Colombia : Mountain bike journey from the Andes to the Caribbean

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In the Tatacoa Desert, wind, rain and erosion have sculpted the orange-red soil into a magnificent landscape sculpture.

On one day we indulge in the Caribbean lifestyle in Tayrona National Park, on the other we roam the orange-red soil of the Tatacoa Desert. In the Andes we breathe the fresh mountain air deep into our lungs.

OVERVIEW

  • Coffee-growing regions and colonial cities
  • The Red Tatacoa Desert
  • Mysterious San Agustín (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Swim in the Caribbean in Tayrona National Park
  • Views of the world’s highest coastal mountain range at Minca
  • Cartagena: for many the most beautiful colonial city in all of South America

Travel Program

A day flight takes us to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia at 2640 m. Our hotel is located near the airport.

Overnight: Hotel near Bogotá

A bus transfer takes us up to a nearby pass, where our bike adventure through northern Colombia starts. The air is thin because we’re already breaking the 3,000 meter mark today. The gravel road meanders beautifully through the lovely valleys of the Eastern Cordilleras. The Cordilleras consist of three mountain ranges, also known as the foothills of the Andes. They run from Venezuela via Colombia to Chile and the highest peaks reach heights of well over 6000 m. The Colombian Cordilleras are characterized by wide plateaus and mountain ridges, and in some cases also volcanoes. The region is known for its craftsmanship, which is very present here. The beautiful clay souvenirs, some of which are colorfully painted, can be bought everywhere.

Bike route: 42/53 km, 300/700 m
altitude difference. Accommodation: Charming hotel, Villa de Leyva

Today we explore the surroundings of Villa de Leyva with the bikes, which is used for wine and tomato cultivation, among other things. On the round trip we get to know the local highlights. We stroll over the uneven cobblestones through the lively streets of the historic city center, which consists entirely of colonial buildings from the 16th century. Arriving at the large Plaza Mayor, we are enchanted by the sight of the whitewashed houses with the red tiled roofs and in the background the Colombian Andes, which rise into the wide, steel-blue sky. We enjoy a fine coffee and who wants to visit the small pretty shops in the streets.

Bike route: 25 km, 400 m
ascent Overnight stay: Charming hotel, Villa de Leyva

Today we continue in a really Colombian way, up and down, through fragrant forests. Past the huge church dedicated to St. Sofia and through many small villages. Life here is comfortable, the Colombians greet us friendly and welcome us. We get a very authentic insight into today’s country life in this region.

Bike route: 53 km, 800 m
ascent Overnight stay: Typical hotel near Barbosa

After a short ride in the accompanying bus, we begin our wonderful day’s stage, which takes us down into the valley to Guadalupe. We enjoy a spectacular view of the mountain range Serranias de los Cobardes (mountains of the scaredy-cats). On the way we make a short detour to the idyllic “Las Gachas” swimming pools in a side arm of the Suarez River. The natural jacuzzis invite you to take a refreshing bath. Arrived in Guadalupe, there is time to explore the pretty village, in whose colonial center about 1500 people live.

Bike route: 30/45 km, 700/1000 m
ascent Overnight stay: Simple, typical accommodation, Guadalupe

Today’s stage begins with a descent from Guadalupe down into the gorge of the Suarez River and further on lonely Andean slopes. With a bit of luck you can observe different birds in the Andean mountain forest. Small mountain villages line our way, and the mountains with the peaks of the Colombian Cordillera, some of which are more than 4000 meters high, form an impressive backdrop. Ambitious bikers get their money’s worth on this stage.

Bike route: 44/56 km, 1400/1600 m
ascent Overnight stay: village hotel in Barichara

The bikes can hardly be tamed, they are impatiently awaiting the next stage. We have a lot to do today. The valley and gorge of the Rio Suárez await us. Many years ago, the Spanish conquistadors passed through here on their campaign of conquest against the local Muisca people. They came up into the Andes from the lowlands. We’re going in the opposite direction, but forget about only going down, we’re diligently collecting meters in altitude. Do you dread too many climbs? Our driver can help and looks forward to your company. The remote small town of Zapatoca is a welcome stage destination.

Bike route: 32/55 km, 600/1700 m
ascent Overnight stay: Simple, local accommodation, Zapatoca

The Rio Suárez has merged with the river from the Chicamocha Canyon and now flows further through the Andes with the name Sogamoso. The gorge spreads out impressively in front of us, the river has dug deep. What fun to drive down the hairpin bends. But how was that old biker saying: where it goes down, there’s also up? But we’re full of energy and are tackling the challenge on the other side of the valley with enthusiasm. Who would have thought that after so much nature, we would be able to enjoy the advantages of the colonial city of Girón again tonight.

Bike route: 56 km, 800 m
ascent Overnight stay: Colonial Hotel, Girón

In order to bridge the huge distances in northern Colombia, we take a rest day today and, thanks to the bus and boat, reach Mompox without muscle power. Our adventure with the Chalupa begins in Barrancabermeja, as the sleek motorboat is called here, with which we travel the Rio Magdalena. We enjoy the atmospheric boat trip down the river and observe many birds and the changing impressions on the wide river. Around noon we land in the port of El Campo. The bus drives us through the scorching afternoon heat to Mompox, one of the historically most important colonial cities in Colombia. The place is isolated and quiet, in the middle of an aquatic landscape surrounded by shallow rivers and lagoons.

