Cycling in Mexico Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Mexico
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MAM
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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 you can book a beach extension at the end of your trip. Here you have 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!

At a Glance

  • 7 nights comfortable hotels all en suite
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 90% tarmac roads, 10% unpaved tracks
  • Tulum beach extension available

 

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World
  • Other Mayan sites of Izamal, Coba, and Tulum
  • Discover colourful colonial towns 
  • Ride through traditional Mayan communities
  • Swim in underground cenotes
  • Visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure for more important information on classification and grading.

6 days cycling with 100% vehicle support
90% tarmac, 10% unpaved track
Routes mainly follow quiet roads

Average daily distance: 58km (36 miles)
Number of days cycling: 6
The terrain on this trip is very flat as per the landscape of the region. We cover some large distances but overall the trip is not demanding. We cycle on quiet backroads that are generally free of heavy traffic, except in the towns. Most of the road surfaces are in good condition but you should expect occasional potholes on some sections. Please remember to drink lots of water when cycling as the heat and humidity can be high. We start the rides early morning in order to avoid the main heat of the day, and this allows more free time in the afternoons and evenings to enjoy our overnight destinations.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Cancun
End City:
Cancun

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Cancun.

    Fly to Cancun; transfer to family-run hotel in Cancun.

    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Boat to Isla Mujeres and cycle around the island; transfer to Merida; afternoon city tour.

    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 to Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women). We enjoy a leisurely cycle around this beautiful island and have a swim or spend some time relaxing on the beach. In the afternoon we will travel 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.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 28 km / 17 miles
  • Day 3

    Ride from Merida to Izamal.

    Today is our first proper day on the road and in the saddle! For the next few days we will enjoy cycling down quiet backroads and passing through occasional Mayan villages, plus visits to various cenotes in the coming days (picturesque sink holes to underground rivers). The terrain is flat and the riding is 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. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 64 km / 40 miles
  • Day 4

    Cycle to Chichen Itza; tour of the archeological site.

    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 will 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.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 73 km / 45 miles
  • Day 5

    Cycle to colonial town of Valladolid.

    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. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 71 km / 44 miles
  • Day 6

    Ride to Coba; visit ruins and swim in a cenote (natural sinkhole); drive to Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

    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 2 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. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 78 km / 48 miles
  • Day 7

    Ride Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve coastal path; drive to Tulum ruins.

    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. The 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. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 33 km / 20 miles
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Cancun airport; end.

    We depart Tulum and transfer to Cancun Airport where the trip ends.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

Throughout the trip we use carefully sourced high quality hotels that provide comfortable bases for us each night. Some hotels have swimming pools. In Tulum we stay in a hotel situated on the stunning beach front. Rooms are on a twin share basis with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip for a supplement (subject to availability). Please ask your sales consultant for details.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £415.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts included, allowing the option to try some local restaurants on all evenings.

Water is included on cycling days. Many Mexican dishes are already known and loved around the world but you will also encounter lots of new delicious dishes on this trip. Each day the guide will suggest local dishes specific to the area that we are in, for example pollo pibil from Merida cooked in a banana leaf, and the grilled grouper in Tulum.

Transportation

The support vehicle will carry all your luggage and personal belongings. The vehicle will follow the riders all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like (although not everyone can travel in the support vehicle at once).

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

The dry season runs from November through to April (with December to February being the peak holiday months for traditional style tourism). It can be humid between May and October, with heavy rains at times and the possibility of hurricanes between June and November. July and August are some of the most popular months to visit Mexico by sun-seekers from the United States and Canada but can be hot (average 28ºC) and with 80% humidity. Cycling during these hotter months can be tiring - most rides take place in the first half of the day to account for this. Mexico has an average of 6 hours sunshine per day with a more or less constant humidity of 62%. Water temperature normally ranges from 24 to 28ºC.

