Monday, November 14, 2011

Buses and Colectivo Taxis

You haven’t seen the real Yucatán until you bike and bus it!
This is a chapter from Yucatán's Magic - Mérida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab, by John M. Grimsrud.
Buses and Bus Terminals of Mérida, Yucatán
  The intention of this chapter is to assist those adventurers and bicyclers who wish to incorporate bus/taxi transport into their travel adventures in and out of Mérida.
  First class and luxury buses will definitely get you there fast and efficiently, but for fun, excitement, and adventure, second class will take you to the places that tourists miss most. They travel to the out of the way villages where you will meet the people that live there.  Second class buses stop on demand, and take longer than first class buses, and they are perfect for eccentric penny pinchers.
  The following information does not give a complete list of all the destinations that the numerous Mérida bus companies service. However, that current information can be found by visiting the websites or calling the phone numbers below.
  Not all buses have space for full-sized bicycles. Folding bicycles that are folded are best because they will go on or in all buses and colectivo taxis (vans), and even if there is no storage space below or luggage rack on top, many will accommodate your bicycle inside. You might have to buy an extra seat for the displaced space.
  Full-sized bikes usually can be stowed below in the baggage compartment on first class buses and on the second class bus lines of Mayab and Orienté.  There is sometimes a charge for a bicycle.  On second class buses, the driver decides if you pay and on first class buses, the baggage handler will decide if there is an additional fee for a bicycle in the luggage compartment.
CAME bus terminal - Centro de autobuses Mérida

Calle 70 between Calle 69 and 71
Downtown Mérida
Tel. 999-924-8391, 923-4440, 923-4443
Lines: ADO, ADO-GL and Platino
CAME bus terminal - Centro de autobuses Mérida.
  The Platino buses are fabulous; they have extra wide fully reclining luxury seats, his and hers rest rooms, and a wet bar with coffee, tea, bottled water, and soft drinks included. A kit containing ear plugs, ear phones, eye covers, plus a pillow and blanket are standard equipment. Many people ride these buses though the night and save the price of a hotel room.
  Destinations: Cancún, Campeche, Ciudad Del Carmen, Cordoba, Playa del Carmen, Chetumal, Tulum, Veracruz, Minatitlán, E. Zapata, Palenque, Puebla, México City, Valladolid, Ocosingo, Tuxtla-Gtz, Chichén Itzá, San Cristobal de las Casas. New: Corozal, Orangewalk Town and Belize City, Belize.
   ADO operates most of the first class buses, which include Platino and GL.  They have the best quality and set the standard for all Mexican buses. You will always see these buses professionally driven, and in good condition.

Mérida Fiesta Americana
Across Calle 60 from the Hotel Fiesta Americana in Plaza Bonita
Calle 60 and Av. Colón
Tel. 999-925-0910
Lines: ADO-GL, Platino plus Cancún Airport van
Destinations: Cancún, Cancún Airport, and Villahermosa.

Mérida Alta Brisas
Alta Brisas Mall
Avenida Racho Correa
Near Star Medica
Lines: ADO-GL, Platino plus Cancún Airport van
Destinations: Cancún, Cancún Airport.

TAME – Terminal de Autobuses Mérida
Calle 69 between Calles 68 and 70
TAME bus terminal - Terminal de Autobuses Mérida.
  This is where you will find what is called the economical buses, plus the first class bus to Chetumal, Clase Europea. It leaves from this terminal at 10 a.m., 4 p.m, 10:30 p.m., and midnight. The trip takes 5 ½ hours.    The Clase Europea bus has toilets, but most of the buses leaving from this terminal do not.
  TAME is also where you will find; OCC, Mayab, ATS, Oriente, and TRT bus lines.  This is where you find the Mayab buses that go to Ticul, Oxkutzcab and Tekax.
  Buses from here run to the Caribbean coast, all over Yucatán, Campeche and Tabasco. Here you find the buses to Uxmal and Holbox.  Also, you can buy tickets here for all the ADO buses, although they leave from the CAME terminal, which is around the corner on Calle 70.