Transfer Day: Bus and Boat
Overnight: Boutique Hotel, Mompox

We explore the cozy town on foot and listen to the stories from the time of Simon Bolivar, who often visited here. The predominant architectural style shows Moorish and indigenous elements, with huge archways. The courtyards, decorated with tropical plants and fountains, are also very typical. No less impressive is the evening sundowner boat trip into the surrounding swamp landscape. Hundreds of birds and caimans let us marvel and experience nature in all its lushness. Who dares to jump into the cool water? And when the sun sets blood red…

Overnight: Boutique Hotel, Mompox

A longer bus transfer takes us to the very north of Colombia, to Minca in the Sierra Nevada, the highest coastal mountain range in the world. With the bikes we explore the region around Minca. The area is heavily forested and we bike through the hilly landscape on shady dirt roads and trails. A little more or less depending on your mood.

Bike route: 14 km, 650 m ascent
Transfer: Bus approx. 5-6 h
Overnight stay: Bungalows embedded in nature, Minca

Today is a unique challenge: If you want, you can start pedaling early in the morning, before sunrise, up to over 3000 meters and, with a bit of luck, catch a fantastic view of the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Alternatively, there is a tour of a coffee plantation and its production facility. Because we are in the middle of a coffee-growing region. And the «cafe colombiano» is simply excellent! The sea isn’t far either, after which a rapid descent takes us down to sea level. Here in Taganga it’s pure Caribbean!

Bike route: 21/47 km, 550/1300 m
altitude difference. Accommodation: Hotel near the beach, Taganga

Today we explore Tayrona National Park, one of the highlights of our bike trip. On foot we cross the rainforest on beautiful trails, past lonely bays and rounded monoliths, which lie there like scattered marbles of a giant. With a bit of luck, we’ll spot monkeys, capybaras and countless species of birds, including pelicans swooping into the water. We have enough time to enjoy ourselves on a beach lined with coconut trees in the crystal clear waters.

Hike: approx. 3 hours
Overnight stay: Hotel near Santa Marta or Barranquilla

We look forward to our last bike stage on the northern route, through the hinterland between Barranquilla and Cartagena. The mud volcano El Totumo offers us a very special experience. We climb the rim of the crater via a wooden staircase, from where we have a magnificent view of the lagoon landscape. In the warm mud of the crater we treat ourselves to a wellness bath and enjoy our appearance. Thanks to the bus, we can easily reach Cartagena, the pearl of the Caribbean. We have two days and nights to soak up the Caribbean flair and get to know the different facets of Cartagena, as well as the contrasts between the colonial old town and the modern skyline city.

Bike route: 54/67 km, 850/950 m
altitude difference. Accommodation: Boutique Hotel, Cartagena

Cartagena, the unsurpassed most beautiful historic colonial city, called the Pearl of the Caribbean. How true! The historic center captivates with its white, yellow and ocher palaces, balconies, courtyards lined with palm trees, churches and monasteries, museums, theaters and chic restaurants and bars. Brightly dressed women balance baskets full of tropical fruit on their heads. Carriages rattle through the streets. At night people dance to Latin American rhythms in front of the equestrian statue. Of course, a day at the beach is a must. We take the boat to an offshore island with a beautiful, tropical beach and enjoy swimming and chilling in the Caribbean Sea. Is there anything more beautiful?

Overnight: Boutique Hotel, Cartagena

Depending on the flight schedule, there is still some time to explore the city, eg a short trip up to the La Popa monastery, with its wonderful panoramic view of the Cartagena area. Then it’s time to say goodbye to Colombia, we fly back home.

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • Flight taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Support vehicle and transfers
  • 13 nights in a hotel in a double room
  • 2 nights in simple accommodation
  • breakfast
  • Entrance fees and visits according to the programme
  • Bike Adventure Tours guide

Not included:

  • Meals and beverages not listed
  • Tips for our local team
  • Flight Zurich-Bogota, Cartagena-Zurich
  • Transport your own bike
  • Cancellation cost and assistance insurance
  • Possibly small group surcharge (see AVRB point 3.2)
  • possibly ½ single room surcharge (see AVRB point 3.1)

Entry requirements:

To enter Colombia, you need either a full vaccination or a negative corona test.

Requirements and bike routes

Route profile
The total route is approx. 370-470 km with 7000-9900 m ascent. Getting into the support vehicle can reduce the mileage and the number of meters in altitude. We drive two thirds of the way on (wide) natural roads.

Support vehicle
The support bus transports the luggage and is available to us for transfers. An additional vehicle is used for larger groups.

Bikes

Own bike
Taking your own bike on the flight is limited, subject to a charge and must be reserved by us in advance. However, this reservation does not constitute a transport guarantee, the airline can still refuse transport of the bike at check-in without giving reasons!

Rental bike
Mountain bikes with front suspension can be rented on site.

Number of participants and registration deadline

Group tour
10 to 14 people

Registration deadline
8 weeks before departure

Accommodations

On this trip we stay overnight in the remote rural regions in simple, country-specific hotels and in the cities in comfortable hotels.

Travel information AZ

Do you need more information? On our Travel Info AZ page you will find comprehensive information about traveling with Bike Adventure Tours. Or you can contact us directly by email or telephone.

Prices & Dates

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— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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FROM/TO

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TRAVEL STATUS

— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

Prices (per person):

1 PAX2 PAX4 PAX6 PAX8 PAX10 PAX12 PAX14 PAX
— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD

Deposit for reservations:  — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!

Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►COL – 57
Duration: 16 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Colombia
Mountain Guide: Eric Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
EZZ Single room supplement
🟢 On this trip, places are still available.
🟡 On this trip, only a few places left.
🔴 This trip is sold out / closed.

Eric Raul Albino Lliuya

Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions

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