|Type of tour:||Guided|
|Distance:||15 Miles/day average|
|Dates:||Mar 29; Oct 26*, 2015 (*guaranteed to depart)|
|Start city:||Mexico City, Mexico|
|End city:||Mexico City, Mexico|
Spectacular food, culture and mountain biking in the Sierra Norte of Mexico. This Mexican mountain bike adventure tour gives you the chance to explore the stunning Sierra Norte mountains, and soak up the culture and cuisine of the Zapotec people of Oaxaca.
We'll be mountain biking throughout the Sierra Norte’s 70,000 acres which are criss-crossed by ancient Zapotec foot trails and dirt tracks. These trails have been used by the local people for generations as the main route of communication between their isolated mountain villages in the heart of central Mexico.
Our home in Oaxaca will be in one of eight Zapotec villages that have come together to form an eco-tourism partnership, benefiting every community equally. You will feel right at home, with traditional home-cooked food and locally brewed Mezcal: a well-deserved reward after our fantastic days on the bike. Each day you will bike between 9-28 miles (15-45 km), as the daily routes are very flexible.
On your Mexican mountain bike adventure tour you’ll spend a morning at Monte Albàn, the most important archaeological site in the Zapotec world, and enjoy the splendours of the world-famous Oaxacan cuisine.
Learn more about guided tours.
Day 1: Travelling Day
We'll meet at Mexico City airport, then stay in an airport hotel for the night to recover from our travels.
Overnight in Mexico City.
Please note that each day you will bike between 9-28 miles (15-45 km), as the daily routes are very flexible.
Day 2: Transfer to Oaxaca City
Our guides will meet you at your hotel and we’ll drive (approx. five hours) to Oaxaca City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city and have dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants.
Overnight in Oaxaca.
Day 3: Monte Alban
We will spend the morning visiting the most impressive Zapotec archaeological site, Monte Alban. After exploring the temples and plazas we’ll continue to Cuajimoloyas, the gateway to the Sierre Norte and our first ride of the trip!
We’ll pedal a nice easy eight kms to the village of Llano Grande, where we’ll stay in their eco-tourism cabanas run by the sustainable partnership formed by the eight communities in the area.
Overnight in Llano Grande.
Day 4: Llano Grande
We’ll make a very early start to enjoy a head-lamp ride to El Mirador, where we will have a fantastic view of the mist-covered valleys below at sunrise (make sure you bring a warm jacket!). We’ll pedal to Piedra Larga, on the northern side of the mountains, where, on a clear day, you can see the Pico de Orizaba, the highest snow-covered peak in Mexico at 10km.
We head back to Llano Grande, where the locals have prepared a delicious breakfast for us.Batteries re-charged, we’ll depart for our second ride of the day – and it isn’t even lunchtime! 20 km of cross- country singletrack and dirt roads. We’ll pass some majestic rock formations known as Cueva Iglesia and enjoy a snack at an incredible viewpoint.
Overnight in Llano Grande.
Day 5: Llano Grande to Lachatao
Today we’ll tackle our first big day in the saddle (approx. five hours). We’ll ride some technical descents to beautiful waterfalls, then on to the village of Las Vigas. Then we’ll test our stamina on the long uphillto Lachatao. Lunch will be prepared along the way by our guides, and we’ll have dinner in Lachatao before being transported back to Llano Grande.
Overnight in Llano Grande.
Day 6: Llano Grande to Latuvi
Another early start and long ride today. We’ll pedal from Llano Grande along ancient foot trails to one of the best descents in the country. We have a climb ahead of us to reach Latuvi, known for its beautiful views of the Sierra. We’ll have a late lunch and our shuttle will be ready to take us back to Llano Grande.
Overnight in Llano Grande.
Day 7: Downhill out of the Sierra
We have the choice this morning of taking a shuttleor pedaling to the village of Neveria to start a very technical and exhilarating downhill trail back to Oaxaca. We’ll finish our ride at the El Tule tree, the widest tree in the world, around which a shrine and a village have developed over the course of centuries. We’ll also enjoy some of the best ice-cream south of the Rio Grande!
After this refreshing break we’ll transfer to our hotel in Oaxaca City, take a shower, relax and enjoy the city, before our fantastic farewell dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants, which also makes some of Mexico’s best Mezcal!
Overnight in Oaxaca.
Day 8: Free morning and Transfer
This morning is your own to explore Oaxaca, see the shops, buy some souvenirs to take home. We can even arrange a cooking experience, if you like. We’ll then be transferred back to the airport to say our final farewells.
Optional beach extension beginning Day 8. Contact us for details!
The hotels are 3-star eco-lodges.
Bikes available to be rented (in advance at the time of booking) include:
The ideal bike for this terrain would be a hardtail mountain bike (front-suspension only). We recommend you bring your own mountain bike on this tour.
The bikes will have FLAT pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.
If you plan to bring your own seat, please ensure that it has a universal seat post.
