Wild Swimming in Peru

As we near what will hopefully be the end of lockdown, I have personally  spent countless hours sifting through my past Wild Swimming adventures to keep me going until we can travel further afield again.

One that keeps cropping up is some open water swimming that I got to do in Lake Titicaca, Peru where Carlota and I visited as part of our trip of a lifetime in 2019.

Lake Titicaca is often called the highest navigable lake in the world sitting between Peru and Bolivia at 3800m above sea level.

Luckily we headed to the lake after having acclimatised in Cusco and on the Inca Trail. Cusco sits at 3,400m elevation and the first two days of the trip were an absolute write off.  Altitude sickness is definitely something to factor in when making a trip to this part of Peru. 

 

Puno is the city that acts as a gateway to the Peruvian side of the lake, and even though quite pricey, we opted to take the Peru Rail train there from Cusco.  Now this isn’t your standard season ticket hum drum commuter train.  This is stepping back to a time when the journey on a train was as much a part of the experience as the destination.

 Wild Swimming in the Andes

A full 3 course meal, observation deck and some incredible landscapes mean the 11 hour journey to Puno comes to an end too soon.

 

Our 3 night stay at the lake however was not to be a landlocked affair, we had opted to spend our time at Titicaca Lodge, one of the many floating islands of the Uros.

 Open water swimmer swimming in Lake Titicaca Peru with the Andes in the background

The Uros are indigenous people of Peru who have for centuries lived on these incredible floating islands made out of the surrounding reeds. 

 

Two brothers Julio and Armando run the beautiful lodge, both of whom constantly wear a cheeky grin whilst cracking hilarious jokes.

 Jay Wild swimming in Lake Titicaca

One thing they weren’t expecting though was a keen cold water swimmer.  The first thing I did was change into my trunks and dive straight into the lake, filmed by our astounded hosts.

 

The water is definitely on the cooler side, hovering between 10-14 degrees year round.

 Titicaca Lodge View

It is  an exhilarating experience though.  You feel like you are swimming on top of the world, in deep blue waters, surrounded by the peaks of the Andes . 

 

I made sure I had daily dips whilst there and each time the conditions were completely different. The weather changes in an instant, going from glassy still water reflecting the blazing sun to choppy peaks whipped up by fast forming thunderstorms.  So if you ever do make this trip be ready to clear the water quickly.

 Open water swimming in Lake Titicaca

I would also recommend packing a tow float. There is a constant flow of boats on the lake and being visible to them is wise.

 

Swimming at altitude, like all other physical activities, is a lot more taxing so do factor that in to your planning, as you may feel exhausted after just a short while.

 

These are memories I will hold forever and I feel truly lucky to have been able to experience. Now I can’t wait to just escape the confines of the M25 let alone this hemisphere!



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