At 1,013 meters (3,324 ft) in length with a total area of 8 hectares (19.77 acres), the swimming pool at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile is the largest in the world. It was listed officially as the largest swimming pool by area in the Guinness Book of World Records in December of 2006.
The pool holds a staggering 250 million liters (66 million gallons) of water and is the equivalent to about 6,000 8-meter long pools. Located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Santiago, San Alfonso del Mar is a major tourist attraction and popular destination for both Chileans and tourists from around the world.
Below you will find the most extensive gallery online, along with information on the technology behind this incredible pool. You’ll also find out why they bothered with such an elaborate construction when the resort is beside the ocean.
Why Build a Pool Beside the Ocean?
In 1997, Fernando Fischmann, Chairman and Founder, decided to develop a real estate tourism project: San Alfonso del Mar, in Algarrobo–a small town on Chile’s central coast. The waters of the Chilean coast are cold, inhospitable and dangerous (swimming is prohibited in the area), so it was difficult to imagine how a project could be successful and unique from ones that already existed.
To solve this dilemma, Mr. Fischmann dreamed of creating a large lagoon with crystal clear waters that would provide visitors the chance to swim and enjoy water sports in a safe, clean environment and warm waters. He travelled the world in search of the technology to turn his dream into reality.
However, the technology did not exist. The only available option was to construct a very large conventional swimming pool, but this was neither technically nor economically feasible given its high costs.
The World’s Largest Swimming Pool
The technology to make this pool possible has a worldwide patent. Essentially, it collects and filters water from the ocean, maintaining a temperature that’s up to 9 degrees warmer than the ocean water (in the Summer of course). Fischmann, the chairman and founder, is a biochemist by trade and came up with the technology to allow for ‘lagoons of unlimited size’ with crystal clear water and drastically reduced costs to typical pools.
The company estimates construction costs at approximately US$ 400,000 per hectare (US$ 160,000 per acre) for a standard 5 hectare (12 acre) lagoon (excluding earthworks and related work) and maintenance costs of approximately US$ 4,000 per hectare per month (US$ 1,600 per acre per month) including energy, labor and additives.