Places & Route suggestion for 7 day ride- COLOMBIA

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Haroon, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Hi

    Back in 2011 I had posted asking for "which South American country".

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=740685

    From the thoughtful responses I received, I have now finalised for Colombia in the month of May. I will be renting the bike from Motolombia so hopefully Mike will be giving me some pointers.

    Its a self-guided ride with my wife riding pillion and we will be spending a total of 7 full days on the bike. I am not a great dirt rider so I would stay on Tarmac as much as possible. Start & finish in Bogota doing a circular loop.

    In the meanwhile, for different perspectives, I wanted to hear from people in Colombia as well as outsiders, based on your personal opinion & experiences the suggestions for a good route which can cover some of the really 'worthwhile' attractions in Colombia. Its not simply riding the whole day but if there are places we can stop and visit, we would like to do that as well. Ofcourse all based on realistic distance achievable per colombian riding conditions since I am told 200-230kms is the max including food stops etc. I dont think Cartagena is practical within the time frame we have and hence I dont mind skipping that.

    If there is a really worthwhile place to spend an extra day to visit more attractions just outside the city/town, we dont mind staying an extra night there as well.

    I would like to touch the other 2 main cities Cali & Medellin.

    I would be grateful to receive your responses.

    Thanks
    Haroon
    #1
  2. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    No response for 2 days!
    So is Colombia not worth a visit??? Or is there something wrong in my question....
    Or probably most inmates there are now riding and not sitting on the keyboard..
    #2
  3. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    There is so much great riding in Colombia that its hard to give you a route. Mike knows the country very well and I would take his advice on a route to take. The central mountains and coffee country is awesome as are the eastern mountains. Where are you starting the ride?
    #3
  4. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks crashmaster. As I mentioned we are starting/ending in Bogota. Sure will be discussing with Mike. In the meanwhile if there are specific things that each of you have suggestions for, I am all ears.
    #4
  5. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Well the sad part is there is a whole lot better dirt/gravel roads than good paved ones and 7 days will literally fly by. The good news is that you are in Colombia on a bike. Bring some good rain gear, it always makes me sad to hear of someone's disappointing trip because of rain, and it does that a lot in most parts of Colombia:deal


    If staying on paved roads out of Bogota I would head North, (maybe the salt caves if you've never seen that kind of thing before but not well worth it imho) stopping over in San Gil and then ride the nice paved canyon road into Bucaramanga. Then I would work my way over to Medellin and set up base there to do a few rides to Santa Fe and Guatape before heading down to the coffee triangle area of Manizales, Armenia, Pereira with a stop in Salento. Cali is a little out of the way to the South for the time you have and more than likely you would be going down and up on the PanAm unless you are willing to cross East over to the road going South out of Bogota to Nevia. If you can squeeze in the time to go to San Agustin if going East from Cali, probably not the kind of roads you'd be liking thou.

    Again Mike will be able to help you out way more with paved rides in Colombia with his vast knowledge of information, he's got a great pad in Medellin to do little rides from in the surrounding areas.
    #5
  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    What John said, in addition to the road from Armenia to Manizales, then the "dirt" road from Manizales to Parque de los Nevados, then on to Murillo. Mike knows that route. Its a "do not miss" IMO.

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    I had a great time in the 3 months that I rode in Colombia. :lol3

    Yes, it rains. Just about every day, but its totally worth it IMO.
    #6
  7. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Yes Viva Colombia:clap:clap:clap

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    There is not enough rain in the country to put a damper on all the good times I've had there over thousands of miles, I LOVE that place, I enjoyed nearly every mile here in Colombia:
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    Can't wait to get back again:freaky
    #7
  8. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks Throttlemeister and crashmaster for the suggestions. Indeed, May seems to be the month with most rains as per the weatherman. Anyways, if I was doing this ride solo, I would have loved to do a lot of dirt (you have tempted me with some additional bonuses as well!). But since we are doing this 2-up thats why I prefer to avoid extreme dirt, but the place looks really tempting and I will discuss these way points with Mike.
    Thanks

    With the exception of pork/ham, any particular local foods that we should not miss (like chicken, beef, fish etc).
    Also kinds of eateries/foods that need to be avoided?
    #8
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    The little roadside parrillas can be really good. You cant miss them, they are usually cooking right outside and have a little outside seating area with a roof over it. Generally, they will let you taste what they have to see if you want to buy a plate. I had some incredible beef at those places. The best IMO were in the Llanos area, but there are good ones all over.

    You dont really need to avoid any food places, but I found they little road side eateries to be quite good.
    #9
  10. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Don't miss Mu aka Fuking Good Ribs in Medellin right in/near El Pablado district. Only open on the weekends but is some most excellent pork ribs:freaky Vincent and Adam will agree with me for sure:deal
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    #10
  11. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks for the suggestions crashmaster.

