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Eternal Spring in Mexico
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Eternal Spring in Mexico

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 8 people
Destination(s): Mexico  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring   Native Americans  
Season: November - August
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 500 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 500 US Dollar (USD)

We offer no-frills guided, self supported TOURS of the Pacific coast, the Sierra Madre mountains, the Yucatan peninsula, and the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca.Eating and sleeping where the locals do, we go inn-to-inn and sometimes have the option of camping on the beach or in the mountains. Our small groups are limited to 8 to 10 cyclists, plus your 2 friendly, fun and knowledgeable Mexican and Canadian guides.Tours last for 1 to 4 weeks, run between November and July and range in difficulty from lite to regular to challenge.On this REGULAR-CHALLENGE difficulty tour we cycle around the highlands of Michoacan state. We range in altitude from 1500m to 2500m so the weather is cool. We'll explore colonial cities, indigenous Purepecha towns, the newest volcano in the world, the avocado capital of the world and some spectacular mountain country-side. There are lakes, colourful markets, and interesting history and culture. For this tour, we meet up in Morelia and are transported to Carapán, a convenient starting point to cycle a loop that eventually takes us back to Morelia.Dates: Thurs Jul 7, 2005 to Thurs Jul 21, 2005 AND Thurs Jul 27 to Thurs Aug 10, 2006 (2 weeks - 10 cycling days)Distances: Average/day: 51km, Maximum/day: 69km, Total Approx: 505km.

Your Itinerary

Day 1:
Fly to Morelia, meet in Quiroga
small town, lake Pátzcuaro, baroque church
We suggest that you fly into Morelia's international airport and take a taxi to our hotel in Quiroga which is where we'll all meet, get to know each other and make sure we're all ready for a great bicycle tour.

Quiroga's original Tarascan name, Cocupato, means 'The Reception Place', and so it will serve for our tour. The modern name is in honour of Don Vasco de Quiroga. In the 16th century, he created communities in the vicinity of Lake Pátzcuaro, the heart of the Tarascan country, where Indians would not only receive religious instruction, but also in arts and crafts and in the fundamentals of self-government. This was the land that had been so brutally ravaged by Nuño de Guzmán. Bit by bit, the Indians came to realize that the kindly Bishop was as much a representative of the European race as the sadistic conquistador. Like many utopian communities, the settlements created by Quiroga had elements of a primitive socialism. Each person worked six hours a day and contributed on an equal basis to the common welfare. Quiroga died in 1565 but the skills he implanted among Tarascans of this region have been passed down to their descendants, who are considered among the most skilled craftspersons in Mexico.

Day 2:
Quiroga to Erongaricuaro (31 km)
Easy start, quiet roads and small towns around the lake
We start the tour off easy. The road that rolls along peeking at the lake every so often and poking in and out of little towns has very little traffic on it. It is a pleasure to ride here. Erongaricuaro, or more conveniently known as 'Eronga' is a quiet and beautiful little town overlooking lake Patzcuaro. The town boasts a Fransiscan monasery and colonial architecture. The name of the town is derived from the original Tarascan name, Eránharhikuarheni meaning the place of reflections.

Day 3:
Eronga to Zacapu (40 km)
quiet roads, great views
We cycle away from the lake and up our first challenging climb. At the top are some very spectacular views of lake Patzcuaro, then we gently descend and roll along the rest of the way to Zacapu.

Day 4:
Rest day. Los Espinos crater lake. La Zarcita spring.
By now you may have come to appreciate the wonderful taste and diversity of Mexican ice-cream and real fruit popsicles. Zacapu is an excellent place to excercise that appreciation. You may also want to visit one or more of the nearby attractions including Alberca Los Espinos, a lake in the crater of an extinct volcano, and La Zarcita, a beautiful spring that's right in town.

Day 5:
Zacapu to Zamora (69 km)
valley of the 11 towns, Lago de Camecuaro, the unfinished cathedral
We start our longest day with another challenging climb to get up and out of Zacapu. Then we mostly descend and roll along to Zamora. Along the way are many beautiful mountain scenes and then the valley of the 11 towns. One town ends and another starts as we cycle past several Purepecha towns and villages. There are many interesting churches and people in bright traditional dress along the way. Just past Tangancicuaro, we come to Lago de Camecuaro, a beautiful natural lake with paths and picnic areas tastefully laid out around it. In Zamora, there are many, many interesting churches you can visit, but the one not to miss is the humongous Catedral Inconclusa, the unfinished cathedral. This is a stunning neo-gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1898, then due to the Mexican revolution of 1910, was suspended in 1914, and then restarted in 1985. It is reported to be the 14th largest in the world, and the 4th largest in the Americas.

