Tour cycling in Mexico.

Tour cycling in Mexico.


I have just come back from a 7 week bicycle tour of Mexico. This is the 4th time I have been cycling in Mexico. Here are a few tips on cycling in Mexico, based on my own personal experiences.

Is it safe to go cycling in Mexico?

This is always the first question I get. People mostly ask because they hear about crime in Mexico. But very little crime in Mexico is geared towards tourists. The crime in Mexico is very much about drug running and if you stay away from that, then there is very little risk of getting in trouble. You might want to stay away from certain trouble regions, where drug running is dominant. This is especially the two states on Guerrero and Michoacan. As well as the entire border region with the USA. In these areas you could end up in crossfire if there is a clash between criminals and the police. The risk is not that great, but I personally stay away from these 3 areas at the moment and they only count for about 10% of Mexico anyway. So I have still got 90% of the country to explore. You will see police check points all over Mexico along the roads. But I have personally never experienced anything but friendly attitudes from these guys. They almost always wave me straight through and if they ask me to stop it’s because they want to hear about my journey and take a photo with me.  Rural Mexico is surprisingly calm and I have never had a single moment where I felt in danger there. I do not recommend cycling at night. That is just asking for trouble, not just in Mexico, but in most countries.

Rural Mexico is calm and relaxed.

Rural Mexico is calm and relaxed.

What are the roads like for cycling in Mexico?

Most roads in Mexico are nicely paved. And if they are not nicely paved, then they are very little used and attractive for off road cyclists. I am a road cyclist myself though and prefer the paved roads. The good thing about the roads in Mexico is that most of them have a large shoulder. That is really good for cycling as long as the cars are not using it as a second lane. I have found that when you are in industrial areas with little farming. Then the cars are using the lane. Especially the minivan drivers who take workers to and from factories are really bad at using that lane, without caring for the cyclist. The minivan drivers are probably the single biggest danger to cyclists on Mexican roads. Good news is that these areas are not that common. Most parts of Mexico is agricultural and horses are still very much in use. That means that you will see cowboys on the roads riding their horses and families riding horse carts. When you have that then the shoulder is generally reserved for soft traffic. Then you can cycle there happily with animal traffic and other cyclists.

Mexican main roads are generally of a good quality.

Mexican main roads are generally of a good quality.


Mexican truck drivers are nice to cyclists.

In some countries, mainly in the west, truck drivers and cyclists are not the best friends. They seem to just want the other part off the road. But in Mexico I have always found good camaraderie with the truck drivers. They do generally not have the “get out of my way” attitude. They have shared their food and coffee with me many times. As truck drivers in most countries they are not the most educated guys, but I have never had problems with them. I have received help from them several times and I always enjoy stopping at little truck stop cafes and sharing a meal with them.

Nice little truck stop restaurant in Mexico.

Nice little truck stop restaurant in Mexico.

Cycling in Mexico City.

Cycling in Mexico City is better than I expected. Sure sure, it’s not Copenhagen or Amsterdam, with bicycle lanes everywhere. The center of Mexico City is actually quite well equipped with bike lanes these days. Making it quite ok to cycle there. It’s hip to be cycling in Mexico City. So get on your bike if you want to hang with the hip young Mexicans :-). I like going out at night in Mexico City and I found that the bike is very useful there. I do not like walking home to my hotel in a big city when I have had a few beers. Taking a taxi is often complicated at night when the drivers know you have had a drink. But the roads in Mexico City are not busy at all at night. When I am cycling, then I am gone in 2 seconds if any potential trouble maker sees me. I have always felt safe when cycling in Mexico City at night. Also I am not a guy who gets overly drunk when I am out. That happened in the past, but these days I stick to just beer or just wine, which means I still know how to cycle safely. but I can still keep a decent speed, so that I do not attract potential trouble makers.

Cyclists in Mexico City.

Cyclists in Mexico City.

You can take you bicycle to the hotel room in Mexico.

I have stayed in more than 50 different hotels in Mexico during my bicycle journeys in the country. I am a cyclist who prefers staying in hotels by the way. 95% of all stays there has never been an issue taking my bike to my hotel room. In fact, in most cases they have told me right away that I can just roll my loaded bike into the room. In a few cases, taking my bike to the room has not been practical. Mostly because my room has been high up in a hotel with no elevators. In these cases I have always been offered a closed parking area or a locked room on the ground floor of the hotel. So you do not have to worry about having your bike stolen at night in Mexico.

Sleeping with my bike.

Sleeping with my bike.

You can have extreme weather in Mexico.

