This is a guest post from the Cycling El Mundo team, Amanda Zeisset and Antonio Cala.
#1 To Meet Mexicans
Family, above all, is the most important aspect of Mexican culture. Perhaps this is why they so easily share their homes, food, time and culture with travelers. If you spend enough time here you are bound to become part of a family or two!
Many times we were asked by people about the safety in Mexico. One women’s response when we told her we had cycled through Mexico was, “And you didn’t get shot!” Sadly ignorant views such as this one are not uncommon. The truth is, in their portrayal of the narco trafficking issues in the northern regions of the country, the international media is doing a huge injustice to Mexico and the Mexican people.
While these problems are serious, the stories of violence told in the news do not represent everyday life in the country and certainly not the character of the Mexican people. In the eight months we spent cycling in Mexico the only problem we encountered is that we didn’t want to leave!
#2 To Eat
Mexican food is so much more than just tacos and burritos and way beyond the cheesy, greasy, saucy Tex-Mex that you will find in most international Mexican food restaurants.
Each region of the country has its own unique dishes and variations. For example in the state of Jalisco there are tortas ahogadas, a sourdough roll stuffed with pork carnitas and drowned in tomato and chili salsa. Southern Baja California is all about seafood. In Oaxaca vendors sell chapulines, dried crickets by the kilo or better yet in a tortilla topping with heaps of guacamole.
If you are in a town, visit the local markets during the day where just a few dollars buys you a tasty meal. At night take a walk through the streets or head to the plaza to find some cheap but tasty eats that cart vendors have to offer.
#3 Cycle La Huasteca
If spending your day cycling through a beautiful landscape, taking breaks to eat mangos fresh from the trees and then finishing your day by swimming in a cascade pool of clear, cool water sounds like paradise, head to La Huasteca.
This region north of Mexico City is certainly out of the way for cycle tourists who have ridden down the Baja California Peninsula. However, the scenic cycling along with the natural beauty of La Huasteca’s rivers and waterfalls more than make up for the effort it takes to get there.
#4 To Take Some Time Off the Bike
I’m a firm believer in going slowly and experiencing more of a country than just seeing it from a bike saddle. If you agree that touring shouldn’t be all about cranking the pedals, you will find plenty of opportunities to spend time off the bike.
Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez, hiking through rural mountain villages, whale watching in Baja California, scuba diving in the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, surfing off of Pacific coast and taking long strolls on the white sand beaches of the Rivera Maya are just a few great ways to explore Mexico.
#5 Visit Colonial Cities
In the region between Guadalajara and Mexico City you can be transported back in time simply by visiting one of the colonial cities you will find here. These cities, rich in culture and history, have winding narrow cobblestone streets, colorful houses, elegant plazas and centuries old cathedrals. The cobblestone streets aren’t great for cycling so give the bike a rest and go for a stroll around one of these beautiful cities.
About Amanda and Antonio
Amanda Zeisset and her partner Antonio Cala are bicycle nomads. Only one month after they began their first trip they fell in love with the freedom of the road and the connection to the world only traveling by bicycle can give you.
They have no plans, only one goal: to live a life of adventure.
When they will stop no one knows.
Read about their adventures at www.cyclingelmundo.com.