During the pandemic, when Miriam Litko couldn’t swim because pools were closed, the lifelong swimmer built a lap pool at her home in Willis, Texas. He signed up for a week-long trip to Hawaii as soon as travel restrictions are lifted in 2021 swimming vacationA Maine-based tour operator that specializes in open water swimming.
“Open water swimming is invigorating,” said Ms. Litko, 64, who has made 12 trips with the company. The tours allow her to release her stress “literally into the ocean,” she said.
Summer holidays are often woven around the joy of shooting cannonballs in a lake or splashing in the ocean. In contrast, these tours build around organized swimming trips that might include diving among sea lions in the Galapagos, swimming from island to island in the Adriatic or gliding over coral reefs in the Caribbean.
“You never feel smaller when you’re at sea, which has a transformative effect,” said Hopper McDonough, founder and partner of Swimvacations, which bases most of its travels on yachts in places like Turkey, where Next available departure is September 2024 ($6,995 for a week).
“After the pandemic, we sold everything two years ago,” he said.
Are participants seeking change, chasing a Covid-induced passion or journey of revengeSwim tour operators say they are experiencing a rapid wave of growth.
England based company swimtrackEstablished in 2003, reflects the explosion of the pandemic-inspired outdoor movement.
Nearly a third of Swimtrack’s customers – and growing – are from the United States, where the company has added vacations to Hawaii and Oregon (five days in Oregon) Cascade Lakes cost $2,600) as well as travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
“When you swim in open water, every experience is different, whether it’s ocean conditions, tides or wildlife,” said Simon Murry, founder of Swimtrack. “That’s the beauty, the unpredictability.”
Strell Swimming AdventuresFounded by Martin Strell, a marathon swimmer who holds the Guinness World Record for swimming the 5,268 kilometer distance, and his son, Borut, has met the growth with new Mexican destinations including the Sea of Cortez (seven-day trips in October and November) Did. from $1,990). The company also offers tours to Greece, Slovenia and Turkey.
active englandAn English adventure operator has seen its swimming tours grow “exponentially” since travel resumed, according to company founder Will Cairns. Its tours include four days in Devon from June to September for £759 (about $984), swimming in the sea, an estuary and, after a two-mile walk in Dartmoor National Park, a natural pool in the River Dart.
Mr Cairns said, “We have what I call ‘advanced swimmers’ who measure their swims in kilometres.” “But most people do it out of love for the water.”
wild swimming for everyone
Most tour operators divide swimmers into subgroups based on speed and claim to range from former Olympians to divers interested in occasional two to five kilometer swims per day (open water swimming is usually measured in metric). expressed in words).
Not all new swim tours are hard core. bluetits chill swimmersA group dedicated to wild swimming – a popular term in the UK for swimming in natural bodies of water – has recently partnered with a travel company to offer swimming trips to locations Icelandwhere five-day packages include hot springs, the sea and the plunge into a rift between tectonic plates (the £2,265 fall trip sold out soon after it was announced this spring).
“Swimming with a group of people who are like-minded and don’t want to do marathon swimming is a wonderful, joyous opportunity,” said Sian Richardson, who founded the group, which celebrates participation rather than competition. and now has over 120,000 members in community groups From Copenhagen to the Great Lakes.
much better adventure Offers wild swimming on its multisport tours, which also include hiking and cycling canadian rockies ($2,103 to 10 days), the Canary Islands ($1,166 to six days) and Dominica ($9 days from $2,375).
“We do not believe that all wild swimming should be about speed, tow floats, or fancy neoprene,” Sam Bruce, co-founder of Much Better Adventures, wrote in an email. “Instead, being in water in some wooded place is enough.”
Whatever the difficulty level of the tour, safety is a selling point. Most operators send boats to rescue swimmers in open water and choose their locations to avoid dangerous currents, strong winds and boat traffic. There are also trips where swimming alone can be difficult.
“Someone else planned for you,” said Kate Reeve, founder of . Outdoor Swimming Society, a British volunteer group that promotes outdoor swimming, has toured with Swimtrack. If you’re traveling a few kilometers in new places, he said, “you need a lot of knowledge and local contacts.”
And there is at least one side’s advantage. “People sleep very well,” said Mr Cairns of Active England. “Swimming two to three times a day is tiring.”
Follow New York Times Travel But Instagram And Sign up for our Weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter Get expert tips on how to travel better and find inspiration for your next vacation. Are you dreaming of a future vacation or just chair travel? check our 52 places to visit in 2023,