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-   -   Mexico/Guatemala via Rio San Pedro.?? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/central-america-and-mexico/mexico-guatemala-via-rio-san-24220)

Lone Rider 18 Nov 2006 23:31

Mexico/Guatemala via Rio San Pedro.??
People have hopped a lancha in La Palma, MX and gone up river to El Naranjo, GT.
Looking on Google Earth, I see a clear road into GT that might or might not peter out before El Naranjo, but I can't find any info on this.

Anybody have good info on a road/trail/goat path?

Sjoerd Bakker 20 Nov 2006 22:31

via Rio San Pedro
From El Naranjo it is now a perfectly paved highway east 138km across the Peten to La Libertad where it junctions with the highway to Santa Elena and Flores to the northeast , and south to Sayaxche ( ferrry across the Rio de la Pasion) and on to Coban.I investigated this rout e during Feb.'06 and did a post on it, relating to border crossings near Palenque .
They have been doing alot of paving in the Peten the last four years, now even the cross connection from La Libertad east to Sta .Ana on CA13 and the short road from that north from San Francisco to Sta. Elena are new asphalt paved.
The road from the border to El Naranjo is very tough, mostly mud track.,

Lone Rider 20 Nov 2006 23:07


Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker
The road from the border to El Naranjo is very tough, mostly mud track.,

My question is whether there actually is a road all the way from the border to El Naranjo, rough or not. Much, but not all, can be seen on Google Earth.

Have you taken this road/trail yourself?

Sjoerd Bakker 21 Nov 2006 18:16

Rio San Pedro
Yes there is a road of a kind there , I only sniffed at both its ends , chickened out when I saw how it started at the nortwest end just outside the border village after the Mexican customs. The "main street " of the village was a mess of limestone bedrock stumps with mud between, then outisde the village it turned into a row of mudpuddles with 4wd tracks through them . They told me this was the case for the entire 25km to El NAranjo. I wa s alone and on a 1100GS on street tires and I had no desire to get mired and stuggle for hours
I returned to Mexico right there and took the long PAVED route to El Naranjo , via Chetumal and Belize and Flores . I discovered that the road from El Naranjo to the same border crossing is just as muddy,after the first 4km west of town. Here it actually had a set of bushes marking the wide right of way but again there were only four-wheeler tracks zigzagging around and through a string of mudholes as far as I could see up the track. It had just rained heavily in the week prior to my visit, and it may get drier sometime. If you are a skilled enduro rider on like equipment it will probably be easy for you if you are travelling with a group so that you can haul each other out of the mud.The road runs on fairly flat terrain in front of the Sierra Lacandon and it is mostly through black loamy and peaty soils. The road surface is simply the native soil cleared of brush, usefull for driving cattle to pastures. Most people going to Mexico her use the river lanchas for this reason. Hope this helps.

Lone Rider 21 Nov 2006 19:28

Very good stuff!

What time of year were you there?

Sjoerd Bakker 22 Nov 2006 01:29

Rio San Pedro
Was there early February this year . It was in the "dry season" but this region can get rain anytime of year ( the green forests and grasslands are dead give-aways for this) and I just hit it after a few particularly heavy days of downpour .The same storm had flooded over the Western Highway in Belize, the flood marks and debris were still evident when I passed there on my way to Flores. This is what turned the road, what I saw of it into the quagmire it was but obviously there had been some four wheeled traffic from El Naranjo to the border village, probably 4WD and high clearance pickup trucks with who knows how many winching and pushing helpers.For me , alone and on street tires it was too much of a risk, but like I said , if you are a good dirt rider and with some other riders ,it should be possible to struggle through, maybe it gets real easy once it dries out , the puddles can be bypassed and the grass in the road doesn't hide too many trenches.
The Mexican side of the border has nothing more than aduana terminal to do your paperwork and passport stamping, they close the border gates at night . The Guatemala side has no such service in the village, you have to do all your entry formalities in El Naranjo at the SAT office there on the main street.
El Naranjo has a bunch of accepable ,inexpensive small hotels, their main customer base is probably illegal emigrants on their way to Mexico.As you approach the border on te paved road from Tenosique you will see small groups of people dash off the road into the bushes as you get close to them. This is also the main passenger load for the lanchas on the river
Also,there is a gravel road north of the Rio San Pedro ferry in El Naranjo, it goes off into the wilds where they are doing oil exploration, the same fields as are tapped in Tabasco , and thes e workers also come to town.Other than that it is a frontier town for ranchers and small farmers trying to set up
In Tenosique there are also plenty of hotels to stay as you stage for this trek.
If try to you go this route do let us know how it worked out.
Good luck and have fun.

Lone Rider 22 Nov 2006 02:23

I wouldn't do bad muddy roads on the 1150GS and that's one reason I've moved to the DR. A fat GS with street tires would/is way too much to handle and it would be easy to get into a situation where you could not physically recover the bike by yourself. Fun can quickly become way too much work. I'm impressed that you even messed around there.

What got you looking for that road from the Mex border to El Naranjo in the 1st place? Then, why the desire for El Naranjo from the GT side after Belice? You probably know of Carmelita and El Mirador....I'm guessing...

