2 Months on a Bike in Colombia - 2019 and 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    Glad you enjoyed my ride report, I am sure enjoying yours. Time does fly, which is not so bad, it's getting old so fast that sucks.

    Colombia was by far my favorite country in Latin America. Glad you're enjoying it too
    #81
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  2. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yes there is a guide. Mine was an art professor from the university, who doubled as one of the underground artists himself. Fascinating! He risked many years imprisonment for his artistic statements.
    #82
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  3. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

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    Great report. I look forward to more.
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  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    On the ride to Palomino there was this sign warning of Jaguars. I never saw any though.
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    #84
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  5. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Palomino is not much to see from the main road. You have to head for the ocean somewhere on one of the many unpaved roads. There are no signs so I just picked one at the Northern end. It turned out I was in the hostel zone. That was quite nice, with not many people on the beach there. And the beach was white sand, stretching for at least a mile to the left and even further to the right. The "road" going in got softer as I went. I finally parked before I got stuck. There was a truck load of soldiers turning around right before that. I was really curious about the weapons they were carrying so I grabbed this shot a little later while I was walking through some hostel grounds.
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    #85
  6. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Photos of the beach are coming up. But I was surprised by the military presence here. Later I went to the beach from the Southern end, which is more of a "locals" zone. At that end there was a small bunker made of sandbags that was manned by an armed soldier also. The Southern beach is bordered by the Magdalena River, and is a popular endpoint for tubing. That area was also patrolled .
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    That's my last photo of military or police, I promise.
    #86
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  7. knight

    knight Long timer

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    There is a fancy KTM dealer in Medellin on Calle 10A in the el Poblado district , you can find every other type of moto dealer there also
    #87
  8. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    There are more than 10 KTM dealers in Bogota. The city with the next most KTM dealers is Medellin, but I have not been there...yet. I am really pleased with my choice of bike so far. Right now I would buy the same thing again. If I start feeling a little richer, and want to carry a passenger a lot, I might consider a bigger one.

    You will see in my report that I maxxed out the off-road ability of my Duke. I am not sure if I should try harder. I can ride dirt, but I do crash occasionally, and that might be a bad idea in the mountains of Colombia.

    It is likely I will look in on some other dealers - already checked out four in Bogota. I want to hear other opinions on fuel.

    I am hearing that some of the early fuel injected KTMs had injector issues. Mine is the latest though - and has lots of small but important improvements. It is possible I am getting old information about it.
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  9. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    If you can hear your engine "knock" while accelerating, then you need higher octane fuel. If it doesn't knock with less acceleration or going uphill, you will not damage your engine while using lower octane gasoline.
    #89
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  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Before this trip I was hitting the Duolingo language game on line pretty hard. I posted the idea of the trip and got some negative responses. Here is one. I think this is one of the reasons for military presence.

    Ivan703467
    • [​IMG]381
    As a native colombian sadly i have to say it doesnt sound like a very safe idea for a foreigner to tour the country by himself on a motorcycle...
    #90
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  11. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

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    I've read your report and didn't see anything about being in dicey situations, but do you feel you have enough experience in the country to confirm or refute this person's warning?
    #91
  12. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is Palomino beach looking in both directions from the point I first saw it at the Northern access.

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    #92
  13. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is the Northern access "road". I was walking here - but you can see up ahead is a small street bike that made it right to the beach.

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    Surfing is a thing here
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    This is a snap shot of a flock of pelicans flying along the beach.
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    #93
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  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I think this person is a little too worried. His statement is way too broad to be accurate. What is true is that there is still a very small group of militant FARC and there are some other fringe groups taking over some of their illegal businesses. The dangerous areas that are known are the Darien Gap (Panama border) and the southeastern border to Ecuador. And the danger there may be overblown. Those areas, according to my maps, have no roads anyway.

    I am not claiming to be an expert in this area, but where I was, there was no threat. My next trip will be in the fringes of more tourist areas and I expect no problems there either. The center of the tourist areas are extremely safe from serious crime (pickpocketing is the danger there) but kind of boring from my perspective.

