La Playa Crossfit is the first and only affiliated box in Cartagena. It’s a big, open, and airy box to the South West of the historic area of the city. La Playa Crossfit is a couple of streets back from the Bocagrande beach, which is popular with both Colombian and international tourists. Many of those that stay in this area opt for the high-rise buildings that line the coast, with a pool and a view of over the Caribbean.
La Playa Crossfit is geared up for visitors and they have everything you are likely to need to continue your training without any interruption. Most notably: space!
I enjoyed training here, but I did feel like I wanted to do the ‘Additional Work’ they programme on the board for after the class.
On one of the walls of La Playa Crossfit, you can see the phrase “Train Hard and Have Fun.”
In the few days that I spent there, every class had a game programmed for the warm-up: taking care of the “Have Fun” part. As for “Train Hard”, the program allowed me to push myself as hard as I wanted to go.
La Playa Crossfit has plenty of positive aspects that you look for in a good box. The classes are small, the coaches welcoming. I even got some tips on my double unders after class which made a huge impact, even after 3 years of various coaches giving their input.
If you are keen to do your own training in Cartagena, La Playa Crossfit have a sufficient range of equipment and lots of space: rowers, GHDs, a pegboard, plenty of rig space, rings and even a grippy bar. Take a look below for open gym times, but the staff at la Playa CrossFit are also very keen for visitors to know that they are free to train whilst a class is going on. Just avoid getting in the way. Alternatively, they have an hour of open gym in the morning after the 9 am class.
As is typical of affiliated boxes, it is more expensive than other boxes in the city. However, if your priority is training when you visit Cartagena, training here and staying in one of the apartments on the beach close to the gym this is an excellent option.
Alternatively, if you are planning to stay in historic centre of the city - where most of the backpacker hostels, boutique hotels, shops, restaurants and bars are located - you may want to consider one of the other Crossfit Boxes that are closer. Especially if your budget is tight.
Workout of the day
The classes typically start with a fun warm-up followed by something to increase the heart rate and prime the body, such as shuttle runs or box jumps. This is followed by a skills or weightlifting session (Whilst I was there we had; Bar Muscle Ups, Double Unders and Cleans).
The classes I did were fun, and a good workout. I took a couple of friends who were fit but new to CrossFit. They both loved it, but were ready to go once the class ended. As for me, I felt that I wanted to do a bit more. They do have “Additional Work” programed on the board, which tended to be an engine piece. Personally, I felt it was a shame this wasn’t included in the class as I found it difficult to apply the appropriate intensity on my own. Nevertheless, I can see why the added volume might not be to everyone’s benefit.
Although there is an hour for 'Open Gym' in the morning. They are very happy for people to do some lifting whilst classes are going on.
Getting to the gym and about the area:
Walking along the two beaches, Playa Bocagrande and closeby Playa Castillo Grande, will take you about 40 minutes, immediately to the South West of the zona histórica.
The beaches are well looked after, and while most people tend to swim close to the shore, the beaches offer kilometres of uninterrupted swimming once you get a bit farther out. Many of the apartments on the beach will provide you with sunbeds and parasols.
The beaches here are popular spots for Colombians looking to escape the city or just relax while on holiday. However, if you are expecting empty beaches with palm trees and crystal white sand, you’ll be disappointed. Although they are clean, the close proximity to the city means the beaches tend to be busy. The region’s more picturesque beaches, Playa Blanca and the Rosario Islands, are a further 90 km to the south.
In terms of a place to stay, the area around La Playa Crossfit is a good option if you think you may get bored of wandering the streets of the old city. If you are in a group, you won’t need to pay a huge amount on Airbnb for a nice apartment with a great view, fully-equipped kitchen, swimming pool and a spa. However, if you are on a budget and you plan to stay in - or around - the zona histórica then there are a couple of other boxes slightly closer.
One advantage of staying in the Bocagrande area is the proximity to a few large supermarkets selling fruit and veg and a wide range of other ingredients. Cities on the Caribbean coast don’t tend to have an abundance of small green grocers selling fresh fruit and veg, so supermarkets are generally the best option in Cartagena.
This is one of the best value Colombian supermarkets, and a great option for picking up essentials. It can get busy so it’s best to go during the day while people are at work.
This is a more high-end supermarket. The large store in Bocagrande sells top quality meat, and a wide range of spices and loose dry ingredients. For when you don’t need a whole bag of quinoa. :)