Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - Now that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are over, many sports fans are wondering what they are going to do with the rest of the summer. Here's an idea... come to Mexico!
Sports in Mexico are plentiful, and an integral part of Mexican culture. Indigenous peoples played traditional sports, such as Charreria and bullfighting, for hundreds of years. Today, team sports such as soccer, football and baseball have become favorite pastimes, and Mexico has a strong history of producing athletic champions of international competitions.
Due to the country's popularity as a tourist destination, many international and national competitions are held here. Before Rio 2016, Mexico was the only Latin American nation to have hosted a Summer Olympic Games and the country also hosted the 2011 Pan American Games; as such the sporting infrastructure is relatively well developed, with a range of stadiums and arenas for the enjoyment of competitors and spectators alike.
There is a vast range of sports played throughout the country, but the most popular sports in Mexico are soccer, baseball, boxing and wrestling. However, if you have Olympic fever, here are five Olympic sports that can be practiced in various Mexican destinations:
• Mountain Biking: Combining an adrenaline rush and nature landscapes, this activity became an official Olympic competition in 1996. In Mexico, one of the most popular places to practice is El Chico National Park in the mining area of Pachuca, Hidalgo. With an area of 2,739 hectares and a cumulative altitude of 586 meters, this is the ideal place to test your skill on two wheels. The park has many mountain biking routes, ranging from very easy to expert. The entrance fee is 30 pesos.
• Surfing: The Olympic dream will soon be a reality for surfers, after the International Olympic Committee voted to add the sport to the program for Tokyo 2020. From the far southern longboard breaks of Punta Mita to the beach-breaking tubes at San Pancho to the boat-accessed reefs of Chacala, the Riviera Nayarit delivers consistent, warm-water surf for all levels. It is renowned as one of the best surf coasts on the planet. Sayulita, a little fishing and surfing village just north of Puerto Vallarta, has been a famous surfing spot for years. Many Mexican professional surfers grew up and honed their skills in this small village. The southern beach has easy waves that are perfect for beginners, while the swells breaking near the reef can challenge experts. Summer offers the best conditions for surfing in this area of Mexico, and various competitions are organized throughout the year to test the skills of competitors in this sport.
• Marathon: This is the most representative test of the Olympic Games, and Mexico City is home to one of the most important marathons in the world. The Mexico City Marathon has been held annually, in the second half of the year, for more than three decades. The route is the same one taken in the 1968 Olympics, starting from the Zocalo and ending at City University. This year, visitors will enjoy a 'Sports Fiesta' with other sporting events surrounding the August 28 Mexico City Marathon.
• Beach Volleyball: This sport is one of the most spectacular of the Olympic games, added to the list of official competitions in Atlanta in 1996. Beach volleyball is particularly popular in Puerto Vallarta, which has played host to many national and international competitions, including: the 2011 Pan American Beach Volleyball Games, the Pacific Alliance Beach Volleyball Games, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Open, the annual Puerto Vallarta International Beach Volleyball Tournament, and the Mexican Beach Volleyball Tour. The Bay of Banderas also has many beaches that are totally suitable for playing a friendly game of beach volleyball with friends.In conclusion, sports are an important part of the Mexican culture and there is almost no sport discipline that is unknown to the Mexican people. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Mexico vacation today!