This week: a guest post from Mireia and Alex, our friends traveling the America’s with their Montague bikes. They’ve just enjoyed their last days in Mexico before entering Belize. Here at Montague HQ, we’re feeling a bit envious of their experience… and their warm weather! Here’s a comparison of their situation, and ours here in Boston. Notice any difference?
Let’s see what they had to say:
The last time we got in touch we were in the state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido. After the great time on the beach we headed off in the direction of the province of Chiapas, and stopped at another canyon: the ‘Cañon del Sumidero’. We are slowly becoming experts in this mountain type! The views from the lookouts are spectacular and became even better when we decided to take a speedboat ride through the canyon. Steep cliffs, crocodiles, (a bit of garbage) and a big giant Christmas tree made it an unforgettable experience!
Afterwards we went to San Cristobal de las Casas, another colonial town which many people on our travels recommended to us. In this village we prepared for our tour through Chiapas and the Yucatan, and experienced the coldest temperatures we’ve felt in the last 4 months. From here on out we didn’t get the nice weather we were used to. Before leaving, we stumbled upon some other long term travelers at the local camp ground. Among them were two French couples traveling in a regular camper and a large school bus, and one English family traveling in a fully equipped MAN truck, a very cool thing to see.
We next explored the province of Chiapas in detail. Located next to the border with Guatemala (in the past it was part of Guatemala), the area is a natural paradise with many jungles, waterfalls and animals. After seeing the breathtaking falls of Chiflón, we visited the Lagos of Montebello; a series of 50 lakes known for their different colors of water. Here we met three super nice people from the Basque Country in Spain, and went on to explore Chiapas together. From the lakes we went on to the next village, Las Nubes, where we enjoyed some truly amazing waterfalls. The relatively calm river is squeezed through narrow canyons in this area, resulting in nonstop violent rapids. We felt we could look upon them for hours. Very exciting!
Having no food here, the locals were prepared to kill a chicken for us, which we could put on the barbecue. Yummy yummy! Although our request was a bit unusual for them: a chicken with no head, no lungs, no heart, no feet… they just laughed. From here we continued our trip by passing through the jungle of the Guacamayas where the howler monkeys were so loud, they make you believe that they are gorillas. You can also see Macaw parrots here (although the best time for them is around June). After a guided tour through the jungle we went to Yaxchilan, a Mayan site located in the dense jungle and only accessible via boat. This was truly a spectacular location. From this site we drove to Palenque, were we visited another more popular Mayan ruin. Having found a camp site here we decided to stay a few days and relax. We were near the ruins and the waterfall of Agua Azul, not a bad place to stay!
Here we said goodbye to our new Basque friends, who were continuing their voyage to Mexico City. Next, we would tackle Mexico’s most touristic region: the Yucatan. Unlike much of Mexico, the roads here were in perfect condition; we could suddenly travel a much longer distance in one day! Campeche was our first stop in the area, and it would be the last colonial village we visited. Nearby were the ruins of Uxmal and the ruins of Chichen Itza, considered one of the new wonders of the world. The area is very well known for it’s cenotes (underwater caves). It is claimed that these holes were created over 65 million years ago by meteorites, the same ones which would have lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The water in these cenotes is very clear as it comes from underground rivers, which filter the water continuously.
From there we headed down to Puerto Morelos where we could snorkel through the second largest barrier reef in the world. Nearby is Akumal, where there is a beach with over 30 resident turtles with whom you can swim (they are staying there naturally). After swimming for 20 minutes without a turtle in sight, we were about to give up and go back to the beach when suddenly, two enormous turtles came out of nowhere. The water is not at all deep here, so we could swim above them while they were eating the the seagrass below, and get a great view.
Our next stop was the famous beach ruins of Tulum, built high on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful Caribbean sea. Tulum was the perfect place for biking, and after several rainy days we finally got some sunshine and were anxious to get on our Montague bikes. The first day Alex took the bike to go shopping. It was a good idea, as the car was already set up in the campground, and after driving for so long he needed to stretch his legs.
The second day there we rode to the Tulum ruins. The weather was finally on our side, so it was a beautiful day to enjoy an outdoor activity! It was definitely worth it, as to make it there by car would not be very practical.
At night we rode to the city center to have dinner. It’s a good thing we could get some exercise on the ride back, because we ate more than our fair share on this evening! In the morning, we biked to a nearby beach before saying goodbye to the Riviera Maya!
Having been in Mexico for 3 months, we have finally entered Belize, another amazing country where we hope to enjoy many more adventures on our Montague bikes!
With the end of the year approaching, we would also like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year! Thanks for reading!
Alexander and Mireia