Terminal Autobuses del Noreste, Oriente and Lus
Calle 67 between Calle 50 and 52
Near the corner with Calle 50
Tel. 999 924 6355 and 923 0548
Terminal Autobuses del Noreste, Oriente and Lus.
  These buses are all second class, meaning that they have no on-board toilet facilities, and stop anywhere on demand. 
  This is the best terminal to use for day trips that will take you off the main roads to quaint villages and old haciendas.  Buses from this station run to the beautiful Mayan ruins of Mayapán. If you buy a ticket to Mayapán, make sure you specify the ruins of Mayapán (ruinas de Mayapán or zona archeologica de Mayapán) or you may end up in the village of Mayapán many kilometers from the archeological site of the same name.
  Folding bicycles are no charge, but, they have a tight fit in the small luggage compartments under these buses. 
  The Autobuses del Noreste ticket counter also sells ADO tickets to all destinations in Mexico.
  Three bus lines are here, Noreste, Oriente and Lus.
Destinations from Mérida on Noreste line and Oriente are Motul, Izamal, Espita, Dzidzantún, Dzilám Gonzales, Dzilám de Bravo, Buctzotz, Tizimín, Rio Lagartos, San Felipe, Kantunikin, Valladolid, and Cancún, and more.
  From Mérida on the Lus line; Acanceh, Teabo, Tecoh, Chumayel, Tekit, Mamá, Maní, Oxkutzcab, Peto, Cuzamá, Homún and Huhí, and more.

Terminal del Centro - Centro Autobuses

Calle 65 between 46 and 48
Next to Casa del Pueblo in downtown Mérida.
Tel. 923 9962, 923 9941 extension 15
Terminal del Centro - Centro Autobuses.
  Destinations from Mérida on Centro Autobuses:  These buses head towards Valladolid and Cancun with many stops along the way, including Tixkokob, and Izamal.  Centro also has buses to Motul.
  These second class buses have no on-board toilet facilities, and make frequent stops. The equipment is well maintained, and their departures are frequent.
Autoprogreso - Progreso Bus Terminal
Calle 62 No. 524 between Calle 65 and 67
Downtown Mérida      Tel. 999-928-3965
Autoprogreso - Progreso Bus Terminal.
  Autoprogreso has comfortable, air-conditioned buses that depart about every 20 minutes between 5 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. from their terminal in Mérida on Calle 62 located between Calle 65 and 67. Buses out of this station also serve the beach towns of Chuburná Puerto and Chelém.
Vans - Colectivo taxis or Combis
  These fast moving multi-passenger vans park on the street or have terminals at numerous designated spots in downtown Mérida, near and around the main municipal market and also in the Parque San Juan located between Calle 62 and Calle 64 and Calle 69a in downtown Mérida. 
  There are colectivo taxis to almost all villages in Yucatán. 
  Most colectivo taxis take departure when they have sufficient passengers.
  The nice thing about these colectivo taxis is that you can flag them down anywhere, and they are numerous throughout Yucatán. So, returning to Mérida is quick and easy. We often times bus out to our biking area, and then we return by colectivo taxi, which will get you back to Mérida fast.
Taxi terminal for Tekax located on Calle 62 near Calle 69a, Parque San Juan in downtown Mérida.

    Above are numerous colectivo taxis parked near the main market on Calle 67 near the corner of Calle 54. The first one is from Mérida to Acanceh and Tecoh.
  The vans will stop anywhere, but full sized bicycles could be a problem unless you find a taxi with a roof-top rack, and in that case the sky is the limit. Expect to pay an extra fare for your bike if it is loaded top-side. Almost all of these taxis have room for a couple of folding bicycles inside behind the rear seats. They rarely charge extra for the folding bikes.
  The possibility of end destinations with these colectivo taxis is extensive.
  You haven’t seen the real Yucatán until you bike and bus it.
  After more than a quarter century of doing these excursions, we still have a long list of end-destinations to explore.
  What are you waiting for? Come on and have the adventure of a lifetime.
  It is curious that with the advent of the automobile and the airplane, the bicycle is still with us.  Perhaps people like the world they can see from a bike, or the air they breathe when they're out on a bike…  Or because they like the feeling of being able to hurtle through air one minute, and saunter through a park the next, without leaving behind clouds of choking exhaust, without leaving behind so much as a footstep. ~Gurdon S. Leete 
  Excerpted from The Quotable Cyclist: Great Moments of Bicycling Wisdom, Inspiration and Humor by Bill Strickland.

