4 Ways to Stay Active in Peru
As someone who’s more comfortable stuffing her face with a bowl of brownie batter than putting on sneakers, keeping active isn’t really my thing. However, after living in Asia and battling a relentless stomach ulcer, I now have a very clear understanding of the importance of maintaining good health: Do whatever you can to stay out of hospitals!
Whether in your home country or not, hospitals aren’t fun places, even if they offer HBO on TV. Some people just happen to have good exercise habits, others have extreme discipline; I have neither. Another thing I don’t have is money. When you’re living a nomadic life, it’s unlikely you’ll start searching for a gym for a two-week membership every time you reach a new destination. So what can you do to keep from always having to wear an elastic waistband? Well, let me tell you.
Here are four ways to stay active in Peru:
While living in Cusco, I’ve learned a few things about keeping moving. The public bus system is often overcrowded with people and livestock, so even though it’s cheap, it may be an adventure you only want to partake in once. Taxis aren’t expensive, but they also aren’t free. Bicycling is out of the question with cobblestone streets, grueling hills, and a general lack of caution from other drivers. For these reasons, I walk nearly everywhere in Cusco. At somewhere near 11,000 feet elevation, after walking three blocks uphill, I’m breathing hard enough that other people might believe I’ve been working out for hours.
2. Walk Uphill and Call it Hiking
Hiking through the San Blas neighborhood and up to Saqsayhuaman Park, pronounced like “sexy woman,” is a great, free way to get in a good workout. What seems like an eternity of steps is probably more like a forty-minute walk and when you reach the top, you can see a beautiful view of the Andes to your right and the Incan ruins, the Temple of the Condor, to your left.
Read up on it beforehand, or go with someone who knows about it. There are hidden carvings everywhere, but if you don’t know where to look, they can easily be missed. The ground flattens out at this point and you can move on to see the Temple of the Moon. While climbing to the top of the temple, you can see sections of the Inca Trail.
There are often horses in the fields below that are used for rides for tourists of all skill levels. A two-hour ride will cost about 25 soles, and a four-hour ride will cost 40 soles.
Back down in the valley of Cusco, there’s a nice park behind Qorikancha where you can stretch out and do yoga, tai chi, etc. Yoga classes run much cheaper than in the US and Yoga Inbound on Carmen Alto offers classes at 20 soles for one or 45 soles for three classes.
4. Jump, Run, Vault and All the Other Things Your Mom Told You Not To
South America is known for adventure tourism, so if you have deep pockets then go all out in Peru. Paragliding, bungee jumping, four-wheeling, trekking, and more are all within arm’s reach. There are travel agencies everywhere in Cusco, but the further you get away from Plaza de Armas and the more the Spanish you speak, the better luck you’ll have in getting a fair price.
4 Ways to Stay Active in Peru