Colombia Cycle Tour
Colourful Colombia - a cycling paradise!
Imagine a country that is one of the most beautiful and least visited in South America, claims to be “one of the happiest places on earth” and where cycling is not just a pastime but a national sport!
Colombia is all this and more. With a history of European colonialism, political struggles and drug wars Colombia has moved on. As a cycle touring destination - it is pretty much perfect!
If ever there was a land of diversity - Colombia is it! We cycle through thriving cities and friendly cowboy towns; vast coffee growing regions, tropics, jungle, semi-desert and Andean alpine environments. Colombia boasts every growing climate with hot steamy tropical valleys full of pineapples and papayas, higher up coffee, cacao and banana plantations thrive and in the highlands... well actually every fruit and vegetable you can imagine! We can't wait to share with you this land of divine cycling and warm welcomes from everyone we met!
Our wonderful Colombian adventure
Penny Nash, 15/10/2019 8:32pm
In September 2019 we enjoyed another amazing Escape Adventures holiday - our third and this time in Colombia - and finished absolutely exhilarated by the experiences and fun that we had had in the packed two and a half weeks! Yet again, John, Mandy and their team have masterminded and executed a fantastic adventure. Every day brought different surprises and showed us another side to the multi faceted country that is Colombia - from breathtaking scenery, to varied towns and villages and great food (and some of eateries that we went to were fabulously eclectic). Bruce and Sarah were both excellent tour leaders - organised, calm, helpful, supportive and everything done with enthusiasm and a great sense of humour. Milton, the local guide, was fantastically knowledgeable about his beloved country, took us to lots of interesting places and gave us heaps of background information on everything we did - as well as being a mine of information on the history and politics of the country. Our driver, Hoover, was outstanding - and that is not easy in Colombian traffic - as well as being an integral member of the support team generally. Yes, the cycling was hard - but I managed better than I have done on previous trips and felt that I learned a lot through the support that Sarah and Bruce gave me. Perhaps the best aspect of the whole trip was the cohesion and camaraderie of our whole group. We always love spending time with our Perth friends, and it was great to catch up again with the kiwis and make new friends amongst the other members of the group. Although they were all amongst the strongest cyclists, they were all supportive of us weaker ones and always generous with their help and encouragement. Lovely, lovely people all of them and we hope to meet up with them again (and with Bruce and Sarah) one day. So many thanks again Escape Adventures for another wonderful holiday. We just hope we can stay fit enough to enjoy another adventure with you in the future!
From Cold to Hot
Ulrika Silfverberg, 03/10/2019 7:29am
We will never forget biking down from 4000m in cold wind and mist to almost sea level being greeted by lush tropical warm heat. Colombia has it all! Mountains, rivers, coffee, chocolate , history, music, culture and proud friendly people. Escape Adventures has created a fantastic bike loop in the middle of Colombia, both climbing and some amazing down hills. We really loved the experience and would recommend this trip for the adventure bikers who love a bit of a challenge.
Expect the Unexpected
Maryanne TURNER, 01/10/2019 3:25pm
All is I can say is "WOW" - we had an outline of our tour before leaving NZ but the tour gave us so much more than we expected. From Day 1 to Day 14 we experienced all manner of adventures, new experiences and challenges - not to mention staying in "The Best Hotel in town" on numerous occasions. You can go on holiday with a book and swimming towel or jump outside the square with Escape Adventures - hold onto your hats and go for the ride of your life ! A huge thank you to Sarah, Bruce, Milton and Hoover - tour guides extraordinaire, interpreter and local encyclopedia and last but not least - the best driver in Colombia !
You are going where??
Julie Hamilton, 01/06/2019 8:15pm
This is the third cycle tour we have done with Escape Adventures. We keep going back for more! I will have to admit I was nervous about heading to Colombia - but I had nothing to fear. A country of friendly open people who just love cyclists and felt so welcomed by them to their country. Lots of hills but all very doable even for a chick like me. Hills allow great views. Colombia is a little more developed than the other two countries we had done the trips to - but that's what we like, 'different'. None of the trips have been the same. I totally recommend this one. Thanks John, Bruce and Sarah you ran a great 'tight ship'.
Better Biking Everyone!
Peter Worsp, 30/05/2019 9:01pm
Colombia was my third adventure with the Escape Adventures team and once again it was good fun, efficiently organised with a well-planned route, good bikes, and led by professionals who knew exactly what they were doing (and if they didn't, they gave the right impression!). John, Sarah, and Bruce, plus the local drivers were all fun, efficient, capable, endlessly patient, and always encouraging, especially at 4200m! If it wasn't for Escape I would never have had these adventures so thanks heaps.
Colombia....the gift that kept on giving!!
Christopher Bolderston, 12/10/2018 1:18pm
Colombia for me really was the gift that kept on giving. Even though I could never be called a regular biker and therefore wasn't especially prepared for the challenges of riding in the Colombian Andes. However the many benefits of riding in a group, with excellent support from Escape and the crew, the well planned itinerary through fascinating landscapes whereby local people and their comings and goings could be observed and enjoyed was indeed the gift that kept on giving... the only common denominator was the bike.. roads, terrain, agricultural land use, food, weather, and towns and cities all came together in differing ways everyday to confound, amuse and be thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. Cheers Chris
My seventh Escape Adventure
Karen Savage, 10/10/2018 10:20am
I came home from my latest adventure quite convinced I had experienced the “real” Colombia. Our morning cycle tour of Bogota (10 million people) was truly amazing and informative, but it was the tiny villages on mountain ridges that I really loved to explore. I imagine they demonstrate the true character of Colombian society; the people and their lifestyle, food, music, language, industry, dress and accommodation. I became part of each village for just a short while and each night I slept in “the best hotel in town”. I am so lucky I get to follow my guides to such out-of-the-way places. I am safe in John’s care, the locals are super friendly, I am well informed by local guide Alex and I wonder how on earth John and Mandy found their way to these special places! Every day is a new adventure; I love the element of surprise that is fundamental to all Escape Adventure journeys. Yet again you have enriched my life. Don’t change a thing! Especially the 60km downhill ride.