Yucatán's Magic - Mérida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab is available in paperback, Kindle,  in the IBookstore and for Barnes & Nobles Nook.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Yucatán's Magic - Mérida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab

Finally the book for traveling adventurers who want to see more than just trinket shops and crowded tourist traps has arrived:

Built one stone at a time like the Mayan pyramids.
Over a quarter of a century of inspired exploration and recording of our travels in captioned photo stories has led my wife and me to compile an impressive collection of outings that are the foundation for this book, built one story at a time.
We present the best of the best after over twenty-five years; places, excursions and outings. Each place we have visited we like for different reasons; tranquility, history, view of village life, and connect with the Maya past and present, change of scenery and a look at a uniquely distinctive region. 
Available in paperback and Kindle at

For EPUB edition, click here
From Barnes & Nobles for Nook, click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TULUM 2011 – 4th Annual Green Expo and Art Fair

Green Ideas – to save Tulum and our planet.
Three action packed days of conferences, featuring twenty timely lectures of one hour each plus representatives of cutting edge technological innovations for a sustainable balance of nature. Sensible recycling with art and everyday living in a harmonious balance coexisting with nature is the theme of the numerous artists participating.
 Functional and beautiful, totally recycled materials are creatively finished into dazzling art forms by local artist Flor Norma Grisel Mena Mena.  To view more of Flor's work, click here.
 Ruben Darro has fifteen years experience in Tulum’s evolving world of natural native art.  He  also creates works in silver plus painted fabrics.
Mexican materials coupled with artistic ingenuity make Tulum a natural oasis for creativity.
 Solar powered applications find their place in today’s ecologically oriented green group.

Natural materials from the Sian Ka’an ecological biosphere reserve are crafted into gems of art.
FIDE, the ecological arm of CFE, the federal electric company, is seriously planning for future sustainable demand.

The registration office and promotional T-shirt sales center. The director of Green Expo Mexico is Gilda Sigie. Email:   She will have information on next year’s expo.

Jovial Xavier Fux is director general of Permacultulum®™ – green solutions and sells bio- digesters, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, eco cleaning supplies and even electric bicycles.
Four hours on a charge doing 30 kilometers is clean, quiet and quick. Check for details;
xavier@ or visit his web site:
Note; these silent eco-friendly bikes were not designed to replace bicycles…they were brought out to get people out of Hummers and other gas-hogs. So, park those hydrocarbon combusting monsters and do the planet and yourself a healthy favor, ride with the happy green people.

Smiling Xavier Fux, after his speech on sustainable tourism receiving an award.

The Green Expo is an annual event in Tulum with an ever expanding collection of talented and dedicated contributors all helping to make this planet a better place to live.

Little Tulum, the jewel of the Riviera Maya has become more than just another Caribbean Sea coastal town, it is a one of a kind heaven for life loving people seeking a slice or paradise.
Like my wife Jane says about Tulum, "Tulum is a hard place to leave."

Link to some of the other Green Expo exhibitors.
SOLARPLAST®™, has cutting edge technology for solar powered water purification, heating and believe it or not air conditioning. This equipment is designed in a number of sizes that will handle requirements from homes to hotels. Contact the director general and ingenious engineer, Rogelio Velasco who also was one of the speakers at this expo: or visit the web site:

Imagenia®™ Has found an innovative solution for all those discarded plastic products that have been plaguing our planet; They manufacture plastic planks, poles and sheeting from recycled plastics for the fabrication of rust free outdoor furniture and even building structures. Click this link to learn more; or their sales address:

Guided ecologically friendly tours by AHAL Tours - Email:
Jade Heart of the Future includes:
Muyil-Sian Ka'an and lagoons
Interpretation of Muyil ceremonial center and the "end of the long cycle".
Interpretative guide bioshere trail
Boat trip floating though ancient Mayan channels.

