Towards San Cristobal de las Casas

Whoops, 19 days since my last post? Yikes! Sorry about that folks!

So, briefly, from Oaxaca I rode down to Puerto Escondido via the 131, which traverses some mountain ranges and is full of twisties. Tons of fun.  Took me about 3 hours and was for the most part uneventful, though lots of nice scenery.

Puerto Escondido is a pretty famous tourist town in the state of Oaxaca, known for the Zicalete beach and the “Mexican Pipeline,” a renowned wave that surfers from all over the world come to see.  It was also damn hot for the two days that I stayed there. I stayed at a hostel my friend in Mazatlán had recommend, Vivo Escondido, which turned out to be a palatial residence right near the beach, run by a dude named Ross. Luckily there was a bed open for me as I arrived quite late, but even more lucky, Ross had come through many years ago on a motorcycle, and had a sweet garage where I could park my DR650 next to his pretty new BMW F650.

Home sweet home for the DR and her new friends.
Home sweet home for the DR and her new friends.

Escondido was hot. Damn hot. But, still had a great time.  Hit the beach, did some partying at the hostel, and even saw a Chinese circus! I was only there two nights though, so sadly I had to move on, as has become yet another theme of this trip.

Ross had recommended a few beaches along the way; Mazunte, Zipolite, and Puerto Ángel, yet they were extremely close.  Most riders (as I’ve read) will go from Escondido straight to Salina Cruz, but local knowledge once again prevailed and Ross said it was better to skip Salina Cruz, a large commercial shipping town with not much to see or do.  So I, took off on the one hour ride to Puerto Ángel, checked into some hotel, enjoyed some food and views of the beach, and hit the sack early for a 5AM departure time the next day.

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The next day’s ride was long and difficult, with a calculated time of about 7 hours.  Heading out around 6AM, I figured I’d arrive in the early afternoon.

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Boy was I wrong.

Salina Cruz was indeed, pretty boring, and I only stopped there for some gas and a quick bite to eat. However, heading north of the city? That’s probably some of the most white-knuckled riding I’ve done to date.

I should have known my travels would get harder when I started passing the first wind farm. Wind speed must have been at least 40-50 mph, and I didn’t dare go faster than 25MPH on the incredibly light Suzuki. This added a ton of time on, but at least I’m alive. Eventually the wind died down and the elevation rose as the highway crept into mountains, and I finally came to San Cristobal de las Casas.

It’s a bit off the beaten path, but San Cristobal de las Casas is a gorgeous city in the highlands with a very rich native history. You might remember it from such armed political activists as the Zapatistas, and indeed I saw many protests during my two days there.  This also explained the heavier than normal military presence. I would have liked to have visited a Zapatista village, and even found one and a way to get there, however I just ran out of time. C’est la vie.

It’s also the site of random parades!

Note to any motorcycle riders staying there; you can get a night’s free lodging at the Rossco Backpackers Hostel. Also note it’s way flipping colder than other parts of Mexico, even in late March, so bring a sweater. I had stupidly shipped all but one back to Austin, where they were subsequently lost by UPS.

The rich culture in San Cristobal lends itself to many travelers around the world, and a lot of great food and drinks.  It also seems to be a popular spot where foreigners stop to learn English, and I highly considered it as well but I was on a deadline.

I can’t say enough good things about San Cristobal, and I would highly recommend it to any travelers out there.  I was extremely sad to leave so soon and not have enough time to explore the history of this important Mexican city.  Maybe next time?

That’s all for now!