Guayaquil to Mexico

Not edited as we feel the updates give a good account of our thought processes

5th – 6th October

Back in Guayaquil and a change of plan

The last two days we have been in a hostel on the outside of town. We bussed back to our previous Air B and B to collect our bikes and bags, it was good to be riding again. When travelling on planes, boats and buses you are tied down to a timetable and other people’s whims but on the bikes we are free to do what we want and when.

I found a cycle shop and had to carry two cardboard boxes back to the hostel the 2.5 miles which was a little uncomfortable.
The bikes are now apart and packed in boxes ready for the flight to Mexico.

Unable to travel into the city because of the protests but I thought I’d take this opportunity to share pictures from our last day in Guayaquil before we went to the Galapagos islands.

A change of plan!
Ginette has been researching flights and put the cat amongst the pigeons and suggested that we fly to Cancun (the cheaper flight to Mexico City all had a stop over in Cancun). She also realised that by going to Mexico now we would end up with approx 5 months cycling in this country.

A little more research and we found the weather in Cancun was wet in the afternoons pretty much the same as the weather here in Ecuador so logic told us we could stay here and explore Ecuador and then Columbia before setting of to Mexico. If the weather is to wet and cold we could always skip to Mexico earlier if required.

Another issue which we are hoping will not be a problem to us is the current political upset in Ecuador. There have been recent protests and some looting in Ecuador because the president has removed the country’s fuel subsidies, just 2 days ago a state of national emergency was declared but has been lifted. We have seen the troubles on the news but as these are in and around the city centres so life in the suburbs seems pretty normal.

Ginette – we had several considerations, by flying to Mexico we would have had a further week in a city, which neither of us are ready for and the weather is still a little unpredictable in Mexico. I felt if we went to Mexico now and cycled until Jan (we have to be there from the 26th Dec to 9th Jan because we are meeting Hayley for her Christmas break) we would be pretty much fed up of Mexico and yet to get from the Baja Peninsula to Central America will take at least a further 4-7 weeks cycling in Mexico. In total this would have meant at least 5 months in Mexico, if we had an endless pot of money this would not be a problem, Mexico is huge and it has a lot to offer, but unfortunately we are spending money at a much faster rate than we anticipated thanks to constant repairs on the property (we’ve only received the full rent once since leaving the UK), and the decreased value of the pound to the dollar.

7th October

Another change of plan.

My front wheel is squeaking so I took it to a repair shop. They greased the bearings but struggled with the dynamo hence I now have no power.

Chatting to our English speaking hostel owner he has advised against any travel In Ecuador, there have been large demonstrations today and a lot of roads are blocked and looting is taking place in the major cities. We have also heard the land borders are closed, there are several other travelers in this hostel and the talk amongst them all is how and where they are/can go next.
Hence we have now opted back to plan F and have booked flights tomorrow morning to go to Cancun in Mexico.

Hopefully the airport will be open.

8th and 9th October

Transit days, now in Cancun

The flight to Cancun was pretty uneventful, we had paid for check in luggage and had another $30 each for the bikes which we were happy with.
Landing at the airport we were offered taxis at $70 dollars but we had already decided to put the bikes together and cycle if we couldn’t get a taxi for $20.
The cycle ride was hot and humid and down a busy road but the traffic seemed to be nice to us.
We are staying in Mermaid hostel in downtown Cancun, we have two shared single toilet/ shower rooms and our room has only a fan to keep us cool (and very telling are the mosquitoe nets).
The weather is hot but we have experienced heavy rain and thunderstorms. Out and about there are large puddles of water and unfortunately lots of mosquitoes.

Gary doing bike maintenance in the rain

We had some tasks to do such as shopping for gas canisters and oil so spent the day in search of stock
These last two days of travel, restocking and WiFi research have not been much fun and I am looking forward to getting back on the road, however it is looking like we are going to get very wet at times.

10th October 

A coast ride with very few sea views.

We opted to cycle out of Cancun down the coast towards Tulum then inland to Chichen Itza. We chose this route for practical reasons as there are more hostel stops at regular places, if we headed straight to chichen Itza then there were no known places to stop and camping is not a great option given how heavy the rain comes down when it strikes and the wildlife.

this is a picture of a flying cockroach – yuk in addition there are lots of mosqutoes

We cycled out to the coastal hotel area of Cancun. This was not a great route for us as it was really just a 10 mile dual carriageway alongside lots of great looking hotels either side of us.

Ginette – But it was great to be back on the bikes 

if you look closely you will see a lizard in the background – happy Nettie back on the bike

We did get to stop at Plaza Tortugas and had a cold beer on the beach, it’s a nice little beach and the sun was shining. We contemplated taking the ferry over to Isla Mujeres so we could snorkel and spend the night on the island. The ferry would have cost $25 American dollars each and it looked like once there we would have to go on a boat trip to snorkel the reef a further $60. The costs were mounting and as we had just had some fantastic snorkelling on the Galapagos we decided against this trip.

