I spent several months cycling Mexico as part of my bike tour from Alaska to Argentina. Here's some practical bicycle touring advice to plan your own Mexico bike ride.
Bike Touring in Mexico
I've been fortunate to have travelled through Mexico twice now. Once, was as a backpacker visiting the major archaeological sites in Mexico, and the other was on a bicycle as part of my Alaska to Argentina bike tour.
I spent just over two months bike touring through Mexico, and loved the experience there.
This practical advice for planning your own Mexico bike ride is based on my experiences cycling in Mexico.
Hopefully you should find it useful, but you should definitely supplement it with your own up to date research, particularly including areas it might be best to avoid.
Is it safe to travel in Mexico?
So, let's get this one out the way first shall we! The ‘Mexico is a dangerous, lawless place to be avoided' narrative has been going on for years. With the rise of Trump, that narrative has grown even louder.
Is there an element of truth in it though?
My own personal experience is that I never felt unsafe when cycling Mexico. Most of the time people offered places to stay, were friendly and generous with their time and food.
I'm sure you will have an equally enjoyable experience bike touring in Mexico if you use your commonsense.
Is there crime in Mexico? Of course there is. Will it affect your bike tour? Probably not.
If you're still not sure about how safe cycling Mexico might be, do some research comparing crime statistics between Mexico and the United States. The gun crime statistics might surprise you.
Is it safe to cycle in Mexico?
The biggest hazard when cycling in Mexico will be the trucks on roads without much shoulder. Stay off the busy highways where possible and you'll be fine.
I didn't think it was particularly any worse than cycling on similar roads in the USA when biking the Pacific Highway.
Cycling route through Mexico
You've got various options when it comes to planning your Mexico bike ride route. I decided to cycle down through Baja California, take the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan in Mexico, and then continue more or less following the coast.
Keep in mind that Mexico is bigger than you might think it is.
If you are planning a Pan American cycling trip, you'll have to also balance out any visa restrictions you have (I managed to get 180 days but didn't use them all) with the weather and seasons in the next country you are heading for.
With more money for the trip, I would love to have maxed out my visa in Mexico bike touring and explored some different areas. Still, it's there for next time!
When to cycle in Mexico
I cycled through Mexico between the months of November and February. It was a touch on the warm side in Baja California, but overall I think I had it pretty good for most of the time.
You'll need to plan when to cycle in Mexico based on the route you want to take – or vice versa. Keep in mind that some coastlines get hit by hurricanes, and there can also be heavy rains at some times of year.
Where to sleep on your Mexico bike ride
There's options aplenty when it comes on where to sleep during your bike tour in Mexico. Is wild camping your thing? Ask at roadside restaurants and fire stations and you'll rarely be turned down.
Prefer official camping grounds? You'll find them all through Baja California and along the coast of ‘mainland' Mexico. They're affordable and you'll get to have a shower at the end of a day's ride.
The hospitality networks operate well in Mexico. Check out Warmshowers and Couchsurfing if you haven't already. It's a nice way to connect with locals on your bike tour in Mexico.
Don't be put off by hotels either. You'll find plenty of affordable hotel rooms in small towns and cities all through Mexico. You'll also be able to take your bicycle into the hotel room to keep it safe.
The cost of cycling Mexico
As with any country you can spend as much or as little as you like when bike touring in Mexico.
I would say that this is one of the countries in the world where you could easily bike tour for less than $20 a day without too much effort. Probably much less than this if you are hardcore.
Check out my tips for how to reduce costs on a bike tour for more information.
Mexico Bike Ride Blogs
I wrote a blog post a day when cycling Mexico. I've listed them underneath.
In each bike touring entry, there is a navigation at the end of the post to take you on to the next one.
- Cycling from Encinitas to Tijuana (Mexico!!)
