Today we left Mexico behind! It was an easy place to start cycling from as the roads were flat. Starting off from touristy Cancún we made it down to more rural townships and tried to communicate in broken Spanish with the friendly locals. Luckily it was mostly cloudy and rainy when we were on the bikes (but also when we were off them…). Our bikes have been doing very well, but we have been suffering the usual aches: headaches, backaches, saddle soreness, heat rash, chafing, sunburn, mosquito bites, difficulty sleeping in the heat at night, etc.. Takes some getting used to, both the different climate and sitting on a bike for hours each day!
I haven’t been feeling very excited the past few days, probably because of those physical issues and the fact that each day was the same in terms of riding along a highway with the same “view” (aka trees and rubbish). We did pass some nice little villages and the people were really friendly and welcoming, frequently honking to greet us. It was a bit of a hassle at the border as we didn’t have the receipts from our flights to show that the tourist (idiots?) fee was included in the airfare, so we had to find an Internet cafe to retrieve it and didn’t have to pay 300 pesos each! The minute we cycled into Belize it felt like we had entered another country, and it felt good, the highway had turned into a simple road which makes it tricky to cycle next to another and we have to be more aware of the cars around us but it’s a good feeling. We cycled to the first town, Corazol, and are looking forward to things getting more interesting as we go.
Quintana Roo was probably not the right place to judge Mexico on, but despite it not being the nicest, it was a good starting point. Knowing Spanish is recommended, firstly because hardly anyone knows English or any other language for that matter, and secondly because you don’t want to come across as arrogant tourist. The following might also be useful for anyone who might want to visit this part of Mexico:
At least in Quintana Roo, you should not drink tap water as it is highly chlorinated. 4l cost around 10 pesos.
We spent on average 140 pesos for food each day, that is for 2 cycling people, not buying any fancy extras or eating out (we ate “out” once for 9 pesos per quesadilla).
Unfortunately the weather and landscape didn’t permit us to camp anywhere. We were lucky to find cheap hostels in each town though (prices in pesos per night for a private room with double bed as we wanted to keep our bikes with us)
- Cancun: Hotel Kankun, 120 (probably the cheapest place you can find, you get what you pay for but that’s all we needed, has a cool roof terrace, very friendly owner)
- Playa del Carmen: Tres Mundos, 400 (just a few minutes from the beach)
- Tulum: Casa del Sol, 350 (a very relaxed place with lovely cabins, ours had a hammock, very nice owner who built the entire place himself)
- Felipe Carrillo Puerto: , 300 (lovely, clean hotel, would’ve been 470 but they offered it to us for 300, probably due to it being off-season)
- Bacalar: Hostel Carolina, 400 (right by the lagoon and a beautiful spot)