Bicycle Touring Experiences from Mexico

Mexico

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who travel to Mexico (you can share your experiences here).



Bicycle rentals & Tours in Santa Fe, NM

Just one block from the downtown plaza and only a fifteen minute bike ride to miles of single-track makes this your ultimate mountainbike destination in Santa Fe, NM. Offering shuttles to the incredible Windsor trail or a wonderful cruise through the forest by way of a wide dirt road for less experienced riders.

Maps, great epuipment and the friendliest of advice makes Sun Mountain Bicycles the people to see in the "city different".

Tom Rael, January 30, 2005

Boxes Prohibited on American Airlines for Xmas

I just heard the following from American Airlines ... wondering if the
other airlines will follow suit? They say that boxes aren't allowed on select flights, yet bikes are OK. Since many domestic airlines seem to require bikes be put in boxes on flights originating from the US, I wonder what effect this policy will have on those flying with bicycles?

Brian DeSousa



American Airlines to Limit Baggage and Boxes During The Holiday Season To Select Latin American and Caribbean Destinations

In anticipation of increased holiday travel to and from certain cities in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean, American Airlines and American Eagle, remind passengers that they will implement a policy limiting the size and number of checked bags and prohibiting checked boxes.

"American and American Eagle's intent is to provide the best customer
service possible and to consider the needs of all passengers," said Peter Dolara, senior vice president- Miami, the Caribbean and Latin America. "There are limits on the amount of baggage that can be carried, both in the cabin and cargo areas, based on the size of the aircraft. This year the list of the impacted cities has been narrowed and the embargo period significantly shortened."

The limits will be in effect between Dec. 10, 2003, and Jan. 9, 2004.
During this period, American will not accept boxes, and baggage will be limited to two checked items and one carry-on. The baggage and box
embargo applies to: Cali, Colombia; Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela; La Paz and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Lima, Peru; and Quito, Ecuador, in South America; Managua, Nicaragua; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Panama City, Panama; San Salvador, El Salvador; San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in Central America; Kingston, Jamaica; Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Port of Spain, Trinidad in the Caribbean. All American Eagle flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico, are also included.

For passengers traveling to Leon and Guadalajara, Mexico, the bag and box limits are in effect Nov. 15, 2003, through Jan. 9, 2004. Additionally, boxes will not be accepted to Mexico City during this period.

Effective Nov. 22, 2003, through Jan. 9, 2004, American Eagle passengers flying from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando or Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, will also be limited to two checked bags and one carry-on.

There is a year-round box embargo for passengers traveling from or through New York's Kennedy Airport to all Caribbean and Latin American
destinations.

Excess, oversize, and overweight baggage will not be accepted for flights to the destinations covered by the bag embargo. Passengers will be limited to a maximum of two checked bags, with each not exceeding 62 linear inches (computed by adding the length, width and height of the bag) and 70 pounds. One carry-on bag will be allowed with a maximum size of 45 linear inches and a maximum weight of 40 pounds. Sports equipment, such as golf bags, bikes and surfboards, can be accepted as part of the total checked-bag allowance, although additional charges may apply.
Brian DeSousa, November 24, 2003

Shipping Services, Worldwide

Hi folks,

From Chile and to Chile, Also to Bolivia, or through my Agents in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Perú, etc. I can help you Shipping your staf worldwide. If your comming to Chile on tours, Biking, etc. Just e-mail me, I was a Traveller and have helped friend from USA, Australia, New Zealand shipping their bikes, etc.

Francisco Herrera Barnachea, May 27, 2003

Touring Mexico: Guadalajara to Acapulco

Here's our touring experience from our 2003 Mexico month-long bike tour - hobobiker.com/mexico/.

BTW - Mexicana Airlines was outstanding and carried our bikes (in box) and BOB trailer for free, then handled them exceptionally.

Bike boxes were impossible to find in Mexico. Bike shops in Acapulco thought we were silly to ask. We had to take a tax around to *several* furniture/appliance stores (mueblerias) looking for large boxes, and then build our own boxes.

Randy Fay, March 29, 2003

Since 9-11, request luggage inspection for Bike Friday

In Jan, 2002, I flew with my Bike Friday from DC to Guadalajara, Mexico, on American Airlines. A friend flew with his bike in a box purchased from American. Before our trip, I received e-mail from Bike Friday warning of damage to their bikes & suitcases due to random inspections of Bike Friday suitcases out of sight of the passenger. I called up American and explained the situation.

The agent suggested I request an inspection of my bike suitcase in my presence, after which, my suitcase would be tagged as having already passed inspection. When I checked in at Washington-Dulles, the agent didn't know what I was talking about. However, another agent overheard me, and she told my check-in agent that she was authorized to do such inspections.

That implies that on American, at least, some employees are authorized to do security inspections and others are not. So, I let her check me in. She was very thorough (she wouldn't let me pack my Tri-flow chain lubricant), and when she was finished, she placed a special sticker on my suitcase, and wrote her own ID number on the sticker. She advised me to lock the suitcase at that point, though I chose not to.

