An Exercise in Futility

Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)

Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)

The cardio high and other pleasures of climbing Cerro de la Cruz

My body is a temple—a temple of doom. Some of the erosion—hair, hearing, back, knee—is beyond my control now that I’m a 50-something.

Weight is another story. A good 5-10 pounds would melt away if I simply dropped my beer habit, but in a town with noon-to-7 happy hours, that’s not going to happen.

Several friends have had great results from their gym and trainer. That route, however, leads to setting appointments and keeping a schedule, things I want to avoid now that I’ve ditched corporate America.

So I climb Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) at least three times a week.
Located on the north side of La Antigua, the hill rises a few hundred feet, with a scenic park, giant cross erected in the 1930s and several benches near its crest. All of Antigua lies below, with Volcán Agua soaring majestically on the horizon.

For those not up to the climb, a road provides vehicle access to the park, too.

It’s always a show up top. Kids fly kites as their parents cheer them on. Schoolchildren often squeal in delight as they roll down the grassy knoll. Once a young family brought their happy boxer puppies, which had a field day frolicking among other dogs and their owners.

Young lovers seek out quiet spots on the fringes of the park to kiss and cuddle, if not more—my Spanish tutor told me a joke about it: Dos suben, tres bajan. (Two go up, three come down.)

Contrary to what I’ve heard, it’s always been safe, at least for me. There’s usually an officer or two at the top and I almost always encounter a couple of cops monitoring activities along the path. The Antigua tourist police will be glad to provide an escort, just ask.

Friends tell me I’ve lost some weight, but I’m not getting on the scale until I’m down to the next notch on my belt.

Of course, the workout would be even more effective if I didn’t stop afterward to knock back a few half-priced beers at one of those long Antigua happy hours.

One comment

  • Lisa Blacklock

    Hi Matt,

    I am excited to read your article about climbing Cerro de la Cruz. I am coming to Antigua from Canada and this may be the first thing I do when I get there. And I wont pass up on the beer either!


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