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Category: Mexico

Cycling the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

After cycling along the Golf of Mexico to the city of Campeche we go more inland of the Yucatán Peninsula. We spend two nights with Daniël in Campeche, leave the coast behind us and follow a small road into the jungle. We pass the small village named “China”. The road winds deeper and deeper inland. The region is known because of the many Maya ruins. The first one on our route will be the Edzna ruins. A quite famous and big one.

Leaving Daniels house again in Campeche

On the iOverlander app we couldn’t find out for sure it will be possible to camp at the Edzna or at least close by. But we will take the risk, for so far we were always capable to find a place to stay, so why not now also.
Halfway the road to the ruins we pass an eco campsite. It’s still early in the afternoon but we wanna give it a go and we turn around to see if the campsite is open.
The guy at the desk is very friendly and tells us it’s possible to camp, to eat delicious fish and to dip in the swimming pool. This sounds pretty much like a good plan for us. We check in, put up our tent somewhere in the dense jungle of the campsite and go for a search to the swimming pool.
The pool is found easily and the rest of the day we hang around it.
We are the only guests on the whole campsite so no jelling kids or other noisy guests, just we, we self and us. In the evening we eat some good fish and the owner tells us a lot about the Maya history and culture. He also works as a tour guide so he knows a lot about it.
When we walk back to our tent we nearly got lost in the dark nightly jungle forest. The night is filled with birds and for us unknown animal sounds. Are there monkeys and crocodiles living in this area we ask ourselves? Despite the jungle animals we sleep as a Canadian black bear in winter time.

Hungry? No Problem, we have it all 🙂

Bye bye nice campground.

The next morning we pack up our stuff again and head to the Maya ruins of Edzna.
We expect it will be busy so we go early but on the site itself we see it’s not crowded at all. We spend a few hours hanging around the ruins. Quite interesting to see this historic site and we take loads of pictures.

Visiting the Edzna Maye Ruins

No one there.

How many iguana's can you find on this picture.

Selfie time (again... )

... and again.

Hi big boy.

Flowers along the road out of Edzna.

After leaving the ruins we hop on our bikes again in search for a nice place for the night. Small villages come and go, and by the end of the day, it’s nearly dark already, we ask some people for a place to stay. They answer; in the next village called Ich-Ek, just 5km away, is an eco center where you can camp. “Ok, gracias!!”
We enter the next village in total darkness and ask around for the eco center. The eco center is unknown but the old guy tells us; in just 100m on the right is a big park with big trees where you easily can camp for free. "The village is save so no worries"
We set up our camp quickly and fall asleep shortly after.

When we pack up our camp the next morning the whole village still seems to sleep. It’s Sunday morning and on Sundays Mexican people are up late, most shops are closed and you see guys drinking beers along the road.
Just out of town we see another archeological site, very close to the road. We jump of our bikes and walk into it. It’s still early, there’s no one there, just one guy sweeping the place. After 10 minutes of walking around the guy comes up to us and tells us his name is José and the works here for nearly 25 years already. He knows a lot about the Mayas and he can give some explanations about this site and Maya culture if we like.
“Sure... go ahead!”
He starts telling... and telling and showing us around, half Spanish, half English. He really knows a lot about it and after 45 minutes for sure we know a lot more about the Maya culture then before. Interesting.

Tohcok Ruins

Jose is still cleaning in the background.

Interesting stories to tell.

We give Jose 100 pesos and move on to the next, some bigger town for some groceries. The plan for the coming night is to try to get a camping spot at some caves further up the road so we need some food to survive. It’s not a far ride so we take it easy. After 50km we find the caves and ask the guys over there if we can camp here for the night. “Si si, no problemo”
“Muy bien, gracias!!”
We park our bikes, drink and eat some and go down in the dark caves. Inside the caves it’s warm and humid. There are just a few people around and the deeper we go in the darker it gets. Once the cave was well lighted but now most lights are no longer working. The word maintenance is not well known in Mexico. Once things build they are rarely maintained and will fall apart after years.
After leaving the caves we walk the jungle environment around the site as well. We discover huge holes in the ground where you can look inside the caves from far above.

Grutas - Caves - Grotten

The paved path into the caves

Going down

Headlights on, it's gonna be dark inside.

Danger?

Holes in the ground

Camping at the caves.

Back at the entrance the “cave guy” explains how things work here at night. He will leave one toilet unlocked for us but he will lock the main entrance fence so no one can go in or out.
Since we are inside the site he explains how we can escape it the next morning when he is not around yet.
“On the side of the fence you can break open some barb wire and sneak out. Please close it afterwards again” he explains “have a good night” and off he goes.
“Gracias!!”
We love it how easy going Mexican people can be 😊
The night is quiet a half lighted moon is watching over us from a dark sky filled with a million of stars.

In the morning breaking out.

Barb wire to be taken away before we can leave.

Close again...

Mission completed

On the road again, bye caves.

The next day, another short cycling day is in front of us but includes the visit of the Uxmal Maya ruins. We don’t take the normal paved road but we find an off the beaten track one through some tiny villages.
The first part of the route is paved but soon it changed into dirt road and the dirt road changes in a small single track where no cars can go. We only see some small motorbikes crossing us.
At the middle of the day we arrive at the ruins site.

Small towns.

We've heard, the biggest gangsres live in the smallest towns.

Fresh meat walking around town.

On the ridden tracks no tourists at all, on the ruins site thousands. We have settle in again.
The ruins themselves are awesome again and so different from what we saw before on the other ruin sites.

Welcome to Uxmal

Hi, you're still out there reading these blogs?? Cheers for that!! We do a lot of effort to keep them coming. It's a sort of dairy for ourselves as well.

The roof came down and the iguana is on top.

No i'm not gonna basejump.

Nice views when the sun starts going down.

By the end of the day we have to find ourselves a place to stay again. On our iOverlander app we find a small campsite but on arrival it is closed. It’s nearly dark now. Kim remembers herself another iOverlander spot close by behind an old restaurant fallen in a ruin.
When we arrive on the place in deep dark it seems okay for us and we dig ourselves through the high grass to the back of the building which was a restaurant years ago. The night that follows is filled with the same stars as the night before and we fall asleep quick.

Do you see us in the back?

No?

Here we are, invisible from the street side.

Early in the morning we are awake again, pack up and continue our route further north again. After just a few hours of cycling we arrive at a nice cenote at the end of a very bumpy dirt track. A cenote is a cave filled with clear water where in you can swim most of the time.
We pay 30 pesos each (€1,50) and jump in. We swim for a hour and dry up in the warm sun.
If we ask the guy we can stay here for the night it’s no problem. We put up our tent and take another dive in the cenote.

Just a hole in the ground where you swim.

Deep enough to make a scuba dive in this cenote.

Cooling down.

Crapes... we love all the fress fruits over here.

Kim crushing her coffee beens she got from Mau from the coffee bar.

The next early morning before anyone is around we skinny dip in the cenote. The place is so relax we decide to gonna stay another night here. The rest of the day guests come and go but it isn’t busy at all. At one point a small tour bus comes along, people go to the cenote but one guy starts looking at our bikes. After checking them out he asks if they are ours. He introduces himself as Piero from Italy, cycling from Argentina to Alaska. The same route as we do but in opposite direction.
He also tells his tour guide today is also his Warmshowers host in Merida. We promise each other to keep in contact to meet again in Merida when we’re there.

Early in the morning, no one there.

Birds flying around in the cave very fast to catch some insects.

The other day we do another early morning dip and take off. On the road again to find ourselves in another hidden cenote again after just a 30 minutes ride. This cenote is so off track no one is around at all and we spend the rest of the morning hanging around and relaxing.

On the bumpy road to the next cenote

Found it.

Very nice place again. This one is not on the tourist maps so no one around. (iOverlander, it's still our favorite travel app 🙂 )

A few days ago we arranged a Warmshowers host in Merida. Merida is a town with 700.000 people living. It should be a nice place to visit according to one of the Lonely Planet tour guides on our e-reader. After the cenote we are heading towards Merida and after eating two huge pizzas in a small take away we meet our host Ken at his remarkable house in the town center.
Ken is a retired American who now lives with his wife the good Mexican life.
Merida is even much nicer than we expected and we end up staying at Ken for four nights. (at most “nice” towns we often think “just another town”)

In a small village up to Merida: An old church slowly falling apart.

Trees growing inside and on top of the old buildings.

After checking out Merida four days in a row and meeting up with Piero the Italian cyclist and his host Raúl we cycle out of Merida. Because we don’t expect to see any decent supermarkets the coming days we go along a big one in town first.

Welcome in Merida. Let me be your guide for today.

The big Maya museum.

Not only Maya, also the history of the region.

Sunday = Cycling day in Merida.

Everybody is cycling, some parts of the main roads are even closed for cars at this time.

Another museum visit

Meeting up with Piero, the Italian who is cycling the same route but in oppersite direction.

At the house of Raul, the Warmshowers host of Piero.

And now welcome at the house of our Warmshowers host, Ken.

Pretty awesome if you can live like this whole year round.

Bye bye Ken, it was a pleasant for us to stay for a few days in wonderfull Merida.

Instead of going straight on the highway to our next destination, the Itza ruins we take a detour on a smaller road which leads via the town of Izamal. The road is quiet and passes a lot of small villages. By the time we reach Izamal it’s late in the afternoon so we need a place to stay. On iOverlander we discovered a small hotel/campsite close by the city center already so we gonna check it out.

