Scouting The Route Of The 2023 Ruta Maya Cycling Adventure
Longtime TDA staffer Cristiano Werneck has just finished scouting the route for the 2023 Ruta Maya Cycling Adventure. Here is his report his trip, including the new section from Belize City to Tulum.
When TDA Founder Henry Gold and I, back in 2012, poured a bit of hard liquor at the Mayan ruins in Lamanai, an archeological site in Belize, as a form of an offering, we told each other to make a wish. It was the end of the inaugural Ruta Maya, then called the Doomsday Ride.
Michael Coo, from the Toronto office, had read somewhere that the Mayan Calendar predicted that the world was going to end on December 12, 2012. He found an old file in his computer with a route he had come up with a couple of years earlier and showed it to us. There was less than a year for us to finish designing it, scout it and sell it, and so the concept of a “pop-up tour” was created. It was actually not hard to sell the tour, since the world was going to end anyway, so why would anyone need a job or even any money after that December?!
Well, we finished that tour on the day the world was supposed to end. We even convinced the park rangers to allow us to have dinner inside the archaeological site, after closing time. The world was going to end in just a few hours, so why wouldn’t they? We dragged a few very heavy wooden tables and benches to just a few metres from the temples and we brought the food and the drinks in. We ate, we drank (possibly a bit too much) and we waited and waited… As we were waiting for the end of the world, Henry and I offered some booze to the Mayan Gods. I am not very sure about what Henry’s wishes were, but thinking about where TDA Global Cycling is right now and what we are still doing, it is not very hard to guess. Our wishes seem to have been fulfilled.
Eleven years and one pandemic later, I have just wrapped the scouting trip for the ‘new’ Ruta Maya. The revamped tour has taken shape and developed a face and a personality. The new stretch from Belize City to Tulum, Mexico, worked out very well. I am happy we decided to add this cherry on top of that cake. Not only it is a lot easier to fly out of Cancun than Belize City, but the extension also added some great highlights and a lot more Mayan history to the tour – the Lamanai archeological site, Corozal, Bacalar, the Sian Ka’an Reserve and the beautiful and very Mayan, Tulum.
The old route (from San Jose to Belize City) is still there, and although we did make a few changes to the route, it was clear that we did a good job scouting it originally in 2012 and then again in 2015. We made a point to try to drive as many possible route options as we could but in the end our original route is just pretty damn good. We did make a few changes on the first stages from San Jose (Costa Rica) to Granada (Nicaragua). Other than day one, which is very challenging with 1,700 metres of climbing, the first week of the tour is actually designed to help slowly and gradually break in the cyclists for what is to come.
One thing we did change drastically were the accommodations. Out of the 28 hotels from the former tour, we have upgraded 16 of them. Imagine yourself staying in a jungle lodge at Tikal National Park, just a few steps from the entrance of this fabled archeological site. That was just one of the changes we made. So, now you know that the 2023 Ruta Maya is going to be a great adventure, but is it a great tour for you?
Well, stay tuned for more detailed info popping up here soon, but for now I can guarantee you that if you like history, colonial towns, beaches, mountains, volcanoes, a great mix of roads including some rough dirt roads, tortillas, beans and margaritas, there is a great chance this is the right tour for you. If you like climbing hills, waste no time and join us. If you have a curiosity about Mayan archeology or maybe you have been dreaming about diving the Blue Hole in Belize or the cenotes in Mexico, then you should seriously consider registering to hold your spot. There are only so many hotel rooms in some small villages in Nicaragua or Honduras.
This incredible cycling adventure will take riders across Central America, from Costa Rica through Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and on into...