Dirt Bikes in Colombia's Coffee Belt: A Spanish Immersion Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by trespalacios, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    I somehow managed to convince a group of friends to go ride dirt bikes in my native Colombia. My initial contact was with @Chio_Dakar (Chilo_Dakar), who represented Colombia in the ISDE and had 2 finishes in the Dakar Rally. He sent me a written, all-inclusive proposal for a tour of 4 riding days with a rest day in the middle.

    Since we Colombians are a bit sensitive about the misspelling of the Motherland's name, I'll get this out of the way: IT'S COLOMBIA, NOT COLUMBIA!!! :deal

    This is all I had in my mind the whole trip:

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    Some of us flew out of Charlotte, NC and a few others flew out of Greenville, SC. We met in Miami for a direct flight to Pereira, COL.

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    The flight was fairly uneventful except for James' gear bag that stayed behind.

    Leaving the airport

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    We stopped at the supermarket looking to fulfill our hydration needs

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    At Chilo's Adventure Ranch

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    We had to do some bed shuffling to accommodate for American sizing

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    Our first evening's sunset

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    Our riding group CW: James, Ivan, Phil, our host and guide Chilo, yours truly, Josh and Jonathan

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    The Chilo Dakar Adventure Ranch

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    Gym/ motorcycle shop

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    Some of our steeds

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    Josh claimed this bike by installing his own custom pegs

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    Dakar, the rescue dog

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    Bikes ready for our first day of riding

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    #1
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  2. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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    I have a few questions:

    Will we need raincoats?
    Are we going back up that hill?
    #2
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  3. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    DAY 1

    After breakfast we packed up and headed to Toro, Valle.

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    We got to Chilo's friends and they opened their house for us. We parked in the courtyard and changed into our gear inside their very ample and airy house. Soon after we were hitting the trails

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    The first trail struck me as very different from what we usually ride. Steep, open, rutted. Livestock trails.

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    The first day of riding wasn't as smooth as I imagined it. Pretty soon some of us hit the pain tank and the first Spanish sentence made an appearance: COMIENDO MIERDA

    Kini, Chilo's associate, showed us how to get it done

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    And did it in style

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    Toro in the background

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    At this point we discovered some of our bikes had pretty plumpy tires :baldy

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    Pit stop at the top of the trail

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    And down some tricky switchbacks
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    I think these mangoes contributed to some stomach issues later on

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    We stopped to smell the flowers

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    And take a little break

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    Sometimes I struggled to see the track :lol3

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    Shade is quite often taken for granted

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    Smiling inside my helmet

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    After that, it was time to attack another mountain. One of our companions wisely decided he had already had too much fun and went back to town guided by Kini.

    Before the climb

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    Up the mountain

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    With considerable difficulty at times :muutt (speaking for myself)

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    Cheers :freaky

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    COMIENDO MIERDA just a bit more

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    But we finally pushed through

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    We ended up at a country store having some Malta and soon after started our descent down The Infierno

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    Easy :knary



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    Back in Toro for dinner

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    And then to the hotel Chilo had reserved for us. What a day!!!
    #3
  4. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    :lol3
    #4
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  5. OU812

    OU812 Legend in my own Mind! Supporter

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    Awesome!!!!-!-
    #5
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  6. Chio_Dakar

    Chio_Dakar Adventurer

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    Thanks bro for your words
    #6
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  7. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Awesome! That looks like an incredible place to ride. I love technical single track, spend a lot of time in the Oregon coastal range on my 2-stroke.

    Great pics, though some aren’t showing up.

    Looking forward to the next update :D :D
    #7
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  8. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    Thanks. It is indeed a magical place to ride. The terrain, the weather, the people and the culture.

    When it comes to the pictures, I can see them all if I access the report from a computer but for some reason some of them don’t show up on my phone app (Tapatalk)
    #8
  9. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    DAY 2

    Early in the morning I had the opportunity to appreciate the place where we stayed. I was soo tired the night before that I just went straight to bed.

    Here's the view from the gazebo

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    There was a nice lounge area

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    With nice details

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    The beer guardian

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    We left the hotel

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    And headed down the streets of Toro looking for breakfast

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    Ready to ride

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    We headed out of town and pretty soon we took this singletrack up a mountain
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    Braaap

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    After some fun riding, we got to this house

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    We took a long break that included frozen mango and amazing hospitality

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    We kept going looking for the top of the hill

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    Getting to the top in style

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    Fun ride and awesome views

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    Coming down

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    Next up was a fun double track to a ridge where we took another break

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    And smelled the flowers again

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    Next we rode down to a farmhouse that allowed us access to the creek. They had puppies

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    The ride down to the creek was fun

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    We pursued a track for a while

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    but had to turn around. Notice the rider at the bottom of the picture

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    Fun ride. Beautiful country

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    We rode around the creek for a bit

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    and got out to a gravel road and back into town, where we hung out for a while

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    Then we took a gravel road and headed up a mountain at a spirited pace. Following Chilo quickly made me realize his Dakar skills. A dose of technical single track with lots of switchbacks going uphill was next in order to reach the high ground

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    We got to an abandoned church

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    More singletrack

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    With awesome views

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    Fun riding

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    Bak in Toro we stopped for "trabuco" milkshake. I now question the wisdom of that decision

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    We packed up and headed back to Pereira, tired but happy
    #9
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  10. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    DAY 3

    Rest day. Trip to the Hot Springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal.