When we arrive in front of the closed fence of the campsite it looks closed. When we try the lock on the fence we feel it’s not locked so we go in. The site looks good and has a Caribbean vibe but there is no one around.
After a good search we find a Mexican lady who leads us to the owner of the campsite.
An Austrian guy shows up and asks us if we made a reservation. “Euhm... no!!”
“How many nights do you wanna stay?” He asks.
“Just one night”
“We don’t have real sites for tenters, it’s really rocky everywhere”
“We came cycling all the way down from Alaska already, we camped on rocky grounds before so that’s no problem for us”
“Ok” he says unsympathetic “I will show you where you might camp”
“Is it off season?”(because we don’t see anyone else around)
“No, we have the most of our guests in the hotel.” He answers grumpy.
“The camp spot looks good to us, thank you for letting us stay 😬”
When we put up our tent we meet a German guy who is already on this spot for four weeks to fix his old camper van again. He tells he’s touring to Argentina as well and will probably needs another two weeks to fix his van.
When we start cooking our meal a bunch of dogs show up and start barking at us.

Back to basic again at the Austrian campground after all those luxery in Ken's house.

When we hop on our bikes again the next day our destination will be two other cenotes after each other. At the second cenote we also can camp according iOverlander.
When we arrive nearly at second one, two overlander motorcyclists arrive as well. Adrian from the Uk and Joos from Peru, both going south but both in their own way.
Adrian on a Yamaha XT600 enduro. He is in his fifties and managed he can travel for another six years by renting out his house. Joos in his twenties worked in the States, bought himself a KTM streetbike and now driving back home to Peru. Parts of the route they travel together to keep costs as low as possible by sharing hotel rooms and to have some company around.
We visit the cenote with the four of us. By the time it’s closing time we go out again to put up our tent on the cenotes parking. Adrian and Joos come out as well and we chat for a long time on the parking till it gets dark.
When they take off to their hotel we finish our tent and cook some easy pasta. We fall asleep not long after.

First cenote of the day. Cooling down again...

... and drying up again.

And another cenote

In the deep behind us.

Going in... no, not to cold.

Swimming without vest was not aloud.

I'm floating 😀

Tree roots coming down to get water.

Kim, Adrian (UK), Joos (Peru), Arjan.

They're taking off in the dark.

The next morning we pack up early and cycle the 20km to the Itza ruins. These ruins are probably the most famous ones in the whole region. Nearly 2.500 people visit the ruins every day. When we arrive at 9am it’s busy with loads of tourists already. The rest of the morning and early afternoon we spend walking around the big archeological site. It’s definitely worth the visit and despite the few thousand visitors luckily it’s not overcrowded.

The next morning Kim is doing some Yoga first before heading to the ruins.

Up to the Itza Maya Ruins. Map is loaded, we're ready for it.

Crowded..

Playfield where they used to play ball games. The heads of loosers where chopped. (Are The Hunger Games movies inspired by the Maya's??)

Photo's photo's photo's...

Iguana

Selfie..

Souvenirs, at least a hundred market booths are on this very touristic place, all selling the same stuff.

When we met Raúl (the host of Piero the Italian cyclist in Merida) he managed a host for to stay with in Valladolid. Valladolid is just 40km from the Itza ruins so we paddle to Daniel the host in the late afternoon to stay with him. He is a nice guy and really into cycling. He shows us his medals he won or got by different mtb races and tours. We camp in his huge backyard.

Guess where our host for tonight is?

Nice garden for camping.

We make it a short stay and leave early the next morning. Tulum, a hippyish beach town at the Caribbean coast will be our next spot to lay out our legs to rest for a few nights. The town is 115km away so we don’t want to leave to late.
The road to Tulum is straight but boring and being not even halfway we get loads of rain over us. We try to seek for something to hide under but it doesn’t work out so we paddle on in blistering rain.
Just before Tulum we eat some awful pizzas in a tiny town. By the time we enter Tulum the rain just stopped but we’re still soaked. At a small campground along the Tulum beach we check in for two nights and get a cold shower. It’s dark already and we go straight into bed.

On our way to the Carribean coast at Tulum. Here it's dry but this will change in a short time.

When we wake up at 6 in the morning* we start the day with a long beach walk. The sun is about to rise in a few minutes and the yesterdays rain is gone.
(*When camping we wake up every morning around 6 when the sun comes up. At night we go into our tent around 7 when it’s dark already for a hour. We read some and fall asleep. On camping days we try to live with the sun rather then live with the clock as much as possible. It feels super chill, you get enough sleep and it feels to us as ultimate freedom.)

Early in the morning fishermann go out for the catch of the day.

Check 🙂

After breakfast we walk into town, a 4km walk. When we take off an American lady stops by and offers us a ride in her car into town. Thanks 🙏
Tulum is filled with small boutiques, tourist shops, bars and restaurants. We find the place way to expensive compared to other Mexican town so we keep our money in our pockets today.
From Tulum we head south. We skip the very touristic towns of Cancun and Playa del Carmen just north of Tulum. We have seen enough tourists the last few weeks.
On iOverlander we found a nice camp spot along a lake with another cenote. According the description it should not be crowded and a bit of the route everybody else is going.
The road is a bit boring but straight and with finally some tailwind. The last few weeks we had headwinds all the time so now we can make more progress in less time.

Cyclists from Brazil, the girl bought her first bike ever just a month ago!!!

At least they have a cold beer here.

Lunch break and hiding for the rain somewhere halfway.

During the ride we have some rain but not to bad. By the end of the day, on just the last 15 kilometers it starts raining again but now so hard the road looks more like a huge river. The last 3 kilometers are off the main road over a small dirt road. The dirt road is turned into a river as well. It’s dark already so to find our route is even harder. To find the exact campsite location we need the iOverlander app again but everything is completely soaked, even our waterproof Samsung phone doesn’t like it anymore. By luck we find the spot. The guy on the site greeds us and offers us as fresh hot coffee first. He also tells us he has cabins free where we can stay in if we like. “Yes sure we like that!” Putting up a tent in a sort of a river stream is a challenge we don’t like to manage now anyway.

Heavy rain...

Because we planned not to stay very long in Mexico anymore the last time we took money out of an ATM machine we took as less as possible, just enough to sit out our last days in Mexico and not to end up in Belize with loads of Mexican pesos left. This resulted now in not have enough money for two nights in a cabin and be able to eat in the neighbour restaurant. But because the place is to nice to stay just one night and to let dry out our soaked stuff we decide stay two nights and eat whatever we can find on leftovers in our panniers.
At the day of we do some writing for our website and visit the not so spectacular cenote which is completely drained into the lake.

Early bird picture.

Luckily dry weather again.

A cenote underneath a lake. We didn't swim.

Writing new blog stories in Apple notepad.

Kim hiding for musqitos

Drying our our stuff again.

Do some photo editing in Adobe Lightroom.

When we leave the place the dirt road to the campsite is still filled with a lot of water but it’s no longer some kind of river.

The road is still a bit wet when we leave but is was soaked when we arrived.

Heading to Bacalar

We hit the main road again and go south to Bacalar, 110km away from here for camping and to get new pesos out of an ATM machine.
Bacalar is just a few kilometer away from the Belize border so it will be our last Mexican camp spot.
After spending 3,5 months in Mexico we look forward to a new country but first we gonna stay for two days in the small but nice town of Bacalar which has a pleasant hippie vibe.

Bacalar at 6 in the morning.

Watching sunrise.

Put some new blogs online. We where a lot behind but on this awesome place the new writing was not to bad.

Not a bad place at all !!!

On the road again. Today to Belize. Roads with a view.

Passport control and Casino is coming up.

Belize just 3km to go.
Cheers for now, our next blog will be online after Belize. Belize is small so this might be in a week or so...

Cycling along the Gulf of Mexico

It is the 2nd of January, time to get on the bikes again after a nice New Years.
After packing up an eating desayuno we are ready to leave Coaczoacal. Gerardo wanted to try to ride out of town with us but sadly he couldn’t because he had no nanny for the kids. So we go by ourselves.

Bikes packed and ready to go. New year, new rides...

The plan is to go out of town with the ferry ⛴ and follow the coastline along Bahia de Campeche, the Gulf of Mexico. At the ferry we have to wait awhile. We talk with a man who works for the ferry’s and he tells us it costs only 2 pesos per person. That’s only €0,09 so almost nothing!!!😃
“It takes about 20 minutes to get to the other side and enjoy the view on the water.”

Waiting for the ferry

On the small ferry

Made it till the other side

In the small pueblo on the other side we buy some fresh fruits for on the road. Since we came into Mexico we miss a lot of vegetables in our meals. We like the Mexican food, but there is not a whole lot of vegetables in it. So we try to keep up with that by buying and eating them while we are on the road.
The road we cycle is quiet and very beautiful. But a part of the road is also only dirt road along the coast. That’s always good when we want to have lunch! What better place is there to have a break and some food to get new energy than on the beach?

After cycling for awhile the dirt road turns into a better road again. Every now and then we have some dogs chasing us. Just for their fun we guess. Luckily here in Mexico they are not very aggressive.

Barking dogs come after us. Mexican dogs didn't bite till so far.

I don't care about the dogs..

We have to take another boat to get to the other side. When we arrive we see it is just about to leave but the “captain” of the boat says we can just put our bikes and stuff in and than we will leave straight away. It is a small boat compared to the ferry we had earlier.
All the people who are already in the boat waiting for it to leave are waiting for us. They are just watching us struggling to get everything in. But we manage and take a seat.
It’s a short boat ride to the other side but still it is pretty nice.