I did the Frontera Corozal-Bethel thing last year and enjoyed it - different and fun. The river run from La Palma to El Naranjo was one I wanted to do late this year, but then started searching on Google Earth. Hence the post and questions.

On another note: Did you go into the Maya Mtns, and if so, where?
I pussed out 6 or 7 years ago in a 2wd truck headed to Caracol...muddy and no winch.

Your posts are appreciated, interesting and have been very helpful.

Sjoerd Bakker 22 Nov 2006 17:49

Rio San Pedroto El Naranjo
Why did I go to El Naranjo? Because its there.
It is my hobby to explore all the highways and byways in Mexico and C.A. , and after reading a question on the border crossing alternatives sought near Palenque I decided to go have a look around myself- any excuse for a ride is a good excuse. I just like to sit on the bike and watch the countryside slide by and stop to smell the flowers, literally and figuratively, and I like to colllect information on hotels in out of the way places. I prefer pavement but will go on good hard surface gravel and sand , as long as it doesn't turn into enduro type terrain.I alternate my trips on the 1100GS or my KLR650, the latter being what I use for the more gravel - road tours, like Batopilas .
Getting to the Mex/GT border crossing was really not difficult since the road from Tenosique to that crossing called El Ceibo on the south bank of the Rio San Pedro is an excellent paved road, and like I said on the GT side the road to El Naranjo is also paved.Probably in a few years they will get around to actually redoing the last section of road to El Ceibo. I heard thar Mexico is actually going to fund some of it.
The website www.maps-of-mexico.com is no great help here because on the detail map of Tabasco it still shows the road from Tenosique as dirt secondary road and it gives no indication of the El Ceibo border crossing facility.
Funny that you should mention Caracol. This same trip I actually visited Caracol on the return leg to the Yucatan . I made it a day trip starting and ending in Cayo. In sunny dry weather I found the road to be quite easy, well graded gravel across the Ridge Pine Mountains , and the last 20km were excellent asphalt paved through the lower jungle forest . This was probably the section that gave you grief on your attempt years ago. They paved it because the nature of the ground being so soft and wet it would never do as a tourist access route.
No, actually I am not familiar with the two crossings you mention, unless they have slipped my memory, I did check out two other small crossings south of Tenosique .I will certainly find out where they are and , here we go again, I have something to aim for on a next trip.

Lone Rider 23 Nov 2006 00:31

Carmelita is a small town/village at the end of a road in N central Peten and the access point for a multi day hike to the large Mayan ruins of El Mirador (some structures larger than those at Tikal), which is very near the Mexican border - extremely remote. Being remote and undeveloped is what interests me, not the hiking part. :) I have not been there.

The only other Mex/GT crossing I'm aware of that might be considered as 'unusual/adventurous' would be at Benemerito. Do you know of others?

Have you looked at any roads/trails that go off the southside of the Maya Mtns in Belice? Google E shows it/them and I remember some from old BZ topo maps I used to have.

Did they spray your bike at the Cayo/GT border? Do you remember what the insurance cost was when entering Belice from near Chetumal?

Sjoerd Bakker 24 Nov 2006 17:34

Belize insurance cost
The liability isurance compulsory for Belize , sold at the border near Chetumal( across fom Subteniente Lopez,outside the Sta.Elena duty-free -port in BZ) offers a per-day rate of BZ12$ or BZ29$ for a week.No pro-rating for days beyond a week. Rates have remained the same the last few years. In Feb.'06 for 9 days it cost
(1 week +2 days)=BZ53$, so it pays to buy the week if days spent are going to be more than 3 . US$1= BZ2$ roughly
Don't forget that BZ also charges tourists a BZ30$ Exit tax, for environmental and conservation projects, everytime you leave the country, even if you only did a one day transit border to border.
Thanks for refreshing my memory, I have seen the Mirador and Carmelita names many times on my INGUAT road map of Guatemala. Haven't been there yet.Will have to check it out sometime and see if there is a road from the Xpujil area that connects via Kalakmul or such.

Lone Rider 22 Jan 2007 20:19

I did the route from El Ceibo to El Naranjo yesterday on my DR650. It´s about 11 miles of mostly mud until you hit the highway. Naranjo is about another 10 miles.

I got my ass kicked on this one. Totally exhausted, received some help from a guy on horseback along the way when trapped in the mud. A day later, I still hurt. If I´d tried this on a big GS, both the bike and I would probably still be there.

´Supposedly´, Guatemala will start work on building a road over these tracks in about 2 months. Of course, that 2 months could easily be 2 years...or....

The ITM map for Guatemala shows the trail. My Google mapping did not pan out - wasn´t correct, at least what I was looking for.

Mexico, Guatemala Launch Construction Of International Highway
October 12, 2006
President Fox and his Guatemalan counterpart Oscar Berger have launched the construction of the El Ceibo-Lagunitas highway, which will connect the two countries. Mexico's government will pay for the USD 10.5 million, 19.4km highway. The project is part of the Plan Puebla-Panamá infrastructure development program for Mexico and Central America, which aims to reduce poverty.

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