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Tuesday Edition

Motorcycling The Yucatan

Cancun to Chichen Itza on a Harley Davidson

Koz Mraz



The Yucatan peninsula is well known for its party life in Cancun, the Mayan ruins, beautiful beaches and incredible resorts. I’ve ridden Harleys in Asia, Europe, Jamaica and Bali, why not here? The upside is the toll roads are amazing, secondary roads pretty well maintained and generally the drivers are very well mannered. Like any foreign country you need to get your directions clear before the ride and obey all the local speed limits. The downside is it’s a jungle out there; dense tundra foliage carpets the entire peninsula.

All that aside, let’s ride! I picked up my ride at www.harleyadventures.com , Eikka, the owner, has been renting bikes here for 15 years and his shop is right off the main road (307) between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and very easy to find. There’s no helmet law in the Yucatan, but as always, all the right gear is suggested and free helmets are available at Harley Adventures. The perfect day trip to test the waters is Tulum. It’s only 35 miles from to Tulum and then another 30 miles to Coba. You will cruise right through check points with Federalies wielding machine guns. It’s good to know they are on the watch for “bad hombres.”


Tulum, like Chichen Itza, is a popular tourist destination, as you will be hustled as you enter. Ignore all the hawking about special parking and just ride right to the entrance. Parking is free there, and you’ll find space easily on a motorcycle.  The first thing that grabs you here is the astounding turquois color of the ocean.


TULUM: Tulum was the primary location for the Mayan’s extensive trade network with both maritime and land routes converging here. Artifacts found in or near the site confirm contact with Central Mexico and Central America. Archeologists found copper rattles and rings from the Mexican highlands; flint and ceramics from the Yucatán, and jade from Guatemala. Tulum was the hub for international trade and responsible for the distribution of goods into the Yucatan through Coba, Chichen Itza and connecting settlements. Tulum was also a religious center for priests with the walls protecting the sacred leaders.


There are so many cool trendy shops and restaurants on the ride into the main entrance to check out. We were on a mission and didn’t have the time to amble about, but did stop at a small outdoor restaurant and had the best shrimp Tacos we’ve ever eaten.

The next destination was Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, a 70 mile, 2 to 3 hour ride. The toll roads (aka Cuotas) are well paved two large lanes each direction with a wide median. Toll roads are very safe, very straight and zero views beside dense jungle on both sides. Pretty boring, but hey, you’re on a Harley.  Be apprised, there are virtually NO rest stops or on or off-ramps the entire ride. Make sure any restroom needs are addressed prior to the trip.


CHICHEN ITZA: This site is amazing, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, only marred by the fact that you can’t climb it anymore and the hundreds of vendors hawking the same trinkets.  It was closed to climbers in 2008 because 3 people had died that year and 21 injured.  In fact, people were getting hurt almost every year. One false misstep at the top and it's a one way trip to the bottom with nothing to grab onto. Probably a good idea, seeing as how many inebriated partiers and senior citizens were pouring out of massive tour busses from Cancun.


It’s truly magnificent. I recommend using a guide because the history here runs so deep. From the Venus temple, ball courts, observatory and sacrificial cenotes, you could easily spend all day here. The ball court was played with a 10lb solid rubber ball by two opposing teams. Only one ball through the stone circle won the game. The most incredible part is that the winner was beheaded! For these ancient players, it was an honor to be sacrificed in the Maya culture because it guaranteed eternal afterlife. It’s also here amidst the mass of trinket vendors, you’ll find the ancient mask of El Aitch Dee, the Mayan god of “Two Wheels Spinning.”


If you’re looking to do a motorcycle road trip in Mexico, the Yucatan is a great place to start as the weather is normally pretty good. You’ll encounter a few sprinkles but will dry out real fast. The roads are great, and there are lots of things to see, whether a half day ride or a few days. Eikka, the owner of www.harleyadventures.com has a variety of motorcycle and affordable prices.