In Panama, it seems to me that some holiday traditions are charmingly novel to the expat, while others are more universal.
For example, you will almost certainly find yourself humming along to a Spanish version of Little Drummer Boy in the aisles of the supermarket (though being able to sing it is another story.) And yet, you may also find yourself leering at the scale untrustingly after a few too many holiday parties (and a few too many of everything while at them.)
Yes, the challenge of staying fit during the holidays is one all too familiar. Luckily, Panama has the rare quality of making exercise an absolute pleasure. These are some of my favorite ways to get movin’ in Panama, and ensure that I’ll be rocking my dress at New Years!
The Cinta Costera is my absolute favorite part of Panama City. A long strip of boardwalk that runs amidst vibrant ocean, city, and marina views, it’s the perfect place to take a walk, jog, bike ride, or rollerblade- and you’ll love every minute of it!
A recently built park on the strip even features tennis and basketball courts and outdoor exercise machines. I was a little intimidated to use the machines at first, but after I saw a 10 year old master them I decided I should be able to figure them it.
The Cinta Costera has come a long way in just the past few years. Besides the opening of two massive parks on each end of it (one of which, on the Casco Viejo end, features literally the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen) development is currently underway to connect the Cinta Costera to Casco Viejo itself. This would essentially merge two of the biggest (and best) tourist attractions the city has to offer. Way to go, Panama.
This is boardwalk is similar to the Cinta Costera, though located further from the heart of the city. A tourist hotspot, it also has a plethora of souvenir shops and restaurants. With beautiful views of the city from afar, scattered mountains, and charming fishing boats, ambling the Causeway is nothing short of rejuvenating. You can also rent bikes and trolleys for just a few dollars an hour. A great way to spend the day- and sneak in a workout that doesn’t even feel like one.
If you live in the city, you’ll find many modern and well-equipped gyms. One example is PowerClub, which has multiple locations and is particularly popular amongst expats. If you live in a luxury residential building, chances are it will have its own gym.
Naturally, the beach offers many opportunities for keeping trim while enjoying Panama’s stunning natural beauty. Some of the most popular beach town activities include surfing, swimming, fishing, sailing, scuba diving, volleyball, hiking…you get the idea!
And if you’re thinking “But I don’t know how to….” Or “I’m too old to…”- save it! I have friends in their 60’s who started learning to surf or sail upon moving to Panama, so no excuses. You never know- it just may be your new greatest passion.
Triathlons have gotten really popular in Panama over the last few years, and I must admit I’ve grown a bit obsessed myself! While I’m not your typical “competitive type” I honestly enjoy the social aspect of it more than anything else. When my teammates and I get together to train for the next race, it’s less about competing and more about simply having fun. And that we do!
The city of Coronado has one well-equipped membership gym. However, if you live in one of the area’s luxury condominiums you’ll have a fitness center right in your building. This is a photo I took from the treadmill of Coronado Golf’s fantastically equipped gym.
Funny thing, I had opted for the gym that morning instead of the beach because it looked as if it were going to rain. 5 minutes after I hopped on the treadmill, look how beautiful it turned out! That’s Panama for you.
To know that you’re living an inherently healthy lifestyle, just by doing the things you love to do, is a liberating and priceless experience. Without hesitation, I consider it to be one of the best parts about living in Panama. Now, to the pool!