Here is what is the start of a ride guide to the area of central Veracruz and the extreme east of Puebla.
If you want maps, pictures, notes, etc... about a ride, PM me the corresponding number and I will email you a PDF file within a day or two (or 3 if I am busy riding). If you are seriously thinking about spending some time in the area and want to get to know it better, I can ride along with you on these routes if I have the time.
I always enjoy meeting up with riders coming through and getting them away from the devil's candy addiction to the Mex #180 coast highway, which for the most part, is as exciting as watching grass grow with one exception being the Tuxtlas and the other the baches, topes, and kamikaze Central Americans hauling 3 used cars, two loads of domestic appliances, and a Quetzal in a pear tree.
Here you go and all feedback is most welcome be it good, bad, or indifferent. Some of these rides are exceptionally good so make an effort when you are in the area to try to experience them.
Important note! If you want more offroad type stuff, contact Arte and Andres, some of their "Greenland" rides link up with a couple of these routes. So don't forget!
MOTORCYCLE TOURING CENTRAL VERACRUZ - EASTERN PUEBLA
A riders guide to roads and sites of interest 2012
List of Rides - All Are Paved Routes UNLESS NOTED as of February, 2012
1. Las Casitas, Veracruz to Teziutlan, Puebla (curve after curve after curve after curve after...)
2. Vega de Alatorre, Ver. to Naolinco, Ver. via Colipa (classic mountain riding and good food)
3. Naolinco, Ver. to Palma Sola, Ver. via Plan de las Hayas (watch for the "disappearing road" trick after Alto Lucero)
4. Perote, Ver. to Maztaloya and Los Humeros, Puebla (geothermal delights)
5. Perote, Ver. to La Cantona, Pue. (archaeological ruins rarely visited but very significant, these ruins need a new publicist!)
6. Quiahuiztlan, Ver. (archaeological ruins) and the town of La Villa Rica de la Veracruz, beach and dunes. (Where the conquest began).
7. Veracruz, Ver. to Perote, Ver. via Coatepec, Xico, Teocelo, and Ixhuacan de los Reyes, Ver. (The road less traveled to Perote).
8. Perote, Ver. to Huatusco, Ver. via Quimixtlan, Pue. (contains off road section of less than 20 kms. and you can make a side trip to where the H1N1 flu virus supposedly began)
9. Teocelo, Ver. to Guadalupe Victoria, Puebla via Saltillo La Fragua, Pue. (4 possible routes and ALL are very good).
10. Perote, Ver. to Teocelo, Ver. via Gonzalez Ortega, Maravillas, Saltillo La Fragua, Acocomotla, La Trinidad, Rafael Garcia, and Patlanalan, Pue.
11. Xalapa, Ver. to Veracruz, Ver. via Coatepec, Jalcomulco, Ohuapan, Totutla, Manuel Gonzalez, Cameron, and Soledad de Doblado, Ver. (Including the newly paved stretch of 20kms of good curves)
12. Veracruz, Ver. to Cordoba, Fortin, Orizaba, Ver. via Paso del Macho, Ver. (Stop at the monument for the French Foreign Legion near the site of the Battle of Camerone).
13. Jalcomulco, Ver. to Cordoba, Fortin, Orizaba, Ver. via Huatusco, Ver.
(Extra points if you find where the ostriches, yes the ostriches, are hidden).
14. Xalapa, Ver. to the summit of the Cofre de Perote (this is a challenging high elevation ride not recommended to do without some prior planning and common sense and knowing your limits).
15. Cordoba, Ver. to Tequila, Ver. via Xoxocotla, Ver. (la "Sierra Fria") via Soledad Atzompa, Ver. (On the map but off the map).
16. Cordoba, Ver. to Zongolica, Ver. (la Sierra Zongolica classic and once you make the descent you'll know why)
17. Zongolica, Ver. to Cordoba, Ver. via 25kms of unpaved mountain road through the Sierra de Tlacuiloteca. (Watch for low flying birds of prey).
18. Cordoba, Ver. to "The Large Millimeter Telescope" at the top of the Sierra Negra, Pue. via Maltrata, Xuchi, Plan del Capulin and Texmalaquilla, Pue. (Contains high elevation maintained dirt road. This is another somewhat challenging high elevation ride that is not recommended without some prior planning and common sense. Free camping is available with no services and "check in/check out" with the local police is sometimes enforced but not a bad idea anyways).
19. Cordoba, Ver. to Ciudad Mendoza, Ver. via Tequila, Tlaquilpa, Xoxocotla, Atzompa, Ver. (end of route is different from #14 as it is via Atzompa and not Soledad Atzompa, Ver. Try to see if you can find "la cocinera", you'll be glad you did).
20. Veracruz, Ver. to Catemaco, Ver. via Roca Partida, Montepio, Sontecomapan, Ver. (contains very short maintained dirt road section through tropical forest near UNAM Biological Research Station, someone might even be available to give you an interesting talk about the biology of the region, some very knowledgeable people working there).
21. Veracruz, Ver. to Catemaco, Ver. via Los Tuxtlas, Ver. conventional lower elevation mountain route that follows Mex #180 "the coast highway".
(The one that everyone always does but they forget to buy cigars in San Andres Tuxtla and some "Chochogo" at the roadside stands).
22. Xalapa, Ver to Huatusco, Ver. via Quimixtlan, Puebla a great ride that includes a back view of Pico de Orizaba and a long gravel stretch that can be done on a GS1200 if the rider has some offroad experience. (It's a bone shaker but if you get it on a clear day you won't believe the scenery, and it all begins with a misty waterfall).
I can provide notes, links, and further information on the historical and/or natural significance of each of the rides and how to link them to your advantage if your time is limited or you want to maximize your riding time.
General Notes (Only for those new to Mexico)
- The Green Angeles (Los Angeles Verdes) tourist assistance still operate on some of the major roads. Don't rely on this service but they can help with minor mechanical problems and towing advice.
- There are very few police patrols in these areas, you will be your own law for the most part and though there is mountain rescue available for the area near Pico de Orizaba and the Sierra Negra, it is not to be relied upon for anything more than a service of last resort in an emergency.
- Military patrols are infrequent but do pass some areas but on a weekly basis for the most part and not daily. In fact, there are few daily patrols of the more remote areas. But you will almost always find someone somewhere no matter where you are in either the state of Veracruz or Puebla.
- You MIGHT find someone who speaks MARGINAL English in the remote areas, and there is common use of Nahuatl indigenous language dialects especially in the Zongolica and Quimixtlan areas. Start learning Spanish.
- Three of the rides will take you to elevations beyond 3,200 meters of elevation, be sure you can handle heights especially if you are doing a rapid ascent from sea level. For example, you can easily ride from sea level in the port of Veracruz to the absolute peak of the Cofre de Perote at 4,500 meters in 3 hours which leaves little time for your acclimatization be sure you can handle upper elevations where you will have about half the oxygen that you have at sea level.
- Pemex stations can be found along these routes, however premium (the red handled pump) fuel probably will not be available but the lower grade Magna will be available.
- Carry small bills and change, don't expect everyone to be willing to break a $500 peso bill. Tip the Pemex attendants as they work for tips.
- Expect to attract a lot of attention in the remote areas. This can be both fun and frustrating depending on the type of attention it is.
- Celluar phone service cannot be relied upon in remote areas though there is surprisingly good coverage in certain areas.
- Almost every area will have a "tiendita" or little convenience store of some sort or another but don't expect to find many restaurants in the high sierra regions or in the remote areas of the high plains (ie. the Serdan Alta Plana)