Fact Check

Is This the World's Largest Swimming Pool?

"It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115-ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water."

Published Aug. 17, 2008

ALGARROBO, CHILE - AUGUST 20:  This is a satellite image of the city of Alagarrobo in Chile featuring the San Alfonso del Mar hotel and resort (top left) which holds the Guinness Record for the world's largest swimming pool August 20, 2007 in Alagarrobo, Chilie.  (Photo by DigitalGlobe via Getty Images) (DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
Image courtesy of DigitalGlobe via Getty Images
Photographs show the world's largest swimming pool.

The photographs displayed below are, as described, pictures of the world's largest swimming pool: a man-made, 3,324-foot long salt water lagoon at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile.


Worlds largest swimming pool, AMAZING!

Click to enlarge

If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one.

It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115-ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

The Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world.

But if you fancy splashing out on one of your own — and you have the space to accommodate it — then beware: This one took five years to build, cost nearly $1 billion and the annual maintenance bill will be $2 million.

The man-made saltwater lagoon has been attracting huge crowds to the San Alfonso del Mar resort at Algarrobo, on Chile's southern coast, since it opened.

Its turquoise waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom even in the deep end.

It dwarfs the world's second biggest pool, the Orthlieb — nicknamed the Big Splash — in Morocco, which is a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. An Olympic size pool measures some 50 yards by 25 yards.

Chile's monster pool uses a computer-controlled suction and filtration system to keep fresh seawater in permanent circulation, drawing it in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out at the other.

The sun warms the water to 26°C, nine degrees warmer than the adjoining sea.

Chilean biochemist Fernando Fischmann, whose Crystal Lagoons Corporation designed the pool, said advanced engineering meant his company could build "an impressive artificial paradise" even in inhospitable areas.

"As long as we have access to unlimited seawater, we can make it work, and it causes no damage to the ocean."

Designed by Crystal Lagoons corporation and completed in December 2006 after five years of planning and construction, the pool cost about $1.5 billion to build, covers more than 19 acres of surface area, holds about 66 million gallons, and offers transparent waters down to a depth of 11.5 (not 115) feet. The pool's maintenance costs are around $4 million dollars per year, which includes keeping its filtered and recirculated ocean water at a temperature of about 80°F during the summer:

The vast lido requires high-technology filtration systems to keep the water fresh, with a computer-controlled system drawing in water from the sea from one end and pumping it out of the other.

Fernando Fischmann, developer of the "pulse oxidation" technology used in the pool, says that pumping the water back in to the ocean does no harm to wildlife or ecosystems.

Guinness World Records have indeed vetted the San Alfonso del Mar pool as the world's largest, smashing a record previously held by the 8.9 acre saltwater "Big Splash" Orthlieb Pool in Casablanca, Morocco.

The following video clips offer views of the San Alfonso del Mar pool:


Chivers, Tom.   "Making a Splash in the World's Largest Pool."     The Daily Telegraph.   28 January 2008.

Jenkin, Eveline.   "World's Largest swimming Pool Makes a Splash."     The New Zealand Herald.   9 November 2007.

The Daily Mail.   "Try Making a Splash in the World's Largest Swimming Pool."     22 January 2008.

news.com.au.   "Big Splash for World's Largest Swimming Pool."     22 January 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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