Tulum to Bacalar: Coastal Bike Touring at its Best

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The final leg of our bike tour in Mexico… onward to Central America!

With our friends Alex and Catherine coming to meet us in Caye Caulker it was time to start heading south from our sandy tipi village in Tulum. Our route would take us along the barrier islands to the fishing village of Punta Allen. From there we would cross over to the mainland and ride through the Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve and on to the Mayan town of Fellipe Carrillo Puerto before rejoining the highway that would take us to Laguna Bacular. This would be our final stop on the way to Chetumal where we will catch the ferry into Belize. This stretch of riding would bring us our longest distance in a day and for me some of the most scenic and unique rides. It would, however, present us with the unexpected challenge of the most difficult riding conditions so far.

Leaving Tulum and entering Sian Ka’an the “Eco-hotels” and overpriced restaurants give way to jungle and fishing lodges.
Logan fishing for coconuts for a mid-ride refresco.

This is usually done with a machete, but any knife and some time will do. As long as you don’t hack into your femur in the process.

The road would continue on along the the beach. Because the beaches aren’t kept clean they can be littered with debris from the ocean and passing cruise ships.

Some sections were through thicker jungle with hints of Mayan ruins sticking out of the plant life.

We ended up staying in Punta Allen for two nights due to a good day of soaking rain. Our accommodations were simple but at least had mosquito nets.

On the second morning it was a relief to see the sun and a calm ocean. Unfortunately is was time to move on and snorkeling would have to wait.

Punta Allen is known for it’s excellent fishing and the beach is full of boats for taking out the visitors who come to take part. I discovered that the one of the owners of the guest house we stayed at was from North Carolina but was not present while we were there.

In order to get back to the mainland we loaded our bikes in a water taxi for the short ride over the bay.

My bike, clean and happy, like us before the ride. Entering the thick of Sian Ka’an Reserve.
As we got further into the jungle the roads became unexpectedly slick and there were numerous wrecks between us. We would also be tormented by what I can only describe as Tsetse flies that swarmed us relentlessly. This was tough riding but even more challenging for me was dealing with the flies.

Magic Bacalar, a great hostel on a picturesque freshwater lagoon run by some realy friendly Italians.

We walked around in desperation on Super Bowl Sunday with the hopes of finding somewhere to watch the game. We stumbled on this in the second quarter. They had excellent tacos, tortas and extremely cold beer.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Darren-Doyle/517126652 Darren Doyle

    Great Article, some nice picture’s, but you can do better!

  • anonymous viewer

    Didn’t realize before but your bikes are toting a ton of stuff! What’s average weight added onto bikes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.viglianco Michael Viglianco

    I am not sure since we have never actually weighed them. I would guess in the range of 60 pounds of gear not taking into account the racks and water and other random things. That is purely an estimate.

  • Nikolas Harvan-Matosich

    Can you post your route through Mexico and central America?

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ bikepacking.com (Logan)

    Nikolas, there are a few individual routes posted on the Bikepacking Routes map: http://www.bikepacking.com/bikepacking-routes map… check those out. I highly recommend the Nicoya route in Costa Rice, the figure 8 on Ometepe. Also, check out Tom’s routes in Copper Canyon and Oaxaca.

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