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  #1  
Old 2 Feb 2009
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Gulf Coast of Mexico

I was just introduced to your site, great info! I have some questions though-

I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations on my way down. I'll be riding down the Gulf Coast to the Yuccatan then dropping down into Guatemala. Places to stay? Things to see??

On my way back I'll go north on the Pacific Coast of Mexico up to Mazatlan where I'll take the ferry over to La Paz then head north from there. Again, any recommendations?

Thanks,
Ben
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  #2  
Old 2 Feb 2009
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When will you be traveling?

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 21:05.
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  #3  
Old 2 Feb 2009
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Take it from someone who has actually done that ride, (in December) and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Your plan sounds perfect. The whole coast is spectacular among green fields of sugarcane and warm balmy riding days. This is the perfect time of year weatherwise as hurricane season ends first of November and other than brief squalls, serious rains don't begin until late May/early June. With one of the most exciting Zocalos in Mexico, Veracruz is not to be missed--the same for Campache, Campeche. Absolutely stunning. As a American/Mexican resident, I've rode numerous loops around the country but until last December never explored Yucatán and Campeche. What an eye opener.

The entire peninsula is networked by newly constructed, well marked and lightly traveled asphalt highways, and they are all free! Outside of the major cities, there is hardly any traffic so count on stress-free riding from coast to coast. Now in the process of posting a short ride report here.

Also, daytime temperatures in the Mexican Sierras at the moment are 70 to 80 degrees with no rain.
Most important: When passing through Mazatlan, I always have a spare room for long-riders.
Que tenga un buen viaje!
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Last edited by strikingviking; 3 Feb 2009 at 00:00. Reason: spelling error
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  #4  
Old 3 Feb 2009
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Gulf of Mexico

Thanks for the excellent info.

I'll be leaving in about a week from Colorado then heading South. I plan on returning to the States approximately the first week of April.

Copper Canyon is an amazing place, but I know it fairly well. I lived about an hour away from there at the Palmarejo silver mine for the past year. Great area indeed, but hope to do that on a separate more dirt-oriented ride.

What woud you consider the Central Highlands? What highlights does it hold?

Any recommendations on small, quiet little beach towns (if there's still such thing) along the way? What about fishing?

Approximately many 4-6 hr riding days would be required to hit the Yucatan from the southern tip of Texas?

Any favorites in the Yucatan?

Nos vemos en la primavera!
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  #5  
Old 3 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blitsey View Post
Thanks for the excellent info.

I'll be leaving in about a week from Colorado then heading South. I plan on returning to the States approximately the first week of April.

Copper Canyon is an amazing place, but I know it fairly well. I lived about an hour away from there at the Palmarejo silver mine for the past year. Great area indeed, but hope to do that on a separate more dirt-oriented ride.

What woud you consider the Central Highlands? What highlights does it hold?

Any recommendations on small, quiet little beach towns (if there's still such thing) along the way? What about fishing?

Approximately many 4-6 hr riding days would be required to hit the Yucatan from the southern tip of Texas?

Any favorites in the Yucatan?

Nos vemos en la primavera!
Here is a link to a thread with a few ideas.
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  #6  
Old 3 Feb 2009
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At substantial risk of re-stating the obvious (my specialty), I will point out the Strikingviking and Mollydog both write clear, entertaining, well-illustrated ride reports. Both appear to greatly enjoy their rides, but they sure seem to differ fundamentally in the sorts of riding they prefer.

Read their reports, then decide whose style and preferences more closely approximate your own. That'll help you decide whether you'd rather traverse the highlands or the lowlands.

Either way, enjoy!

Mark
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  #7  
Old 8 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by strikingviking View Post
When in doubt, ask the poster if they rode to the place that they are giving advice about or are just speculating. There is a huge difference.
Amen to that.

Hope to make to Mexico around (Northern hemisphere's) spring this year.

