Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

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

  1. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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  2. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    its 26 countries I think and probably 165 chapters
    I belong to LAMA Floridablanca Santander
    I just did 170 km of gravel today exploring the back country roads, Paradise around every corner altitude gain today 5800 meters Santander ROCKS
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  3. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    be Careful your bike is a hot item in Colombia Bike jacking happens all the time KTM 390 is a premium for thieves My 700 is not on the list
    every one is connected with bigger bikes there is no black market
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  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Glad to see you walk the walk, not just talk. Santander has a reputation for outstanding rock formations. “Santander rocks” must be a pun.

    I discovered a new great destination yesterday myself. Some of the best beaches in this area are only accessible by boat. One of the boat beaches has a medium hard dirt road leading to it though. The road is close to the limit of what a big bike should do. A lot of it is solid rock, not gravel. It could be handled by a rock crawler type 4wd but often has an optimal single track for a bike. There were no cars on that road when I was there. And only two other bikes.

    This beach is called Inca Inca. It is close to Rodadero, which is also fine if you like lots of people. The road climbs a small mountain and then drops down to sea level, so you get some very good ocean views near the top.

    This beach is an excursion from the hostel, so the dirt road part is usually hiked.
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  5. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Champe I hope you are aware of PICO PLACA the last number on your plate corresponds with a even or odd day you are not allowed to ride in the city They will take your motorcycle to a impound and the fine is obserb and time to get it out may take 2 days I had it happen to me believe me this is not fun They Make you take a Course it takes all day and it is by appoint only Be AWARE
    You have a Colombian Plate You are not exempt google pico placa Santa Marta
  6. advcoder

    advcoder Adventurer

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    Are you able to do transactions electronically or do most places/people only accept cash? I remember when I was in India, there was a popular service similar to PayPal that everyone used including the small street vendors, cabs, etc. I'm wondering if something like that is an option in Colombia.
  7. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Ignorance is bliss

    No, I did not know this. My Spanish is bad, but if I read the website right I am not supposed to ride in a bunch of cities including Santa Marta, Bogota and Cartagena on Thursdays, since the last number on my plate is 7. Is that right ?

    If so, I will be avoiding all the afflicted cities altogether, but especially on the penalty days.

    Has this changed since 2019 ? When I bought the bike in Bogota they told me there was a driving ban there for cars that did not apply to bikes. And it was an even/odd system.

    I would not take it kindly if they did to me what they did to you. Thanks for the warning. Major loss of friendly points anyway. Puc pico placa.
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  8. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Most regular business accept credit cards as well as cash. Apps like PayPal are not popular..

    Street vendors and cabs are primarily cash. Some businesses like hotels and hostels will accept credit cards with an up charge ..typically 4 to 6 %.

    There are exceptions of course. 82 Hostel in Bogota is owned by an American and he was happy to take PayPal in dollars at a very good rate.

    A little twist on credit cards does happen here. You normally have the option to pay all at once or monthly. In the US we only have the all at once option.
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  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Pico placa

    dang. Studied this rule some more and see I have it wrong again. The chart I saw was for cars. There is a separate chart for motorcycles. They are taking 40% of the bikes off the street every week day. So my number cannot be on the street Tuesdays and Fridays. Today (Monday) you cannot be on the street if your last number is 1, 2, 3 or 4.

    So being the jerk that I am, I am going out today to see about compliance.
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  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Inca Inca

    remote beach south of Santa Marta. Hard to access due to being behind a military base. View from the dirt access road. The beach is way right.
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    The whole beach.
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    where are we ?
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  11. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    pico placa is cars and bikes in Bucaramanga I was nailed 7 am January this year they put the bike on flatbed tow. truck and hauled it down to transito At 10 o'clock I went to retrieve it and the lines and BS was unliveable especially during there harsh covid protocols any way I got in and showed them my carnet of the registration along with my licence and id Colombian of course and they said I have to take a safe driving course and have to book it
    on Line
    Hmmm I asked if there was a course today they said yes at one o'clock and it was full because of limited seat Protocol ! they said wait to see if there is a no show and if there is I can get in , sure enough there was a no show I got in and watched videos and listened to this instructor for three hours and got a stamp of approval > Now its off to start paying and it is confusing Colombian style you may be in the wrong line .
    After I payed about 500000 pesos at 3 different departments I was clear to get my bike It was quarter to 5 and they close at 5
    I walked out back to the compound and the site was a scene to behold, about 6 acres of impounded bikes thousands of them