Beware that Mexico is a country with many types of weather. You can have extremely hot weather in the desert areas and also in the tropical regions, such as Veracruz, Yucatan and the coastal part of Chiapas. You also have the rainy/hurricane season in some parts of Mexico from May to October. This is not a big problem though. Just prepare your day so that you try not to ride in the middle of the day if it’s really hot. Try to not ride too much in the late afternoon during the rainy/hurricane season, when it tends to be pouring down with rain. I have just been riding in Mexico for 7 weeks during the rainy season and I loved it. I have also been cycling in the desert regions of Mexico on previous trips and loved it. But remember to prepare yourself a bit, so that you do not end up getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because of the weather.

Finding shelter for the rain at a local taco shop.

Finding shelter for the rain at a local taco shop.

You can often take your bicycle on the bus in Mexico for free.

On my last cycling trip in Mexico, I decided to ride a few different regions and then transport my bicycle with a bus between the regions. I was very happily surprised to see that I could bring my bicycle as free luggage on all the long distance journeys I took. The long distance busses in Mexico are generally of a very high standard. The company called ETN is particularly good. The long distance busses have large trunks that can take a lot of luggage, including bicycles. I always got my bicycle for free when going long distances. On most occasions I tipped the guy who helped me putting the bicycle in the trunk and they always looked very happy, but also surprised. So it’s clearly something they are not used to. I like to tip someone doing a good honest job when it’s in a country where he clearly earns less than I do. You will also make the luggage handler happy if you either take the pedals or the front wheel off, so it’s easier to find space for your bicycle in the trunk.

Taking my bicycle on a bus in Mexico.

Taking my bicycle on a bus in Mexico.

Bicycle repairs in Mexico.

Many regular folks ride a bicycle in Mexico, when they commute to and from work. Or maybe to and from school. In the bigger cities you also have quite a few hipsters who are getting into cycling, as well as people who see it as a good way to exercise. All this means that you have bicycle mechanics in just about every town and village in Mexico. Just ask around if you can’t find them and people should be able to guide you the right way. Remember to ask a person who is on a bicycle, as they are almost always bound to know where to get a repair. Do not expect too many spare parts in the villages though. I am a person who rides with very few spare parts and I often rely on buying tires, tubes and so on locally. Beware that bicycle repair shops in small Mexican towns often have a very limited supply. So try to bring a couple of spare tubes and maybe also a spare tire and the repair shop will be happy to help you. I am personally much more of a globetrotter than I am a bicycle mechanic. I really suck at bicycle repair, so I rely a lot on bicycle repair shops when I cycle. But in Mexico, these places are cheap and they usually know what they are doing. So my suggestion is to support the local economy a little and let them help you when you have a problem.

Bicycle repair shop in Mexico.

Bicycle repair shop in Mexico.

Fixing a flat tire in Mexico.

Fixing a flat tire in Mexico.

This was a bit of advice from me about cycling in Mexico. Feel free to write to me if you have any additional questions. And I will be happy to answer them as best as I can. As mentioned, I have been to Mexico several times with my bicycle. So I know the country quite well as a cycling destination.

Happy cycling in Mexico.


Mexico is full of live music.

Mexico is full of live music.

Cycling the Mezcal route.

Cycling the Mezcal route.


  1. I enjoyed reading your tips and advice. We are driving down in December and thinking about taking our bikes. Since you stay in a lot of motels I was wondering what your average cost was. I am trying to decide how much to budget for our trip. Thanks and happy cycling. Joyce

    • Hi Joyce. The price I paid for small local hotels long the route was between 200 and 800 Pesos. Most nights it was between 300 and 450 pesos fora single room in a small local hotel. Hope you will have a nice trip.

  2. Good advice! I’m a bit too old to do this kind of trip any more, but I enjoy reading about it.

  3. Great perspectives and advice, thank you! Could you give us a general idea of the routes you took on your trips, the difficulty level and at what time of year? Thanks!

  4. Great read! Thanks for sharing! We would love to bike travel mexico sometime. Have always been worried for safety, not only towards crime, shootings and robbery, but also because of the driving. To get a driving license in Mexico is like getting a Big Mac!
    Your post gives me hope, I’d love to try it out sometime. Maybe the Baja California peninsula, maybe from Mexico City towards Oaxaca… I’d love to do it all! So much to see, so little time…

  5. This post was particularly helpful for me to respond to the many people whose initial reaction to me cycling from Vancouver Canada to Colombia is always about how dangerous it is…. thank you for sharing.

  6. Claude – thanks for the useful tips. I was specifically looking for current information about bringing my bike onto the buses and you provided me with all the info I needed. Much appreciated!

