Have you been thinking about what you will do when you move to Ecuador to stay active? Here in Cotacachi, we are very lucky to have so many active expats who have created groups and activities to keep themselves active and in shape.
For outdoor activities you can join our active hiking group. Once a week this group gets together to go hiking. The hikes vary from trekking around our local crater lake (Laguna Cuicocha) to walking on back roads admiring the incredible scenery. The group is a little different every week, but they always seem to have a great time no matter where the wind takes them.
Along this theme, we also have a very active birding club. They are always going on adventures both locally and in other parts of the province, checking out and admiring the vast species of birds that make their nests here. For those seeking something more challenging, there are miles and miles of paths, roads, hills, and ravines that make for a true mountain-bike adventure paradise.
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, you will always find a fun, somewhat rambunctious, group of expats playing pickle ball at a local outside basketball court. Pickle ball is a fun paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is actually the fastest growing sport in America and can be played by people of any age. Sometimes when I walk by the court there is quite a motley crew playing, from the 30 year old guy and his dad to the 75 year old lady, and there are often a few Ecuadorians in the mix.
If the fast pace of pickle ball is not your thing and you are more of a gym person, you are also in luck. We have two great gyms here: Vital Gym and Scorpion Gym. The cost is $2 for a drop-in session or $25 per month for membership. Francisco at Vital Gym has really taken an interest in the expats and loves working with them individually to help them create a work-out plan that suits their needs.
Carolyn and Warren are a couple that has lived in Cotacachi for over five years and have been avid gym-goers at Vital Gym. They both moved here overweight, unhealthy, and on several types of medication, and after one year of living here, decided to make some life changes.
“We were here for a year and I went to the doctor and she said my blood pressure was a little high and wanted to put me on medicine,” says Carolyn. “Warren was also on seven different prescription medicines, and it was costing us about $200 a month. We wanted to improve our health and reduce medicine and expense, so we started going to the gym. Warren lost 140 pounds and went from seven meds a month to half of one med that costs about $30 every four months.”
They made it their focus to lose weight, get healthy, and reduce their medications. They joined Vital Gym and worked with Francisco to create a routine that worked for them. Over the past five years, they have lost over 200 pounds combined and even to this day they are still as committed. Vital Gym also offers aerobic and Zumba classes.
If low-impact flexibility and strength is what you are looking for in your life, than we have an incredible Holistic Centre here that offers a variety of classes including; Kripalu yoga, Hatha yoga and chair yoga, as well as Pilates classes. The space has full walls of glass, so while you are practicing, you are overlooking the stunning gardens. Along with the low impact theme, we have a group of ladies that do aqua aerobics at a local pool.
If you are looking for fast and fun activities or balancing your life, there are lots of options to stay fit and meet people here in Cotacachi.