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 one.
Joining me on this adventure is Jeanette from FloatingCoconut.net.
Going on adventure is a big deal and it is big fun also. It usually is. But inevitably after a while you get tired of it. Tired of the grind of riding hours on end. And most people, me included, just don’t take the time to enjoy the adventure anymore. The only objective is to get to the next location that day.
Sure you’ll enjoy the moment and probably enjoy the views, the road, or whatever gives you your rush. I like the scenic bits. Maybe a hint of danger and excitement. And on a good day I can immensely enjoy my rides.
But then later on, when the adventure is over and you look for a photo of something along the route you notice the bad days easily.
This is Part 2 of our Canyon del Sumidero Adventure. To read part 1, click here.
Taking a boat tour through Canyon del Sumidero
After navigating the city and to the boat docks we contemplated which company to use. Google Reviews were of not much use since there are thousands of reviews and everything seemed fine. So we just went with the nearest one. Just outside Tuxtla Gutierrez. You can also get the tour further up the river in a little town called Chiapa de Corzo.
The place we used was an efficient setup, which is fine. But it also means you have to turn off your brain and just follow where they point you to. Which is a bit dumb and impersonal. We were directed from the parking space past the entry booth, to get a life-vest and into a boat in less than 2 minutes. All the while not really knowing what we were supposed to do or why and in what order. Just follow the pointing fingers.
Entry is about 540MXN for 2 persons. This includes a boat ticket, canyon ticket and taxes or something. We didn’t really get it and it’s not very well explained. But if you have the time to read the signs you can see how it all works. We didn’t get much time to look around, just follow the pointing fingers.
If you’re visiting either the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez or San Cristobal de las Casas you should probably also visit the Canyon del Sumidero. This is a massive canyon towering above the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez with a large water reservoir at the end. Mexico’s CFE has a hydroelectric dam there.
We visited the Canyon in 2 ways. The touristy and common way is to hire a boat and go down the river which we did as a sort of part 2. But a little less common is a land route along the top of the canyon with some stunning views. We went up the land route first. This route takes you about 400-500 meters above the river and gives a great impression of how high the canyon really is. I have made a simple route to ride and off we went…
On top of Canyon del Sumidero
In the neighborhood of ‘La Esperanza’ you’ll find the entry gate to the Sumidero Viewpoints. In Mexico they call those Miradores. So here it’s Miradores del Canon del Sumidero. Entry onto the road is 50MXN per person. After that you’re let loose on the long winding road. Once you reach the top of the mountain range there are 5 miradores spread out over the area, along the canyon.
Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy when we were there, so at first we didn’t actually get to see much. Watching the clouds move about was fun too, and occasionally they would let up and give us a glimpse of the canyon below.
On our way to La Paz in Baja California Sur we’ve spent a few days in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas Mexico. This city was high on our list of places to visit for its historical city center. And historical it was. Most of the older buildings have been preserved and repurposed for modern things like restaurants, shops and coffee shops. Some are turned into museums.
Exploring the historical city center
First, let’s start with the less attractive things in the city. Most of the touristy things are either closed off, walled off or only open on specific days. All of which poorly advertised. For example the main cathedral and adjoining gardens/grounds are walled off for maintenance or something. The whole cathedral is off limits for tourism. You can barely see the building because of the construction-site-wall surrounding it. Which makes taking pictures a near impossible task.
Next to that, with the current feminist protests going on in the country most walls, flat surfaces and and especially religious or government buildings or construction walls are ruined by feminist propaganda graffiti. The city is littered with angry cries for justice, equality and the destruction of men and their ways. Which makes the city and especially the bits tourists want to see an ugly sight. In general it’s not all bad, but you know, it’s on every street corner.
Givi PLR5217 Monokey side racks
To properly use the Givi Dolomiti side cases you’ll need the Givi PL5127 or PLR5127 pannier racks. These racks have a mounting system that, wel, mounts the cases securely to the motorcycle. I opted for the PLR5127 racks because they’re removable. Partly because here in Mexico parts and accessories are scarce and this is what I could get, but also because I figured that when I’m not going anywhere exciting or whatever I’d just leave the pannier racks at home.
I did remove them a few times but for the most part I leave them on the bike and even considered bolting them on through the little lock gap. Right behind the passenger foot-peg there is a slot or hole where a lock fits through. I kept a few spare bolts from the assembly kit so I could bolt the racks on if I wanted to. But why really bother… They’re only removable with an odd shaped triangle key. A tool most thieves won’t have.
Last week we stopped by in Campeche for a few days. Or more specifically, the historic city center. We ended up mostly ignoring the newer parts of the city other than a stroll through the commercial bit where the market and shops are. The Spanish sort of built this place up quite a bit and most of the old streets and buildings are still there. With shops and restaurants all over the place.
Overall Campeche doesn’t have all that much to offer, but if you like wandering between the old buildings from hundreds of years ago it’s pretty cool. Most of the old city is surrounded by a city wall with fortifications everywhere. A few Kilometers east and west of the city are some preserved old fortresses as well. I think 6 in total. We visited Fuerte de San Miguel and it’s coastal defense site. I was hoping to get a great view of the city and Gulf of Mexico. But the surrounding area was littered with large trees. So no such luck – Nothing to see. The fortress itself has been filled with Mayan artifacts and history tidbits, which was ok, but I was hoping for more Spanish stuff.
This is Part 2 of our road trip visiting the Uxmal and Mayapan ruin sites. For part 1, click here.
For our stay in Merida I have planned a few small roadtrips to the fancy Uxmal ruins and the not so fancy Mayapan Ruins. The last few Mayan ruins we’ll visit for a while. Going further into Mexico other tribes and peoples inhabited those parts. So the next archeological site is probably not Mayan.
For our stay in Merida I have planned a few small roadtrips. One of which took us south to the fancy Uxmal ruins and the not so fancy Mayapan Ruins. The last few Mayan ruins we’ll visit for… Well, maybe ever. Going further into Mexico other tribes and peoples inhabited those parts. So the next archeological site is probably not Mayan.
Anyway, we headed out from the hotel at around 8AM, courageously following the route I had prepared. And at the edge of Merida we ran into some trouble. Some dudes thought it prudent to do road maintenance in the morning amidst heavy traffic and closed the one highway exit heading out that end of the city. Sending everyone off to take the next retorno (U-turn) and approach the cloverleaf intersection from the other side. Furiously waving his orange flag and pointing down the road.
We, Arnan and Jeanette, are going to drive on motorcycles in Mexico from Cancun, Quintana Roo to La Paz in Baja California Sur. Our route getting there is well over 5000 kilometers long. And the idea is to spend about 3 months on it and seeing a lot of Mexico along the way. Simple, right? Yup… Adventure!
The difficult part is getting there in one piece while having fun. And I believe that gets exponentially easier if you have a bit of a plan.
I’ve made a route, tons of things to see and do along the way and have a general idea of which hotels we can use. And, well, adventure!!