Weather Information

On the coast there is little variation in temperatures between the seasons. These are likely to be 28C to 33C average daytime maximum and 18C to 23C night time minimum. The heat and humidity are moderated by sea breezes, but inland it is likely to be quite humid between May and October. Cycling during these hotter months can be tiring - most rides take place in the first half of the day to account for this. The wet season is from June to October, when it normally rains on average one day in three. The rains tend to be short and heavy, alternating with pleasant clear spells. During the other months rain is much less likely, but there is the chance of an occasional storm at almost any time.

Weather Charts

Merida

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive

9 days, normally depart London Sat, return Sun

Itinerary Start

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only

8 days, normally start Cancun Sat, end Cancun Sat

Itinerary Start

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Cancun in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Cancun
Location end:
Cancun

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip)
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Cycling shorts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • High factor sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses

Optional Equipment

  • Your own saddle
  • Cycling gloves
  • Walking shoes

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Trek FX hybrid bikes with small bag.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Reading List

Reading List

Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico N. Davies (Penguin) Good general introduction.
Lost Cities of the Maya C. Baudel & S. Picasso (Thames & Hudson) Interesting and relevant.
Time Among the Maya Ronald Wright (Grove Press) Recommended.

Practical Information

Passport

Mexico

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Mexico

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Mexico.
However, please note that if flying via the USA, you will have to clear immigration during transit. In this case, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) prior to flying if travelling via the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme (as is the case for most UK citizens). Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British and western European citizens with a machine readable passport are), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a US$14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information. All other nonresidents passing through the US must get a visa in advance. Check with your local embassy or consulate for more details on how to obtain a visa.

Vaccination

Mexico

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Mexico's Timezone:
America/Mexico_City CST (GMT -06:00)

Electricity

Mexico's Electricity:

127 Volts. Plug types A & B; establishments often take two flat parallel pin plugs.

Money

Mexico's Currency

The national currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXP), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2018) of approximately 24.3 to the GBP,  18.9 to the USD, 14.5 to the CAD, 21.9 to the EUR, 13.9 to the AUD and 12.6 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

You should take all of your spending money either in Mexican Pesos, or US Dollars since it is difficult to change Sterling or Euros and exchange rates are generally less favourable for these currencies.

Goods and services can be paid for in some establishments in US dollars, but change will usually be given in the local currency and good rates of exchange aren't always available. It is suggested that you take a couple of copies of your passport with you as these are useful when changing cash in banks. It is good to budget spending an average of US$30-50 per day on meals and drinks.

ATMs are increasingly available in most major towns throughout the region, although are generally difficult to find in rural areas. A flat fee of up to US$3 and a small commission usually applies with debit card withdrawals. Credit card withdrawals generally attract a 1% charge. You should check with your bank before departure to ensure your card will be accepted in ATMs. Most major credit cards are accepted in larger shops and more expensive restaurants, but their use is not widespread in smaller establishments and so cash is recommended. Travellers' cheques (in US Dollars also) can be quite difficult to change throughout Central America and there will be limited time on the trip to do this. It is certainly much more convenient to carry as much of your money in US dollars as possible, so long as you are security conscious. We recommend that you bring some small denomination notes ($1 and $5 notes) since getting change is often a problem when paying for small items.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Please retain the Tourist Card given on entry into Mexico, as you will need it to leave the country. If for some reason your card is missing, you can buy a replacement for 295 Mexican Pesos at any international Mexican airport. If you have purchased your own flights as part of a 'Land Only' booking then check with the airline as to whether the Mexico Departure Tax is included in the price of the ticket.

 

Tipping

While tipping is not compulsory, it is a large part of the Latin American service culture. Certified guides will accompany us to each ruin visit, and it is customary to tip them approx. US $4 - $5. For the tour leader and drivers, we suggest around US$50 to be shared between them, in favour of the tour leader. You may wish to form a 'tip kitty' with other group members to facilitate the distribution of tips. By definition, gratuities are not something we can include in the tour cost.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.