Jungle roads

On an even smaller ferry

Just a pedestrian ferry but luckely our bikes fit as well.

Nearly there

Packing up again

The 10min ferry saved us 225km of cycling 😀

At the other side the tuc-tucs are already waiting for their customers to ride them into town. The people here are very friendly and waving at us when we leave to go into Sanchéz Magallanes.
When Arjan goes to get some groceries at the local supermarket he meets a man who is visiting his hometown now but is living in the USA. He tells Arjan there is a good and cheap hotel in town where we can stay. We decide to check it out. But when we arrive there and we ask they say they are fully booked.
We know there is a fish restaurant at the water front just on the edge of town. We go there to see if we have more luck over there.

We ask the owner if it is possible to camp at the back of the restaurant and he tells us “no problem, you can!” We decide to eat dinner at his restaurant to give something back in return. We enjoy a nice meal of pescado empanisado.
After that it starts getting dark so we need to put up the tent. We try to put up our tent but it is quite the challenge with al these small sandflies around us. They pinch us in every bit of naked skin they can find!When we are done we quickly go into the tent to get away from the crazy flies and we take a look at what our bare legs and feet now look like. They are covered with red itchy dots!

Behind the restaurant

"some" insectbites... little f*ckers, we hate them.

Camp with view on the sea side. The next morning.

Next morning the sandflies are still there a little less aggressive but still not very bearable. So we are in fast mode and try to get ready as quick as possible.
We follow the coastline and the views are beautiful. We pass through small villages where fresh fish is caught and sold from door to door.

On the road again

Want some fresh fish?

Coconuts our a chicken?

Pelikans... on this picture a few but sometimes a lot.

We cycle on a paved road but from time to time the road seems to be totally destroyed by the ocean. The local people “maintain” the road at these parts. Every now and then the people who use the road by car pay a toll to the family that maintains that part of the road. Most of the time the families have a rope hanging across the road so that you cannot pass.
We are lucky though...as soon as they see us they just lower the rope without asking us for a fee. We think if we have had to pay it would probably not have been more than a few pesos.
Sometimes the road is still hard to cycle even with this “maintenance” done by the families. There are still a lot of parts with lose beach sand and with our heavy bicycles it makes it pretty hard to cycle. Every now and then we have to walk and push through it.

Along the ocean

Still the road we are taking here is breathtaking and feels like an adventure again. After having cycled so many boring highways here in Mexico we really don’t care that this road is somewhat harder to peddle on!
We even meet motorbikers taking the same route. One of them got stuck in the sand. They see us cycling and they say that for this road the bicycles seem easier. “Yes for this road they probably are, but for the rest of Mexico you guys have the advantage!”😉

Road taken by the ocean. We have to ride the small road through the bush.

Not a real road but we can cycle on it 🙂

Deep sand, hard to cycle on.

On the coconut highway

...

Taking the beach but this was even harder to cycle on.

At a lunchbreak somewhere on the road to Campeche.

Streetbikes can go here as well it seems.

After an adventurous day of cycling we find ourselves in the city called Paraíso. We soon find out that the hotels are pretty pricy. After asking at 5 hotels we finally find a cheap one.
We hit the (cold❄️) shower and clean ourselves up. The cold shower in Mexico is still pretty common. Much more than a hot one. We go back on the street again to find some local food.

Next day we go to back to the center. Buy some bread at a bakery and make some breakfast. We sit on a bench on the main plaza. Just enjoying our breakfast and watching the people. It is pretty nice and already pretty busy with people sitting and walking around. Some are trying to sell hammocks to people or local food. There even is a guy who has crocodile teeth to sell. He also tries selling us but we tell him we are not interested.

It is again another sunny day with again a lot of headwinds. We haven’t had anything else lately.
We still manage to make it to Frontera as we planned. We don’t even have to go all the way into town to find a nice and cheap hotel to stay at. Next to us is a place where they have nice local food. The food tastes great!
Back in the hotel we read a little before we go to sleep.
Since we are traveling we are living more by the time of light. When it gets dark we crawl into bed and read or listen to music a bit before we go to sleep. In the morning we wake at first light and get up early to start the day. It feels pretty nice being able to live this way.

Water left, water right.

We cycle another headwindy day. Today the road goes a little more inland from time to time instead of all along the coast. We cycle in between swamps and in between swamps and the see. This gives the road a strange view because sometimes it looks like the road is the only dry land there is. At the end of this long day of cycling we arrive at a very long bridge that will bring us into Ciudad del Carmen.
Just after the bridge we take a break to decide our next move. Again here there are no campgrounds so we need another place to stay and preferably cheap.
The first hotel we ask what the costs for the night are is a cheap one straight away, so we take it.

Long bridge into town.

Have a break, have a ....

We take a cold shower again and eat some really good tortas on the street nearby.
Back in the hotel we find some company in our bathroom.... big cockroaches. Two of them. As long as they don’t bother us we’re fine!

The next day we decide to take a rest day and take a look into town. Ciudad del Carmen is not a very touristy place at all. Still we have a nice day walking through town and we take a stroll along the melacón and the beach. 🏝
A Mexican man on a scooter stops and asks us if we want to buy a fish cocktail. He lets Kim taste and it is delicious so she takes one.

Arjan is not into fish that much so he gets himself some local chips from another guy.
On the beach we find some very nice shells. They’re to big to take with us on the bikes so we take photos instead.

Walking the beach

Millions of shells

We do take some smaller ones with us. Arjan will make some necklaces out of them.
In the evening when we’re back at our hotel room the cockroaches seem to have changed their living space into our bedroom. So we decide to get rid of them. We don’t want any of them walking on us while we’re sleeping...😴😴😴

Today we leave early. We think we will ride for about 90km. But things don’t always go as planned.....
We arrive at Isla Aguada after about 50km. We are about to have our midday lunch break, but the place we’re at it seems so nice.
We also see that there is a great campground on the beach and it makes us decide to stay the night. Because it’s only midday we have a long day to enjoy. We swim, read, Kim knits 🧶. We even have another dog 🐕 to pet. She stays in our company on the beach all day.
At the end of the day we find out it’s the campground owners dog.
At sundown we see big groups of
dolphins. 🐬🐬🐬
Sadly we can’t take photos of this great happening because our photo camera has broken down...😢 but still it will be in our memories!

Lets stay here for the night 🙂

Some dolphins on the left?

It’s time to leave another paradise behind us. We ride an extra long day. But we can because we had a great rest the day before.
Still at the end of the day we are pretty tired when we finally arrive in Champotón. Again we had a lot of headwinds today so we can sleep for sure.
In town we need to find a hotel. We try at a few hotels before we finally find a cheap one.
On the way to finding a place to sleep Arjan saw a cheap pizza place. We leave the panniers at the hotel and cycle back to have something to eat.

The day after our destination will be Campeche. The road is still along the coast but we hardly see any water. In Campeche we go to the local bus terminal because we guess there might be WiFi so we can get in touch with the family in Coatzacoalcos, with who we stayed with for New Years Eve.
They told us to contact them because they have family living in Campeche with who we might stay.
We search contact through Whatsapp with Claudio and Marlo. They arrange that we can stay at Claudio’s cousin Daniël and we get his address. So now we only need to find the place. And so we did!

Into the historic city centre of Campeche

Checking out Campeche.

Kim's backwheel fixed again by these guys... Gracias!

Tumbs up

It's still Januari so no Alcohol because our ALS 0% challange.

Thanks for letting us stay...!

Cycling from Mexico City to the Gulf of Mexico

We visited the famous Teotihuacan pyramids close to Mexico City. We also visited the capital but today we pack up and move on again heading east to the coast. The Gulf of Mexico.

More dirt roads.

On top of a vulcano crater.

Camping in the playyard of a Pemex gas station,

We’re still in the mountains but this will change soon. The town we’re heading to is much lower so the weather should also be warmer. We found out there should be an awesome eco campground, we think the perfect place for spending this Christmas in a few days.
The days after we decline a few thousand meters and indeed it’s getting warmer and warmer day by day. By the time we hit the eco campground near Cordoba we are as low as 900 meter above sea level and the temperatures are nearly tropical.

Going downhill from tunel to tunel.

Small idylic hotel.

One hotel, different WiFi networks with different passwords, just to keep it simple 😉

The Reglamento on the hotelroom door, dated: 2 june 1980 😀

Long roads with snowtops in the distance

Going downhill is alway good 🙂

View on the old road below us.

Because the trafic noise some personal music on.

Just a fire along the road.

We expected the eco campground should be quite popular so we’re not celebrating Christmas just by ourselves. Bummer we are the only ones around, we have the whole campground to ourselves. Even the restaurant on the campground is closed at Christmas, no internet to contact people at home, so not much to do here. The town Cordoba is small and does not have much to offer too. 🎼 It’s gonna be a lone lone Christmas 🎄 but not without you 😆
We do some shopping for our Christmas dinner in town and take it easy. A street dog steals a part of the food out of our tent on Christmas Day. The dinner we finally cook is far from a real Christmas dinner.
We are a bit bummed out but the place itself is awesome so we don’t argue. (And beside, there is no one to argue with 😆)

Eco Campsite with a view.

... and with a swing. btw, in the far end, up the hill you can find our tent.

Play like a kid.

Kim's...Flat... Again...

