Mexico is home to idyllic beaches, lively music, astonishing archaeology, exciting food and friendly people, making it the perfect destination for a fantastic cycling holiday. Following Yucatan’s backroads, we cycle through colourful villages, explore magnificent Mayan pyramids and temples, and swim in the transparent waters of enormous canyons. We end the trip on the idyllic Riviera Maya, where there is the opportunity to snorkel on the world’s longest coral reef, or simply relax on a palm-filled Caribbean beach: the perfect way to unwind after a week cycling!
The day starts with a bike fitting which will take place adjacent to the hotel. Once everyone is ready to go we set off on a short ride to Puerto Juarez from where we’ll be taken by boat over to Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women). We will cycle leisurely around this beautiful, tranquil island and enjoying seeing some coral reefs up close during an included snorkeling trip. In the afternoon we will return to the mainland and there is time to go off and explore downtown Cancun should you wish. Ride approx. 28km
This morning we transfer after breakfast to the bustling colonial city of Merida (approx. 3 hour drive). Our guide will give us an interesting historical overview of the Yucatan region and take us on a tour of the city featuring the markets and the governor’s palace. Many of the buildings in Merida were constructed using stones from the Mayan city which existed on the site and these are still visible in the walls of the imposing cathedral. There is free time in the afternoon and a good choice of restaurants after the sun sets.
Today is our first proper day on the road and in the saddle! For the next few days we will enjoy cycling down quiet back roads and passing through occasional Mayan villages (plus visits to various cenotes in the coming days). The terrain is flat and the riding fairly easy going but we will be covering some large distances nevertheless. From Merida we cycle to the delightful town of Izamal, also known as La Ciudad Amarilla (The Yellow City) due to the colour of its buildings. Izamal was an important worship centre for the ancient Mayas. Here we’ll explore the pyramids that were devoted to the gods and take in a 360 degree view across the surrounding jungle. We’ll also have the opportunity to visit the impressive Monastery built by the Spanish colonists in the main square. Ride approx. 64km
Back on our bikes, we make our way across a flat landscape towards one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centres at Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The impressive El Castillo Pyramid sits in the middle of the site and is surrounded by temples, palaces and ball courts. The leader will give us a tour of the whole site. Nearby, we stop to visit the Cenote Sagrado ('Sacred Well'), dredged in the early 20th century and found to contain precious gold, silver and jade artifacts as well as the remains of sacrifice victims. Our hotel for the night is located close by. Ride approx. 73km
Today we ride from Chichen Itza to Valladolid passing through yet more picturesque Mayan villages, where locals still speak their ancestors’ language. We have some time to explore the beautiful colonial architecture of Valladolid before heading to a nearby cenote (natural sinkholes in the limestone bedrock that reveal crystal clear underground lagoons and rivers) to cool off after another day in which we cover a large distance. Ride approx. 71km
Continuing eastwards, we ride to the archeological site of Coba and afterwards stop for a refreshing swim in the nearby Tamcach Ha cenotes. Once in Coba, we climb to the top of the tallest Mayan pyramid in Mexico and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding scenery. We then drive to the fantastic beach community of Tulum, which will be our picturesque home for the next 3 nights. Just outside the town lies one of the most photographed sites in the Yucatan; the ruins of an ancient Mayan city that overlook the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Ride approx. 78km
From our beachfront hotel we’ll head towards Sian Kaan biosphere reserve on a coastal road (there may be sections of unpaved road) in a southerly direction. Along the way we'll learn from our guide the importance of protected areas in Mexico and all about the ecosystems and wildlife of the Sian Kaan reserve. This area is home to an incredible variety of habitats and over 300 species of birds. Afterwards we will cycle back towards the archeological site of Tulum, where Caribbean and Mayan culture blend into beautiful landscapes. Tulum site has some impressive buildings. The most famous buildings in the complex are the ruins that overlook the lapping waves of the Caribbean, but there are also several temples, ritual platforms and houses to be explored. In common with many other Mayan cities, the whole site is surrounded by a huge defensive wall. Ride approx. 33km
Today is a free day, and you may wish to spend your time swimming in the Caribbean and relaxing on the golden sand beach. If you prefer to do an extra optional activity on this day then speak to your leader the night before and they will help to arrange and book something for you. There are several possibilities for marine excursions (dependent upon availability and time of year).