The End and the Beginning includes:
Coba-monkeys-Mayan communities.
Interpretation of the biggest ceremonial center, Coba, and "the end of the long cycle".
Observation of spider and howler monkeys in their habitat.
In-depth jungle trek and meeting the Mayan families.
Purification Mayan ceremony.
Swim and canoe in Punta Laguna.
Mayan Museum.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Muyil, Mayan Ruins and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve – a side trip from Tulum

Twenty-two kilometers south of Tulum is a remarkable link to Mayan ingenuity.
Muyil, located in a dense jungle setting, is an inland seaport connected to the Caribbean Sea by two man-made canals. Muyil is also known as Chunyaxché and still exists as a noteworthy testimonial to the engineering achievements of this remarkable Mayan civilization.
Muyil is a wonderful place to take a nature hike, mingle with tropical nature and witness some unusual examples of the Mayan advanced infrastructure that still exist within this archeological zone.
This is a big place so plan to do a lot of walking. To enjoy Muyil to its fullest, a half day of leisurely poking along will enhance your pleasurable experience immensely.
After a short ride from the bus station in Tulum, the Mayab bus will let you off near the entrance. It is only a short walk to visit El Castillo, one of the tallest Mayan ruins on the east coast of the Caribbean.
After a short ride from the bus station in Tulum, the Mayab bus will let you off near the entrance. It is only a short walk to visit El Castillo, one of the tallest Mayan ruins on the east coast of the Caribbean.
In the late 1950’s when this area was a territorial part of Mexico with literally no infrastructure and only accessible by a five day jungle horseback ride past the end of the railroad line from Mérida or by coastal sailing vessel from the Caribbean island of Cozumel.
Pablo Bush Romero led one of the first expeditions to this “Lost City of the Maya.”  In his book, Under the Waters of Mexico, he wrote about his remarkable adventure:
After about thirty minutes of navigating through the channel, we entered the impressive lake of Chunyaxché, a marvel of archaeologists specializing in Mayan civilization. Precisely at the mouth of the channel, on the left side, we discovered a temple of Xlabpak…
Let us go to Chunyaxché. After crossing the lake, with its exquisitely blue water, we went through another canal. After several hours of navigating on the canal, we arrived at Lake Muyil, which was wide and not very deep. After landing on the dilapidated pier, we started our exploration by walking along a trail through the jungle, which ended in a clearing where there were two small huts inhabited by natives…”
                                                            El Castillo
On your jungle walk you will see the seventeen meter or nearly sixty foot tall partially restored Mayan temple that has the significance of being an observation platform and signaling station. On the pinnacle of El Castillo is a platform that allows a view of the distant Caribbean Sea and all waterways linking it to Muyil. There is evidence that signal fires were built on its peak that may have been used to guide in the Mayan seafaring merchant vessels. Muyil began to populate by 300 B.C. This was centuries before such ancient Maya cities as Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Tulum.
Explorer Pablo Bush Romero describes in his book Under the Waters of Mexico what he and his colleagues encountered at Muyil’s El Castillo, a pyramind with steep steps and an oratory on top:
“Under one of these steps we found a tunnel which led to another temple situated in the heart of the pyramid. According to Segovia, this temple was dedicated to the high priests. Along the passage were a series of niches. We put our hands deep into each niche to see if there were any archeological relics. When we reached the most important one in the center of the tunnel, Alfonso Arnold, by chance or though some kind of intuition, thought to turn on his search light on first. He got such a scare that he recoiled almost as far as the front wall. Instead of archeological relics, what he saw there was a nest of deadly nauyaca or “sorda” or “four-nosed” snakes, the most poisonous in the Mexican paradise.
It was a good thing that we frightened a few of these serpents because if anybody’s hand had been bitten, it would have been necessary to resort to a primitive surgery technique of the “chicleros”.*  Since we carried no antidotes, this involved immediate amputation of the bitten limb with a machete without sterilization or anesthesia.”
 Built with a purpose, El Castillo is but one of nearly a hundred structures erected on these premises. Muyil was on one of many Mayan trading routes. Though some distance from the sea, the Maya excavated straight canals, one of five kilometers in length and the other one kilometer cutting down into bedrock with nothing but hand tools to accomplish their enormous goal. This is a real seaport in the jungle.
Seagoing sailing freight canoes of the Chontal Maya from Tabasco plied these waters ranging from distant Vera Cruz, Cuba, Florida and Central America. The cumbersome sea salt from northern Yucatan could have only been transported by seagoing vessel. Other cargo items included cotton, cocoa, copper, dyes, fish, honey, jade, and more.
In this area the seagoing Maya with their trading canoes utilized natural inlets and beaches along this coast, such as Tulum ruins, Tankah, Akumal, Xaac, Paamul, Chakalal, Xel-Ha and Xcaret.  All of these landing ports had Maya temple ruins.
Leaving the area of El Castillo your next jaunt is through a canopy jungle on a boardwalk. This segment of your visit will take you a minimum of forty minutes. To get the very most pleasure out of the boardwalk, take your time to sniff the flowers and admire the exotic jungle trees. 
If you are tempted to venture off of the walkway, remember the venomous snakes. The pit viper nauyaca is found in this lowland habitat.  Together with the rattlesnake it is the chief cause of snakebite in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Midpoint on your boardwalk trip is an observation tower.