After Christmas Day we move on and decline even further down the mountains. The landscape becomes flat, we leave the mountains behind us. The area we are in now is full of sugarcane farming and it’s harvest time so the air is full of thick smoke from the cane burning.
The long and hot dirt roads between the cane fields seems endless but after a few days we arrive close to the coast. But still around 50km from it.

Sugar cane burning

Half the cane field is harverst already.

More suger cane burning

The air is realy bad to cycle in with all this smoke.

The suger cane mill

More Smoke...

Cane trucks passing and crossing by al the time.

Our new cycling friend 🙂

Fully loaded trucks go slow up the mountain roads

The local trash along the road.

Long shadows falling over us.

Fixing another flat tire 🙁

On this point we are not able to hit the coast already because there aren’t any roads to it which are heading our direction without we have backtrack in the coming days. Our only option is to follow a big highway south for two days before we finally can hit the coast at Coatzacoalcos. The road is boring but we can do distances of 120km per day so we move fast.

At Coatzacoalcos we wanna spend New Year’s Eve but when we enter the town it seems half of a ghost town to us. A lot of streets are empty. No people, no cars and closed buildings. Some parts of town are filled with people but still this town is not like all the other Mexican towns we passed for so far.

Like a ghost town.

Empty streets

More empty streets

Cops in front of a bank.

We don’t have much of a choice if we want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in some sort of town and not just by our selves in the middle of nowhere like we did with Christmas. We check-in in the cheapest hotel we can find and make it ourselves comfortable. We take a long walk along the beach, the first time we see the Gulf of Mexico. And we eat churos instead of Dutch oliebollen. At the end of the day we end up in a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Finaly the Gulf of Mexico

Instead of the Dutch Oliebollen.

Chinees food comes with more greens then Mexican food.

In the restaurant we meet a few Canadians/Mexicans and find ourselves in a chat quickly.
They are telling they live in Canada but he is from Mexico so they are here for family visit and a wedding. The kids are very excited they finally can speak English again with someone besides their own parents so they do a lot of the talking. By the end of the chat they invite us to celebrate New Year’s Eve with their family that night. We are excited being invited and looking forward to celebrate New Year’s Eve Mexican Style.
They give us their address and tell us to be there at 10 in the evening, two hours before the year 2019.
Back in our hotel we make ourselves ready for the evening. We have just a very few clothes to choose from so we save our party clothes for another year.
When we arrive at the party address we meet the whole family. All very nice, open and interested people.
We start dinner straight after and wait till the clock gives midnight.
“Happy 2019 everyone😘🥂”
The rest of the night we fill with some fireworks and interesting conversations about life and about cycling.

Thanks friends for inviting us!!

Yes, you kids also 😉

Fireworks in the streets

When we lay our heads on bed around 4:30 in the morning we fall asleep straight.

Thanks to you all for this extraordinary New Year’s Eve we wouldn’t forget for sure.

Cycling The Mountains Around Mexico City

In Guadalajara we hanged around for a few days in the Casa de Cyclista. We're the only ones when we arrive but soon we get company from Alice and Aurelien from France and Nathan from the States who we met before. We're all going in some sort the same speed and keep bumping into each other.

From the Casa de Cyclista we cycle to a close by Burger King restaurant and we're picked up by Alex and Julia again. The Canadian and the France with the Yellow schoolbus camper. We planned to spend some time together again. We visit the nice mountains cities of Guanaguato and San Miguel de Allende. Both beautiful cities and we have a good time together for three days.

The mummy museum... the most creapy museum we ever visited:

Julia and Alex go their own way again.
Bye bye friends, we will stay another night in town before continue cycling again.

Camping in the kitchen of Pablo, a very nice Warmshowers host in the mountains around San Miguel de Allende.

He also makes delicious chocolate candies we discovered.
We loved his free spirit mind. Bye bye my friend, hope to see you again someday!!

At a lake we're invited to celebrate a pre x-mas party with some locals.
The site we are camping on belongs to a canoe rental company, owned by one of these locals.
We have a good time together and the locals have loads of advices for our cycling trip.

Our next destination is the city Cordoba. On the way to Cordoba we hit the nice city of Guerrero where we are invited by Sergio who we did met a few weeks ago in Jala. (the guy with who we got up the volcano) Sergio told us to stay in contact by the time we hit his city, so we did.
He tells us he is not at home at the moment but his mother will be so we can stay anyway.
When we arrive at his house we meet a bunch of people. The house is also an office we find out.
Sergios mom, Lety, is very kind and offers us a sleeping room upstairs.

While discovering the city we find a very nice coffee bar, El Apapacho. Mau, the owner is into cycling himself a lot and offers us free coffee because we’re long distance cyclists. In the coffee bar we also meet Renate, Mau’s girlfriend and graphic artist. Also we meet Melany, an American living in Querétaro and making money out of doing English/Spanish translations for companies.
The vibe is very nice and we make friends easily and fast.
How many very nice people can you meet in just one town in two days? First Sergio’s family and workers and now Mau’s friends... we love it!!!
When we leave town the next day Mau and a few friends escort us the few first kilometres.
Bye bye friends, hope to see you again somewhere someday.

There are truck factories close to Mexico City. (Scania and Volvo already seen) The undercarriages are transported from one place to another over the highway. Not on a trailer or something. No just driving. They tie up a wooden crate where the driver's seat comes. They hang jerry cans with different liquids on the half build trucks. They put on a thick coat. (Sometimes) a helmet on ... and go full speed. Mad guys 🙂

Plastic rivers. There is a lot of trash around whole Mexico but this river is pollution to the max.
The water underneath the river is no visible anymore because there is to much trash on top of it. Black dirt water is still coming in on the right of the picture.
Very sad to see... This shit will end up in the oceans someday and nobody seems to care at all. People through their dirt just on the streets anywhere.

The campsite we are on close to Mexico City is still around 60km away from downtown CDMX (Mexico City) but is in a walking distance to the famous Teotihuacan pyramids.
Pyramids built by the Aztec people long long time ago.
Because it’s so close we decided to go there first before heading to CDMX.
When we arrive at the entrance we discover foreign tourists have to pay three times the price of Mexican tourists. Saying we’re Mexicans as well didn’t work out.
The archeological site it self is busy but worth the visit. It’s possible to get on the pyramids but we’re not the only ones with this plan.

The day after the pyramids we decide to go into CDMX. Because it seems to be very busy in the city (there are 25 million people living in CDMX) we go by bus.
Even by bus it’s crowded and it takes more than an hour before we’re dropped off on one of the big bus terminals before entering downtown.
The plan for today is to visit the Frida Kahlo museum in the opposite side of town. At the bus terminal we easily find a taxi who will bring us there. This ride also takes us nearly an other hour. When we finally arrive at the Frida Karlo museum the taxi driver drops us off and moves on quickly.
At the entrance of the museum we discover it is closed today because it’s Monday and on Mondays most museums are closed.
For sure the taxi driver knew this and that’s why he went off so quick... asshole!!
We make the plan to come back tomorrow and take a walk directing downtown. Halfway we hop on a crowded public bus for just a few pesos which drops us off in the middle of the city.
The rest of the day we wander around and end up in a cheap hostel for the night.
The next day we take a touristic tour by an open roof double-decker bus, back to the Frida Kahlo museum. The tour takes so long we arrive at the museum when it’s after 2pm already. In front of the museum a long line of people are waiting to get in, we go in the line as well. After a 20min wait in the hot sun without any movement we ask some people in front of the line how long they’re waiting already. “More than two hours” they answer “and inside the museum the line of people continues for another 10 meters.”
That’s gonna be a very long wait for us we figure ☹️
We also figure we don’t have much time left by the time we’re in before the museum closes.
Kim wanted to see the museum very badly, this was the main reason we entered CDMX in the first place. Despite of this we make the decision to skip the museum and head back to downtown for a good coffee and something to eat.
At the end of the day we head back to the big bus terminal to catch the bus back to our campground.

Cycling and Tequila at the Central Pacific Coast in Mexico

The ferry from La Paz in the Baja California to Mazatlán takes us whole night long. 13 hour on the dark waters between the Baja and the Mexican mainland. We take the ferry on a Tuesday, it is pretty quiet and not so busy as we had heard in the weekends when it’s a real party boat.
There are more cyclists on the same ferry. We don’t no why but the bicycles had all to be stored in a small office. We take the office out of order during the crossing with all our bikes stuffed in it. 🤣

We just met Nathan on our way to the ferry

La Paz --> Mazatlan

The next morning, still on the ferry, we see dolphins jumping in front of the boat and two big whales in a distance. The skyline of Mazatlán becomes slowly visible as well.

When we cycle from the ferry we get company from Nathan. With the three of us we cycle along the boulevard of this beautiful town and we bend off to the old historic center for a coffee. It’s still early in the morning. We arranged a Warmshowers address to stay with but we don’t want to be there to early in the morning.

