April 7th-18th, 2016 – Puebla to Oaxaca

We cycled small backroads and dirt roads out of Puebla and into Oaxaca. The beaten path to Oaxaca through the large industrial city of Tehuacán did not appeal to us – we much prefer the longer, quieter and sometimes more challenging roads that lead us through farm lands and small mountain towns.

Sunset over Tepexi de Rodriguez outside of Puebla – a mining town with beautiful quartz artisanías 

Sunset over Tepexi de Rodriguez outside of Puebla – a mining town with beautiful quartz artisanías 

Making chai at camp in Tepexi de Rodriguez, Puebla

Making chai at camp in Tepexi de Rodriguez, Puebla

Quiet paved roads leaving Puebla turned into dirt roads

Quiet paved roads leaving Puebla turned into dirt roads

Our route took us through Tepexi de Rodriguez, Santa Cruz Nuevo, Petlalcingo, Huajuapan, Nochixtlan and finally into Oaxaca City. People were generous, friendly and interested in our travels. We camped along a river, at churches, municipalities, in backyards and out in the wild where some goat shepherds got a kick out of us. Police came to one such camp site, assuring us they'd keep a watchful eye and informed us that it was safe. We always ask locals if the area is safe as we pass through. This entire stretch was a resounding "yes" to that question. 

Morning chai in Tecali de Herrera, Puebla

Morning chai in Tecali de Herrera, Puebla

Camping at the municipality in the tiny town of Santa Cruz Nuevo near the Puebla/Oaxaca border

Camping at the municipality in the tiny town of Santa Cruz Nuevo near the Puebla/Oaxaca border

Local tiendas were always stocked with plenty of cold water and basic vegetables - avocados, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and limes. Comedores were more than happy to accommodate our vegetarian diets with delicious quesadillas and homemade salsa. Fresh squeezed orange juice was inexpensive and plentiful in these parts. 

Camped along a river outside Tepexi de Rodriguez

Camped along a river outside Tepexi de Rodriguez

Sunrise chai again! 

Sunrise chai again! 

The remarkable views in the mountains of Northern Oaxaca made this leg quite memorable. We were grateful to have Mehedi's dad Benyamin with us, who reminded us how great it is to have chai every day! This leg took us about 9 days to cycle – again, much longer than if we had taken the usual route through Tehuacán. We took our time though, averaging 25-30 miles a day.

Highlights from Puebla to Oaxaca include:

  •  Unexcavated ruins in Huajuapan
  • Cycling up to the ruins of Monte Alban, 1,000 ft climb with quite a treat at the top, and a stunning 1,000 ft descent back into Oaxaca below
  • Stunning mountain views in Southern Puebla with thousands upon thousands of enormous cacti
  • Camping beside a river outside Tepexi de Rodriguez, Puebla

And now for the photos...

Benyamin taking a quick break from the sun in Molcaxac

Benyamin taking a quick break from the sun in Molcaxac

Sunset outside Puebla

Sunset outside Puebla

Great River camping! 

Great River camping! 

Lots of big agriculture in the area

Lots of big agriculture in the area

Enormous cacti & succulents in the area

Enormous cacti & succulents in the area

Small towns in the state of Puebla

Small towns in the state of Puebla

Massive cacti & trees

Massive cacti & trees

Leaving camp outside Santa Cruz Nuevo

Leaving camp outside Santa Cruz Nuevo

Loving these cacti! 

Loving these cacti! 

Camping in Santa Cruz Nuevo at the municipality

Camping in Santa Cruz Nuevo at the municipality

More from the small towns we passed. Cowboys, cute tiendas, friendly locals. 

More from the small towns we passed. Cowboys, cute tiendas, friendly locals. 

Lots of churches along this stretch - even in the tiniest of towns, the churches are large and well-kept

Lots of churches along this stretch - even in the tiniest of towns, the churches are large and well-kept

Leaving the state of Puebla and entering Oaxaca! 

Leaving the state of Puebla and entering Oaxaca! 

Climbing quiet dirt roads in the mountains of Puebla

Climbing quiet dirt roads in the mountains of Puebla

The moon keeps a watchful eye over our camp

The moon keeps a watchful eye over our camp

Camping along the river under the stars!

Camping along the river under the stars!

Have we mentioned all the cacti yet? 

Have we mentioned all the cacti yet? 

About to descend into a valley in Puebla close to the Oaxaca border

About to descend into a valley in Puebla close to the Oaxaca border

Unexcavated ruins in Huajuapan

Unexcavated ruins in Huajuapan

Birds & cacti in southern Puebla

Birds & cacti in southern Puebla

Paved roads through Southern Puebla were a bit chewed up but with so little traffic we were able to navigate the pot-holes no problem

Paved roads through Southern Puebla were a bit chewed up but with so little traffic we were able to navigate the pot-holes no problem

Again with the cacti... 

Again with the cacti... 

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Filling up our bottles from a water truck! 

Filling up our bottles from a water truck! 

Mehedi kept getting flats on this leg

Mehedi kept getting flats on this leg

Arriving in Oaxaca City, feeling great!

Arriving in Oaxaca City, feeling great!

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Hot hot day exploring Monte Albán

Hot hot day exploring Monte Albán

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Overlooking the beautiful Monte Albán

Overlooking the beautiful Monte Albán

Ball court at Monte Albán  

Ball court at Monte Albán  

Sprawling ruins

Sprawling ruins

Stellae at Monte Albán  

Stellae at Monte Albán  

Adios, Monte Albán! 

Adios, Monte Albán! 

Mehedi and Benyamin at the top of the climb to Monte Albán, with their matching hats! 

Mehedi and Benyamin at the top of the climb to Monte Albán, with their matching hats! 

Colorful Oaxaca City

Colorful Oaxaca City

Crew of three! 

Crew of three! 

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Not long after we completed this leg, Nochixtlan was in the news for a police-civilian stand-off in which eleven teachers were shot dead and many more injured by Mexican police during a demonstration & road block. The teachers were protesting new education reform laws. Very tragic, indeed. Our hearts go out to the people of Oaxaca, and all of Mexico, who are enduring such heavy government corruption in their daily lives.

Easily the best tamales we had in all of Mexico – purchased in the streets of Oaxaca

Easily the best tamales we had in all of Mexico – purchased in the streets of Oaxaca

Our next post will cover our time spent in Oaxaca City, cycling an intense 160 mile dirt road stretch through the mountains and to the coast, and into Chiapas.  Stay tuned!

Incredible wild camping in the mountains of Northern Oaxaca

Incredible wild camping in the mountains of Northern Oaxaca

Crossing the state border into Oaxaca! 

Crossing the state border into Oaxaca! 

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