There is a very nice stretch of path to run, walk, or bike from the El Cozumeleno Beach Resort to the town of San Miguel. It doesn’t necessarily look like a path right in front of the hotels, but judging by how it transitions from path to hotel driveway, that was the idea. According to my Strava report, it is 3 miles from directly in front of the El Cozumeleno to the beach strip just across the street from the souvenir store Cinco Soles. The large open square amongst the tourist shopping district, sometimes referred to as a park, is just a short way further down.
8:30 AM in January
I ran barefoot over this section of path, there and back, for a total of 6 miles. Beginning around 8:30 AM on a January morning, most of the path was shaded of blocked from the morning sun for the first 3 miles. On the return, there was more sun, but I did not feel overwhelmed by it. There was some ocean breeze that helped cut the humidity, which was the most challenging environmental factor for me.
Surfaces almost any barefoot runner could enjoy
The surface of the path varied from asphalt to cement to cobblestone. The asphalt was very comfortable for all the the newest of barefoot runners, in my opinion. There were a couple of short sections with scattered gravel and a couple of rough patches. In those rough patches, there were alternative places to step either right next to the rough patches or a foot or two to the side.
The cobblestones were all adequately smooth and even. Ironically, it was the cement that had the most ragged sections, about where town started. Still, even these were spaced with options for footfall that barely required me to adjust my stride.
Who else did I meet along the path?
There were just enough other people using the path that I didn’t feel isolated or vulnerable. Most of them were tourist walkers, although I passed one local 30something woman who was very friendly. She gave me the thumbs-up when I turned around and passed her going back.
There were a few local men riding bikes to work and just a couple of serious cyclists (who didn’t look like locals) who passed on the road. The only other non-driving people I saw were a smattering of hotel front staff and landscape maintenance workers.
A new local friend told us that the weed whipping and tree trimming is constant along that street. They start at one end and side, then circle around to begin the whole process again. The one area where I encountered debris was not a problem, as there was not much and it did not cover the whole path.
Managing traffic and intersections
After about 1.7 miles, the path changed to a sidewalk. That occurred where the main road veered left and up around a curve. The portion that continued straight did not look inviting at all, so it was not confusing. There was a large intersection at this transition, but there were no cars there the first time and only one slow moving one the second time.
However, you can’t let the infrequency of vehicles lull you into running in the road. Most of the cars and trucks show up at high speed, whipping around blind corners or out of side streets. That is not to say the drivers were rude. Two drivers stopped for me to cross when they saw me, but there were many places with limited view for me and the drivers.
Sticking to daylight adventures by myself
It was hard to get up much earlier to beat the heat, since sunrise was around 7:20 AM. I wasn’t going to run in the dark. There were also several opportunities for nights of dancing, also barefoot, so running was a lower priority.
It is nice to know there is the option of running straight from the hotel like that. The all inclusive beach resort can begin to feel a bit claustrophic. Not that I’m complaining about too much beach time, but it was very nice to get out and about with some relaxed running, finding my own rhythm and not be surrounded by people I didn’t know for a little while.
Why not the beach and what about the rest of the island?
There was a very limited section of beach to run on near the hotel. It was wide and sandy for about half a mile with not too much slope and not too many people. I didn’t see anything better on our tour around the island.
We did drive by some asphalt paths along the ocean on the eastern side of the island that looked interesting. They did tend to come and go, as in merging and unmerging with the road, but traffic was not so bad around there. I would definitely be willing to try cycling on those sections. There was a much stronger wind on that side of the island, though. Here is a short video slideshow of various places around the island, with comments about how they might be nice or challenging for running.