Between the huge trucks coming from the ferry

The Mazatlan boulevard

The Mazatlan cathedral

It’s around noon when we arrive at Dennis’s place, our host for the coming two nights. Dennis invites us in his apartment. Three other cyclists moved in all ready this morning and soon the small house is filled with bikes and people. All the same folks from the ferry. Sean from Canada, Alice and Aurelien from France, Nathan from the US and the two of us. Beside those cyclists there is also Ricardo, a drug addicted detoxing young guy over who Dennis takes care of.
Dennis it self is a missionary from the US, based in Mazatlán to take care of the homeless and drug addicted people. Around a hundred warm meals are cooked in the small kitchen every night and served along the streets to those who need them most. Dennis thumbs up 👍
In the afternoon we continue our discovery of the old town and the market. For a change we cook today so we need some fresh stuff. (Not for all the homeless but for ourselves 😉)

Apartment packed with bikes and people

The day after we take a small hike through town with all of us. A short ferry takes us to Rocky Island with it’s nine mile beach. Nine miles of pure white sand. Gorgeous.
We swim, snorkel and play cards all day long. 🏝

With the whole gang through the streets of Mazatlan

Home made mini bug

Boat to Rocky Island

Ricardo

Arjan

Walking back through town to Dennis place

Mazatlan by night

When we wake up the next morning we realize it’s time to take off again on our bikes, ready to discover the Mexican mainland. With the four of us we say goodbye to Dennis, Ricardo and the France couple (Alice feels ill and stays in bed today)

Leaving Dennis again

Sean on the right looks fast 🙂

We and Nathan have the same destination for the coming days. The town of Tepic, around 300km from here. Sean wants to go to Durango so after a few kilometers we say goodbye to him as well.
There are two roads parallel going to Tepic. The 15 and the 15D. The 15 is the old road going through all small towns in between, the 15D is the newer, faster and wider but paid highway.
Officially it’s not allowed to cycle on the highway but since the old 15 doesn’t have any shoulder to cycle on it’s much safer for us to get on the 15D. We take the risk and we will see what will happen if the cops see us our if we want to past the toll booths.

Fixing Kims third flat tire of our trip.

Forest roads

Road construction

After a few kilometers on the 15D highway the first toll booth comes up. Signs of ‘cycling is not allowed’ are present and on the sign with all the prices is the bicycle unknown. When we arrive at the toll booth a guy smiles at us and waves us through. “Buenas Dias”... “Grasias Amigo”
Mexico, a country where all rules are not taking to seriously, we like it.

Toll booth coming up

Cycling not allowed

We continue our highway ride and the later it becomes the higher the temperature goes. Around noon we’re in for a long lunch and descent siesta so we drop down our bikes and find a nice spot in the shade. After 10 minutes a police car stops in front of us. We see a cop sitting with a huge machine gun but he doesn’t come out of the car. After 30 seconds two more police cars are stopping in front of us. Still no one comes out of the cars. They all carry the same big machine guns and make phone calls.
We are wondering what is this all about. We know we’re not allowed to cycle here but three police cars, six cops and three big guns against three poor cyclists seems a bit of an overkill to us. We continue our lunch and wait patiently what’s gonna happen next.
After five minutes one of the guys comes out of his car and starts a conversation in poor English. We have no idea what he wants to tell so Nathan takes over in decent Spanish. The cop looks surprised and continues his story in his own language now. He asks if we are alright. We: “Euh, yes we are alright”
Cop: “Yes because there was a robbery along this road and maybe you guys have seen something”
We: “No, we are here for some time already but didn’t see anything”
Cop: “Ok, thank you. Goodbye and take care”
We: “Thank you...”

Robbery? We didn't see any!

All three cars take off again and the cops wave friendly to us. In the hour of our siesta that follows we see the police cars riding up and down the highway multiple times but nothing spectacular happens.

We continue our cycling and by the end of the day we hit the small town of Escuinapa. We want to try to sleep at a fire station tonight but we can’t find any so Nathan asks a few police cops where to find the local fire station. The cops say they have a better idea. “Follow us” is the answer, and so we do.
After one or two kilometers they stop in front of a culture center.
They explain that the culture center is under police protection 24 hours a day so this is the safest place in town for us to sleep. We know that in the coast region around Mazatlan drug kartels are still presents so we don’t mind to sleep under police protection tonight 😊

Asking some cops about the fire station

In front of the cultural centre

The next day we depart early again and thank the police officer on duty. The coast road is still without hills so we go fast. We take long breaks but still at the end of the day we count 115km as we arrive in Rosamorada. One of the first things we see when we cycle into town is a small simple church. “Maybe a good opportunity to stay tonight?” is our first thought. Some guys work in the garden of the church so we ask one of them if we can stay tonight. “Probably no problem but I have to ask our pastor first. Besides that, tomorrow it is Sunday and the first church mass starts at 7 in the morning and the clock bells for that will start at 6am so you will be awake early”
We answer “no problem, we are awake every morning because of the hot weather so we can take long siestas”
The guy leaves the garden and returns after a while to say it’s no problem for the pastor we stay tonight.🙏
Before pitching our tents in the garden we walk out for some street food. We find tacos and hamburgers. When we return to the church the guys over there ask if we want we can sleep in the parish house of the church instead of pitching a tent in the garden?
Sure we want that. No tents to set up makes it even more easy.

At 6am the next morning the clock bells wake us up and by the time of 7am we packed already to hit the road again. The visitors of the church look quite surprised when they see us coming out of the parish house besides the church. We thank our host, see a glimpse of the pastor starting his mass and are of again.

Napping in the church

Leaving the church again

Nathan is going another route from this town. We continue on the 15D highway to Tepic, Nathan keeps following the coast to visit some friends who are in Puerto Vallarta at the moment. Maybe we see him again in Guadalajara, the next big town we hit and where we gonna stay a little while.

The 15D highway moves into the mountains from here, going more land inwards. We raptly climb to 1000m coming from sea level. We go downhill after it as well. We climb again, go downhill again. This sequence repeats multiple times which makes us much slower than the days before. The ride for today stops in Jala, a small town close to the Ceboruco volcano. This 2300m volcano is sleeping since the year 1875 so we aren’t afraid to be buried under lava tonight.
In the nice town we find a cosy hotel ran by an old Mexican. In this hotel we also meet Sergio, an Mexican guy who is in town for business and to make photos from the volcano. He invites to go up the volcano the next morning early. We agree of course. The road up is very bumpy and about 16km uphill, we didn’t plan to go up at all but this is nice opportunity.

The next morning we meet Sergio again in the hotel lobby. Indeed the road up is bumpy and even with a car it takes us an hour to go to the crater. In the meanwhile Sergio tells about his company which is specialized in the registration of animal movements and geological changes in landscapes.
At the crater we hike around for quite a while in a superb landscape and have some good conversations with the three of us.

Inside the volcano crater

Cactus and pine trees growing on the same place

Measuring seismographic activity

Steam coming out

Brand new signs?

Cows on the road on our way down.

Leaving Jala again

The way down from the crater to our hotel also takes another hour and sometimes cows block our way. At the goodbye with Sergio he invites us at his home when we will pass it in a few weeks. It’s halfway the afternoon already when we leave the hotel to go to the next town for today. Ixtlán del Rio, just one hill and 15km away from Jala. On the iOverlander app we found a cheap hotel in Ixtlán del Rio but on arrival we can’t find it. Above a door between some stores we see a small Hotel sign. When asked it seems another hotel than planned but also cheaper than planned. No problem 😊

For the first time in Mexico we eat at a small Chinees toko. We already had heard that Chinees restaurants in Mexico should be very good. And indeed the food is surprisedly good.

When we awake the next morning it’s not just raining, it seems a waterfall is coming down from the sky. We decide to stay an extra day in this town with a good Chinees within just 100 meters.

The day after our goal is the home town of the Tequila. The road keeps hilly with loads of up and down hills but the temperature drops the higher we go. The closer we come to Tequila the more Agave fields we see, the plant where Tequila is made of.

Another volcano in a distance

Taking photos on the road

Mountains coming up

The forests becoming denser and denser the more south we go.

Siesta

A wants (Heteroptera) in Mexican style... much more colorful then in Europe.

Agave plants all around

Tequila it self is a nice town, touristic but not to extreme. Tequila tours and tasting can be done everywhere.

Entering Tequila

Our stay for tonight is a rare small place which we found on the iOverlander app. It’s a sort of a restaurant but it’s just a terrace in someone’s garden with a kind of outdoor kitchen. They only serve breakfast here.
The daughter and granddaughter of the lady who runs this place are both speaking fluent English. They invite us to stay and explain where to drop our sleeping bag and mattresses down. After acquaintance we walk into town to have a look around and by the time it’s getting dark we hit back to our host where on the opposite of the street we saw a Pizza, Beer and Rock & Roll sign. Sounds like a plan to us. When we enter the place, no one is there, just the owner. Inside the place looks more like a storage house than a restaurant but the owner asks us which pizza and beer we want and puts on some rock music. Despite the place looks awful the pizza is really good and the owner is a nice guy to have a chat with.
By the time we go back to our stay for the night just one worker is left to do some preparing for the breakfast the next morning. He warns us that the restaurant opens at 6am so a sort night maybe expected. We roll out our sleeping bags and fall asleep.

The next morning at 6am nothing happens. By the time of 8am we hear some people and go out. The restaurant isn’t open jet but a bunch of people are busy preparing to go open soon. When we see how the big pieces of meat are cooked in the street we consider to have breakfast somewhere else. Our host doesn’t mind so we do.

Breakfast

Our ride into Guadalajara today is a long decent climb uphill. The big town has 1,5 million inhabitants so the big streets into town are packed with cars and trucks by the time we come closer to town. It’s rush hour and even with our bikes we stay stuck multiple times. It takes us hours to reach the Casa de Ciclistas of Guadalajara, our base camp for where we gonna discover this massive city the coming days. Mario the owner invites us to come inside, explains everything and gives us our own keys of the house. He also tells more cyclists are expected to come, a couple from France he says. Alice and Aurelien we figured since they must be around one day behind us because Alice was feeling bad when we left Mazatlan. The days after we discover this historic town with loads of old buildings. Some say this is the most Mexican city of whole Mexico.
This blog story stops here for now.
Our stories will be continued by the time we enter Mexico City in a few weeks.

