Photo Epic: Riding Mexico's High Mountain Coffee Trails

Oct 22, 2015
by Nicolas Switalski  



Waking up every morning to the smell of coffee, surrounded by lush vegetation, animals, birds and millions of singing insects all playing the daily soundtrack. Knowing that new and uncharted trails lay just at your doorstep, is what keeps spirits high and full of life! Few places on earth make you feel completely detached from civilization like this. A lovely time capsule floating somewhere in the 60's where no wifi nor cell phones have a place.

This time the Bike Logistics team (Diego Sada, Mau de Avila and Samuel Zorrilla) embraced a new adventure, an epic journey that shaped their Lifestyle to a completely unexpected level, a place with unique landscapes in the middle of nowhere. The trip would start in Mexico city's international airport with its next destination: Huatulco, a small town in Mexico's southern coast in the state of Oaxaca, known for its ideal surfing and other adventure activities, and would lead up to the high jungle to this magic place...Yuviaga.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Just outside the Huatulco airport is this small food stand. Oaxaca has some of the best food in the world and it almost seems you can't go wrong on where you eat! Believe me, food for Oaxacan's is a big deal and despite its humble looks this stand had some excellent food!

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Andres, our host and long time friend, whom at his 23 years of age manages the plantation, was already in position waiting for us. We would reach our final destination of this trip through long dusty dirt roads in his big cargo truck. It's this crew's tradition that when the thermometer rises, there's no excuse not to open a cold one. So this was a good excuse as any, and we couldn't start the trip without first hydrating ourselves.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
For almost an hour and a half we climbed through dirt roads losing all communication with modern civilization until we reached our destination. The road passes through various towns of no more than 150 habitants per community.
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
San Miguel del Puerto which is still about 25 minutes from the plantation is the closest town, and the last place with communication to civilization through a Satellite phone in the local grocery/phone booth.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Our first impression upon our arrival, after the one hour flight from Mexico city was the heat and humidity of the Pacific Coast, it was only 10:00 am and we were already at 32 degrees centigrade. We picked up our luggage and hoped no damage had been done to our bikes, since getting spares here would be somewhat difficult. Thankfully, everything would turn out ok

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Upon our arrival, everybody had their specific duties, some were more helpful than others. We have to understand that the life of a Pro rider is hard... on a hammock.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
We never imagined that after that long a drive we would reach this huge house up on the hill, a house where time had simply stopped, it was like going back to the 60's, the golden years of this plantation. Once, this plantation had more than 2000 hectares and more than 1000 workers managing and exporting the whole coffee production. All the machinery, the building, furniture and tools were from this time. Today the story is quite different, during harvest, the plantation hire's roughly 60 workers.
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails



WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE...



Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Was that the last compressed air tank?

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Is there anything more rewarding than after finishing a long sweaty ride with a swim in a cool river?
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
We were looking around the plantation's garage for an allen key, you'd think this is pretty standard in tractors and old pick up trucks.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
We finally found the right tool for the job, thank god for industry standards.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico's most popular religious symbol and it is not uncommon to see this image guarding homes and business'.
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
The coffee grown here is Arabiga, and trust me, it is one of the best coffees I haver ever tried, it is a first class coffee. No fancy espresso machines here but this rudimentary way of making coffee made the experience all that much more rich.
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
The name Yuviaga comes from the tropical plant that grows alongside the river and is the native name that this coffee receives, cultivated and produced in the "El Mirador" plantation. A high altitude organic coffee that is born and grown wildly in the Oaxacan tropical forest. The traditional way of cultivation, harvest and coffee bean handling has been the same for many years now, and for which the locals have created this network of trails through the more than 600 hectares of land used to harvest the red fruit these plants produce. These trails are what served as a tropical paradise for our bikes for a few awesome days.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
We stumbled upon these prehistoric drawings on this cave's wall, no one could really tell us from what ancient civilization it was from, but it was a surprising discovery for sure.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
You can sort of make out a tiger's head here, well, sort of.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
Kona, this Weimaraner dog would be our faithful guardian and companion throughout our stay on the plantation. There was no place she wouldn't follow us, and no animal or insect of which she wouldn't alert to us their presence.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails
The plantation in its golden days was so big and important that it had its own market, medical center, school, and this old abandoned church too. Many of the surrounding settlements must have been formed during this period.

Photo Epic Riding Mexico s high mountain coffee trails

Thanks to @deityusa for making our bikes all bling and running awesome, and @evocsports for keeping all our gear protected for this epic mission!

Riders: Diego Sada, Mauricio De Avila, Samuel Díaz
Special thanks to Andres "Cafecín" Galguera for being such a awesome host and for showing us these awesome trails.