The observation tower offers a splendid view of the expansive surrounding jungle, lakes, lagoons, mangrove swamps and the distant Caribbean, but climb at your own risk. The steps are steep and are for the young and adventurous.

Muyil is under the jurisdiction of the federal agency INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia), but is partially within the Sian Ka`an Biosphere Reserve.

 Emerging from the jungle boardwalk you will find yourself at a lovely beach on Muyil Lagoon where guided tours are available. Several different excursions are offered including traversing the ancient Mayan canal system. There is nothing like this anywhere. If nature is what you came to see, this is your place. Don’t miss your opportunity.

Strolling back from the lake you will find yourself on an ancient Mayan sacbe road that has remnants of pre-Columbian ornate stone carving.
Pablo Bush Romero exclaims in his book Under the Waters of Mexico: “What amazing road engineers the Maya’s were! I have traced from a helicopter one of those roads called “Sacbe” [white road] for over 100 kilometers. Undoubtedly, Tulum was the focal point of a coastal artery because every seven or eight kilometers there is a temple. The temples offered refuge to travelers, thus establishing centers of protection against cannibalistic Caribe Indians…”

The jungle diversity here is positively amazing. Your path around the Muyil Mayan ruins site gives you a look at the area’s range of topography.
The jungle is literally full of temples in varying stages of restoration and degradation. Trees of considerable size have embedded themselves in the ancient structures. If unchecked, the trees with their invasive root systems will pull them all down. It has been over five hundred years that the jungle has had a free hand to do its destruction here and yet these structures stubbornly stand.

For the return trip to Tulum, walk out to the main road, then to the bus stop a short distance south of the entrance to Muyil ruins and wave down a bus or van (colectivo taxi) for the short trip back to Tulum. This side trip is recommended to all those who truly want more than just another tourist trap.

Helpful Information

Transportation to and from Tulum:  Tulum Bus Info.

Recommended reading related to Muyil:
The Lost World of Quintana Roo by Michel Peissel
Under the Waters of Mexico by Pablo Bush Romero
Final Report: An Archaelogists Excavates his Past by Michael D. Coe
The Maya by Michael D. Coe

*Chiclero (sp) a gatherer of chicle.  Chicle is a gum from the latex of the sapodilla tree (zapote) used as the chief ingredient of chewing gum.
 Copyright 2011 and 2012 John M. Grimsrud
 The book for traveling adventurers who want to see more than just trinket shops and crowded tourist traps has arrived: Our book—built one stone at a time like the Mayan pyramids.
Yucatán's Magic–Mérida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab
Over a quarter of a century of inspired exploration and recording of our travels has led my wife and me to compile an impressive collection of outings that are the foundation for this book, built one story at a time. This isn’t a guide book but an idea book. It is something of another element not made to compete with guidebooks—it is made to complement them.