- Cycling from Tijuana to Ensenada
- Cycling from Ensenada to Las Canadas in Mexico
- Cycling Las Canadas to San Vicente
- Cycling from San Vicente to Colonel Vicente Guerro
- Day off San Vicente Guerro – Rest day on the bike tour
- Cycling from Colonel Vicente Guerro to El Rosario
- Cycling from El Rosario to San Agustin
- Cycling from San Agustin to Catavina
- Cycling from Catavina to Paradar Punta Prieta El Crucero
- Cycling from Parador Punta Prieta El Crucero to Guerro Negro
- Cycling from Guerro Negro to Vizcaino
- Day off Vizcaino
- Cycling from Vizcaino to San Ignacio
- Cycling from San Ignacio to Santa Rosalia
- Cycling from Santa Rosalia to Mulege
- Day off Mulege
- Another Day off in Mulege
- Two Weeks off in Mulege
- Cycling from Mulege to Buenaventura
- Cycling from Buenaventura to Loreto
- Cycling from Loreto to El Juncalito
- Cycling from El Junacilto to Ciudad Constitucion
- Cycling from Ciudad Constitucion to El Cien
- Cycling from El Cien to La Paz
- Time off in La Paz
- Ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan
- Sightseeing in Mazatlan
- Day off Mazatlan
- Cycling from Mazatlan to Escuinapa
- Cycling from Escuinapa to Acaponeta
- Cycling from Acaponeta to Santiago Ixcuitla – Bike Tour in Mexico
- Day off in Santiago Ixcuitla
- Cycling from Santiago Ixcuitla to San Blas and an extended stay
- Cycling from San Blas to Las Varas
- Cycling from Las Varas to Sayulita
- Cycling from Sayulita to Puerta Vallarta
- Cycling from Puerta Vallarta to A field somewhere
- Cycling from A field somewhere to Punta Perula
- Cycling from Punta Perula to Barra de Navidad
- Day off in Barra de Navidad
- Cycling from Barra de Navidad to Cuyutlan
- Cycling from Cuyutlan to Ticla
- Cycling from Ticla to Tizupan – Bike Touring in Mexico
- Cycling from Tizupan to Coleta de Campas
- Cycling from Coleta de Campas to Guacamayas
- Cycling from Guacamayas to Playa Linda
- Day off Ixtapa
- Cycling from Ixtapa to Papanoa
- Cycling from Papanoa to San Jeronimo
- Cycling from San Jeronimo to Acapulco
- Day off in Acapulco
- Cycling from Acapulco to San Marcos
- Cycling from San Marcos to Marquelia
- Cycling from Marquelia to Cuajinicuilapa
- Cycling from Cuajinicuilapa to Pinotepa Nacional
- Cycling from Pinotepa to San Jose del Progresso
- Cycling from San Jose del Progresso to Puerto Escondido
- Day off in Puerto Escondido
- Cycling from Puerto Escondido to Pochutla
- Cycling from Pochutla to Santiago Astata
- Cycling from Santiago Istata to Tehuantepec
- Day off Tehuantepec
- Cycling from Tehuantepec to Niltepec
- Cycling from Niltepec to Tapanatepec
- Cycling from Tapanatepec to Cintalapa
- Cycling from Cintalapa to Chiapa de Corza
- Cycling from Chiapa de Corza to San Cristobal de las Casas
- Day off in San Cristobal
- A week off in San Cristobal de las Casas
- Sightseeing in San Cristobal de las Casas
- More time off in San Cristobal
- Cycling from San Cristobal to Ocosingo
- Cycling from Ocosingo to Agua Azul
- Cycling from Agua Azul to Palenque
- Day off in Palenque
- Cycling from Palenque to Frontera Corozal
Pin this Mexico bike touring guide for later
Bike Touring Mexico FAQ
Readers planning bike tours when they visit Mexico often ask questions similar to:
Is it worth cycling to Mexico City when in Mexico?
I would say that most bike tourers would prefer to avoid riding in Mexico city. It's a large chaotic place which doesn't make for pleasant cycling.
Do you need to speak Spanish on a Mexico bike tour?
Knowing a few words and sentences is going to make your life a lot easier when riding a trans Mexico route. Cyclists will find it relatively easy to learn as they ride, although putting some time into learning Spanish before the trip is advised.
What is the most popular cycling route for bike tours in Mexico?
There are a number of different routes you could consider, such as the Baja Divide or Yucatan Peninsula.
Is it safe to go wild camping in Mexico?
I found that it was safe to wild camp in rural areas and small villages. Many cyclists ask at the local fire station to see if they can camp in the grounds.