We end this blog with wishing you all a great Christmas time🎄🎅🏽 ⭐️

Underneath a bunch of random street pictures from Guadalajara.

In the Casa de Ciclistas

Cheers...🥂

Spanish Course and Beaches at the Mexican B.C.S. South Coast

After cycling the Mexican Baja California from Tijuana to La Paz we thought it would be wise to learn some more Spanish. In the Baja some people do speak English but most don't. On the Mexican mainland and more south in Central and South America we expect even less people to speak some English.

We did a week course in La Paz. Every morning up at 7am to be in class at 8am. Classes till noon, have some lunch, do homework for several hours, have dinner and go to bed. And start over the next morning again.
At least, this was the plan but...

Plans never go as planned.

At the first day at school we meet Julia from Canada and Alex from France but also living in Canada. Those two are traveling together in a Ford F350 short bus*, transformed into a really awesome camper van. (*Short bus: The well known yellow school bus but much shorter)
They are on the road for half a year already and still have a half year to go. We become friends pretty quickly and spend a lot of time with them during the week. Off-course we did our homework but beside that we also did a lot of "fun" things.

In the weekend after the course we where invited by Joanne to come to her campsite in La Ventana, a very nice beach village south of La Paz and very popular by kite surfers due the goods winds. (Joanne was also doing a Spanish course together with Erik but not in the same class as we did)
Around La Ventana we went to a luxury hotel with nearly any guests for swimming and kayaking. It was locally called the "Kartel Hotel" because all this luxury and no one who actually seems to pay for it. We also went to the beaches north of La Ventana for digging big holes. Thermal heated water will fill the holes if you dig on the right places and you end up in your own self made Hot Tub. It did cost us a few hours of digging but it was pretty awesome.

Ok, lets do this

Hey Arjan, ten cuidado!

Relaxing after a day of hard work at school

Quote of the day

Doing homework

One of the nice beaches around La Paz

Eating big self made hamburgers

In the classes

Pinning where we from on the worldmap

Lunchtime in our hotel

On the road again, leaving California hotel

Bikes on the back of the camper

In the camperbus

Enjoying the view from above

In the pool of the "Kartel Hotel"

A pretty small boat for the two of us

Kim "Come on, faster!"
Arjan: "F*ck off, my boat is sinking!"

Sunset in paradise

Not a bad place at all for a camp

Hottub at night

Alex keep digging, even in the morning

Hard work pays off

"I go for a early morning dive"

Hiking time

Some strange mutations

Having a break on the beach

Blub says the fish

Watching the kite surfers

Bye bye friends, hope to see you again on the Mexican mainland in a few weeks.

Cycling Baja California Sur

We leave our beach wild camp spot and go into the town called Guerrero Negro to refill our supplies there. Guerrero Negro is known for it’s good whale watching. Sadly this starts in December so we are not able to see them since it is October now.

When we are in the town we go to get some coffee at a local coffee shop. ☕️ Here we have Wifi so we can have some conversations with the home front. We also have contact with our Czech friend Pavel. We find out that he slept in the town of Guerrero Negro and we find ourselves reunited again. We leave the town a little later in the day and ride 30km to go and sleep in the desert together.

Wake up early in the mist

Pavel cycles a little faster so because Arjan and I are already packet up we decide to hit the road. Pavel says he will catch up with us anyway so we know we will see each other again.
The end of the day we want to arrive in San Ignacio where we will go to our first “Casa de Ciclistas”. This is a place at peoples homes where you can put your tent in their garden for just 100 pesos. There you can do your laundry and have a nice shower and when you’re lucky you can meet up with other cyclists who are also doing a long distance cycle trip.

Wall painting with lots of names

We manage to make it to the Casa de Ciclistas. There is no one there so we decide to put up our tent and take a shower. We try to figure out the WiFi password so we can send a message to Pavel. We did not see him all day and we find it strange that he is still not here.
The next morning we meet the family of the Casa de Ciclistas: Othon and his wife and two sons. He also owns a fish taco stand in town. Because the fish taco stand was not enough to provide the family for a good living they started this campground for cyclists in their backyard with help of a french couple in 2014.

We do our laundry and Othon‘s son helps us with the WiFi password. We are wondering what happend to Pavel so we send a message to him right away. We tell him where we are and that we will be staying here another night. Pavel is just 5km away from us but had a lot of flat tires and that is why he was not able to catch up wit us. Eventually he makes it to our campground.
Not to much later another cyclist arrives. He is a cheery and nice fellow called Gus. He’s from England and he has been on the road for quite a while too. But earlier this year he already did some hiking with his girlfriend in Colombia, Peru and Equador and visited Mexico City when his is parents came over to see him.
We go to eat lunch with the four of us at Othon his fish taco stand. The food is amazing! We grab some beers to dring back at the campground. When we arrive back there we see that there are even two more cyclist. Laurent and Odlile from Switzerland. Wow, now we are with a group of 6 cyclists!
We spend a nice night together swopping stories and exchanging tips and tricks and just have fun together.

Taco Time

The next morning Pavel, Laurent, Odile, Arjan and I will go on further south of the Baja California Sur. We aim to go to Mulegé within the next few days. It is close to 1st and 2nd November what means we are close to the celebrations of “Dias the los muertos”. We all want to celebrate it there. Gus tells us he will also catch up with us on the 1st of November in this town.

Leaving again 🙁

Pavel has another flat tire and the problem to his flat tires is found. The rim tape has to be replaced because the sharp edges make his tires go flat. Since we have got no rim tape we decide it might be a good option to put duck tape over the rim tape inside. Why not? With Duck tape you can fix anything, right? 😉 And it seems to be working. Woohoo! 🙌

No rim tape so we use duck tape on Pavel's rimes to protect him against even more flat tires

Just before we arrive to the town Santa Rosalia Arjan finds out that his back rim is broken. We wanted to go wild camp on the beach just before the town but because of the broken rim we decide to check the local bicycle shop te see if they can help us with a new one.
At the local bycicle shop they can’t help us. The boy at the shop things that we will have better luck in Loreto. We hope Arjan his rim will hold for that long because Loreto is still at least 5 days riding from here. Arjan puts his panniers on the front racks to take of the weight of the back rim. Hopefully this will do the trick until we make it to Loreto.

When cars go slower downhill then us bikers it becomes annoying

Downhill... no cars 🙂

Second wheel ducktaped as well

We spend the night just after Santa Rosalia at a wild camp spot somewhere just off the road not visible for the traffic.

The sky is on fire

The next day we make it to Mulegé. We can see right away that this is a very nice little town.
We want to stay with a Warmshowers host, but when we arrive we find out that this person does no longer live at this adres. She just moved to another town. But we talk with the landowner and he offers us to stay at the garden of his house. We can put up our tent there and we even have a very nice view over the sea.
Pavel, Arjan and I take on the offer to stay here. Laurent and Odile decide that they rather stay at a campground nearby.

Laurent and Odile from Swiss

In town everybody is in the streets. It looks alive and everybody is very happy and cheerful. Parents are walking with there kids going from door to door for trick and treat. It is actually a tradition that they took from the USA. It is not really part of the tradition of Dias de los muertos.

The landowner shows Arjan a place where we can use the BBQ so we get some groceries to make a nice meal.
When we are preparing our meal another cyclist arrives who is also searching for the same Warmshowers host that we were looking for earlier today. We invite him to stay with us and eat with us. We figured we have enough food anyway.
It is already dark so it is probable his best option anyway and he doesn’t even have to cook his own meal. Who wouldn’t like a welcome like this?! 😆
His name is Nash and speaks fluent Spanish. He tells us he has lived and studied in Mexico for 6 months and that is how he learns his Spanish.
The meal we prepared turned out pretty nice. And the good company and nice conversations make it even better.

Preparing the BBQ

Making new friends with Nash who comes along by accident

The next day we spend together going into the town to get some breakfast at the supermarket. Also take a look around in the town square and see what shops they have here. We bump into Gus who just cycled into town and grab some coffee together. The afternoon we spend chilling in the garden with view on the sea. The water is so nice and warm that we can’t resist to not go swimming. The coastline is full of beautiful shells and the water is so clear the you can see all the fish swimming around you when you are in the water.

Backyard camping close to the beach

Hey doggie!

Conversations...Conversations...Conversations...

Eating out at night

In the evening we go back into town to see what happens with “Dia the los muertos”. We didn’t see a lot happening in the daytime. We know we have to go to the graveyard because it is celebrated there. There should be music and a lot of people celebrating, but when we arriver there we see some people lighting candles on some graves. There is no music however and it seems not to be a very cheerful mood. We feel like intruders and a little misplaced to be there. We decide to go back tot he house and call it a day.
The first day of dia the los muertos was not really wat we heard of it and what we expected it to be like. Maybe the celebration on the mainland of Mexico is different. We don’t know. They say Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur are different from the rest of Mexico because it is more connected to the USA. Maybe that was why it was different than what all of us expected. Or maybe we weren’t in a big enough town.

That is why we decide to move on the next day. All of us are all leaving Mulegé.
Everybody has different plans as it seems so Arjan and I will be cycling on our own again. We say good-bye to Gus who leaves early this morning. We had a great time with you Gus! Hopefully we will meet in La Paz again!

