I am starting a new series called Face to Face, where I hope to highlight people in the travel industry, that have helped our trips. I am excited to be able to focus on the excellent work they do and bring their efforts to the forefront.
If you are familiar with our Mexico spring trip series, then you have already met Uriel and Ana, from Bike Tour Queretaro. Uriel helped set up our itinerary for the Queretaro and Guanajuato areas. Then he picked us up from Mexico City and drove us everywhere for the next four days, before dropping us off at our airport hotel.
Long before COVID reared its ugly head and shut off all travel, Uriel agreed to answer some questions for me about BTQ. These answers I have shared here. With the pandemic affecting tourism and travel in Mexico, BTQ has had to close down temporarily. Uriel and Ana, being young (he is 26, and she is 22) and entrepreneurial, have been working on other projects to keep themselves afloat. But they are eagerly awaiting the travelers’ return to get back to what they love most and do best: taking their clients around Mexico and showing off what’s great about their country. Their pride in their culture, their country, and their service is very evident. Read on to learn more about Uriel, Ana, and BTQ.
JJ; How did you get started with Bike Tour Queretaro (BTQ)? What was your inspiration?
Uriel: BTQ began in September 2016. I was working in a luxury hotel then, and found that there were no high quality personalized touristic services. Although, the project began way earlier than that in a smaller way. Shortly after opening only with the bike tours, we began giving all the other services we offer nowadays. We initially began with the personalized bike tours in the downtown area of the city of Querétaro. I had this idea of sharing my knowledge and the joy of riding bicycles, and that’s how it all began. People loved the service right away, and they also helped us to pick the directions for growth. They began to ask for other services that we didn’t have then. And soon, we began to offer even more than what they were looking for.
JJ: What were the challenges you faced setting up this business? How did you overcome them?
Uriel: Mexico is a country full of [challenges, as] in any other place in the world. The first thing about offering the Bike Tour service, was that people were not used to riding bicycles, and that most of the tourists already had the idea of using other services, like the trolley, or other group tours available here. When we showed people that they had another choice to pick from, many said yes, but even more, said no. Because they didn’t know how to ride a bike, or were afraid of doing it on the streets. In this situation, it helped a lot when we began to offer a variety of services. Anyway, all the people that said yes, loved the bike tour, and nobody has ever regretted taking a tour with us. At the moment, we’re the only company that personalizes all the services to our clients’ needs. Of course, our prices are higher because of personal attention than similar services offered by other companies. In the beginning, the lack of trust in us by our customers made it harder to get clients. But soon as we got great reviews from most of our clients, that stopped being a challenge.
JJ: In your opinion, why should anyone visit Mexico? Is is safe to travel in Mexico?
Uriel: Because Mexico is a country with a lot of different cultures, faces, and landscapes. It’s full of authenticity and interesting stuff for all kinds of people. It does not matter your interests; Mexico has something to offer you so that you can enjoy your visit. Of course, you need to be with the proper guides to take advantage of it. And yes, the country overall is very safe, but the growth of some areas and crime have damaged certain regions. Fortunately, all the touristic spots are safe because even crime makers want foreign people to come to the country. As in any place in the world, there are some areas known for being unsafe. Such areas, tourists never go, because there’s nothing to visit at all, and it’s never recommended.
JJ: What’s an ideal time to visit Mexico? How long is an ideal time to plan on an itinerary?
Uriel: It depends on what you want to do and what areas of the country you are planning to visit. My answer would be, all year long is good to visit. The only things that bother a trip are the weather and the amount of tourists in a place. But the good thing is that services are available all year long, as our weather is not extreme, it can be a bit warmer or a bit cooler. It’s not like in other cities where attractions are closed because of the snow, or if the cold weather and snow are the attractions, the city is closed in the summer. Here it’s available all year long. When and for how long you should plan a trip to Mexico depends on what you want to do here. If you’re coming only for a concert, then one night is enough, but if you’re coming to surf, hike, or visit museums, then you require more time.
JJ: What would a sample itinerary with BTQ look like, if I were visiting the Queretaro area?
Uriel: Of course, we can customize an itinerary to fit your needs. But here’s a sample one.
- Monday, Pick up at Queretaro airport, visit the Colón dam, eat fish, kayak in the dam, go to a mall that has a flying balloon, where you can hop on and see the city from 150 meters (about 450 feet) above the ground, eat at the Mercado de la Cruz at night and finish the day.
- Tuesday, pick up at hotel, visit the most-awarded cheese farm of America, then go to Bernal, the vineyards, and Tequisquiapan. Finish the day. On that tour, we usually eat at El Atoron, where we recommend the stomach soup, pancita, or the baked pork sandwich, or arrachera sandwich, (or tortas, as we call them).
- Wednesday, pick up from hotel, visit Tolantongo hot springs, swim, zipline, and eat a delicious meal for a few pesos.
- Thursday, visit Sierra Gorda, and see Chuveje, Puente de dios, Río Escanela and Angostura canyon. 2 hikes during the day, excellent food.
- Friday, take the Route of the Independence tour which includes Dolores Hidalgo, Atotonilco, and San Miguel de Allende, which is located in Guanajuato state
- Saturday, city tour (by car or bike, as preferred), malls tour (shopping), dinner at bar with live music.
- Sunday, tour to Teotihuacán, and drop off at CDMX (Mexico City) Airport
Suggestions for trip would include: comfortable (walking) shoes, water shoes, hiking shoes, sweater, bathing suit, sunscreen, phone waterproof protection, cash, charging cords.
Completely pet-friendly itinerary, except for Wednesday’s tour.
JJ: What services does BTQ offer?
Uriel: [As seen from the itinerary above,] we provide private and personalized tours, both in English and Spanish. Our primary focus is our home area of Queretaro, but we can plan a trip outside. We offer tours by bike, airplane, ATV bikes, and by car/SUV/van. Our website has a complete listing of all our services. We also provide private ground, and air transportation services.
JJ: What sets you apart from your competitors? Why should I choose you over them?
Uriel: The main difference is that we focus on giving our customers authentic experiences, created especially for them, and that all the services we offer are entirely personalized and private. And also the facility of traveling whenever, wherever, and with whoever you want.
JJ: We experienced that first hand. What languages are you comfortable speaking?
Uriel: I can speak English and Spanish, and am functional in Japanese and Chinese.
JJ: How can someone best reach you?
Uriel: There are many ways to contact BTQ.
- +52 4421117676 +52 4421069167
Many thanks to Uriel for sharing information about his tour company, Bike Tour Queretaro. The JJ family had a wonderful time on the trip that BTQ put together for us! We wish Uriel and Ana well and hope to see them on our future trips to Mexico. Please contact Uriel and BTQ, if you would like to custom-create a journey to the heart of Mexico. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.