    Throttlemeister- That seems to be a nice & long eating spree....:D
    #11
  12. roadspirit

    roadspirit Been here awhile

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    If you do the coffee zone triangle, you might want to consider visiting a coffee plantation. Some of them offer nice guided 1-day tours, showing the whole process of coffee production. It's an interesting part of the Colombian culture.
    #12
  13. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks John. Although I have seen it in India, I am sure it should be interesting.
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  14. NicolasR

    NicolasR Adventurer

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    Haroon I am from Medellin. There are so many places to visit in Colombia. However, you may like to ride to Los Llanos Orientales, La Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, La Laguna de Tota, San Gil, Barichara, el desierto de la Tatacoa and finally San Agustin.

    I did a trip last January and rode to all these places and many more in 11 days. The places I listed before are about 400 to 500 kilometers away from each other so you wont get tired or bored!!!
    #14
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Haroon,

    Seven days from Bogota two up. Hmmmm. It's almost painful to be in such a beautiful country with great mountain riding for only a week. I am currently in Colombia and would suggest heading north to Medellin. Really fun riding from Bogota to Medellin. Then head over to Guatape and El Piñol and east to Bucaramanga, Pamplona, up to El Cocuy, San Gil and back to Bogota.

    I think you could do that in a week. Forget about the Costa Antlantico and all the awesome riding up there. Cartegena, Taganga, Tayrona, Cabo de la Vela will have to wait until next trip.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #15
  16. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks Nicolas & John for the nice pointers. I will work on them.

    Based on the paved roads/traffic conditions in Colombia for a normal rider (not aggressive) and given some photo-ops & lunch breaks, is a 300km day too much of a stretch for most PAVED ROAD riding conditions in Colombia?
    #16
  17. rjzinc

    rjzinc The World is My Home

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    I did 4 trips to Colombia, one time renting a KLR from Mike in Cali. I went to Salento, and from there a trip to a National park where they have these very tall palm trees, (the Colombian national tree). Check Salento out on Google.

    RJZINC
    #17
  18. pasomonte

    pasomonte Been here awhile

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    I have been riding in Colombia for a month . I would say the road from Murillo over to Nevados de Ruiz is excellent. I didn't encounter any deep mud in February. You can camp out at the Termas de Ruiz. Its a hot spring which is closed but the nice caretakers will let you in. Bring them something to read. I also really enjoyed the ride from San Gil to El Cocuy. I have jeeped around La Guajira with an Wayuu guide but I would stay out (oK, maybe Cabo la Vela) without a guide. I'll be back on the trail in Colombia by Easter.
    #18
  19. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Thanks rjzinc & pasomonte.

    Although I learnt Colombia has some wonderful off pavement routes, which I would love to do solo at some time, whereas on this ride I am riding 2-up with pillion fully loaded and hence I want to avoid dirt riding especially in the rainy season (May), when its not lose gravel, but plain slippery slush that slows down the pace considerably on a 7 day ride.

    Even on paved roads, I wanted to know if a 300km ride day is a far stretch as per local colombian riding conditions??
    #19
  20. pasomonte

    pasomonte Been here awhile

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    Ok Haroon. I read your lovely website and I have some better suggestions for two up on a big bike. By the way I have been riding two up on a 650 with no problems but I travel really light.
    1. Villa de Leyva- is a really attractive colonial town about 4 hours east of Bogota. There are two ways to get there. The northern route crosses mountains with some great twisties. There are hot springs, an observatory and lots of good restaurants and shopping.
    2. Salento- is everyones favorite. The roads are easy, there are great hiking trails, horseback adventures and great scenery. It is possible to ride into Salento directly from Ibague. I will test this out before you arrive. I think it will be a well-packed dirt road through semi-remote mountains. I suggest you stay at La Serrana or Salento Real(really nice)
    3.San Gil- A fast growing mountain town about 5 hours east of Bogota. It has all tourist infrastructure, adventure sports, a great swimming hole, micro brew beer and lots of side roads to explore quaint villages such as Charala, Barichara. Stay at Hotel Abril (cheap, clean perfect bike parking and location).

    Distances: Like anyplace there are great advantages to departing very early in the morning. Colombians are a bit late to rise and you can get a great deal further each day by leaving early. I think 350 km makes a nice day if you depart early and quit early. If you leave at 9 AM and ride till 5PM youll be lucky to get 275km. I've been adding 50% to the time Google maps issues for a given route. Try to leave and reenter Bogota on Sunday morning or before 7AM.
    Example Bogota- Armenia
    depart 5:30 AM 6 hrs. depart 8AM 9hrs.
    Heres an Idea of a route. It has about 35 hrs of riding and should allow a day off the bike. Have fun!
    http://goo.gl/maps/vMbnd
    #20