Running Mexico – Puerto Vallarta


running mexico

When some travel plans to attend another half marathon fell through, we made the decision to take a 100% relaxing vacation – in Mexico! Having never visited this part of the world before, I was excited to experience something totally different. In anticipation of the trip, we even invested in Spanish language classes for a couple of months leading up to the trip. And while sightseeing and beach were definitely high on the itinerary – along with food and margaritas – there was also a bit of running involved. Here’s a wee bit about Running Mexico – Puerto Vallarta!

I figured I might as well start the vacation right. We arrived on Thursday afternoon, walked along the Malecon and enjoyed margaritas on the beach with a beautiful sunset (see cover photo).

Friday morning, I fought the urge to sleep late, and headed out for my first run in Mexico! Our hotel was just a couple of blocks from the Malecon, which is the place for running in Puerto Vallarta. I’ve learned that Malecon is actually Spanish for “esplanade along a waterfront“, and that’s exactly what this is. Stretching from Los Muertos Beach and Old Vallarta in the south for about a mile to the north, it’s the heart of pedestrian and tourist life in Puerto Vallarta.

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I had seen a few folks running / dodging tourists on Thursday night, but it was fairly quiet in the morning. I headed north, and ended up pacing another runner who was just a wee bit ahead. When the Malecon ended and merged with a regular sidewalk, I kept following. He looked like he knew where he was going.

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Then I rolled my ankle ever so slightly on a cobblestone (those streets are tough to run on!) and had to stop. Thankfully, my Google maps still told me where I was – which was just a couple of blocks from the track. I made a beeline for there.

Agustin Flores Contreras Municipal Stadium is a popular place! The entry gate is around the north side of the track, across from Sheraton Bugavilias. (I had to stop someone sporty-looking to ask.) There was a guy manning the gate, but I just said, “Buenos dias” and he smiled and opened the gate for me. I’m not a regular track runner, but this track seemed pretty well-maintained. It’s wide – 8 lanes – and there was lots of space to run.

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The sun started peeking over the jungle mountains to the east, and it began to get warm. After three laps, it was time to head back to the hotel.

Total distance: 6.2 kilometres

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That same day, we scaled the PV equivalent of the Grouse Grind (though it honestly pales in comparison…), Mirador de La Cruz. It’s a fairly steep climb up a dirt trail, and finally some stairs to the cross at the top. Worth the hike for some beautiful views of the mountains to the east, and of PV and Banderas Bay.

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We had a few plans over the weekend, so my next chance to run was actually our last day in town. I decided that I shouldn’t mess with a proven formula, and mirrored my route from Friday (with more awareness of the cobblestones!). Reached the track more directly, since I knew where I was going this time, and did four laps. That was plenty, as the heat was coming!

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Total distance: 6.1 kilometres

running mexico

Had I known better, I might have planned for our trip to overlap with the following weekend, because I just missed the Riviera Nayarit Half Marathon in Nuevo Vallarta! Maybe next year!

NOTE: I should mention that at 7am I felt completely at ease running in this part of Puerto Vallarta. There are lots of folks out exercising, and the track is particularly busy. Of course, everyone should keep their wits about them, and I know running alone as a guy is different than it is for women. But I’ve heard others say the same – be aware, take the usual precautions, and Puerto Vallarta is a good place to run.

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