Chips, salsa, guacamole, quesadillas, tamales. Oh man, I love Mexican food.
For all of these delicious reasons, I find it really hard to keep down the calorie count when I visit Mexico.
During a recent five-day getaway to to Cabo San Lucas, I was determined not to pack on weight. Ultimately, I found keeping calorie intake low wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be, especially because I was able to exercise during my trip. Here are some tips for staying fit in Los Cabos whenever you feel the temptation to eat your way through vacation.
The weather is on your side in Cabo. Except for some times during the rainy season (August and September), it’s unlikely you’ll be forced indoors. For the most part, you should have warm, sunny weather. So warm, in fact, that if you go out for a run, you’ll want to do so at first light. Once the sun comes up, you’ll work up a good sweat without expending a lot of energy.
Jogger along the marina in Cabo San Lucas
I found the best place to run was along Boulevard Paseo de La Marina—the sidewalks of this road had very little foot traffic in the morning and were close to my hotel, the Casa Dorada. The route took me down past the marina where the cruise ship passengers disembark. Eventually, I came to a cul-de-sac where I turned around and headed back. To get more distance, I took a bonus loop along the road and on the boardwalk next to the marina before heading back to the hotel. All told the route yielded me about seven or eight miles.
The benefit of walking: Because you don’t exert as much energy on a walk as you do on a run, it’s fine to start a bit later in the morning or even wait until late afternoon or early evening, when temperatures are manageable. The downside: You likely won’t be walking as far as you might run, so you have fewer options because the only really nice area to walk is near the marina.
Granted, walking along the marina means, you have to steel yourself against the timeshare salesmen and guys hawking their fishing expeditions. Beyond that, however, the stroll along the water is beautiful. I loved checking out all the boats and yachts and daydreaming what it would be like to have so much dough that I could afford one some day.
Along the marina there are plenty of places to stop for a cold drink or ice cream. Or you could duck into one of the malls for respite from the heat.
Most hotels and resorts in Los Cabos have fitness centers. This is one of the most important criteria for me when I book a hotel. I make sure there’s a fitness center and it’s actually open for business (and not under construction). If possible, I check out photos on the hotel’s website to see what it looks like in advance. I also make sure the fitness center has both free weights and cardio machines.
Yoga is popular, even in Cabo. A lot of hotels in the Los Cabos area offer morning yoga classes. At the Casa Dorada, an instructor named Claudio teaches poolside a few days a week. Classes are held Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays for a fee and on Saturdays for free. There’s no need to register in advance; you just drop in. The poolside class is designed for yoginis of all practice levels. You may not burn as many calories doing yoga as you do on a run, but yoga will keep you nice and limber for your workouts. (For the record, the yoga photos in this post were courtesy of Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa.)
Viewfinder Tip: There’s usually high demand for resort fitness center treadmills so you may have to get up early to beat the crowds.
It always is funny and odd to me how few people use a hotel’s pool to swim, especially at resort hotels in a warm-weather destinations. People come to relax, get tan, sip margaritas, and eat chips. (With two-for-one happy hours, it’s probably good that more people aren’t in the pool.) For me, however, the pool is a great way to get my heart rate pumping—it’s a place to swim. Rather than just sitting poolside with my feet dangling in the water, I jump in and churn out laps. On my recent trip, I was surprised at the size of the Casa Dorada pool, and how winded I got after going from one end to the other. In case you’re wondering, I was the only one swimming.
Making the time
The biggest obstacle to staying fit in Cabo (or on any trip) is carving out the time to do so. It’s easy to justify doing nothing—you’re on vacation and you shouldn’t have to schedule anything, especially working out. Still, the truth is that you’re on vacation and you likely will have more time to exercise than you do at home. Why not spend at least part of your day doing something that’s going to make you feel good? You’ll also feel better once you get home.
As for me, I actually returned home from Cabo a pound lighter. Given my love for chips and salsa, I don’t attribute this to eating well; I think it’s directly related to the amount of exercise I got. Once home, I felt better about myself than I would have felt if I had packed on a few pounds. That lift definitely helped with re-entry back into everyday life.
What do you do to stay in shape when you travel?