Ride safe, Margus
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  #8  
Old 13 Feb 2009
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I just did the Gulf Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by blitsey View Post
I was just introduced to your site, great info! I have some questions though-

I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations on my way down. I'll be riding down the Gulf Coast to the Yuccatan then dropping down into Guatemala. Places to stay? Things to see??

On my way back I'll go north on the Pacific Coast of Mexico up to Mazatlan where I'll take the ferry over to La Paz then head north from there. Again, any recommendations?

Thanks,
Ben
I am in Escuintla, Guatemala. I made it from Atlanta, to Montgomery, Alabama, New Orleans, Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and from there I took a day to work on my bike. Nothing really eventful happened in the States. The first several days were so cold I thought I would never make it. As I left New Orleans for Houston, it was raining and in the 30’s. That was a real tough day. The weather started to turn warm in Houston.

Atlanta to Brownsville, 1350 miles.

I crossed into Mexico at the Brownsville/Matamoros crossing. The immigrations and customs process was simple and straightforward. The whole thing took less that 1 hour and I was on my way. My first stop in Mexico was going to be Victoria. I have no route planned. Each night I choose where I will go the next day. My criteria is very simple. I want to stay along the Gulf Coast and end up in a nice Hotel each night. I try to get going by 8:00 in the morning and be where I need to be by 3:00 in the afternoon. Some days I drove as little as 150 miles and some days I made it as much as 350 miles. Each night I look at the roads, consider if my route will be on national or toll roads. Toll roads go quick. 300 plus miles on a toll road is easy, 200 miles on a national road is an ass burner. It took me 5 days to go from Matamoros to Tapachula. Here are the cities I stopped in each night .Victoria, Tampico, Tuxpan, Veracruz, Tuxtla Gutierrez, and finally to Tapachula.

Matamoros to Tapachula, 1250 miles.

Just a couple of thoughts about Mexico.

The paperwork to go into Mexico was easy. I read several reports of riders before me and I had everything I needed. The only part was the cost. $90 for insurance, around 35 for the bike and another 10 for me. Total, $125.00 just to ride through Mexico. Kind of expensive.

I knew I was in Mexico as soon as I crossed the border. The smell of burning weeds, trash and other waste is a familiar smell. It is everywhere.

The roads were good. The toll roads were great! The ride from Veracruz south was spectacular. Other than a short but horrible part into Tuxtla, it was 8 out of 10 on my road scale. Two lanes each way, fresh, new smooth tarmac, well engineered curves into the mountains and then back out, great scenery and not a whole lot of traffic.

My bike ran good. Big Red! No issues and no breakdowns. So far, so good.

The most expensive hotel was the Ramada in Victoria, $65 and the cheapest was a place in Tuxpan, $35. The rest were around $50.00. All the hotels were clean, good internet, secure parking and took credit cards. Several included breakfast. I was very happy with all of the accommodations.

The food was, well how do I put this in Politically Correct terms? The food was shit. I had several marginal meals and even more barley edible. These people have the worst diet I have ever seen. Beans, bad meat, tortillas and some fried stuff. I almost never saw anyone eat vegetables. Do they eat them here? I am sure there are very fine restaurants to eat in; you just have to search them out. I ate at simple places, close to the hotel or on the road or just where ever I was. Hey, this is just my experience. And by the way, I also never saw so many fat, fugly, chicas in my life.

I really like Sol !

I checked out of Mexico early today, the 11th. The check out process was fast and easy. Returned my permit at the Customs office drove to the border and then got my Passport stamped. Good by Mexico, hello Guatemala!

The Guatemala border is a lot less organized. Kind of like the country. I was besieged by wanta-be import brokers/touts. I picked out one that looked most trustworthy. I told him he was to watch my bike and protect it. That was his new job. I picked a second to be my gopher. There are several offices that you have to go to there at the border. Immigrations, customs and the payment/bank office. The whole process took about an hour with my helpers; by the end I had 3 of them. The cost to import was around $8 and I tipped my helpers another $12. Then they sprayed my bike with some kind of pesticide. That cost $1.50

I was planning on going to Escuintla, around 150 miles south of the Mexico/ Guatemala border. Wow, what a difference. This place is a real shit hole. Bad roads, lots of trucks, crappy hotels. The only good point so far is the women have greatly improved. Go figure!! Tomorrow I am headed through Guatemala and then into El Salvador. I will try to make it to La Libertad, between 150 and 200 miles.

