Mexico and Points South

Plans often arise due to unrelated promptings, and this one actually came from four disparate quarters:

  1. Michael, a favourite relative of ours, suggested we might join him at a resort on Cozumel, Mexico.
  2. A friend told us of a Tasmanian couple, who needed accommodation in Vancouver for an extended period.
  3. A young couple in Vancouver showed us photos of themselves cycling the back roads of the High Andes, and we got itchy feet.
  4. The aches and pains of getting older warned us that major cycle trips might not be possible in coming years, as Margo hinted at in the last post.

Thus  an idea to fly to Cancun on December 12th, and travel south. Margo started Spanish classes, we went to the travel clinic and got jabbed, we ordered the permethrin to treat our mosquito nets, and we started drawing up a Plan A. As always, Plan A grew.

It has now come to include 4 sections:

  1. Central America
  2. Colombia and Ecuador
  3. The High Andes
  4. Paraguay, Iguaçu Falls, São Paulo

A couple of planning maps have been drawn up:

Central America:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wo0Wz3RsO__p0d4WlrMS6tuIrRk&usp=sharing

CentralAmerica

Cozumel to Cartagena …. the dots are major places of interest or key points on the proposed trip. Red lines are boats.

South America:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ahVtcgnZRQEDMpFt-7HUmYKuWEA&usp=sharing

SouthAmerica

Cartagena to São Paulo … in southern Peru and Bolivia the dots are our GPS waypoints and are typically a few km apart. They mark: water, shops, and important junctions.

Key planning dates (not to be taken too seriously):

  • December 19, 2016 Cozumel, Mexico
  • Mar 14, 2017  Cartagena, Colombia
  • Apr 29, 2017 Quito, Ecuador
  • Sep 17, 2017 Salta, Argentina  (probably too optimistic)
  • Oct 29, 2017 São Paulo, Brazil

As a planner, I ask myself: where are the obvious stopping points? Well the route through Central America is very interesting until we are forced onto the Pan-American Highway at the Panama Border. So we might stop in Costa Rica. Cartagena to Quito has considerable interest, including dropping in on an old University friend of Margo’s in Cali, and potentially having friends join us for a leg. But the High Andes section we will start in Quito is a daunting challenge of major climbs at high altitude, and we might not feel up to this. So we might fly home from Quito. Once we have finished the High Andes, with the finale of cycling across the Bolivian Salt Flats, we might just drop down to Salta, Argentina and fly home. But the Iguazu Falls are an easy ride away, and visiting Chris’s cousin’s family in São Paulo, seems a pleasant way to end the trip, reminiscent of similarly dropping in on another cousin in Austria somewhat unannounced, on the Bangkok to Paris trip. Actually we really have no idea where and when this trip will end; maybe we will get the bug to carry onto Ushuaia, or fly to Australia and continue cycling. That is the beauty of being retired; we can choose for ourselves, and we will take it a day at a time. One of the beauties of this route is that buses are available, in many locations, so bailing out is relatively easy.

For those kind friends who worry about our safety on such a trip, may I assure you we have studied the government travel warning sites. The trip is designed to stay away from areas that these advisories warn us against visiting. Most of these warnings are quite detailed, for instance in Colombia the UK government provides a map. But the major warning is for Honduras, where the Pan American highway through Honduras is off limits, as is a large area around it. You will see we avoid this completely by taking a boat from La Union, El Salvador to Potosi, Nicaragua. We will monitor these government travel warning sites, along with health warning sites, as we travel and adjust our plans accordingly.

C

10 responses to “Mexico and Points South

  1. Beware of llamas if you go to Tiwanaku! 😉 Also, look for saltenas in Bolivia.

    • Presently plan A has us going north of Lake Titicaca and missing Tiwanaku. Do you have any comments about the advantages of going north or south of Lake Titicaca? Presently the choice was based on the roads looking less main on the north coast. C.

  2. Another MacTaggart on the go. Roz in Africa and you in Central and South America. Where should I go?
    Thinking of Australia.
    As you mentioned previously travel should be done before age catches up.
    Good cycling.
    Jim

    • Hi Jim,
      Who is Roz? Australia and perhaps New Zealand sound great. Come and join us in Central America? Perhaps tricky to organize? If we’re still travelling like you when you’re your age, we’ll be doing really well.
      I’m currently trying to shake the dust off my Spanish to be somewhat ready when we start.
      Margo

  3. Sounds great, hope you’ll have a really fun and interesting journey!

    • How is running in Nepal going these days? Do you have a separate blog for that?

      • Hi, Nepal’s been good. Went with a friend this year, so walking this time. Should probably write a blog post about that, but a bit busy with skiing and work. I guess by now you are acclimatized to life on the road. Enjoy South and Central America!

      • Happy New Year… Good to hear skiing and work are keeping you busy. Not fully acclimatized yet, but 90% of the way there. Really enjoying non-coastal Mexico… The driving is courteous and the street merchants un-pushy. But I look forward to some hills and curves in the road! Chris

  4. Hi Margo,
    CGOAB journal ‘ Shift Happens’ written by Jeff and Rosalind Tonner.
    Rosalind is a MacTaggart from Canada — somewhere in the middle.
    Good cycling .
    Jim.

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