  7. Mexico looks like such a beautiful place to go cycling. I too have been worried about the crime, but from the way you state, it seems comparatively safe for tourists. I hope that’s true. Loved the rest of your advice about cycling in Mexico. Will definitely get back to you with some more questions when I plan my trip down south.

  8. Thanks for the tips and a bit of itinerary. I am planning of visiting Mexico next year. I will surely not going to miss this tour.

  9. My Brit bike buddy and I are meeting in Cancun in Feb and riding Mexico for 6 weeks. I’ve cycle toured all over the world, Australia/Tasmania, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Cairo to Capetown, US, SE Asia for past 8 years during winter, Cuba, etc. But have never gone down to Mexico to cycle tour. We’d planned for Cuba again but decided to head down Mexico way. Plan is to cycle out of Cancun down to Tulum, then over to Coba and up around the Yucatan taking in the Mayan ruins, then over to Vera Cruz and down along the coast. Not sure if we’ll head into Guatamala and up through Belize before we fly from Cancun on March 18.

    • Hi, I do a smaller tour the other way round in 3 weeks. From Merida to Celestun, Uxmal, Loltun, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Coba, Tulum, Cozumel to Cancun. Flying home from there at the 12th Feb. Maybe we meet.

      Great reports Claus!

  10. Hi me and a friend are doing a trip from western Canada through the States and Mexico do you have any advice for going through more crime riddled areas like the U.S. Mexico border?

    • Just cycle through that area. It’s not like you are going to be attacked there.The problem is mainly drug running in the area and they couldn’t care less about a cyclist. You main risk is being run over by a car in that part of Mexico, cause traffic is so congested. But once you are 100 kilometers south of the border, traffic starts to get a lot better. So it’s really just a matter of a day or two of cycling in traffic conditions that are not the best. Have a fantastic trip mate.

  11. Hello Claus

    I am planning to travel to Mexico for 6-8 weeks, probably to Cancun because it is inexpensive to fly from Canada.

    I was wondering if you had any opinion of buying a bike in Mexico and then reselling or gifting it.
    Are 2nd hand bikes available in the repair shops?

    Sound like you had a great trip and thanks for providing the information.

    • Hi’ mate. I bought a second hand bike myself last summer in Tapachula in southern Mexico. Really a good bike that I am cycling around Sri Lanka with right now. But of course you need the right amount of luck to find that too. A city like Cancun should have some decent bike shops too I would think. Mexico has a fair number of local cyclists wwho are also in to touring, so the biggest cities generally have shops that cater to these people.

  12. My husband and I plan on flying to Mexico City in December and then cycling to Cancun, taking 3 months so we have time to explore and enjoy the journey. We can’t decide between heading east from Cuernavaca to Veracruz and around or going south to Oaxaca to Selina Cruz and then north to Palenque and on. Do you recommend one route over the other? Thanks for your help!

  13. Thanks! It’s reassuring, especially about Mexico City. I’m now in Tampico on my way South and I can’t but agree with your description of roads and traffic, though I would say taxi and bus drivers in Tampico are on par with your van guys. I’d add that dirt roads offer beautiful scenery but might be spots where cartel guys smoke a reefer or do business. Only sad note/critic: saying that truck drivers aren’t the most educated, even if it’s true, is kind of a useless low blow and a sad thing to say. I have a few truck drivers in my family and I don’t care much about education anyways. School and degrees aren’t the only kind of intelligence.

  14. Hi Claus!

    Great advice! I spent almost a year cycling around Mexico and wrote the following blog – — it’s not very fancy but I hope it would be a good help for cycling tourists curious about going to Mexico on their bicycles.

    Many thanks,
    Ross (Cyclemexico)

  15. I am so glad you shared this, because I’m considering a multi-week bicycle journey in Mexico. I’m curious what your favorite stretches were, and if there are some particularly scenic and awesome places you can go through on a long contiguous journey. Also, what time of the year would you recommend for this?

    • You should try to go between november and May for the best weather. Late summer and fall has a risk of hurricanes. I personally like the coastal route in southern Mexico in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. But cycling north from Puebla through the state of Hidalgo is very nice too. And that route is up in the mountains. Have a fantastic trip.

  16. do you ever lead groups? I’m interested in inexpensive touring, just saw your blog for first time and would welcome direction

    • Hi’ Mark. Thank you for your comment. I do work as a tour leader, but I am currently mostly leading tours for Danish companies, as it pays quite well. And the tours I lead at the moment are mainly in Portugal and Sri Lanka.

  17. I am looking to ride in Mexico, will yo be coming back, or do you know of anyone who leads inexpensive rides here?

  18. Do you bicycle alone in Mexico? Im thinking of riding down along California U.S.A. into Mexico, through Mexico city into Puebla but Ill be all by myself

  19. Hi,

    I’m interested in biking from the Yucatan to Mexico City, preferably along the coast. Have you done this route? What time of year is best? What are other parts of Mexico you highly recommend? Thank you for any additional information!