That was my trip along the coast of Mexico. I enjoyed it all!! Just drive and you will have a good time.

Martin
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  #9  
Old 13 Feb 2009
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Martin-

Thanks for the great info, can't wait to get on my way. Please keep me posted on your travels and thoughts.

Regards,
Ben
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  #10  
Old 13 Feb 2009
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Hmmmm. I've been over a week now in Guanajuato and not only have I eaten some of the best food of my life (for ten or fifteen dollars US, plus ), but whenever I go out on the street I'm dizzied by attractive women wherever I look.

Street food is more hit-and-miss, of course, but if you don't like rice and beans maybe you need to be doing more of your own cooking. Or going to MacDonalds, of which there seem to be plenty available. I''m puzzled, though, that you're staying at all these expensive hotels but can't find the good food. Here, at least, it's those $60 (US) per nite hotels where I'm finding all the great food.

Looking forward to hearing more. Hope your apparent love of smooth pavement treats you well in Central America.

Mark

PS: I rode out of Florida along the Gulf Coast during that same cold snap and through that same cold front with its rain. A few of those days were brutal....but I'd forgotten all about it until I read your description.
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  #11  
Old 13 Feb 2009
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Do you like Mexican food in the US? Just curious.

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 21:06.
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  #12  
Old 15 Feb 2009
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Nica Chicas

Part 2

The whole Guatemala experience was one I could live with out. What a ****ed up country. I stayed in a hotel, Texas Hotel and Conference Center in Escuintla. Dump, Dump, Dump. On the road at sun up, next stop La Libertad El Salvador.

The route along the coast of El Salvador, what a ride. Just beautiful!!! I found my self in La Libertad around lunch time. I was not sure if I should stay the night there or drive on to San Miguel.

After having a great lunch and consulting some locals I decided to drive to San Miguel, in the Southern part of El Salvador. Good road all the way.

Stayed the night in a New Comfort Inn. Great hotel, good internet, free buffet breakfast. $45.00.

Leaving early the next morning, I decided to drive through Honduras and try to make it to Managua. El Salvador Border. 2 hours and around $60 dollars and I am on my way. I drove directly through Honduras. I did not even buy gas. Just stopped at a Burger King to eat lunch. Made it to the border with Honduras/ Nicaragua. This one was a little faster. 1 hour or so and I am out of there, insurance in hand.

The first 30 miles of road is Nicaragua was the worst I have been on yet. This was like a motocross track with whoop de doos and jumps included. Big Red handled it like a champ, although both of my mirrors came loose and were swinging around as I drove.

After that the road to Managua was good tarmac all the way.

I was stopped in Leon by the local traffic police. They said I blew off a stop sign, but I did stop. This was the first time I have been stopped by traffic police on the entire trip. We argued for a while and eventually I paid then $20. I made it to Managua before dark. I drove around for a while, all hot and tired and the sun setting. I was having a hard time finding a hotel. After asking for some directions, I was directed to the Crown Plaza in Down Town. What a great hotel. $110 was the weekend rate, including internet and a fine breakfast

I stayed in Managua for 2 nights. Recharged my Batteries, ate some great food and met some nice Nicas.

Back on the road to Costa Rica. I am in San Juan Del Sur and will be here a day or two visiting a friend. More to come later…..

Just a couple of thoughts about Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua.

If I could have driven around Guatemala, I would. Enough said!

El Salvador is a beautiful country. Great roads, nice people, good food. The ride from the border to La Libertad along the coast is a must do. It is a 7 on the Martin road scale. La Libertad is a fun looking place. I would be ok to hang there if you had the time and a friend. I did not go to San Salvador. I was there about 10 years ago. A real mess. All I remember from there was traffic, lots of guns and the biggest strip club I have ever seen!