Available from iBook store and in paperback
and Kindle.
For EPUB edition: click here.
For NOOK edition: click here

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Exotic Bicycles of Yucatan

This bike started life as a conservative Schwinn but when Carlos *Cherli” Dzidz Chí got it, he has mexicanized it with reflectors, ribbons and fancy do-dads. Now it is exotic.

 Dr. Steven Fry is a trendsetter. CD rear reflectors, rubber chicken squeeze horn, angle-iron seat extension, rubber hose speed shifter and numerous other eccentric innovations make his bicycle  at home in Mexico
.Biking on the streets of Yucatán; one kid to steer, one for locomotion and a passenger aft.  A device called a “diablo”, or devil is fastened to the axle shaft ends and is designed to stand on making extended passenger carrying capacity possible in the land where safety is an option.

For more exotic bikes, check out John's blog story: More exotic bicycles from the 1890's to 2011.

For bicycling in Yucatán, check out our website: 

Finally the book for traveling adventures who want to see more than just trinket shops and crowded tourist traps has arrived:

Built one stone at a time like the Mayan pyramids; Over a quarter of a century of inspired exploration and recording of our travels in captioned photo stories has led my wife and me to compile an impressive collection of outings that are the foundation for this book, built one story at a time.
We present the best of the best after over twenty-five years; places, excursions and outings. Each place we have visited we like for different reasons; tranquility, history, view of village life, and connect with the Maya past and present, change of scenery, and a look at a uniquely distinctive region. 

Available in Kindle and soon in paperback. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


One of the all time best one-day Yucatán get-away excursions we have found.
This is an easy and pleasurable trip if you take advantage of a tail-wind and cold front. We are down-wing sailors. (With a northerly wind start from Izamal. Contrarily with a southerly wind begin your trip from the other end at Kantunil.)
To maximize the pleasure of this adventure we recommend taking the Centro bus that departs at 6:45 AM from their terminal on Calle 65 two blocks east of the main market, adjacent to and east of the Casa de Pueblo.
There are faster ways to get to Izamal but this quiet back road route, though slow, is a pleasant look at Yucatán that most tourist miss.
Our bus route took us east first to Tixkokob, famous for hammock makers, while the early morning shoppers were still packing the quaint colonial streets.
Being a local bus we were steadily acquiring more and more passengers heading to the remote villages that lay ahead. As we passed our next town of Cacalchén the road narrowed perceptibly and each of the upcoming towns in turn grew smaller and smaller heading to Bokobá. Tekantó, Tixcochó, Teya, and Tepekán, were all typical quiet quaint Mayan villages where many of the homes were palapa thatched huts commingled with the remnants of colonial era haciendas. At rural Tepekán we made our final turn and headed into Izamal on a road as straight as a die and we knew that this roadway had to be a remnant of an ancient Maya sacbe road built countless centuries before.

As tourist end destinations go Izamal is one of Yucatán’s finest and well worth a day or two of your time to explore and get to know. I have mentioned previously the book, Mayan Missions by Richard and Rosalind Perry as an indispensable field guide. You will want the book because it answers a multitude of questions explaining history and gives intriguing facts regarding Mayan temples as well as the mysterious old Yucatecan churches.
Izamal has a rich Mayan and conquistador history. Huge temple pyramids are still part of the town. A 16th century Franciscan monastery is situated atop one of them. The statue in the photo above of Bishop Diego de Landa faces the monastery he directed to be built. He is the man responsible for destroying the Mayan books. Take a carriage ride, it is memorable.

Yucatecan free enterprise provides us with fresh tropical fruit. Sweet mandarin oranges helped make our trip a pleasant experience.

On the road to Kantunil: We love the fresh air, quiet and rural nature we found along this seldom traveled road.