MENTIONS: @deityusa / @TransitionBikeCompany




89 Comments

  • + 29
 Awesome! You guys are doing a great job promoting riding in real Mexico, when most needed! Way to go boys!
  • + 6
 Muchas gracias!
  • + 3
 @nswitalski Thanks for the great feature. Those are incredible places to ride on! Mexico, so many places to ride, too little time! Felicidades y gracias!
  • + 1
 Que pardisimo las Photos Nic, un paraiso nesito que ir a MEX
  • + 0
 how safe is riding in these incredible places? No one considers Mexico because us Gringos don't want to be kidnapped!
  • + 27
 That's awesome man!
  • + 7
 You gotta come soon!
  • + 5
 Thanks Matt! Glad you liked it! Cheers!
  • + 6
 Otro gran reportaje poniendo el nombre de Mexico donde se merece. Muchas felicidades, tienen que venir a la Sierra Gorda de Queretaro. Cheers
  • + 2
 Dem trails doe Looks like an epic country. Fresh coffee every day would be awesome
  • + 19
 Love Oaxaca! I spent some time up in the Cuajimoloyas in the Sierra Norte. I have to say it’s easily ont of the coolest places I’ve ever been. So want to go back! ¡Viva México!
  • - 54
flag amirazemi (Oct 22, 2015 at 6:44) (Below Threshold)
 how cool is america really, i mean ur standard is so high, you can afford every kind of trips in the world! You enjoy peoples places more than they enjoy their selves and they prolly work for 'merica too! how the hell did you achieve that Smile (well i know how, but that was rhetorical question)
  • + 16
 FYI we are mexicans, so... yeah.
  • + 13
 Not sure if ironic... The vast majority of americans can't afford a trip (or bike) like this. Less than half of the population even have passports you know.

Anyways, cool trip, I'd love to go someday Smile
  • + 9
 @amirazemi yeah like that time we used those resources to save your Albanian hide from the Serbs? Is that what you meant by your rhetorical question? You're welcome and just let us know the next time some warlord starts ethnic cleansing, we'll come bail you out again.
  • - 23
flag amirazemi (Oct 22, 2015 at 11:57) (Below Threshold)
 lmao, you think we are really that dumb ? that we think that you like us ?? Smile and you care about us ? hahah or you have ur own interest? We were lucky it was in ur own interest to help us. otherwise you dont give a f*ck about anyone in this world aside ur selves. look what u did to afghanistan and iraq. i dont wanna go in history.
  • + 12
 Take it easy dude, I just wanted to say i thought Mexico's a cool place. Settle down.
  • + 1
 the a for imao means angry
  • + 4
 FYI Mexico is America. Any country from North or South America is American. Maybe have some knowledge before you post ignorant non sense.
  • - 12
flag amirazemi (Oct 22, 2015 at 16:21) (Below Threshold)
 @egourdin67 you got me so bad man Frown
  • + 3
 @amirazemi While I do feel extremely fortunate to have been able to take a vacation this summer to several national parks in the United States, English was not the primary language encountered while doing so. i met people from many countries around the world, but very few from my own. Tour buses of foreigners were so many that Arches National Park was closed for the first time in history due to overcrowding. Fact is, Americans aren't traveling as much as they used to, and other countries are traveling more. There's no reason to make it so political. I think you would find the majority of Americans using this website would agree with you that we should mind our own business.
  • - 1
 @amirazemi Kick rocks grommit
  • + 17
 I LOVE to see riders on real adventures. In fact I would prefer to see more of this kind of coverage of MTB than more Red Bull advertising. While Rampage is thrilling, it's not what I think about when considering what I would like to do with my bike. I CAN see myself expanding my horizons, learning about other cultures, and enjoying the beauty that they offer. Great story!!! Great photos!!!
  • + 7
 Thnaks @uranium ! Glad the story and images got to you, that's the whole deal! Cheers!
  • + 11
 Mountain bikes and adventure. They go so well together. Love it.
  • + 7
 Damn, looks amazing. I've been to Oaxaca but never thought about bringing my bike. I'm thinking of a good 3-4 ride with a post cerveza and Oaxacan tamales.
  • + 7
 Hit me up at www.bym.mx, we have that trip ready for you to shred! maudeavila@bym.mx
  • + 5
 Está increíbleeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buenísimas fotos Mr. Switalski!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Los actores principales... Bravo!!!!!!!!! Felicidades por poner a México en el mapa con tan buenas iniciativas. Saludos!
  • + 3
 Muchas gracias!
  • + 4
 Is that a filter or does the woods have that blue hue to it? Stunning scenary and looks great! These are the trips that interest me these days. Ride some woods and trails, have a beer and something to eat. Hike a bike here and ride a bit more, have a beer and BBQ..... excellent
  • + 8
 Fantastic Photos.
  • + 4
 Wouldn't be trip to a developing country without posing with the locals who can barely afford walls for their homes, as if they're the oddity for being amused by your $5000 bike.
  • + 2
 We are from that "developing country", and we are helping local communities trough mountain biking. Just in Oaxaca, we've helped entire communities to establish eco turism and MTB guiding in their local areas, I'm the guy with the Orange $5000 bike, and I own a MTB tour company in Mexico that does a monthly trip to those communities wich translates in economy growth.

