Oaxaca to Guatemala

Download route as GPX

It was about a two and a half day ride on dirt roads over the mountains to get from Oaxaca to the coast just east of Puerto Escondido. The ride there was great, but immediately upon reaching the coast I thought, “What have I done?” I always seem to forget how much I hate beaches until I’m at one. It was diabolically hot, touristy, paved, and far less friendly than I was used to in rural Mexico. I was so tempted to get on a bus and go straight to San Cristóbal. Bad move going to the coast, but that’s enough complaining.

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After 30km of highway outside of Oaxaca, it was back to the Mexico I love.

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And back to the familiar refrain,”Hola, amigo! Adonde vas?” And the random roadside birthday parties. “Your nephew’s turning 11? I wouldn’t miss it for anything!”

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Winding and climbing through pine forests.

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And then down to the coast.

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Puerto Angel.

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Apparently people pay a lot of money to fly here from other countries so they can sit on this stuff and stare at a big puddle of water. Weirdos.

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Though I’ll admit it was nice sleeping in a hammock with the sound of crashing waves and the breeze from the ocean.

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A couple kids led me down a pretty rough path to a secluded beach. I was dumb enough to let them both sit on my rear rack, completely compromising my ability to steer and I kept riding into gigantic thorn bushes. I had so many punctures all the sealant was used up in my tubes. This was the first time I had to deal with flat tires in Mexico and I stayed up until the early hours of the morning trying to fix them. It didn’t help that my spares had worn unpatchable holes in them from rubbing around in my framebag for the past few months.

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Thanks.

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I did manage to summon up the courage to go into the water, though it was a brief affair. Wet and salty, just like I expected. Wouldn’t recommend.

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The dreaded wind farm of La Venta in between Juchitán de Zaragoza and Zanatepec.

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I had heard horror stories of this road. Cyclists being literally blown off their bikes, people not even being able to hold their bikes on the ground. Apparently it’s not uncommon for semi trucks to be blown over onto their side. In what now seems like characteristic serendipity, I ended up with an ever so slight tailwind guiding me to the town of Zanatepec just before dark, where I had a very pleasant place to stay for a couple days.

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A hammock to sleep in, mango trees…

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I met other people travelling by bicycle for the first time in Mexico.

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Last state in Mexico before Guatemala.

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Cascada el Aguacero.

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The hills of Chiapas on the 50+ km climb to San Cristóbal de las Casas. 

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I couldn’t figure out how there were so many classic Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico that were in such pristine condition. It turns out the Volkswagen factory in Mexico didn’t stop producing the classic Beetles until 2003.

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Some final Mexican landscapes.

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Cascadas El Chiflón. As if I wasn’t already fed up with tourist places by this point. I arrived here at 5:30pm and wasn’t allowed in because they close at 5:00pm. The whole place was totally developed with concrete pathways and stairs and different buildings to give people money in. It didn’t open until 8:30am which was far later than I had any interest in sticking around for, so I slept in the park in town and snuck in at 5:00am when the jailers in charge of enforcing visiting hours were gone.

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They were impressive waterfalls, but I’ve learned I much prefer the beauty of the wilderness to the beauty of “destinations” and all their associated nonsense. 

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I derive far more satisfaction riding down roads like these.

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Nice camp spot.

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Lagunas de Montebello, a national park comprising almost 60 lakes. Each access to any of the lakes was guarded by a man at a toll booth, so I made a little game of riding down to the lakes and back while they chased me in their pickup trucks. All the different lake jailers had walkie talkies, so after a few rounds they were prepared for me. 

And that’s it for Mexico. On to Guatemala. If I had any ability to write I would take a moment to say how amazing Mexico had been in the short 4 months I’d been there. It’s going to take a lot out of any other country to beat Mexico.

2 thoughts on “Oaxaca to Guatemala

  1. Justin! these are such great photos, with your characteristically grumpy, and then not so grumpy comments! Me? I love the beach. Do all Canadians not like the beach? 🙂

    I especially loved your comment about the birthday party for the 11 year old nephew. That is so classic.

    Be well, our wonder biker, you are such an amazing steadfast traveler. We will be happy to receive your next report.

    Your New Mexico biker friends. Sarah and Nat

    Like

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks! I’d imagine that Canadians, on average, are about equally as enthusiastic about beaches as Americans, but I have no statistics to back that up. I generally just prefer cooler climates and staying dry. But hopefully I didn’t sound too grumpy, haha.

      I’m looking forward to seeing how your Czech Republic trip goes. I’m a bit jealous of your cuben fiber tent.

      Like

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