Viveros de Coyoacán – Mexico City’s green, flourishing…outdoor gym

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On our recent visit to Coyoacán, we got off the Metro at Viveros (actually one stop past Coyoacán), to enjoy a morning walk through one of the city’s rare green spaces – the park Viveros de Coyoacán.

While we expected a green oasis within this (unfortunately) overly polluted city, being nearly-trampled by hundreds of joggers in this oasis came as quite a surprise. Viveros de Coyoacán is used for daily work-outs for everyone fit athletes in training to seniors in expensive tracksuits, most of whom who looked like they could run laps around us.

As we quickly discovered, even the more secluded, shaded areas were heaving with personal trainers, entire yoga classes and what can only be described as a ‘Matador Training Center’ in the middle of the park.

A small group of aspiring matadors waved red robes as their partner attacked with bull horns held out front, pretending to be a bull. There was even an entire (fake) bull’s head on a wheel that could be pushed, like a wheel-cart – perhaps for speedier attacks for the more advanced matadors?

Though genuinely packed with early-morning athletes, Viveros de Coyoacán is great for a work-out if you stay in the university town (Ciudad Universitaria) or in Coyoacán. The park comes complete with workout instruments and even wooden distance markers on the side of the paths in 100-meter increments for runner to keep an exact kilometer count, plus fruit stands just outside the exits will mix any type of ‘agua fresca’ or fruit juice to taste – prefect for after a morning run.

Once the morning fitness madness subsides, the lush, green and virtually tourist-free Viveros de Coyocan is an excellent picnic spot between palm and pine trees, or to admire the enormous plant gardens (the name Viveros is Spanish for nurse plantery), tree sculptures, or tame the black and gray squirrels that scuttle throughout the forest.