Ever since I was a kid, it has been my dream to live in a Spanish speaking country. I have always loved the language, music, food, and culture. It was this dream that made me want to major in Spanish in college, live in Spain, and study abroad in Chile. Too bad, it hasn’t happened yet. However, two weeks ago, my dream partially came true when I arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Since then, I discovered tropical beaches, gorgeous weather, delicious cuisine, friendly people, and the most beautiful chicas in the world! On the other hand, I also found a country with high unemployment, dismal poverty, rampant crime, and really heavy traffic. It’s important to keep this in mind going anywhere in Puerto Rico, especially out for a run.
Where to Run: The best street to run on is Ashford Avenue in San Juan’s Condado neighborhood. The road is approximately two miles long, starting west of Parque Barbosa and ending just north of the Laguna del Condada. With all the hotels, restaurants, boutiques, the Condado area is full of tourists, police officers, and cars. Despite the heavy traffic, you will always see runners going alongside Ashford Avenue. Generally, most runners turn around and head back after crossing the bridge over the Laguna del Condada.
Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera
Running in Parks: As you go further east on Ashford Avenue, you will see more apartment buildings and less hotels and restaurants. Eventually, you will come to Parque Barbosa. The park features a race track, so if you are willing to do some laps and are looking for a softer surface to run on, you’ve come to the right place. If you choose to cross the bridge over the Laguna del Condada and keep running west, you will soon get to Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera. The park is a lot bigger. Here you will see a lot more locals and a lot less tourists. The park has some nice trails through groves of palm trees alongside Escambron Beach.
Most Scenic Run in Puerto Rico: If you choose to keep running west past by Parque Luis Munos Rivera, be prepared to stop for some breathtaking scenery. You will pass the beautiful San Juan Capitol Building just before entering Old San Juan. You’ll know when you are there when you get to the walls of San Cristobal castle, the largest fort built by the Spanish in the New World. Afterwards, take a right and keep going straight until you reach the San Felipe del Morro castle. There, you will encounter a gorgeous panorama of the San Juan Bay surrounded by the mountains in the distance. By the time you get back to Condado and check your GPS, you will have probably covered approximately seven miles!
Watch out for Traffic: It is not surprising to see a car or even a truck driving over a sidewalk in a vain effort to get through rush hour. Especially, be sure to watch out for traffic while you are jogging on Ashford Avenue. Due to the heavy traffic, I do not recommend listening to music while running on the street in the San Juan area. The good thing about jogging in parks is that you don’t have to worry about traffic, so you can plug in your I-phone and enjoy some good music. For a taste of local pop music, check out “Mi Chica Ideal” by Chino y Nacho. That song is on almost every time you turn on the radio.
Carolina Beach at Isla Verde
Running on the Beach: The best place I would recommend to run on the beach is La Isla Verde’s Carolina Beach. While it is only 0.75 miles long, it is one of the longer beaches you will find in the San Juan area. As you go back and forth from one end to another, you will see others doing the same thing since there is not that much space to run. Many joggers in La Isla Verde actually prefer to jog on the beach since the traffic in the area can get so heavy.
When to Run: Just like during summer time in Texas, the best time to run in Puerto Rico is in the early morning or early afternoon. At that time, the temperature is usually in the mid 70s and the chance of getting sunburnt greatly diminishes.
Running Groups: Many of us are used to running by ourselves. However, in Puerto Rico, I encourage finding someone to run with you. While there are people jogging by themselves, you will see most people jogging in pairs or even groups. After all, there is strength in numbers. One resource I found is the Borinquen Runners Community: http://www.eteamz.com/BorinquenRunners/
Final Thoughts: Please keep in mind that there are safe and unsafe neighborhoods in every city, not just in Puerto Rico. Due to the distressed local economic conditions on the island, safety is definitely a concern at this time. However, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting and running in Puerto Rico. I haven’t seen so many runners in one place than in San Juan, and almost all of them are Puerto Ricans. I feel that seeing so many runners is a positive sign that things are headed in the right direction for Puerto Rico.
Miles From Last Week
Sunday: 4 miles
Monday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday 6.5 miles
Friday: 7.5 miles
Saturday 3.5 miles
Total: 30 miles
Miles Ran in January: 80.8
Ideas for Future Posts
No pain, no gain: My top running injuries
Let’s do some cross-training
Running in Different Cultures
Best Running Movie Scenes Ever
How Running relates to Other Sports
What do I think about while I’m running?
Running the World’s Best 10K
How Alcohol Really Works for Runners
How I Started Running
Old School vs. New School Runners
Time for New Shoes
Move your feet to the beat of your heart: Tunes for Runners
Gear up for Running
Let’s go Grocery Shopping!
Physics of Running