 Down the road from Izamal we arrive at the small village of Cuauhtémoc where the ruined church of Pixilá stands upon the mound of a ruined Mayan temple.
As you can see little Cuauhtémoc is rural and on the verge of being desolate. Time has silently passed by here with little notice.
This is the unhurried main street of Cuauhtémoc where we can hear a car coming from kilometers away. The contrast to Mérida’s push and shove commotion makes us want to whisper.
Some attempts at restoration and upkeep are visible to this 18th century church which was a satellite of Izamal dedicated to the Virgin of Candelaria.
Still roofless. the Pixilá church was originally built with a thatched roof.
Amazingly the forlorn little old church is in use. Some attempt at restoration is evident in the side chapel and altar that are freshly plastered and painted. They have a long ways to go.
Rural tranquility is viewed from the arched church doorway into the side yard now a pasture for this horse.
As we visit the hushed little village it is hard to imagine a time when enough eager souls diligently put forth the effort to construct this church.
A plaque above the front door is inscribed; Se acabo año 1797, “Work was finished in the year 1797”.
Horses nibble fresh green church yard grass, a product of recent rain.
The church of Pixilá is indeed forlorn. After more than two hundred years of deterioration someone is making attempts at restoration. This seems to be moving ahead at a pace similar to the rate that the mail is delivered in Mexico.
Continuing south down the quiet road with a tail wind, we arrive at quiet and clean Sudzal. There is a beautifully pleasant overpowering aroma of orange blossoms filling the fresh country air and it makes us want to drink it in. It is a shame we couldn’t take a photo of the perfumed fragrance. Observe the thousands of white blossoms hanging over the wall that will soon become oranges.
Time and nature relentlessly pull down the works of man.
Sudzal is conspicuously devoid of visitors and traffic. The 16th century church has been renovated with a new roof and paint job.
Other than some power poles, the vista around Sudzal has changed very little over the centuries. These gems of the past are becoming few and far between but here along this road are several towns still bypassed by the hurried tourist crowd. It makes for a perfect bicycle day trip.
The Sudzal city building and church seem abandoned with little street traffic and just the few chickens and turkeys left to pluck unhurriedly their way along. Jane and I have found another slice of bike paradise.

Xanaba though on the way to Kantunil is barely a wide place in the road. The rural countryside is little disrupted by its presence.
This place seems to be made to order for cross-country bikers like us who positively love the quiet bucolic countryside.

The only asphalt road in town surrounded the church and as you can clearly see the quaint country setting picks up where the pavement ends. The view down this city street perhaps hadn’t changed in centuries along with the pace of life.
As small and insignificant as Xanaba was this centerpiece of town on the main road put on a fresh and maintained appearance.
A surprise awaited us when we ventured south headed into our day trip’s next stop of Kantunil.
A real bicycle obstacle course awaited us. Evidently the transportation department had taken little notice to the fact that bikers may want to pass between these two towns. Just before entering Kantunil we encountered the new approach to the toll road, it was barricaded with a huge barrier accompanied by a no bicycles sign. We had to hoist our bikes over the obstacle, pass through the woods on a small walking path and then ascend a high drainage curb in order to traverse the next two lanes of highway. We persisted.

Persistence prevailed and we arrived at the outskirts of Kantunil.

This little town had every appearance of being upscale. It is on the bus route to Mérida!

Below, the church of Kantunil

Jane enjoys the shade of the meticulously kept city park along side the bust of Miguel Hidalgo, a Mexican priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. Notice that the parking problem in the city center is nearly non-existent because of the conspicuous lack of motor vehicles; bicycles prevail.

This lovely morning was made even better by connecting with the Mérida bound Oriente bus that arrived with perfect coordinated timing.
We stowed our folding bicycles below, climbed aboard in air conditioned comfort and I didn’t awaken from my profound snooze until we were rolling into the Mérida bus terminal.
After this outing we were able to scratch one more road trip off our list. As it nearly always happens when we remove one trip from the list we add two more. Well, with this trip we added four new ones as we passed numerous side roads that need exploring.
Twenty five years of cycling around Yucatán and our bicycle adventure list continues to grow larger.
If we could find a better place we would be there.
So, stay tuned as we keep scratching bicycle adventure excursions off our ever expanding list.
©2011 John M. Grimsrud
Related links:
Bus terminals of Mérida


Mayan Missions by Richard D. Perry

Bicycle Yucatan

Map of area - Mérida to Izamal and Kantunil
Click on map to enlarge.