We didn’t get to see much of the sea after this just the big hotels, maybe we could have found a gap between these to access the beach? but we knew we were heading for another beach area  so didn’t try too hard.

Ginette – Cancun, was very touristy, lots of shops and touts looking for business, it was not for us but we could see the appeal if you only had a weeks holiday. Plenty of sunshine and beaches.

We did spot a few large lizards on route and although the road cycling was nothing great the weather was good to us, giving us sunshine and no rain all day.

We stopped in a hostel in Puerto Morelos, we stayed in a bunk room with 6 beds but it had air con and there were only three of us in the room. We had a kitchen, lounge and front and back gardens so all good, it was only the little pets that are a nuisance ( I mean the bloody mosquitoes).

This small town has a real nice vibe, it’s not too busy but has some good bars and restaurants, and a big bonus is the supermarket which is stocked like a UK one with all the goods you need and good prices, we have bought a large bottle of Rum for £5.

Ginette – I loved this town it had a real laid back chilled vibe to it. I would strongly recommend anyone visiting Cancun drives down the coast to this little gem.

11th October 

Snorkelling and cycling but not at the same time.

Puerto Morales does have a nice vibe and would make a nice holiday destination for a week. This morning we paid to go out on a boat to snorkel the reef (I made a hash of the bargaining and ended paying more because we had no cash and paid by card). The snorkelling was OK with reefs dotted around in shallow and very warm water. We spotted a small turtle, a ray and lots of other fish. All in all an enjoyable experience.

Ginette – the reef is described as the second largest in the world. It was no match for the Australian barrier reef but there was plenty of wildlife to see.  Unfortunately we both got a little bit sunburnt on our backs and legs. We have very white bottoms (you’ll be glad to see no photos of them)

We then cycled back down the busy main road to read Playa Carmen, the road is safe with a hard shoulder for us to cycle on but other than the huge amount of advertising bill boards there is not a lot to see.

Ginette – bill boards have included warnings not to feed the crocodiles, panthers and it is good to see notices re fly tipping

We arrived with only an hour before sunset, had a wander down to one of the beaches and had a two for one beer offer in a small cafe. The area is fairly pretty and I can see why people enjoy coming here on holiday but at present the sea is a bit smelly we think this is due to excessive seaweed.

The weather today has been scorching hot, we are both sunburnt from the snorkelling. At a service station break there was a beer cave, a large walk in fridge stocking loads of beer, it was nice to go in and cool down but stepping back outside and the heat really hit home.

Ginette – we didn’t get to see much of Playa de Carmen but I liked the way the restaurants were designed in a jungle (Centre Parc) type theme. Apparently it is a bit of a party town so as we are old farts we opted for accommodation slightly out of town. 

12th October 

Hot and tired today.

We set off and took a last look at Playa Carmens beach. The initial cycling was on a cycle route hidden from the main road by an avenue of trees but this didn’t last for long.

We past many signs again advertising all the hotels and attractions on route and there are many, even if we had the money it would take ages to be able to visit them all. But advertising does work and I am now hankering after swimming in a Cenote but I don’t want to pay for the pleasure.

We reached the beach area Akumal that was well over half way that we had planned to stop at but found the beaches inaccessible as they where lined with hotels and the only access point we had was through a turnstile gate with guards and an entrance fee. We have seen some fantastic beaches and have no intention to pay to go on one, we ended up having our picnic in the car park in the shade.

It’s been a very hot day today, I don’t know the temp in the sun but it was 31 degrees in the shade. We have been followed this afternoon by thunderstorms but none broke on us but it helped us with our no go on the beach decision.

I had a bit of sugar rush then the down that comes with it so had to stop for some food and water to keep my little legs pumping.

We are now in Tulum, we arrived late so haven’t really seen much of the town or the Myan site that is here. The little part we have seen nice enough with bars and restaurants and a fairly young contingent of tourists.

Ginette – the heat is exhausting, it saps all your energy but I’m loving being back on the bike. Tulum is a bit of a hippy town, it is known for its yoga retreats. Hopefully we will get to see a bit more of it tomorrow.

It is Sunday again a week since we made the decision to come to Mexico and although we think it was the right decision, the situation in Ecuador continues to be volatile,  it has been interesting reading the news in the UK. There have been protests in London closing roads and cafes, stabbings in two major cities and political unrest.  I can imagine if I was a foreigner contemplating visiting the UK, I could easily be deterred and that is not to mention the weather!

things we saw on route 

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