Helmet rental is not available on this tour. We recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.
Terrain includes Landrover tracks, some singletrack sections, steep sections, frequent rocks and roots. You have basic bike handling skills, exercise two to three times a week for 30 minutes or more, and are comfortable with sustained effort. You should be able ride for three to five hours per day for up to four consecutive days.
If the mention of ‘Mexico’ immediately brings to your mind visions of sun-drenched beach resorts, such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, and not an awful lot else, read on and let us open your mind to the Mexico you thought you knew…
It’s true that Mexico boasts many miles of beautiful coastline, scattered with beach resorts and great surf, but these represent only one small gem in Mexico’s vast coffer of natural and cultural treasures, just waiting to be discovered by keen adventure travellers.
Did you know, for example, that Mexico is 5th in the world for its bio-diversity, and one of only a handful of countries in which you can experience all 10 of the world’s major eco-systems? Or that Mexico can proudly claim 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than any other country in the world?
We know about the Maya, of course, but did you know that Mexico ranks 10th in the world for monuments and archaeological sites, not just from the Mayan era, but also by the hands of the Zapotec, Aztec, Mixtec, and Olmec people? And from this rich ancestry, Mexico now has a gastronomic culture that has been recognised as Intangible World Heritage.
With such an abundant larder of natural, cultural, historical, and culinary delights Mexico offers the ideal landscape for adventure travel in all its guises, but our particular focus is, of course, mountain biking. You may have heard of mountain biking in the north of Mexico, however our passion for discovering new experiences, and our love of food took us to Oaxaca in southern Mexico.
The state of Oaxaca is magical. Its capital – Oaxaca City – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cuisine is world-renowned amongst discerning foodies. Oaxacan culinary specialities include: tamales wrapped in banana leaves; chapulines (grasshoppers); amazing Oaxacan cheese; and black mole, an intense blend of chilli, chocolate and spices.
Just outside Oaxaca City we discover the history of the Zapotec people at Monte Albán, the most important archaeological site of the Zapotecs, and at one time home to around 50,000 inhabitants.
Our next stop is the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, and a village called Llano Grande, where the eco-tourism ‘cabanas’ will be our home for four nights of our mountain bike tour in Mexico. Llano Grande is one of eight communities in the Sierra Norte that have come together to form Mexico’s most successful sustainable tourism venture, based on a model that ensures that all tourism monies coming into the area – through accommodation, guiding, meals, etc. – are shared out equally amongst all the villages.
The rustic cabanas provide a perfect base for exploring the web of fantastic mountain bike trails spread right across the 70,000 acres of the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, stopping in at local villages where we’re welcomed with open arms and delicious food. Our local mountain bike guide José is as lean as a whippet and knows the area like the back of his hand, and our driver Eduardo negotiates the Mexican mountain roads with skill.
In our opinion there’s no better way to explore the diverse eco-systems and communities of Oaxaca than by mountain bike. You can be up before dawn watching the sun rise over the cloud forest, then descending to beautiful waterfalls, and riding through remote mountain villages, before ending the day with a barbecue of fabulous local meat, veg, beans and hand-made tortillas and salsas!
And during our tour in late October/ early November you’ll experience the spectacle of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebrations, for which Oaxaca is famous all over Mexico.
So, if you’d like to get to know the real Mexico, why not bring your bike and come with us to experience the culinary treasures, spectacular landscapes, and warm-hearted people of Oaxaca?
Tour start and end
Nearest airport: Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City airport is well served by many major airlines from all over the world. This tour will start and end at the Mexico City Airport and all transfers during the tour dates are included in the tour price.
Trevor Clark published this story in The Wall Street Journal (April 2012) about his experiences on the Oaxaca by Mountain Bike tour. It's a great account of the thrills and challenges of exploring this emerging mountain biking destination. Read the article >
H&I's Catherine Shearer blogged about a day in Oaxaca City and the magic of this part of Mexico (February 2014). Read the blog >
Mountain bike tour in Oaxaca, southern Mexico with H&I Adventures.
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H&I Adventures specializes in exceptional guided mountain bike adventures in some of the most spectacular locations in the world.
We personally research and test all of our tours before taking any bookings. We're committed to responsible tourism and use local guides/ drivers/ fixers in all our destinations, and contribute to local conservation efforts.
Our guides are among the best in the industry and give our customers a truly memorable experience. We offer skilled advice on all of our tours - no matter what level - to ensure our customers get the most out of their trip with us.
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You acknowledge that the nature of a mountain bike trip is adventurous and participation involves a degree of personal risk. You will be visiting places where the political, cultural and geographical attributes present dangers and physical challenges greater than those present in our daily lives. We use information from government foreign departments and reports from our own contacts in assessing whether the itinerary should operate. However it is also your own responsibility to acquaint yourself with all possible relevant travel information and the nature of your itinerary. You
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Tour start date
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