Honduras was ok, however I never stopped. I just drove from one end to the other. I think it was around 3 hours. I know I did not miss anything. One curious thing. All along the road, people were collecting sticks and bundling them. Everywhere, people walking with bundles of sticks, piles of bundled sticks on the side of the road and people riding bicycles with bundles of sticks on them. These people must be so poor, the only commerce they have is in sticks. I am glad I did not need to stop.

Nicaragua has a lot of traffic police. They do things different here. I think they follow the rules. I have been stopped twice and needed to pay $20 each time. Very strange…

Managua has been great so far. Good food, good hotels and nice roads. I am thinking that it only gets better as I head to Costa Rica and Panama.

Nicaragua has the best looking women so far. Some fugleys, but a lot of lookers too. Also met a couple of very nice Nica Chicas. I really like saying that.

My bike (Big Red), she has a name now, is still running good. No issues and no breakdowns. I feel like we are bonding

More to come as I head home one country at a time.
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  #13  
Old 17 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
Hi Carta
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
.
I'd like to travel in South and Central America one day so I was reading your posts, though you seem to be disappointed in many of the countries there: you also appear to know them fairly well! Any good pics of your best/worst bits to whet the appetite? Are you an experienced traveller in the region? I think it's a fascinating part of the world.

Buen viaje


Hello Caminando

It is not disappointment that you are hearing. It is just my feeling of my experience while I was at each place. Not every place has to be a home run. I am just being honest. I have seen a few parts of the world in my day. Many places are terrific and some just soso and others are a drag. Ones experience in a foreign country are very much related to the expectation.

Some times being some where very different is part of the experience. New sounds, smells, tastes and sights. My expectation on this trip is very limited. I am not really interested in experiencing the culture, or getting to know the locals. I want to ride, have some fun, do a little night life and make it home in one piece. I have to tell you, the riding has been fantastic. I am really loving it!!! That part has exceeded my expectations.

I just bought this bike three weeks ago and I am really starting to like it as I get more comfortable with it. The weather has been perfect as I drive south. Sunny warm days, not to hot. No rain since I left the USA. This is just my expectation and perhaps this would not be yours or other riders.

Something I have done that is a little different. I really did no planning for this trip. I read a few of the road trips on the site so I could make sure I have the right documents. I am not into any off road riding or camping so I have very little gear. Just my clothes, and the tools that will fit under the seat. I figure I am not headed to Mars and I can buy what I need as it comes up. They have Wallmart and Sams Club all over Mexico.

I have a few photos and I will post them when I figure out how.


Get a bike and just ride!!
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  #14  
Old 18 Feb 2009
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After traveling the country for almost a decade, I've been living in Mexico for a few years with nothing to report except wonderful people, vibrant culture and delicious food. If not interested in the culture or people, there are probably better places to ride, Central America would be even worse.

If interested in my thoughts on a thirty loop around Mexico from last December, check my ride report here. Warning though--I am extremely biased toward the whole country and its people.
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  #15  
Old 22 Feb 2009
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Sorry to hear that you are having some bad experiences in Mexico and CA re hotels and food. Like Mollydog sez, you may be on a mission against time . Tastes differ of course but in numerous trips thru Mex and CA I have stayed in many hotels and cannot recall ever needing to spend more than about $30 - and that would be luxo for me Less than $20 is much more my norm. .But then in the US I cringe at anything more than $40.
I am just winding down a 5 week Mexico trip and the worst experience that I have had was ordering a meal at a restaurant and the folks served up a dish of soup, I thought it was tomato soup, red . Then I discovered a hair which turned out to be the tentacle of some kind of sea critter ! A shrimp EEEEUUUW! Not being a fan of mariscos . I don't even know which part of that sea spider is to be eaten and what is garbage. Back to the kitchen!
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