When I started writing this post, I thought we had recently visited the world’s largest swimming pool at San Alfonso del Mar. It turns out this might not be entirely true…
How does one mistakenly think they’ve visited the world’s biggest swimming pool? Well, I mean look at it, it’s pretty damn big, isn’t it?
In fact, it’s 1,013 m, covers 8 ha, contains some 250 million litres of seawater, and has a maximum depth of 3.5 m. There’s also this Facebook post from INSIDER Travel from back in May when we were planning our trip:
“It’s funny that this is here and not in the Middle East”
If you’ve read many posts on this blog, you probably know that we’ve enjoyed a few trips to the Middle East over the years. One thing we’ve seen there is a desire to have the biggest or tallest of everything. For example in one day in Dubai we visited the tallest tower, skied at the largest mall and saw where they have the largest fountain show.
With this in mind, we thought it was odd that the world’s largest swimming pool would be at San Alfonso del Mar in Chile and not in the Middle East. We even commented on it as we walked around.
Sure enough, when I Googled the San Alfonso del Mar to get the measurements of the pool for this post, wikipedia clearly states “the world’s second largest swimming pool”. WTF! There is now a larger pool in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. The 12 acre CityStars pool.
It’s not even a swimming pool
The second problem is that there’s no actual swimming in the large pool. From the roped off ladders and “beach” area it looks like there was swimming at some point, but now that’s limited to the smaller pools. It begs the question of what happened to change the rules.
Is it worth the drive to the world’s second largest
With those caveats in mind, is it worth visiting? In short, ‘meh’.
We had a nice time and the weather was lovely. The apartment we stayed in (Airbnb) was very nice and offered some great views from the balcony.
From our balcony, we could see more than 2.5km down the beach. How do I know that? Both Katy and I ran 5km while we were there and could be seen the whole time.
It was also nice to take advantage of the kitchen and have a couple of home cooked meals, even though it was probably the least provisioned Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in. Not even a grain of table salt to be had.
While we couldn’t swim in the large pool, we did take advantage of the beaches, smaller pools and a chance to kayak in the world’s second largest pool.
Interestingly, the San Alfonso del Mar compound reminded us of The Pearl in Qatar. They’re both developments on a massive scale, but are to me at least, examples of design forgetting user experience. In this case, the resort is made up of apartments rather than hotels, but there are limited options to find food to cook for yourself and only a few restaurants. There were workers everywhere, but when we wanted to rent the kayak we had to wait an hour because that one guy was on lunch.
They also have an indoor pool, built inside a glass pyramid, presumably for when the weather is cold or rainy. However, at $20 CAD per person (including Ella) with no re-entry, the cost was outrageous for a sunny day, or a snowy one for that matter
The blooper reel
We also managed a few for the blooper reel while in Algarrobo. We found that the downside of an apartment full of floor to ceiling glass windows is that you tend to walk into them. Each of us walked full steam into the glass leading to the balcony at some point during our stay.
Katy also discovered that kayak selfies can be harder than they look when the phone is wrapped in a waterproof case and the sun is beaming down.
From here we head to the Colchagua region for some wine and Christmas at the Noi Blend hotel.