    Waiting on our ride we got to watch Chilo and Kini hard at work

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    Dakar checking out our ride

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    Heading into the mountain

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    We were stoked to be there

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    We sat by the pool and ordered a big picada

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    It was a very relaxing day off the bikes. We soaked into the hot springs and rinsed on the cool waterfalls

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    After a nice and relaxing massage with headed back to Pereira

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    We stopped at El Tambo for the sunset

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    #10
  11. AEsco48

    AEsco48 Adventurer

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    Love it!
    #11
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  12. firecrotch

    firecrotch Been here awhile

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    Wow. amazing. How do I get the invite for next year. lol
    #12
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  13. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    That’s the easy part. Put a crew together
    #13
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  14. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    DAY 4

    Back to Santa Rosa de Cabal. First stop was hotel Santa Clara

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    Within a few minutes we were on single track negotiating our way down to the creek

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    Which had more than once crossing

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    Kini styling it once again

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    Wheelies of happiness

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    Feeling tropical

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    We came out at this cool suspension bridge

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    We started climbing this mountain on some concrete double track

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    We gained some elevation

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    We stopped to take in the views

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    The view from behind :lol3

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    This is Felipe. Excellent guide and communicator

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    Awesome rider too

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    We stopped to smell the flowers

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    And kept heading deep into the mountain

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    These kids were awesome

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    This guy checked us out for a while

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    And then we headed to Peanut Butter Mountain

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    And eventually out to the road and a country store

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    where we had some 7 Up and Malta beverage (cream soda of sorts)

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    We enjoyed the view

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    And the company

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    Reflected on our trip

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    And enjoyed our vacation

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    Peanut Butter Mountain wasn't a good option to go back to base so we took the gravel road. We interacted with the locals as well

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    Another break :jack

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    Back down on the never-ending driveway

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    More single track

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    And the creek again

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    I could do this all day long

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    We made back home and dinner was ready: Bistec a caballo :raabia

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    #14
  15. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    DAY 5

    On our last day of riding we'd go to Salento, about 45 min away from our base in Pereira

    Bikes

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    Gear

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    Unloading

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    Our guides left to right: Kini, Felipe, @Chio_Dakar

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    Ready to go

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    Peeking into the mountains

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    The view

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    We peeled off the road and went into this wet, rutted singletrack. After suffering there for a bit we got to town.

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    More views

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    We climbed to over 9,000 ft and went into a pine forest

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    Where we had a beer and some snacks

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    We played a little. The roots made the hills fairly tricky

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    We left the forest

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    We started descending into town when we took another rutted trail

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    At times it felt like a tunnel

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    We were warned it had one steep drop. I counted a lot more than that

    Sometimes we rode the high line :dunno

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    Break at the open ridge

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    Worth a stop IMO

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    Heading for lunch

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    Loading up

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    Under the watchful eye of the local stallion

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    At this point I said goodbye to the group. They stayed in Salento a couple nights before traveling back to the States on Sunday. I went back to Chilo's house and next day I did some more traveling in Colombia.

    I want to take the opportunity to thank @Chio_Dakar, Kini and Felipe for their expertise and help on the trails. I also want to thank Chilo's wife Maria Claudia and her mother Donia Martha. Their hospitality made me feel like part of the family.

    Colombia, que chimba!!!
    #15
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  16. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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    Revueltos o fritos?

    I'm drinking my coffee out of a bowl this morning.
    #16
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  17. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Great report and great photos. Some really gnarly terrain! Did you guys hike Cocora Valley outside Salento?
    #17
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  18. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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  19. savetheclutch

    savetheclutch Been here awhile

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    muy bacano!! was it a guided tour? or just moto rentals?

    I am planning a trip around Colombia with a friend I am trying to figure out if renting or buying bikes there (soy paisa).
    #19
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  20. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    Yo también soy paisa. I think it depends on what you’re looking to do. For street riding I’d rent a bike and go on my own. For enduro there’s a lot of logistics to work out so this was an all inclusive guided tour.

    Feel free to reach out if you want some input before you make that decision
    #20
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