    I went to security and my bike was in the primary compound Payed 50000 more and I was good to go OMG what a experience
    Pico placa changes every 3 months I wasn't aware and that's why I was nailed now I have a piece of tape with Monday No Go written on the inside of my wind sreen
    A friend of mine said he had his bike impounded and when he returned the next day and went thru the BS to get the bike
    Every auxiliary light was gone and even the switches Cameras he asked The guard replied there are no Cameras in the zone where his bike was
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  12. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Looking a little closer, this program is typical of governments these days. Top down directives without regard for the consequences.

    I took a stroll around the neighborhood in Santa Marta this morning. Looked at about 50 bikes that were running around. About 40% were in violation. Here is a group of 4 with 50% compliance. And those in compliance may be doing it by accident. 4D24E85F-B7AC-4FC2-AD91-C38295D937E4.jpeg

    The heavy fines they hand out like candy will be taken very hard. The typical owner has a used 100cc Bajaj Boxer worth maybe $600, and it is the most valuable thing he owns. He may be at the next protest to get even.

    You are right about the rules changing frequently. Bogota is still on the even/odd system but it now includes motorcycles. And they have added an exception. You can pay to be excused from the program. It is called ...pico y placa solidario. Ha ha ... makes it sound like you agree with the program.
  13. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Playa Blanca is just a little further than Inca Inca, but can only be reached by boat. CD7C485F-5FBD-404B-8B94-961E6914FE4F.jpeg

    party boat at Inca Inca
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    Excursion boat at Inca Inca
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    A ruin next to the beach 91B4F6C6-028C-4A66-B263-FF861303F3CB.jpeg
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  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Cool car on Calle 5, Santa Marta. Some kind of Plymouth
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  15. GringoRider

    GringoRider Adventurer

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    Guy in the red shirt has a police billy club in some kind of military belt. Doesn't look like a cop!
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  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Marinka waterfall

    Today’s ride was to Minca, the hippie haven in the mountains. It happens to have a few waterfalls with swimming pools besides some fairly rough off roading. The Marinka falls is a few miles past the town and requires some dirt riding. I did roughly double what I needed to due to poor navigation. So I had to see the falls on the way back. Of course it started raining a little while after I turned around. I stopped for about 45 minutes to let the worst of it pass. The road had some muddy spots before, and now they were worse. On a slick downhill muddy part I was not concentrating hard enough and this happened.
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    no damage

    Marinka Falls. I was pretty dirty from the drop and washed up here.
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    Heading back to Santa Marta it began to rain again so I took refuge in a roadside restaurant. I got the ….chicken consomé….5000 pesos…$1.50.
    It was my first time seeing chicken feet being served. I considered that part inedible, but the rest was really good. Especially the very tender chicken hearts. That white thing is a hard boiled egg.
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    How many Colombians does it take to wash a motorcycle ?
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    Answer: Two to lift the back and one to turn the wheel. The bike was pretty dirty from the drop and I could not wipe it without scratching it so I stopped in town for a wash, near a poorer neighborhood. These three guys were between customers and were glad for the work. The head negotiator wanted 5000 pesos. Half of what I am used to. So I added a tip. They did a great job. Pulled up their only chair for me to sit in and watch. They hosed it down hard, soaped it up, detailed it with brush and rag, rinsed and dried it.
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  17. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    The road past Minca

    there are small water crossings
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    Most is just dirt and gravel, but some is solid rock. Looks just like gray granite from New Hampshire, only this is a road bed. Great traction.
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  18. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    you should put Parque Tyrona on your must see> that beach Inca Inca is a shyte hole
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