In the Swim of Things
Imagine a long swim surrounded by scenery that takes your breath away. You’re getting lots of exercise and visiting a new pocket of the globe, too. It’s a tropical island vacation, it’s a great workout, and it’s culturally rewarding. Impossible? Not on a “swimcation,” which takes you to exotic locations and gets you in touch with the natural splendor of each by getting you into the water. Led by SwimTrek, a British tour operator, these holidays take avid swimmers out of the pool and into the open waters of the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and other regions to swim from one shore to the next, or in some cases from island to island, while accompanied by a support boat.
Swimmers should be in good enough shape to handle the activity levels specified for their trip; some trips are longer and more rigorous than others, but each assigns swimmers to a group based on their swim speed. Almost all swimmers can expect to swim 2 to 3 hours a day total. The group offers suggested training distances to help athletes prepare for each trip, and swimmers are videotaped during the trips for coaching tips on improving their stroke, speed, and swim technique. The guides who accompany travelers are experienced swim coaches hailing from all corners of the globe.
SwimTrek takes travelers to some of the most historic and alluring bodies of water in the world. The Hellespont, the legendary strait near the Black Sea that separates Europe from Asia, is among their travel offerings. Swimmers can also visit the Egyptian Red Sea, the British Virgin Islands, the Greek Cyclades, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Not all their tours are saltwater: The lakes of Finland and the River Thames are among their offerings.
SwimTrek ( 44-0/1273-739-713; www.swimtrek.com).
When to Go: Year-round.