°12’07″S 67°46’37″W
There’s an exciting legend around the lake claiming that the water is the blood of the Gods. But science tells us the color is due to the algae and mineral-rich content of the water. Choose whichever answer you prefer!
Laguna Colorada is home to the endearing and endangered James Flamingos, alongside other species like the Chilean and Andean flamingos. The flamingoes are naturally white, but their diet of algae, plankton, and brine shrimp in the water causes their feathers to turn pink.
While I only passed by on a fleeting visit while on a larger overlanding road trip, Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is a brilliant site for hiking and camping. You could stay at Laguna Colorada Simple Mountain Lodge for a slightly elevated level of comfort in camping. Just be ready for basic lodgings that add to the sense of adventure.
See Related: South America Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting
10. Great Salt Lake
Coordinates: 41°11’58″N 112°47’68″W
The Great Salt Lake in Utah is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and stands as a reminder of the once-great Lake Bonneville. So significant a geological landmark is the lake that nearby Salt Lake City derives its name from the great lake: the ‘Great’ being dropped in 1868.
The Great Salt Lake makes for a brilliant vacation destination with plenty to do. Swimming is obviously very popular, and its increased salinity makes for an enjoyable float in the sunshine. There’s also the opportunity to go sailing on the lake or kayaking if you’ve got a little more energy to burn.
The area is also a fantastic sport for wildlife enthusiasts. Go for a wander along the shoreline, or visit Antelope Island, and you can find the likes of Bison, deer, elk, and antelope roaming freely! There are also coyotes and bobcats in the area, but you might enjoy the less risky venture of bird watching at Bear River Bird Refuge instead!
See Related: Best Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah
11. Lake Bumbunga
Location: Lochiel, South Australia
Coordinates: 33°54″S 138°11″E
Lake Bumbunga, South Australia, is less than a 2-hour drive from Adelaide. The color of this popular lake changes throughout the year from a pink hue to blue to white, all depending on the salinity level.
When timing your visit to the lake, if you’re dead set on seeing it in its prime, water and all, you’ll want to look to mark a spot in the calendar in the cooler months.
During dry spells in the hot summer months, the lake can completely dry out. This doesn’t write off a visit completely, though, as the landscape has been noted as equally intriguing at this time, equally photogenic. It just depends on personal preference and how keen you are to see the wonderful pink hues it can sometimes present.
Hire yourself a car in Adelaide and take a mini road trip for the day to the lake. Treat yourself to some Instagram-worthy backdrops that consistently attract hoards of tourists, models, and videographers each year.
12. Lake Natron
Coordinates: 2°35’51″S 35°55’04″E
Lake Natron is the final addition to this list of some of the best pink lakes to visit around the world!
July to October is often touted as the best time to visit Lake Natron, especially if visiting by car. If you travel during the wet season, there’s a high chance your car will get stuck in the muddy terrain.
The high alkaline pH of the lake can mean bad news for those not adapted to such circumstances, burning the eyes and skin; there are animals, like pink flamingos and some other wetland birds, that thrive here!
There’s an exciting and seemingly endless list of activities to add to your vacation itinerary if you visit Lake Natron and the surrounding area. Of course, you could enjoy wildlife watching and photography opportunities at the lake itself. Or venture a little away and visit a Maasai village, bravely hike Ol Doinyo Lengai for incredible views, or treat yourself to a safari adventure.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.