    Lots of people think motorcycle riding is dangerous and stupid. And they have a point, too. For them, it is. I have a brother who crashed every week on a street bike. He stopped riding, as well he should have. I think ADVriders are past that, and have a good sense of self preservation. For them I would suggest that Colombia is a good place to have some fun.
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  15. Quindio

    Quindio Been here awhile Supporter

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    I remember many years ago telling people I was riding to Mexico on my motorcycle and all I got from people is that I was crazy. I got hooked on riding in Latin America since that first trip, not knowing what was around the next corner, the amazing scenery, the different way of life, cultures and the wonderful interesting people along the way. Then I told people I was going riding in Colombia and I got even worse reply's saying "who's riding shotgun behind you?" lol

    The past 6 years I have been spending 4 months a year riding in Colombia and I have had no problems. Years ago there were Military or Police at each end of every town you went to. I was mostly always the token tourist in every small town i visited. Not like that anymore with a lot of tourists now traveling in Colombia.

    Sometimes though there are a few areas that you would want to avoid and the areas do change so it's best to talk to the locals or police if your not sure? All in all Colombia is very safe and has some of the best riding and friendly people in the world.
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  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    The North end of Palomino is the hostel zone. It looks like private houses with nice yards.
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    At least one of them features hammocks
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    #96
  17. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Last shot of the North end. There was a girl with a surfboard here that was an easy 10. I waited for her to get up on the board but she never did. She paddled out forever.
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    #97
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  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I got pretty thirsty walking the beach at the North end and went back to the main road to get something to drink. Spent at least a half hour there talking bikes with the guys. I was not really ready to leave and am glad I didn't. Next I checked for another way to get to the beach further South. After you go through the residential area and then past the sandbag bunker, you come to a path alongside the Magdalena River.
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    This river is fed by the high mountains inland from here. A major pastime is riding inner tubes down it to Palomino beach.

    At the end of the trail are some small restaurants and parking for motorcycles. The best spot was vacant so I pulled in there.
    Right away I was approached by several guys. One of them got me a small board to put under the kickstand. Another one said he wanted to watch my bike for 3000 pesos. And a third one wanted me to eat at his restaurant.

    Of course there was a lot of the usual talk about bikes. All the guys were very friendly so I hired the bike watcher. I told the restaurant guy I wanted to walk the beach but might eat afterwards. He offered to hold my helmet and backpack in the meantime. I wanted to keep my options open so I declined that.

    Here are some people tubing on the Magdalena
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    Supposedly tubing is only done in daylight and in good weather. I heard there are alligators that need to be avoided during times of low visibility. Not sure if that is true.

    Edit : OK I looked it up - no alligators. It's crocodiles.

    Magdalena is home to hundreds of fish as well as elusive river turtles, tortoises, manatees, caiman, iguanas, crocodiles and pelicans. It has long been a trade and transport route linking Bogota to the Caribbean and, even today, previously unknown wildlife species are still discovered in the Magdalena.
    #98
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  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    At the very Southern tip of Palomino beach, the sand forms a peninsula. This is it, with the river on the left and the Caribbean Sea on the right.

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    Close up of the mouth of the river. You can see some guys in the water here. Two near the left bank and one on the right bank. They are fishing with a net between them.
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    Here they are a few minutes before, setting up the net.
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    Looking back from the South tip of the beach.
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    #99
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  20. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    The bike watcher.

    After my beach walk I did go back to the restaurant to eat. That is a story in itself. But I thought I would look in on the bike and see how secure it was. My watcher guy was watching it alright. He was laying on his stomach, across the bike next to it, staring straight at mine. Talk about service. He earned every dime of that 3000 pesos ($1). And I think he enjoyed doing it.

    The Caribbean coast hardly has any KTMs. I never saw one. When I was getting a drink on the main road earlier the guys asked all the usual questions. They liked the answers and how the bike looks. So I got several offers to trade. The first offer was for a 200cc Bajaj. The next guy stepped it up to two horses.

    I had to learn how to say KTM in Spanish. Nobody believed me when I told them. I had to point at the letters on the side. At first I was saying it wrong, but I thought it was close enough. Proper sounds like "Kah Tay Aimay".
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