Best group picture ever 😀

More serious now...

Saying thanks and good bye

Somewhere further on the road Nash catches up with us. He cycles so fast and other than us he planned to ride a long distance for today. We just want to go a few kilometers to camp at a very nice beach: Playa El Requéson that we have heard of. So our paths will also divide here. Maybe see you somewhere on the road again. It was sure fun meeting you Nash!
We take a break at a beach at lunch time and we are reunited with Pavel again.

With Nash on the left

Going downhill to the next beach

We have a very easy going day and arrive at the Playa El Requéson. Here is where want to camp. It is the nicest beach of the whole Baja California they say.
We meet with some nice American people Rola and Cookie. They tell us they are kite surfers and that they are heading south to La Ventana. La Ventana is a very well known spot amongst kite surfers. They have a big RV and a pickup truck. At the beach you have to pay for every vehicle you take with you. They offer us to pitch our tents behind their RV so we don’t have to pay a fee to stay on the beach. That is so nice! Thanks a lot! We even get yoghurt and 6 boiled eggs. Wow, sweet! They tell us they are gone early so we will probable not see them again.
The next morning when we wake up Arjan finds a note and Starbucks coffee left by them for us. What a good start of the day!! Thanks so much!

Sunrise

Meeting people who leave Starbucks coffee in the morning... we like it 🙂

Cheers...

We make coffee and it tastes so good and after that we take a swim before we hit the road again.

Fish Taco?

After two days the three of us arrive in Loreto and we have trouble finding a place to sleep. We eventually ask at the local church in de middle of town and they let us camp in the garden of the church. Pretty sweet that we can sleep here! Even nicer when they tell us the history.
Loreto was the first Spanish colonial settlement of the Viceroyalty of New Spain on the Baja California Peninsula. That is the reason why they have the oldest church in de whole Baja. We’ve been told that it is over 300 years old.

Another flat tire with Pavel

In the backyard of the church

Leaving in again.

We don’t have to pitch our tent because we can sleep under a roofed part in the garden. We make our dinners on our stoves and dive straight into bed because we are so tired.

The next morning is another beautiful day. We take a stroll through town. It is really beautiful and we like to stay here for some days.
Eventually we find a good priced campground by accident.

We see there are two more cyclists staying here as well. Jan from Germany and Luc from France. Jan is the first cyclist we meet that is going from south to north. He started in Panama and wants to go up to Alaska. And Luc is cycling around in Mexico and will go to central America as well. We spend the night at the campground exchanging stories.

Jan is already leaving us the next morning to go further north. We wave him goodbye and wish him safe travels.

Brothers in crime?

Arjan gets his new rim done

We stay in Loreto for the next 2 days just to relax, go to the beach and get Arjan's rim fixed. Drink some beers together. Get our route sorted out for the next part and do some laundry.
Pavel needs a haircut as well.... so hey... why not let Kim do this! ✂️
She is almost a pro now...🙊🙈👌🏻

Kim does another haircut

We sort all our stuff out before we begin the last part of cycling in the the Baja California Sur. We say goodbye to Luc.
Pavel is staying another day but we know we will definitely see each other again in La Paz.

We know we have a big climb to do today. Before the steepest part of the climb begins we take a nice lunch break at the beach. We won’t be seeing the beach again until we get to La Paz. Our final destination in the BCS. So let’s enjoy it while we can...😉🏝

Siesta on one of the many beaches

From the coast back in the mountains

Sweaty weather

Ride with a view

In the evening we find a restaurant that also has a room we can sleep in for a very nice price. The food is very good. But it is a strange sight because the restaurant is almost empty except for the table we are sitting on. While we are eating we hear one of the two women that we met when we arrived sewing something. Eventually we find out it is our curtains that she is sewing. And when we go back our room they ask us if it’s okay if they hang them in front of the window.
We ask them in our best Spanish how long the restaurant and rooms exist and they tell us they just started the business. They are still redecorating the restaurant and the rooms.
Okay now everything makes sense!😁

With just one table in the restaurant

Jail hotel

We sleep well here and the next morning we leave early. We can cycle a lot of kilometres in the coolest part of the day. That is perfect! We start with a good uphill to go more downhill for the rest of the day. We arrive early Ciudad Constitutión and find a good campground. They even have a swimming pool and the place looks nice! Also the showers have hot water which is pretty exceptional for Mexico.

Yoga at 6:30am

The next morning we leave the campground early again. We buy some water in town and get some coffee at a coffee stand on the street. We see we are standing in front of the town hospital. An older man who is definitely is one of the patients is taking a walk outside of the hospital trying to get someone to give him a cup of coffee. We decide we can make his day and buy him one. It seems this man is no stranger because the lady behind the coffee stand knows exactly how he drinks his coffee. We bet he does this every day! 😁☕️

Misty mornings

Big spiders walking on the road

Adding more water... about 5 liter per day, per person.

Midterm elections in the US.
"...and that the democrats may win, not the non religious Trump... Amen"

Another ghosttown

Dead snake along the road

This some "Días de los muertos" decoration left along the road.

Road... No road...

Another jail hotel

We where in contact with Pavel again and he told us he was cycling pretty long days because he wants to catch the ferry ⛴ in La Paz to the mainland on Saturday evening. Somewhere in these last days he passed us but we didn’t see him. On our last day before we arrive to La Paz we see a cyclist in front of us and it turns out that it is Pavel. We are reunited once again!
Sad thing is only that he has a problem with his knee. It is hurting pretty bad. He still has to cycle a lot of kilometres with this bad knee before we will be in La Paz. Today it is already Saturday and he really wants to catch the ferry because our English friend Gus will also be on that ferry. They want to cycle on the main land of Mexico together.
Today we stick together and hope for the best! When we’re close to La Paz it is really time to say goodbye to Pavel once again. Now we know we will not see each other for a long time. Pavel will try to catch the ferry and we are staying at a campground just before La Paz. He really has become a very good friend of ours and we've had so much fun together! Thanks for the nice time and good luck Pavel! Maybe we see each other in Nicaragua again and otherwise definitely in Czech Republic 🇨🇿 or Holland 🇳🇱 !😉

One of the last long stretches to La Paz

The last kilometers to La Paz, downhill.

Next day it is only a few kilometres to La Paz. So we have a pretty easy day in sight. We arranged a Airbnb a few days ago but we have to wait before we can go there until 3.00 pm. Time enough for us to get to know La Paz a little better. We first go to check out where we can find our Spanish school where we will be going for the next week. This is easily found after that we go to check out the rest of the town.
We go to the malecón. Here we have a nice view on de harbour and the sea. And along the malecón there is even a cycle path. It is pretty busy today because it is Sunday and everybody here is enjoying the day and we do too.
When it is finally time to check in at our Airbnb we arrive there to find out that we can not stay at this address. The man we talk to explains that he has had some payment problems with Airbnb and that he has been trying to get off of the website. Okay....hmmm it looks like we have a problem here. He calls with the Mexican Airbnb department while we are there. But still this does not solve our problem because we have to find a new place to stay for the next days or at least for tonight. We say goodbye and hope we can get our money back that we already payed trough the website.
We will try to sort this out with Airbnb when we have found a place to stay the night since it starts to get dark pretty soon.
We cycle back to the malecón because we know there is a cafe that has good WiFi there. While we are there we meet a Belgium couple, Katrien and Jens, who are also cycling in Mexico for a few weeks. We chat a bit about our cycling trip and there’s. Katrien and Jens tell us they are staying at a pension nearby that is not very expensive. That sounds really great! We are definitely going there!

You take a nice picture from someone else...

... and this is what we got back 🙁

Glad we still have this one 🙂

Cycling Baja California Norte

Back on the bikes. We cheated a little bit going by car the last week to get to the Mexican border. Our long term US visa will expire soon. That was a good excuse to see a lot of beautiful National Parks in a short time by car. But for now, the car is returned and we’re dropped off by Dan and his dogs Bella & Nala at the marine area of San Diego to start cycling the Baja California.

Leaving San Diego

We say goodbye to Dan and we move on south, keeping the sea on the right hand, heading to the Mexican border at Tijuana. Tijuana is one of the biggest and busiest border crossings of the world. We keep our fingers crossed that everything goes okay today.🤞
When we are halfway from San Diego to Tijuana a lady on a fancy racing bike joins us for a talk. Her advice for the border is “go there where the pedestrians go and not where the cars go!”
“Thanks lady!!!”

Salt Lakes

When we nearly at the border we see a huge outlet shopping mall. A lot of Mexicans cross the border just for a day to go shopping here. We stop by to eat lunch.
At the border we can’t find the pedestrian gate in the first place but after a good search we discover this gate is moved and we go on. It’s not very busy and we don’t have to wait long. The officers at the desks hardly speak English but we’re checked in in just ten minutes and get our six months visas 🤘🇲🇽🙏
When we walk out off the office we see thousands of cars waiting on the Mexican side to go into the United States. Big border crossing? Yes for sure, the biggest we’ve seen so far.

Taking Photos Prohibited 😉

Baja California, Mexico it is.
We slowly start peddling through Tijuana. The streets are more dirty and have had less maintenance. The city smells different, more smog and other things you don’t even wanna think about. But on the other hand, more music and more smiling faces on the streets.
We follow the shortest route on our gps, out of town. Not the best route we discover. Some streets are so ascending, we hardly can cycle them. At the top of the mountain, somewhere middle in town, the pavement ends and it looks like we end up in a dump area with garbage everywhere and with just a small track through it.