Both of our bikes arrived in Guadalajara in fine condition. My friend had to pay $50 for his bike, plus $20 for the box. As we arrived at GDL around 10pm, we took a camioneta taxi into the city. It cost a fixed rate 130 pesos, plus about 50 additional pesos for my friend's bike box. A paqueteria kindly let us store my empty suitcase and my friend's empty bike box for free (the hotel refused after saying OK on the phone).

When I returned home, random inspections were done only prior to check-in, on tables near the check-in counter. I wasn't selected, but I expressed my concerns to my check-in agent and opened up my suitcase, and he told me there were not random inspection AFTER check-in in Guadalajara, so I needn't worry. After clearing customs in Dallas, the American agent who I re-checked my suitcase with said there were no additional inspections of luggage that cleared customs and were re-checked in. It arrived at Washington-National unscathed.

BTW, Mexican buses readily accept bicycles. No hassles at all. Sometimes there is a charge, sometimes not. Often a tip is expected for the baggage guy who supervises loading, even if you load the bikes yourselves.

Neal Teplitz, January 31, 2002

Bike Rental -- Santa Fe, New Mexico

Found on: rec.bicycles.rides

There's lots to do on a mt. bike, especially the area west of town known as the Caja Del Rio.


  • Bike Sport 1829 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505) 820-0809
  • Santa Fe Mountain Sports 607 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505) 988-3337

SB


Steve Bailey, May 05, 2001

United Airlines

I flew United to from San Francisco to Mexico via Los Angeles. On departure, they checked my bike, in a commercial plastic bike box, as international luggage and we were assessed no charge (they then sent the bike on a different shuttle to LA than the plane we were scheduled on; our plane got cancelled, hence our bikes remained in LA while we had to spend an overnight in SF awaiting another flight the next day). We transferred to an AeroCalifornia flight to Manzanillo and our bikes were checked through; again, no charge.

When leaving Mexico, AeroCalifornia didn't charge us for the bikes (international baggage rules). When we got to LA, however, we had to pick our baggage and clear customs. On checking in at United, we were informed we were now on a domestic flight and domestic baggage rules applied and it was $75 to fly the bike to SF. We argued it was simply a leg on an international flight, as it was when we left the US. And the tickets were issued by United. After calling the supervisor, etc. (and pointing out that they'd lost our luggage--twice--on the trip, as well as cancelling our flight and causing a one-day layover) they relented and waived the charge.

Rob Gendreau, February 24, 2001

Merida, Mexico & Yucatan

Trip in February, 2000. Biking to/from Merida airport was OK. When we arrived late one evening, no taxi was willing to take us and our bikes to our hotel. So we pedaled.
Biking in the Yucatan was easy & pleasant. Many local cyclists in Mayan villages. The people were great. The Yucatan felt very safe. Many interesting sights to see. The landscape, however, was often scrubby and a bit boring. We took one bus trip, and our bikes were transported without any hassles.

Neal Teplitz, November 28, 2000

Bags vs. Boxes ... (a continuing debate)

Just a comment on taking bicycles on aircraft. We did a tour last year from London, Ontario to Belize through Mexico.

We used Air Ontario (Dash 8 aircraft) from London to Toronto, Air Canada (Airbus 320) from Toronto to Houston, and Continental (Boeing 737) Airlines from Houston to Cancun. There were six of us travelling at the same time.

All of the bikes made the journey (at the same time, I might add). All of the bikes were intact with some minor adjustments required on one rear derailleur, and one rear wheel which was out of alignment. Four bikes were shipped using ordinary plastic bicycle bags provided by the airline, and two were shipped in bike boxes which were packed by bike shops. The bikes in the boxes were the ones that needed the adjustments. The ones in plastic arrived in fine shape (maybe the handlers could see what they were shipping, I don't know). Continental was great, they even notified us prior to departure from Houston that all of the bikes were in fact on the aircraft.

Kevin

Kevin Rodger, April 18, 1999

Mexico

I traveled most of last summer all around Mexico, including numerous bus trips with my bike. The only thing I found consistent about Mexican buses was their inconsistency. Most of the time I was not charged for the bike. Other times there was a minimal charge, or a tip to the driver and/or luggage handler was expected, even if I loaded it myself. One time (crossing the mountains between Toluca and Cuernavaca on a second class bus), I was charged double fare, although I was not informed of this until the end of the trip. I paid the excess, since the driver gave no indication that I'd get my bike back without paying. This was exceptional, however. I generally found the bus people to be friendly, helpful, courteous, and fair. And of course, measured in American dollars, even the gouging experiences are cheap.

chris craig
washington dc

Chris Craig, March 12, 1999

Mexico

In my two round the world bike trips and on other foreign jaunts I had reasons from time to time to use buses. Mexico is a prime example of a country where bikes go free with no questions. The problem is really a practical one. If everyone brought a bike along then there would be no room for luggage. As capacity on the buses grows, the chances that a rider might not be able to get the bike into the cargo bin increases. What then?

