The World’s Largest Swimming Pool: San Alfonso del Mar
Of all the countries we’e visited, Chile is probably our favorite. It offers a little bit of everything. Snow-capped mountains, beaches, nightlife, vineyards, volcanoes…the list goes on and on. A fun fact you may not know about Chile is that it is home to the largest swimming pool on earth: San Alfonso Del Mar.
Largest Swimming Pool on Earth
This oceanside community is about an hour and a half west of Santiago in a town called Algorrobo. First of all, San Alfonso is neither a hotel nor a resort; rather, it is a condo community in which all 1,400 units are individually owned and sometimes rented out by their respective owners. While it is not open to the public, it is possible to rent a unit at San Alfonso Del Mar, but from everything we’ve heard and observed first hand, there isn’t much to this place beyond the enormous pool. If you read the reviews online, most foreign tourists who rent there are underwhelmed. This is probably largely due to the fact that it isn’t meant to be a resort, so tourists who expect a resort-like experience are bound to be disappointed when they realize there’s no room service and they need to go buy groceries. It does, however, seem to be very popular among the Chileans who own units as vacation homes.
All that aside, the pool itself is quite a spectacle. The developers already had a massive body of water at their doorstep that you may know as the Pacific Ocean. But oceans have so many disadvantages like sharks, riptides, jellyfish, pirates, sea monsters, etc. Swimming pools have literally none of these things, so they decided to spend $1 billion to build the largest pool on earth right between the condo towers and the beach.
There are several sandy poolside “beaches” and several smaller pools contained within the massive pool. These smaller pools are more manageable for leisurely swimming, since swimming in the main section of the pool involves competing for space with sailboats and kayaks.
Here are a few mind-boggling stats:
– Length: 3,323 ft
– Volume: 66 million gallons
– Acres: 20
A biochemist named Fernando Fischmann first concocted the idea for the massive saltwater lagoon back in 1997. When he realized that the technology to maintain such a monstrously large pool didn’t exist, he started a company called Crystal Lagoons that invented the technology to keep the 66 million gallons of water clean and clear at relatively low cost. The pool uses a computer-controlled filtration system that constantly circulates fresh ocean water.
Let’s take a look from a satellite..
I had the opportunity to visit San Alfonso Del Mar in 2011, and was completely blown away by its scale. The only way I was able to gain access to the gaited community was due to the fact that my friend’s host brother through our study abroad program had friends who owned one of the condos and were kind enough to put a couple of Gringos on the guest list. Unfortunately, none of the photos in this post are original because my camera was tragically stolen in Bolivia. But that’s another story for another day. Instead here are some more photos from San Alfonso Del Mar’s website…