Fun hey?

Yeah, real fun... 🙁

On our way down from the hills we decide to take the highway instead the shortest gps route. This works out much better and finally we make progress getting out of town.

Better roads

We arranged a Warmshowers host in Rosarito before we entered the Baja California.
When we arrive in Rosarito it’s time for dinner. To get used to the Mexican food as soon as possible we eat a big Mexican style pizza for nearly nothing 💵.
We’re close at our host but when we arrive near her house we can’t find it. It’s dark already and al houses have big fences, half doesn’t have a house number and there are many barking dogs. When we ask a guy at his house he explains we’re in the wrong street. “Go three blocks back” he says.
We search and ask around at a local store but can’t find it.
When we go back to the place we searched in the first place we try to figure out which house it might be. When a car stops close by, Kim asks again if we are at the right adres here. Answer of the lady “Yes you’re at the right address here, I’m a girlfriend of your host but she lost her phone that’s why she did not answer your calls or messages”
We’re so happy we’ve finally found it. Mexico by night on the first day you enter it doesn’t feel good. Especially because that is what everybody told us not to do!
The strange thing is the guy we asked about the adres the first time we arrived lives just two houses away, 20 maybe 30 meters...
Ix Chel our host gives alternative health care for women and practices at home. “The school of Mother Earth” as she called it. On our arrival she has a client so we meet short and she explains were we can put our tent and can take a shower. We fall asleep early after this long and hectic day.

Frida Khalo on the 500 pesos bills

Diego on her back

The next morning we sleep long but Ix Chel sleeps even longer. Her friend Liz did stay last night as well. With the four of us we eat breakfast and chat a lot. We decide to stay an extra day at Ix Chel, go to the beach and in the evening we go out for dinner together in a authentic local restaurant. After dinner Ix Chel shows us around in the touristy part of town. In the night we celebrate life with wine from the Baja California and have good conversations.

Mexican open kitchen

Ix Chel, Liz and Kim

Guitar man in the background

Sadly we have to move on the next morning so we say goodbye to our new friends and hit the road again.
The road in this part of the Baja California is separated in a new toll road and the old highway. We take the old highway since cycling is not allowed on the toll road. The traffic is okay, all big trucks are on the toll road. We roll in and out towns, town after town.

Say bye bye

Our planned stay for the night is a Warmshowers host with a surfers hostel near the beach but when we arrive at the place. The hostel is closed and the name of our host is unknown by the locals.
To bad... what to do next? We drink something at the Oxxo and decide to go to a campground into the mountains, found on our iOverlander app. (Oxxo = a small shop which sells drinks, small foods, cigarettes and other things you might need to survive the day. These Oxxo’s are found in every town, no matter how small the town is)

Big Brother is watching

Farmers at work

We head to the mountains and climbing higher and higher. Sadly we have to cross a road construction and have to wait for more then half a hour to go through. Luckily in the row of waiting cars a guy starts a chat with us and offers cold beers. We like! He and his driving mate drinks a few too. We guess Bob is not his name.

Road Construction

After the road construction it’s another 30km before we arrive at the campground where we are the only guests, despite it’s quite big.
The camp spot it self is big too, the showers are cold and the local cat steels our cutlery and Swiss pocket knife at night.
In the morning we search the whole area for our stolen cutlery and pocket knife, which were smelling like food and were left outside by us in the evening. To bad we couldn’t find any of it.
We hit the road again, back to the coast.

The traffic is horrible and we hope the rest of Mexico will not be like this. It is noisy all day and the streets and the sides of the road look dirty. Still all the people we see in the towns and on the road are very warm and friendly and are waving and saying; Buenas diaz! Buenas tardes!! Or will even cheer us on.

Trash Mountain

Checkpoints now and then.

Sapje der bij...

We end the day at the Aztec hotel. At the desk of the hotel they ask us if we want to stay the night or if we want to rent the room for 4 hours. Ehm….okay we just would like to sleep here the whole night. When we have checked in we take the panniers off of our bikes and bring all our stuff including the bicycles up to our room. We laugh when we see our room because it even has a mirror above the bed. We think this hotel is used a lot for couples who need some privacy from the rest of their family or even the ones who want to cheat on there other half….
We eat some nice tacos at a vender on the street and get some groceries at the local Oxxo for the next day.

In the mountains

We always know how to make a room cosy 😉

We get the bikes packed up the next day. It is already very hot early in the morning. It is still noisy, with narrow roads and lots of traffic. We stop several times today to get some rest and drink something in the shade. We tried to get a Warmshowers host for tonight, but we did not hear back from them jet.
Then we see another cyclist passing us by. Arjan whisles at him and he sees us. He turns around to come and chat with us. He tells us his name is Pavel and he is from Czech Republic. He has been working in Alaska this summer in the salmon industry to make some money. He wants to visit two friends in Nicaragua and he decided just like that to go from Seattle to Nicaragua by bicycle.
He tells us this is his first Cycle tour trip ever and he is liking it so far.
We ask him were he will be staying tonight and it turns out he also wrote to the same Warmshowers host as we did. We tell him we have no clue if we can stay there too since we don’t have any wifi now. He is in dire contact with the Warmshowers host through their daughter via Whats App and he sends a message to her. Eventually we can stay there as well. But she tells us that the health of her mother is not at its best at the moment so she already says that she is sorry that her mom will not be able to be with us very much during our stay at the house.
We cycle the last part of the day with the three of us and get a warm welcome by the daughter of Carmen and Israel (who are our Warmshowers hosts)
She tells us that her father just went to town on his motorbike to get something but he will be back a little later at the evening. Her mother Carmen is now laying in bed to rest. But when we are in the house to get everything explained bout the sower and where we can sleep Carmen comes to welcome us.

The daughter of Carmen and Israel has a pizzeria that is right next to the house so we decide to go eat at the restaurant with the three of us.
The pizzeria has a good ambiance and it is also very nice that we can get to know our new cycling friend Pavel.
A little later in the evening we get to meet Israel in person too. We hear that Carmen and Israel work at the hospital. They are very nice and warm people and we had a great stay at their house!
The next morning we say thanks and take a nice photo together to remember this nice and warm family! We also got a lot of nice tips for different places in the Baja California so we are now a little better prepared for what to expect and where we can find nice places to see and spend the night.

On the road with Pavel

At our host

Israel is a BMW rider as well

Bye bye and many thanks Carmen and Israel

From here we go on to San Quintin where we have another Warmshower stay at the house of Gabino and Lupita.

Refilling the water bottles

Gabino and Lupita have hosted over 400 cyclists! They even have a map with a lot of pins in it that shows where all the different cyclist came from. Gabino earns his money with buying secondhand stuff in the USA and re-celling it in Mexico on the Sunday market.
Our new Cycling friend Pavel decides to go on cycling the next day, but we want to stay a little longer to get more acquainted to the Mexican weather and lifestyle.
We check out the little town of San Quintin and go to the market where José is now working because it is Sunday. It is a very big market and it is full of people buying and celling stuff like shoes, clothing, furniture and lots more.
We already noticed that every town we cycled through so far are full of second hand stores. It seems this is a big thing here in the Baja.
We return at our hosts house and work on learning our Spanish.
Gabino gave us a lot of good tips where to go and where we can get food and water and other essentials we will need on the road. The day we leave, Gabino goes with his fiends to cycle a mountain nearby so the first part out of town we cycle together with him and his friends. Another great stay at a very nice family!

Thanks for hosting us!!

This day we decide to cycle a short day so that we can camp at the beach. We find a very nice spot and read and relax a bit. The wind is strong and there is not a lot of sun so sadly it is not a nice day for swimming. ut still we enjoy our time here very much. We cook our dinner and go to bed early. Tomorrow will be a big day off cycling.

Beach is coming up

We plan to cycle some days of long distances. We are going into the desert and we will cycle through it for the next few days. These days the temperatures are very hot going between 29 up to 40 degrees celsius.

Lonely hot roads

The desert is beautiful in it’s own special way. The cactuses we see are amazing and some are really incredibly huge! We are surprised that everything in this desert is so green, we even see a lot of flowers.

Long shadows

Ghost towns

Huge cactuses

Flowers

Breakfast in the shade.

Lunch in a 5 star restaurant

At the end of the day we make some time to cut Arjan’s hair because it is too long and he likes it to be a little shorter in this hot climate.
Okay, nice challenge! Kim has done it before so luckily she is not scared to put the scissors in Arjan’s hair! 😉

Kim "Are you sure?"
Arjan "I can always leave my hat on"

Final result 🙂

We find some places where we can eat some local (cheap) food and fill our water bottles. With this warm temperatures drinking enough water is really important. But it seems here in Mexico there are people living everywhere. Even when we don’t expect to find anything there still will be a small restaurant at the side of the road from time to time.

Eating and sleeping at a restaurant

If we need a place to stay when we are in a town we will ask at the a restaurant and eat some food there. We pay for the food and they are more than willing to give us a spot to camp on at the back of their restaurant.
Also we found nice ranches where we could spend the night.

Sleeping on a ranch

Cat company

When we are in the middle of the desert we will just find a nice spot in between some big cactuses and hide behind there, put up our tent and cook ourselves a nice meal on the camp stove.
After a few days we arrive to the coast and camp on the beach. This is the end of the Baja California Norte and close to Guerrero Negro in the far north of the Baja California Sur.

The road to the beach

Camp on the beach

Vultures eating whatever they can find

Bye bye Baja Califonia Norte

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