Tour de Zack: Stage 4: Southern Mexico AKA Operation: Glorious Ruination!!!

Stage 4 Summary:

The longest stage of the Tour de Zack y Tony, Stage 4 AKA Operation Glorious Ruination!!! carved a sinuous 3,000 km path from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen passing through the southern Mexican States of Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan.

The final stage in Mexico, one of the main themes of this part of the tour was getting to know even better a country and a people that Zack and Tony were already in love with.

From the beginning, Mexico once again the delivered the goods by surprising Zack with it’s continued diversity and shocking contrast with the north.

Oaxaca proved itself to be a trip in it’s own right, offering fantastic new cuisine, a plethora of down-to-earth pueblos, incredible countryside, and a mesmerizing coast of beaches and hidden coves.  A great place to set up in a Hammock for a day, or two, or ten…

Chiapas was a land of mixed feelings.  The beauty of the mountains, the vibrant jungle, the ruins of Palenque and the relaxed nature of San Cristobal de Las Casas was overshadowed by the unignorable hostilily encountered in the Zapatista lands.

Then it was into the states of Tabasco and Campeche, where the intense heat and jungle thronging with mosquitoes, boas, spiders, and monkeys made camping a little less fun.  It was all worth it though for the chance to get to meet some of the illegal central american migrants at a shelter in Tenosique and to climb the spectacular and isolated ruins of Calakmul.

Finally we entered Quintana Roo, home of tourism in Mexico.  Sleeping on top of an ancient Mayan pyramid was certainly a highlight, but our heroes soon had to get back on the more beaten path and explore the immense natural beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula.  The beaches, the lagoons, the ruins, the cenotes, swimming with the whale sharks… they aren’t complaining.

After a break from the bike in Cuba, Zack returned to Mexico and Tony and after a much needed refit in Cancun, they made their way back down to the border of Belize.  Alas, if they were ever going to make it to Colombia, they would have to say goodbye to Mexico.  A country they love, and a place that will always hold a very special place in their hearts.

Retrospectively, Stage 4 should have been split up into two stages.  3000 km is just a little bite too long in a country as diverse and interesting as Mexico.

Photos from Stage 4: Southern Mexico AKA Operation Glorious Revolution

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