Into the Heart of Mexico was the first tour offered by Riders of the Sierra Madre and has become the longest running ride in the company’s history.
It has continued to fascinate us (and all those who have taken it) for some very good reasons. The tour is based on great riding conditions. Paved curving mountain roads through the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, the Thousand Hills (Mil Cumbres), the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, and Pacific beaches are always at the top of each rider’s list.
But great riding and beautiful landscapes are only the beginning. The tour is also greatly enriched by our contact with the social and cultural side of the experience. In this area the Mexican people have flourished for centuries, creating a rich history and strong cultural foundation in the arts, music and cuisine which they are proud to share with visitors.
It all starts when we greet you at the Guadalajara airport and bring you back to our home by Lake Chapala. Ajijic’s beautiful setting and superb climate has made it a popular year-round community for thousands of Canadian and American expatriates.
The first morning of our program begins with an introduction to your bike and a poolside meeting on the art of riding in Mexico. We will talk about what you need to know to be comfortable and safe through the riding adventure ahead. We will ensure that your bike is set up to suit your needs and then go out for a couple of hours of warm-up riding and familiarization, which includes a visit to some fascinating lakeside towns and a 200-year-old island fortress. By the end of the day, any doubts and “riding rustiness” will be gone, and you will be back in your riding groove and relaxing at the welcoming cocktails and dinner at our home base, Casa Sierra.
Casa Sierra - Nights 1, 2 & 10
Day 4 - Monarch biosphere reserve
Reserva de la Biósfera Santuario Mariposa Monarca, Mexico
Barra de Navidad, Mexico
Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Aldama 31, Ajijic, Mexico
Our first morning on the road will take us northeast into the cradle of Mexico’s war of independence from Spain—the famous and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Guanajuato. Here the first battle of “Independencia” was fought and one of the most incredible acts of courage was performed, which turned the tide of battle and of history. We will ride through mining tunnels under the city streets and emerge near our hotel on a beautiful tree-shaded plaza in the heart of the city. Looking down onto the square and our hotel is a giant monument to the heroic miner who single-handedly penetrated the Spanish stronghold under fire while wearing a slab of stone for armor. Around the beautiful plaza we will have our choice of European-style sidewalk cafés for a fabulous dinner.
Not to be outdone, the next day’s destination will be another World Heritage Site, this time noted for its natural beauty and ecological importance as the wintering grounds for millions of migrating Monarch butterflies who come from as far away as southern Canada. The pinpoint accuracy of the Monarchs’ navigation still baffles scientists, but it is known that they return to the same place their ancestors left several generations before.
The ride from the Monarchs to our next World Heritage Site, the magnificent colonial city of Morelia, will take us through a forested mountainous area called Mil Cumbres, on a twisty road that winds through the hills and forests and is one of our all-time favorite roads. We will stay in a restored centuries-old hotel made of pink limestone, less than a block from one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the “New World.” Morelia is an elegant example of the sophisticated European side of Mexico and a major center for universities and the arts.
After passing through Pátzcuaro and other colonial towns renowned for their artisans, we will pay a visit to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Parícutin was the site of the birth of a modern volcano which first began to erupt from a tiny crack in a cornfield in front of an awestruck farmer in 1943, and by 1952 had buried the nearby town, leaving only the church steeple standing above the lava. We will spend the night in the alpine town of Mazamitla before making our dash for the Pacific Coast and a two-night rest stop in the charming little beach town of Barra de Navidad. The town offers local fishing charters and is also a good location for exploring the larger resort town of Manzanillo to the south, which bills itself as the sailfish capital of the world, or the many smaller beach towns like La Manzanilla, well-known for its impressive crocodile population.
The trip from Barra de Navidad northward along the coast features gentle hills and plenty of curves as we carve through the foothills into Puerto Vallarta and onward to the surfing and snorkeling haven of Punta de Mita. A nearby super-luxury Four Seasons resort has raised the profile of this friendly and relaxed beach town but not changed its easy-going ways, except to raise the quality of its restaurants to an outstanding level—a treat for our last night on the road.
The trip back to Ajijic takes us across a corner of Puerto Vallarta and then once again into mountain country as we climb quickly to 5,000’ through the Sierra Madre del Sur and related mountain ranges. After a feast of mountain twisties and spectacular scenery, we descend into the interior agricultural valley which specializes in sugar cane farming and processing and blue agave production for the tequila industry. It is a full day of riding but we will be back to Casa Sierra just in time for cocktails by the pool and our farewell dinner.
Your tour includes accommodations at the upper end of Mexican hotels with hearty breakfast, motorcycle rental with liability, theft, and limited collision insurance, transportation to and from the Guadalajara airport between 8 am to 8 pm, plus Welcome and Farewell Dinners, two experienced guides and support vehicle with driver (for Into the Heart of Mexico and Adventure Classic Tours).
What's not included?
Not included is airfare, helmet and apparel, lunches and some dinners, gasoline, personal spending and tips.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
We will greet you at the international airport in Guadalajara, and take you to your accommodations in the charming, cobblestoned town of Ajijic, a short ride of just 25 minutes. We will provide free pick up and returns for flights arriving between 8 am and 8 pm.
Depending on guest arrival times we often get together to walk through the cobblestone streets of Ajijic to get acquainted with the town and perhaps visit a local restaurant.
Our first morning, we will pick you up with your riding gear and take you to our tour center at Casa Sierra to complete any administrative matters. You will have the opportunity to get acquainted with your bike and fellow travelers. That evening the group will enjoy hacienda-style cocktails and dinner.
Couple sharing bike & hotel $5,550
Solo rider - shared room * $4,035
Solo rider - solo room $4,560
Couple sharing bike & hotel $5,630
Solo rider - shared room * $4,115
Solo rider - solo room $4,640
Couple sharing bike & hotel $6,030
Solo rider - shared room * $4,275
Solo rider - solo room $4,800
Couple sharing bike & hotel $6,115
Solo rider - shared room * $4,360
Solo rider - solo room $4,885
Reserve Your Spot
Guests are picked up at the Guadalajara international airport and taken to their hotel in Ajijic.
Registration, familiarization with your bike, warmup ride and cocktails and dinner at Casa Sierra.
Ride to Guanajuato.
Ride to the Monarch butterfly biosphere reserve and nearby hotel.
Ride through the "Mil Cumbres" (thousand hills) to Morelia.
Ride to Uruapan.
Ride to Barra de Navidad on the Pacific coast.
Ride along the coast to Guayabitos.
Short ride down the coast to the Puerto Vallarta Region.
Ride through the southern Sierra Madre to Ajijic, cocktails and farewell dinner at Casa Sierra.
Guests are provided with a courtesy ride to the airport for their departing flight.