Beach Walking

Beach walking is a major recreational activity in Punta Cana. The miles long, uninterrupted beach comprised of soft white sand draw you into beach walking. At any moment in time, dozens of people are walking along our beach.

There are two styles of beach walkers. The most common type strolls along the beach soaking up the sun, the sights the smells and may occasionally jump into the ocean. The vast majority of strollers are couples, many hand-in-hand. Strollers are already relaxed into the rhythms of the island. There is no destination, no concern of time or place, only feeling and being.

The second style of beach walker exercises. They are motoring down the beach not unaware of their surroundings but willing to settle for a fast forward version of the people and other sights around them. For them aerobics trump aesthetics. This is not a put down of this form of beach walking, not at all. These people would otherwise be at a track, running path or on a treadmill if they were not here. For them, this comes down to doing what they will be doing in a tropical surrounding. The sun, sand and people still magnify and enhance the experience 10 fold.

The exercise walker is a distant cousin of the beach runner. In my youth before the impact of too many pounds dragged across too many miles took this joy away from me. I typically was at a beach a year from my late twenties to late thirties and called myself an avid beach runner. For a boy from the Midwest, running on a long beach in the dead of winter was a slice of heaven.

Beach running brings together beautiful environment and freedom. You are in shorts, no shirt and your feet are bare. The freedom is hard to describe beyond the lack of constraints of shoes. Maybe it is being in this otherworldly place that makes each stride feel freer than running on a path. I am sure that it as much psychological as physical.

On the best beaches the sand is smooth. You run but it is almost as if you are gliding, moving effortlessly, feeling the warm of the sun, playing in and out of the waves and seeing the sunlight shimmer on the thin layer of salt water as it rolls back to the ocean. Because the sand nearest the ocean can be hard, I would play with the timing of the waves as I ran. You want to hit the next step just after the water has washed over the sand softening it just enough. There is always the soft sand further away from the water but this takes effort and reduces speed, therefore nullifying much of the experience.

(By the way, the art of beach running has no room for people running in socks and running shoes who happen to be on the beach. I have nothing to say other than these people should immediately seek serious psychological counseling. The urgency is that it may take many years to relieve them of their deep seated problems.)


Back to beach walking. In our week in Punta Cana we experienced both types of beach walking. My wife’s stroll pace is faster than my exercise pace. Some walks were together and others alone. When alone I could stroll and she could motor. Together we strollecised. The third style of beach walking.

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One Response to Beach Walking

  1. Frank Roche says:

    Sounds great, man…hey, I was thinking about a quick trip…just 3 days or so. Could you drop me a note to tell me what you think…your place sounds great…can you drop me the name. Might book this week.

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