Day 6:
Zamora to Tingüindin (48 km)
sweeping views, Purepecha towns
We cycle through a handfull of small indigenous towns today, including Tarecuato which has a strong tradition in textiles and a 16th century Franciscan temple and ex-convent. Tinguindín is a pleasant little town with a baroque church. This town is know for its bread.

Day 7:
Tingüindin to Angahuan (59 km)
agricultural area, fruit orchards, challenging climbing
We cycle mostly downhill past lime, avocado, berry, and sugar cane crops to the agricultural center of Los Reyes. After that it's all uphill to Angahuan on very quiet, beautiful mountain roads.

Day 8:
Volcán Paricutín, world's newest volcano
Volcán Paricutín the world's newest volcano errupted out of a cornfield in 1943 and continued to grow until 1952. The lava gradually flowed out to cover 20-sq-km including 2 villages. No one was hurt by the slow advance. The only remaining visible trace of San Juan Parangaricutiro and San Salvador Paricutín, two villages engulfed by solidified black lava, is the top of San Juan's church. We will take a tour by foot or by horse to San Juan, the lava field and the volcano itself. Climbing up the steep slippery sides of the volcano we gain a view of the crater where you can still see gentle wisps of steam rising out of fissures around the inside. To get back down, run full tilt down the soft ash side of the volcano.

Day 9:
Angahuan to Cheran (51 km)
Quiet mountain roads, Paracho guitar capitol
We cycle on more quiet mountain roads today as we make our way to the small Purepecha high mountain town of Cheran. On the way we'll go through Paracho which is world-famous for the guitars hand-crafted by local artisans.

Day 10:
Cheran to Santa Clara del Cobre (58 km)
Very quiet roads, great views, small towns and villages, small lakes-side resort, copper town
We cycle across the heart of the Purepecha meseta, over rolling hills and a couple of good climbs which present ever more spectacular views. We'll pause in Zirahuen, a small colonial lake-side resort before completing the day riding a 14km brick road to Santa Clara del Cobre.

Day 11:
Santa Clara del Cobre
Rest day, copper town
Declared a National Historical Monument in 2001, Santa Clara del Cobre is a small town specializing in copper. You can find many shops and workshops with artisans making everything from copper jewelry to great copper doors. The town itself is full of copper items. The street signs are copper, there are several copper doors, anywhere you look you're rewarded with the gleam of copper. The tradition goes back to pre-columbian times and then was nurtured by Don Vasco de Quiroga as part of the Utopia that he created in the region.

Day 12:
Santa Clara to Tacámbaro (43 km)
mountain views, good downhill
Tacámbaro is a doorway to the Tierra Caliente, or hot-climate land.

Day 13:
Tacámbaro to Patzcuaro (54 km)
challenging climb, view of lake Pátzcuaro
After a challenging climb out of Tacámbaro, we enjoy a fast descent into Patzcuaro. You can spend the afternoon exploring this colonial gem, and getting to know the great variety of regional handycrafts. Visit the market to sample some local culinary treats and fuel up for our rides to come. You may take a trip to Janitzio, the largest island in lake Patzcuaro where you can climb up a 40m high statue of Morelos for a view of the lake and its surrounding villages. Back in Patzcuaro, there are also a variety of museums, squares and churches to visit. This is also the main center of the day of the dead celebrations.

Day 14:
Patzcuaro to Quiroga (via Eronga) (52 km)
Tocuaro masks, market day in Eronga, quiet lakeside roads
We take the quiet road out of Patzcuaro along the lake to Tocuaro, the mask making capital of Mexico. If we're lucky, we can visit the workshop of Juan Horta Castillo, one of the best maskmakers in Mexico. We continue cycling along the lake returning to Erongaricuaro, this time on market day, then we retrace the beautiful 31km back to Quiroga.

Day 15:
Fly back home or stay a while longer
At this point you may choose to go back to Morelia and fly back home, or stay a while and explore the area a little more. Morelia is certainly worth spending a couple of days in for example. It has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. You may even decide to stick around and join us for our next tour in nearby Queretaro.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price only includes guiding fee, it does NOT include accommodations (approx. $160) NOR meals (approx. $180).

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North America   Mexico   Outdoor: Land Rambler   Bicycle Touring   Native Americans  
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