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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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!