Cycling in Yucatan, Mexico

Feeling the need for some warm weather to supplement my cold January rides in Windsor Great Park, I’ve just been on a new Exodus cycling trip in the Yucatán region of Mexico. On brand new Trek hybrid bikes, 19 of us set off from inland Merida to ride to Tulum on the coast taking in as many Mayan archeological sites as possible on route.

This was not just a holiday or a bike trip – it was educational too! I learned about the 3 phases of Mayan history – Pre Classic, Classic and Post Classic. I learned about the results of the two major collapses of their civilisation and about Mayan writing, numbers and dates. Here is the route we took:

mexico-yucatan-cycling-route

Stopping at an archeological site most days, the highlights were Coba (the oldest, being entirely Classic Mayan), Tulum with its picturesque setting on cliff tops and of course Chichen Itza. The later had a crazy number of visitors, mostly arriving by coach so it felt good to turn up under our own pedal power.

This part of Mexico had the most considerate drivers I’ve ever experienced whilst cycling. Yes, really. The roads were good quality and pretty empty of traffic. And when a car did pass us it would do so slowly and with hazard lights on. The cycling itself wasn’t the most dramatic ever, with the roads being mostly flat and straight. Nonetheless, passing through villages and towns gave plenty of colour to the riding and I even found a couple of dirt tracks to ride alongside the road.

I probably did more swimming than I’ve ever done in a single week. There were lots of opportunities, with a refreshing pool at each hotel – welcome after a hot day of cycling. Even better, we visited 3 different cenotes. These are natural fresh water pools – either above or below ground. I’d never seen anything like the underground ones and walking down steps into a cave to find a massive underground pool with completely clear water, plenty warm enough for swimming was a real highlight of the trip. To round off the swimming opportunities, once we reached Tulum we took a ‘lazy river’ ride – a narrow channel with enough current to carry a swimmer along and then finally some snorkelling where we swam with about 8 sea turtles of varying size.

My video tries to capture the flavour of the cycling plus some of the other activities…

If you are wondering if a cycling holiday in Mexico is for you, then I’d say that if you are looking for a holiday with history, sight-seeing, swimming, good weather, beautiful beaches and like the idea of getting from place to place by bike – then it should be high on your list.

 

Thanks to:

Exodus for putting on this fabulous trip!

Fernando – our extremely knowledgeable and witty guide.

Graham – for the underwater turtle pics that I have shamelessly borrowed.

Everyone on the trip for being such a fun bunch to spend 10 days with.

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