Welcome to the jungle: Cycling from the Mountains to the Lowlands
Our ride from San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas to Merida, Yucatan… welcome to the jungle, baby.
We left our comfortable station at San Cristobal thinking we’d have a somewhat easy few days crossing Chiapas. We were wrong. Our first day out we crossed some beautiful mountains that went over arid pine forests and descended into a dense cloud forest jungle. It was our biggest day yet at 74 miles and 4,120 feet ascending into Ocosingo (which we dubbed Ochocinco). Not much to the town itself, but we ended up being sacked in by rain the next day, so we all caught up on reading and eating.
The day after, it was still raining but we decided to go for it. There wasn’t much to do in Ochocinco. We donned our rain gear for the first time on the trip and set the pedal to the, er, pedal. We got fairly soaked while crossing some beautiful jungle and the steepest climbs yet. After arriving that afternoon in Agua Azul, a popular tourist destination with a pretty amazing waterfall, we procured a fairly new guest house room and were greeted by a warm cup of Nescafe by it’s proprietor. You will have to take my word for it that the falls were amazing (or do a Google search for Agua Azul Chiapas)… we couldn’t really get good photos as it was generally rainy while we were there.
The following day we took off for another fantastic jungle ride to the town and ruins of Palenque. Along the descent we occasionally got glimpses of the expansive Yucatan that awaited us. We made our two night stay in a small village, called Panchan, set right in the jungle. As we pulled in on the dirt path, we were greeted by some really loud howler monkeys, which gave it an immediate untamed ambience. And as it turns out, there are quite a few ‘untamed’ hippy-expatriates living in Panchan, subsisting on the local byproduct of ‘caca de vaca’.