It was my first ride outside the city of Cancun and off the highway into the Mexican countryside. Following the D180 National route to Leona Vicario, a sleepy little Puebla 45 minutes outside Cancun.
Leona Vicario is named after the wife of Independent figure Andres Quintana Roo. This little village had about 6500 inhabitants in 2010 and I doubt any more have been added over the years. Because it is away from the tourist area it was my first taste of Mexican life in the countryside. And I must say: I like what I see.
Little did I know when I took that trip that I would see so much more authentic Mexican villages, unspoiled by tourism. But this was a good start. If you ever plan on going there: Across the cemetery there is (or was when I was there) a burrito restaurant that has great food! And you can enjoy the mural of the cementario while eating.
I made a short video impression, walking through the town, and a visit to the tiny colorful cemetery.
With the metropolis of Mexico City approaching quickly my worries also grew. I love riding a motorcycle but I prefer the more quiet roads, paved and the sun in my back. Mexico City appears to offer none of that. Looking at maps, I saw endless roads, flyovers, red markings for heavy traffic, and tons of road crossings and bypasses.
On top of all that I heard some pretty bad stories about riding a motorcycle in the Mexican capital. People told me I would be robbed while waiting for traffic lights and I would be pulled off my motorcycle.
Not the kind of stories I wanted to hear and that made me ride very stressed. I seriously considered taking down the GoPro and the GPS that day because they’re in plain sight. Me with my vivid imagination was totally worked up and nervous the night before.
Luckily for me the road towards the city was quite awesome. Arnan picked a twisting road through the mountains with lots of nature, forests and sunlight filtering through the trees. It was a good road too. You really had no idea that you were approaching one of the biggest cities in the world. Well, have a look for yourself.
After arriving safely at our hotel in the middle of Mexico City I realized that things weren’t as bad as people make it out to be.
In 2021 Arnan and I did a motorcycle trip through Mexico
Driving through Mexico City was but a small part of our large trip through Mexico.
More than 9500 kilometers (~6000 miles)
From Cancun to La Paz
Avoiding toll roads where possible
We drive through the heart of Mexico
from north to south
from the East coast to the West coast
from state to state
from Pueblo to Pueblo
You can download our routes from city to city Cancun to La Paz here. These routes include all the information you need for an amazing and hopefully safe road trip through Mexico in GPX files that you can import into most GPS systems.
Included with the routes you’ll get Points of Interest which include:
Illegal checkpoints and caution zones we encountered
And for some segments; Road Conditions and warnings
The entire route is split up in segments which makes it easier to use the routes also for day trips.
When you are riding in the Philippines and follow the the Pan Filipino Highway through Quezon heading south, towards Bicol you’ll find the old Bicol ZigZag route between Pagbilao and Atimonan. A 2-lane twisting road through a forested group of hills which is pretty amazing to do by motorcycle.
We I left the hotel that morning I did not know what was coming, Signs at the intersection happened to point us this way and seeing that most heavy highway traffic would go the other direction way this was my chance to ride at ease for a while. TYP
The whole area has the main highway build around it but the old route still exists for a more leisurely crossing through the nature preserve. It is the old version of the Pan Filipino highway, leading through Quezon protected landscape. Inside the preserve there are several spots to stop and take in the sights, explore some of what the park has to offer and just enjoy yourself in the forest.
It is as if time had stood still here, the ancient old forest makes you forget all the business of the surrounding area.
It is known by many names
The road come with many names. And therefore it might be confusing to find information about it. But on Google maps it’s simply called the “Old zigzag road”.
Some of the other names include;
Altimonan Zigzag Park
Altimonan Forest park
Altimonan Zigzag route
the old Zigzag route
Quezon Zigzag route
Butikang Manok Road
And I am sure locals will come up with more names for this road.
The Zigzag route
When you take the turn of the highway and enter the forest, the first thing you notice is that there is way less traffic, certainly no heavy trucks and trailers. A few kilometers in you’ll see why. Steep slopes and hair pin turns make up the famous Zig Zag road. Impassable for modern large trucks.
In May of 2022 I drove down to Cabo san Lucas for lunch and a bit of fun. Living in La Paz is great, but the city as a whole doesn’t have much to offer and a change of scenery is nice from time to time. Cabo is supposedly only a few hours away. And it almost is. The plan was to leave somewhat early, have some fun in Cabo and ride back at the end of the day. Simple as that. Continue Reading…
If you’re looking for a more fun way to get from Cancun to Merida but you don’t want to ride a boring and straight toll-road, MotoTravel has you covered!
Once you’re past Nuevo X-Can on the Quintana Roo – Yucatan border there are quite a bunch of options for more fun and adventurous routes.
I’ve been to Merida from Cancun a few times, and every time I took a different route. For a mid-week roadtrip I followed a rural route to Merida through the Northern part of Yucatan and spend a few days in Merida before heading back via a more southern route. Along the way to Merida I passed through several small and developing towns with old Spanish era churches and squares. Some with a market, others with just some shops. Continue Reading…
Living in Cancun for a while also means a lot of historic sites can be visited. For this adventure I had made a route to visit Ek-Balam and Coba with a quick stop in Valladolid.
This turned out to be a nice day with lots to see and do.
We left early-ish in the morning from Cancun, filling up with fuel and heading out to the ruins of Ek-Balam, which is in north of Valladolid in Yucatan. Not one for tollroads we of-course sought out smaller roads and streets to make it extra fun. Continue Reading…
Two adventures in one? Not quite. But yes. If you like a short adventure and see some waterfalls and scenic views these are 2 nice smaller adventures to explore. Each track will take a few hours. First let’s tackle the longer one. Negros Island in the Philippines is one of the bigger islands in the country which makes for some great exploring.
I often went for a ride, just heading into the mountains and see how far I could go before the roads got too bad. Which in many places was pretty soon.
Sometimes the fun would end pretty quick with the road at a 30+ degree angle, or just stopping. Other times it was just going to a little farm or stopped at a single track-like walking path into the jungle.
But other times I would just find a nice route. Below you can read about 2 of the nicer ones that don’t have you backtrack and just go in a nice circle over the southern bit of Negros Island. Continue Reading…
Escape the hustle and bustle of Dumaguete for a few days and relax on the golden beaches of Sipalay. Sound good? Let’s go!
On this adventure we went to Sipalay City, a Municipality on the other side of southern Negros for a few days.
Sipalay is, I think, a fun and relaxed escape from the city and with its nicer beaches than what you find in or near Dumaguete a great option for a getaway.
At the time I had a girlfriend, we regularly went on little vacations like this. This trip was in July 2018. Continue Reading…
Between 2015 and 2019 I lived in the Philippines. I ‘learned’ how to ride motorbikes there. And discovered I really like riding around and exploring things on my own terms. In 2017-2018 having travelled around the country a bit by bus I changed over to doing so on a motorbike.
This two part story of our roundtrip through the Philippines is a summarized version of events and highlights. This is part two.
Joining me on this adventure is Jeanette from FloatingCoconut.net. Continue Reading…
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