    • Hi’ Kitty. I do not really have any experience in biking the Yucatan, as I have only been backpacking there. The gulf coast from Yucatan and up along the east coast of Mexico is a part of Mexico that I have biked a little. And it was quite fine. Mexican friends have told me not to bike further up that Tampico on the east coast of Mexico, as it get’s a little bad with crime when you are close to the US border. But that should not be a problem for you, if you are heading towards Mexico City. Just be ready for a long climb when you are leaving the coast and heading up towards Mexico City. All the best from here and have a fantastic trip.

  20. Thanks for all the information! Especially the part about the paved roads and shoulders, and the hotels being accommodating about bringing bikes inside.

  21. Hi Alex Wand, am really interested in the route you are taking for the Monarch Butterflies
    Are you able to email or text me 203-771-5583 thank you!

  22. Hi Claus,
    I’m bringing my bike on my cousin’s car down to Mexico, then riding. Are there permits/fees to cross my bicycle across the US/Mexico border? My bike is long haul trucker, worth around 900 dollars. Im not sure if value is a factor.

  23. Claus, Wonderful stuff! So glad you defused the fear of Mexico, and great to get your advice, especially about attitudes to travelers like yourself.

  24. Hello,
    This blog is Mexico trip plan go to tour cycling in Mexico best joyful. thank you for share this blog

  25. A friend and i are thinking go biking to see the monarchs – there are three national parks near Mexico City that are reserves for monarchs. “Reserva la biosfera santuario mariposa”. Any experience in that area?

    • Hi’ Leisha. I have not been to see the monarchs yet. And I have also stayed away from cycling the state of Michoacan, after being told by Mexican friends and Mexican police that it’s not the best state to travel Michoacan and Guerrero, as well as the border region to the US are the parts of Mexico I was told to be careful about when I was last in Mexico.I have personally never had any problems cycling around Mexico. I have been to pretty much all the states surrounding Guerrero and Michoacan and have not had any problems there. But I’m afraid that I can not tell you too much about the monarchs.

      • Hi Claus!

        Wondering if you have an opinion on biking through Baja, then taking the ferry to Mazatlan? Or is it better to go down through the non peninsular states?

        Also, I wonder if you have an opinion of the two European cyclist murdered in Chiapas in 2018? Do you think the Chiapas region is a safe route to Central America?


        • Hi’ Ed. I have cycled down the Baja peninsula a few years ago and taken the ferry to Mazatlan. That was one of my best trips ever. Only bad part is right south of the US border, where traffic is too congested. And the area is just ramshackle in general. But once you are south of Ensenada, then you have fantastic cycling. And the further sough you get on the Baja peninsula, the better it get’s. I highly recommend that route. When talking the two cyclist who were killed, then I prefer to be a little diplomatic, as people who are dead can not defend their actions. But I always ask the locals and the local police if the road I plan to take is safe. And I never camp rough on the side of the road in Latin America. No one should get killed, no matter what they do in life. But I would never have gone down that road thhy went myself. And I would also never had camped rough on a road that had a history of highway robberies.

  26. Jesus Gonzalez

    I’m planning on traveling all 32 states of Mexico, what type of bicycle do you recommend, mountain or road? I ask because of the roads plus you have experience dancing with them.

    Thank you.

    • Personally I always ride with a mountain bike. But that is mainly because a mountain bike is easier to repair and easier to maintain. I would say that you can easily use a road bike in Mexico as long as you stay on normal roads. Road quality in Mexico is generally very fine. And roads are nicely paved.

  27. Pingback: I just spend a couple of nice days in Mazunte in southern Mexico.

  28. Hi Claus
    What are the best maps for route planning in Mexico? I’m looking for a route south from Antelope Wells after completing, hopefully, the Great Divide MTB route? Probably heading for Chihuahua.
    Great blog thanks

    • Hi Bill. Thank you for commenting. When cycling around Mexico I have personally just used online maps from google maps and mapsme. And in the past old fashioned paper maps. When I plan a trip I am the kinda person who just stick two pins in the map and then start riding from A to B and then figure out along the way where to eat, sleep and so on. So I do no really do any detailed route planning before the trip. I am also not an off road cyclist. I tend to stay on paved roads and eat and sleep at little truck stop cafes and motels.

  29. Hi, thanks a lot for all the advice, great to read!
    Could you also share a few route recommendations with mostly paved roads? We plan ~4weeks in January and want to bring our own Touring bikes from Germany…

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