Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mountain Biking in Cabarete with Maximo

The last time we were in Puerto Plata we did some mountain biking with Iguana Mama. It was good enough that I wanted to try it again so I contacted them to find out that they are not doing the tours anymore but they did give me the name of Maximo, one of their former guides.  I contacted him through email and after a few dozen emails we were set up to ride.

We were staying in Puerto Plata and needed to get to Cabarete.  Taxis were about $60 each way and the guagua (Chicken Bus) was $1.25 each. We decided that the chicken bus would be more adventurous as well as cheap.  Maximo initially gave us the Spanish phrase to show the driver but after a few emails he sensed my apprehension and said he would take the bus from Cabarete to Playa Dorata where we were staying and get us on the bus! This was the first example of what a great guide Maximo was.
Me and Maximo, sorry about the fuzzyness
We took the bus to his place to pick up the bikes.  He has about a dozen bikes in different sizes an configurations to lend out for his rides.  I was on  a brand I have never herd of (or remember).  But it was a decent full suspension bike in good working shape.  It had a pretty long wheelbase and climbed like a pig but was great on the descents.  My wife had the pick of the lot with a Santa Cruise Heckler.

We had a short ride through town to get to the national park.  Max paid our way in and we were in the jungle.  Well, a Jungle with cows and donkeys.  At one point we were riding through a whole herd of cattle.
Looking Back

At one point I heard our guide talking to the cows and caught the word Americans.  Yes, he was explaining to the cows that we weren't from around there and needed to get out of the way.
Looking Ahead

The trails ranged from dirt roads to rough jeep roads to bright red clay singletrack to craggy limestone and everything in-between. Overall they were about 95% rideable.
Just after a short walking section, picture opportunity
Kelly and Max

The temperature is a pretty constant 87 degrees with tolerable humidity.  Uphill was sweaty and hot and downhill was a nice relief.
Snack Break

The terrain varied from guava groves to ferns and Mango trees.
Stopping to eat some guava off the ground.

This bright green little snake was showing me that he didn't want to be picked up.
We rode a total of about 16 miles in around 4:00 hours.

Typical Trails
By the time we were done we were pretty hot, sweaty and covered in red clay.  There was a good solution for all of this.  A swim in a crystal clear cave.

Entrance To The Cave

The water was cool and beautiful
Looking Out
We rode the rest of the way back to town which was downhill and dropped the bikes at Maximo's place.  Then we got back on the guagua about 1/2 mile into town to eat at a very authentic Dominican restaurant.
That plate of food was two bucks

I thought it was interesting that you ordered how much food you wanted by price.  I wanted 100  pesos worth (about $2) of food which was plenty.  It was also tastier than the resort.
The restaurant had an ambiance that you can only find in the Caribbean
 Maximo got us onto the bus and paid for our trip back to the hotel.

The bus ride is part of the adventure.
It really doesn't show too well in this picture but there are about 25 people on a 12 person bus in this picture with 4 sitting across the front seat. 

We got back to the hotel in good shape, had some drinks and dinner and were done for the night.

At 8:42
 The bottom line: I would highly recommend Maximo (Max of the Mountain) if you like biking and are visiting around Cabarete.  He is an excellent guide and an excellent person.  He will customize the ride for the length and ability that you want.  Bikes helmets and gloves are included.  He has SPD, Time and flat pedals available. I used flats because I didn't want to pack another set of shoes.  We didn't settle on a price before the end of the ride (that I knew of).  When he told me how much I gave him 150% of what he wanted.  It was worth it.  He paid all our bus fares, entrance into the park, a little for the owner of the land the cave was on and for lunch with beers. The price is comparable to an excursion with 20 other people and 10 other busloads of people in the same area.  I highly recommend it. You can contact him HERE or search for him on the web, he was easy to find. 

Thank You Max, Hasta Luego!

1 comment:

  1. What a freaking great time you had. And I LOVE the cave and the beautiful water! What a WOW!