Staying fit while travelling in Latin America can be a real challenge. Most of us are not used to eating rice and beans three times a day and finding ways to exercise can also be hard. These different eating habits together with an unusual routine and lifestyle, can add a few extra pounds to our hips while being on the road. This doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. One of the good parts about travelling is that you don’t have to worry about these things and instead enjoy your time to the fullest. If you are, however, a person who does care about staying in shape while backpacking, here are 10 ways you can stay fit while travelling in Latin America.
1. Go jogging on the beach
Since you can do it barefoot, jogging along the beach solves a lot of problems in case you did not pack your running shoes. Plus, if you run in the sand, you will have to work harder and burn extra calories. To avoid the heat, make sure to go early in the morning or just before sunset.
Beach in Northern Peru
2. Go hiking
Latin America has some amazing hikes and treks. Especially the Andes region with its incredible landscape and mountains is a fascinating place and it is definitely worth doing some longer treks to stay in shape.
Hiking in the Valle de Cocora in Salento, Colombia
Latin America is all about dancing. Sure, the music might take a while to get used to, but after a few weeks you will start to enjoy it and want to dance. Whether it is salsa, bachata or reggaeton, you will, without a doubt, find a style you like. And dancing is a great way to burn some calories while getting in touch with locals.
Salsa class in Cali, Colombia, the salsa capital of the world
4. Eat fruits
It is amazing, how many different types of fruits you can find in Latin America. My favorite way to enjoy them is by drinking a juice or smoothie. And here is a tip to make them extra healthy: Instead of adding sugar, choose a combination of fruits that includes pineapple, which works as a natural sweetener.
Market in Nicaragua
5. Go surfing
Latin America has some of the best surf spots in the world and you can find amazing surf towns along the pacific coast. Surfing is a great way to stay fit while travelling in Latin America. It is fun and you won’t even notice that you are exercising.
Surfing in Huanchaco, Peru
6. Eat fresh fish and seafood
People in Latin America love to fry their food. One of the most common dishes is rice and beans with fried chicken. If you are looking for a healthier option, try fish. If you order pescado a la plancha, you will get a grilled filet of fish, sometimes even a whole fish. Other options are ceviche, fresh fish marinated on citrus juice or mariscos, seafood. Yummy…
Delicious seafood from Brazil
7. Do yoga
As a backpacker in Latin America, there is nothing easier than finding a yoga class. Every tourist destination has at least one yoga teacher in town. All you need to do is put on some comfortable clothes and you are ready to go. Classes usually cost between $5-$15 and mats are provided. Especially girls enjoy this method to stay fit while travelling in Latin America.
A session of acro yoga at the beach
8. Drink less alcohol
Ok, this one might be hard. You are on vacation after all and there is nothing better than drinking a beer after a hard day of sightseeing or chilling at the beach. But unfortunately, alcohol is an important reason why people get so out of shape while travelling. But not drinking might just not be realistic. So maybe just try to drink less…
Sunset beer at Playa Maderas in Nicaragua
9. Cook your own meals
If you eat out in Latin America, you will be eating a lot of rice and beans with fried fish or chicken. Most hostels have a kitchen for guests to use and it can really make a difference if you cook your own meals once in a while. Not only does it allow you to eat something different, but it will also help you get back some of those vitamins by cooking vegetables.
Pasta with tomato sauce is an example of an easy meal, you can cook yourself anywhere
10. Go bike riding
This is probably one of the most fun ways to stay fit while travelling in Latin America. I have done several downhill biking tours, such as the Death Road in Bolivia, and they were all incredible. Biking is such a great way to discover a place and I wish I would have done more. The only down side might be the quality of the gear. Organized tours usually have good quality bikes but if you rent one from a shop, you might want to check the brakes before going downhill…
Bike tour near Cusco, Peru
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