But it's ok, I don't expect you being able to point Oaxaca in a map, let alone understanding all of the above.
  • + 0
 If I'm misunderstanding your contributions to rural Mexico, then please provide an example of how your tour company has improved the quality of life for any of these kids. Do you have an initiative to take local kids on rides? Do you hire locals as guides? If not then you're certainly not introducing mountain biking to the village either, and other than a common language, you have nothing in common with them. Hopefully that taco stand is able to keep up with the inevitable flood of business now that you've let the word out.

But really, I don't actually think your business is exploitative, or that it's your responsibility to contribute to their economic growth. I was just making fun of the cliché.
  • + 2
 I do hire them as local guides. In every comunity I hire the local people, even If I don't need to. Guides, drivers, cooks etc. And right now we are working with the owners of this Finca to boost tourism in it, so the people that used to work in cofee plantations (not anymore, you can thank starbucks for that) can work as trail builders, guides, and much more. You're invitied to come and be part of it yourself.
  • + 3
 After you realized the poster was Mexican your cliche was pretty much shot and you should have put your foot in your mouth. Instead you go on to list the alleged ways in which he is further exploiting the community and follow it up with the cynical non-response "but really, I don't think you are a bad guy...".

Instead, you have built a point by point case of why you are textbook troll. Mau12 outdoes himself by gracefully extending an invitation for you to check out the area and his operation. I would actually worry about you taking him up on his offer and confirming stereotypes of smug American pseudo elitism but I'd imagine you are much more comfortable casually throwing stones and covering your ass with cowardly non-committal responses than go and face the music.
  • + 8
 vamonos
  • + 3
 One of the best feelings. Seeing your home country featured in the front page. That is if you're not from the states or Canada. Love Mexico, hope I can help it get featured more often.
  • + 5
 thanks for the trip!!! you had take us there!!! great job!!!
  • + 5
 Gran articulo! Felicidades a todos!
  • + 5
 Chingón!!! Excellent job
  • + 4
 Looks rad,Id pack my espresso machine with me and donate it to anybody willing to show me around
  • + 4
 Love it! More places in Mexico please! I want some good coffee now, none of that Starbucks crap.
  • + 4
 Wow, what a trip! Looks incredible!
  • + 2
 And that's not even the best riding down here. You gotta come next year Jeff!
  • + 3
 Riding Mexico's "High" Mountain Coffee Trails i didn't know that's the word this days.
I see what you did there!
  • + 1
 There's a better way to do that hitch! A loop -- either a slip knot, or better, a farmer's loop -- doubled back with a couple of half hitches on the line. Secure, tight and easy to untie.
  • + 4
 wow such a beautiful place
  • + 4
 Definitely a mountain bikers dog, that.
  • + 3
 Lots of Transition Bikes, love it. Can't wait for my Patrol carbon.
  • + 2
 Looks amazing! Would love for an excuse to bring my bike down there. Figuring out the logistics is the next step.
  • + 1
 www.facebook.com/JorgeBYM?ref=hl

We'll do all the logistics for you!

Hit me up at info@bym.mx
  • + 2
 Wow, amazing pictures and article. PinkBike is really stepping up their game.
  • + 2
 Great article. Thanks for showing the real Mexico and the amazing trails we have.
  • + 3
 nice photos ( Switalski ) - sound like Polish name!
  • + 1
 How'd they get those bikes over the wall?
Oh wait, there isn't one........yet
  • + 1
 Looks like a very epic place to ride, and I love some authentic Mexican tacos!
  • + 1
 Kona on Patrol, get it ? Nah !
Mexico has a bit of a bad image at the moment, good to see these pictures.Looks awesome
  • + 3
 Amazing trip!
  • + 3
 "Coffee" trails.
  • + 2
 Is Bike Logistics based out of Mexico? Do they do tours like this?
  • + 3
 Bike Logistics is a mexican importer and distributor, but we do tours like this! www.bym.mx hit me up at info@bym.mx

The best riding season in Mexico is around the corner!
  • + 2
 What beautiful country, people ,food and trails! Good Smart work to open this up to a newer sport demographic and show off this unique landscape. These prices are great even for our underdog canadian dollar right now. Best of Luck!
  • + 3
 @mau12 is one of the riders in the edit, he can show you some real cool trails around Mexico! Cheers @PHeller !
  • + 1
 @mau12 approximately what is the cost for accommodations and transportation from Mexico City? What month is best to come down?
  • + 1
 Hit me up at info@bym.mx andi'll give you all the details!
  • + 3
 Pretty nice trip
  • + 3
 Backpack, backpack!
  • + 2
 Bitchen.
  • + 1
 YOU BOYS LIKE MEXEEECO????!?!?!?!?!?
  • + 1
 De poca madre!! Felicidades BikeLogistics y Mr. Switalski
  • + 1
 Gotta make another Oaxaca trip happen!
  • + 2
 Just awesome guys !
  • + 1
 where's the coffee?
  • + 12
 It is called "shade coffee". The coffee plants are scattered among the tropical forest at the shade of the trees. It is the most environmentaly-friendly way to produce coffee and the commonest way to produce the best organic coffee.
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