Day 7: Tulum to Coba - Grampies' Road to Ruins - CycleBlaze

January 10, 2018

Day 7: Tulum to Coba

Tulum really is the end of the line as far as the Mayan Riviera and its Cancun based tourists go. After Tulum highway 307 cuts inland,  around the Si'an Kaan Biosphere Reserve, and after that things continue "downhill" until Yucatan and 307 end at Chetumal. That explains why Tulum is stuffed with budget travellers rather than condo timeshare types.

The Mayan Riviera ends at Tulum, where 307 goes inland. Our route hangs a right and makes for Coba.
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But before the Riviera ends it has once last crack at it, with the Tulum ruins, just Northeast of the city.  These ruins were our first objective for today, and we headed on over there fairly early.  Maybe because I stubbornly insisted on stopping for coffee in town, lots of tourists were there before us. To get to the archeological site they are forced to walk through a large developed area of shops. These must exist on the assumption that the previous hoards of shops since Cancun have not properly shaken the last peso from these folks. Once through, they can also take a mini train for the last 1/4 km - not sure how much that is.

We of course rode our bikes, but followed the train since we did not know where we were going. No matter, it really was only 1/4 km of straight road.

At the ticket booth Dodie asked if we could take our bikes inside, and received a grunt. But within a few feet after the booth, staff insisted that we could not go further with bikes. We were not about to leave our bikes and panniers for the hours needed to visit the site, so we got our money back and had to give up on Tulum.

This Coati was greeting the arrivals at the Tulum ruin. It's a member of the racoon family.
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Although we were disappointed, we had no trouble deciding on our next step. We had planned to cycle to Coba today after visiting the Tulum ruins, so we just returned to the intersection and set off. 

It was probably a good thing that it turned out this way, because Dodie had a bit of a hard time on the Coba road. It's about 40 km of pretty much blank road, with a brief break toward the mid point, at Macario Gomez.   The temperature was not screaming hot, though it was well above 30, but the broad hot road and moderate traffic were indeed tiring.

The first five 5km of the road to Coba was dug up like this. They seemed to be laying fibre optics.
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After the construction we had a clear shoulder all the way.
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Any houses put their garbage up on stilts. It could be just because of dogs, but I would rather believe it's wild pigs (javelinas).
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Even on this road there were craft shops. This one had the colourful ceramics in infinite variety.
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No idea what this wood is, but I bet son Jeremy would like a few slabs for making furniture.
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At  Macario Gomez we did take a break at a juice stand, where a large glass of fresh orange juice was just the right thing. We also bought some bananas and oranges to stuff in our pack, taken from huge piles. As I looked at these, not to mention equal piles of mangoes and grapefruit, it kind of struck me that we really are there - in the Tropics (now he notices!)

Coba is  a major archeological site, but the town itself is quite small - about 1 km end to end. Beyond Coba the road does not go far, so it is essentially a dead end. The hotel we found, the Sacbe, is the furthest out from the ruins, but we like it. It has an attached restaurant and also a little grocery store. Our room looks out on a little back courtyard, where also our bikes are safely lodged. 

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"Sacbe", by the way is a sacred causeway or white road in the Mayan sites. That makes this hotel an appropriately named choice for our tour.

We arrived at Coba quite early in the afternoon, which gave Dodie a great chance for a needed nap. I went and scoped out the "town".  Tomorrow we will show up when the archeological site opens,  and after, go to try out three local cenotes, which they say makes a pleasant bicycle excursion.

Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 302 km (188 miles)

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