I believe that bus manufacturers (and all public transport manufacturers) should look at ways of stowing bikes easily and with greater quantity on board public transport. I also believe that bicyclists who plan to use such facilities should look into the state-of-the-art in folding bicycles. Some of the best ones will go all terrain and yet fold into a nylon bag under the seat of a public bus. Check out: http://cruiserbob.com/urban.htm

Bob Kiger
Cruiser Bob's Oceanside BikePackers
PO BOX 999 - Oceanside, CA 92049

(760) 967-8950 FAX: (310) 734-1612

Spokenword, March 10, 1999

Mexico

I just flew out of Mexico City to Havana on Mexicana and the bastards charged me US$50 for the pleasure of taking the bike. I was wondering if anyone else had the same problem. Also leaving Mex City on a JAL flight, the Mexicans wanted to do the same. Gee wiz! After much arguing they let it go. What's with Mexico City Airport?

Check out my site below, and if you'd like to trade a link, I'd be most happy about that.

Cheers, all the best, 🙂
Felix
Biking Southeast Asia with Mr Pumpy!
http://www.netspace.net.au/~mrfelix/bsa/default.htm

Felix, January 16, 1999

Mexico

I did a bicycle trip across northern Mexico this fall (1998) and used public transport for the hot lowland coast stretches, as well as one rainy day over unpaved roads.

On first class buses, I found that once I was asked to pay US$5 for carrying the bicycle, and the other times I was not asked to pay any extra. All buses and lines accepted the bicycle in the luggage compartment and treated me and the bike very nicely.

On the second class bus from Boquillas to Muzquiz my bike rode in the back of the passenger compartment. The driver helped me get it on and off through the rear emergency door. It was very convenient. Autobuses Muzquiz did everything possible to make my travel comfortable.

Never was the idea of a bicycle box even contemplated. What a relief from the anti-bike officious attitude of United States bus lines (Greyhound) and airlines.

-Brian

Brian Watkins, November 17, 1998

Mexico

We just returned from 10 days of cycling in Mexico, flying in and out of Guadalajara airport. We flew on Continental and paid $14.00 each way for our bikes. Make sure that you are charged the rate for Mexico, because domestic is $50.00 one way.They wanted them boxed but did not have boxes in Guadalajara nor any storage facility that we found. So what we did is to ask two young security guards to keep our boxes until we came back. These guys were waiting for us the morning we were flying out and brought our boxes out to us. They wanted $50.00 pesos each which was about 7 dollars each. It was worth it to us.

Riding out of the airport was easy as long as you don't go into Guadalajara. The airport is 17 kilometers out of town and right on the main road to Chapala, a good place to start a tour of the mountains. The road is busy but had a good shoulder most of the way. We took a bus into Guadalajara at the end of our ride but rode out to the airport to leave. It was awful, too much traffic, polllution, four lanes of fast traffic including many many buses and not much shoulder until you get to the Chapala road.
Kathy

Kathy Davidow, April 27, 1997

Mexico

I've bicycled in Mexico three times and have flown in and out of Veracruz, Guadaljara, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta airports. I've taken a box each time, the kind the airlines sell for $10, and each time the box has survived, but has been much the worse for wear. The slots in the side intended for use as handles are always torn out, and the boxes require some repair each time they are reused. One box went Seattle-Guadalajara-Mexico City-Veracruz-Guadalajara-San Jose-Seattle. It was pretty sad looking, but still served to protect the bike to some extent even on the last flight.

The boxes are never available in Mexico, so the biggest problem is finding someplace to store the box before you bicycle away from the airport. It helps to speak Spanish at this point...

In Cancun airport, the Customs guys let me leave it in their secure room, where unclaimed, uncleared baggage is kept. In Guadalajara, Sr. Juan Silva, who works in Lost and Found took the box for me. In Veracruz, the Jefe del Turno (shift boss) for the baggage crew took the box to his little office and kept it there. In Puerto Vallarta, the little sheet metal taxi dispatch shed in front of the airport was the perfect spot, and will be what I look for in Mexican airports from now on, just walk right out the front to the dispatch shed and proffer a note that says "Senores, tengo un problema. Necesito un lugar para guardar este carton hasta [date and time of your departure flight], para mandarla mi bici a los Estados Unidos. Pueden ponerlo en su casita?"

(Have it flattened at this point, and have five or ten bucks ready to offer as a gift, along with profuse thanks, both after it has been agreed to and upon pickup).

Don't forget to wash the bike off, esp. if it's a mountain bike and you've been in any agricultural areas -- the Dept. of Agriculture people will be happier if you don't bring any Mexican mud back on your bike. Mexico has fabulous single-tracks -- centuries of use have created a network of human- and animal-used paths that are perfect for mountain bikes.

Dana Payne, March 17, 1997

Albequerque, New Mexico

I just wanted to let you know that the airport in Albequerque, NM can be easily accessed by a bicycle. The roads leading to the airport are not major highways, they are just normal 2 lane roads. It is certainly a huge contrast to Boston's Logan airport! I have only flown there once, but it struck me how calm the airport and it surroundings were. Hope this helps! -Greg

Gregory Larkin, April 14, 1994

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