Roger Slee, 09/10/2018 10:24am
Yes! 100%, Escape Adventures (expect the unexpected). From the vibrancy of Bogota to the high altitude villages. A great experience; coffee farm, buffalo farm, hot springs, big hills. Could not have been better. Hurrah for Escape Adventures! Thank you to the Colombian Team. Shout out for John, Mushy, Alex, Cookie Cheers, Roger PS: Thanks for the care!
A bit of everything
Carl & Rose Robinson, 01/10/2018 10:36am
Expect the unexpected and know everything will turn out alright. This was our second tour with Escape Adventures and again we were left in awe with the level of preparatory work that goes into these tours. This was the "maiden tour" of Colombia and there were a few hiccups but we always felt everything was under control. Again we were amazed with the route that John and Mandy have come up with; biking through villages and countryside that few, if any, tourists get to see. Fabulous adventure and we look forward to doing EA again for another tour.
No drug offers but still blew my mind.
Hilary Heath-Caldwell, 28/09/2018 7:38pm
So I had my escape plan sorted for any dangerous situations encountered in my upcoming Colombian cycle tour. I was going to throw my bike at all those drug lords and run helter skelter into the bush. Well I'm not sure where my ideas and expectations of Colombia came from as they were so wrong. Yes we got chased, but people were only giving us our change back, or our belongings , that we'd left in roadside cafes. Colombia recycles. Colombia loves cycles. Colombian drivers are so so courteous towards cyclists. Colombia has clean toilets. Colombia has wonderful people. The bike tour took us to many amazing places...off the beaten track. We stayed in a range of accommodation. We were in towns where tourists don't go. We cycled past volcanic geomorphology and then sweated in the heat of the Magdalena River. We cycled up and down. We cycled hard and when we were tired we jumped into the van where we were entertained by Alex, the Colombian with great knowledge. We had kiwis John and Mushi as our tour leaders. Always smiling, always excited about us having a good time. We had a great little Canadian, Kiwi group with the addition of one Australian cyclist. We had the best margaritas. And I loved the sausages. Escape Adventures are easily the best cycle tours in the world. The bikes are fitted to each person and in excellent condition. I certainly will try their next tour.
Your tour itinerary offers 20-80km biking per day; a total distance of up to 560km spread over 13 days of biking.
The Terrain: includes 70% paved roads and 30% un-paved roads with one 30km optional rough section which mountain-bikers will love, but others may not! The riding is mostly undulating with rolling hills and includes two days with long sustained climbs reaching a maximum altitude of 4200m, and of course some lovely long descents!! The trip is suited to riders with a good level of biking fitness who are happy chugging their way up a couple of long climbs, and off-road biking experience will add to the enjoyment of your tour. A mountain bike with front suspension and fast rolling tyres is the ideal bike and we have a fleet of our own mountain bikes available for hire.
Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.
Group Size: 6-12 bikers like minded bikers from around the world.
Your tour leaders will take care of your meals and snacks throughout your journey with us which mostly takes advantage of the delicious fare in local restaurants. This excludes two lunches and four evening meals which are at your own cost to give you the opportunity to explore local eating options of your own choosing. We are able to cater for vegetarians* and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.
Typical meals include:
- Breakfasts - Colombian style: Eggs, bread, coffee and juice.
- Lunches - Mostly in local restaurants**
- Evening Meals - Mostly in local restaurants**
*Vegetarians - Please note that in Colombia meat is considered staple and vegetarianism is not widely understood. We will be doing our best to request dishes with plenty of vegetables (and meat-free dishes) however vegetarian options are limited and hence can be repetitive and you really need to be the type of vegetarian who is OK to ‘eat around the meat’.
**Colombian traditional food consists of rice and bean dishes with plenty of meat, eggs, plantain, corn bread and meat based soups. We will do our best to supplement with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
All accommodation for the duration of your tour is included in locally owned hospedajes and hotels on a twin share basis (2-4 star), and one night in basic farm-stay dormitory rooms. Most hotels and hospedajes have en-suite bathrooms however it is occasionally necessary to share bathroom facilities.
Singles: We do not charge a single supplement!
If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room. If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply!
Preparing for your Cycle Tour
Your cycle tour includes rides of up to 80km per day. Please do read about the daily riding distances and riding terrain in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure! However, please do not judge the rides by daily distances alone! Hills and altitude offer added challenge to your cycle tour. The tour is mostly in the Colombian Andes and ranges from between 150m-4200m altitude with plenty of ups and downs. Some days offer 30km climbs (however the gradients are usually pretty gentle).
You should be comfortable riding 2-3 times a week with regular rides of 30-50km in length. Please do contact us if you would like some help with a detailed training plan.
Manizales to Manizales
DAY 1: Arrive Manizales, pre-departure meeting and first dinner together. Hotel
DAY 2: We ride into Colombia's coffee region and learn where our coffee comes from! 37km. Coffee Lodge
DAY 3: We continue pedalling through a patchwork of coffee, banana and citrus. 32km. Hotel
DAY 4: A short ride, but its all UP onto the Central Andean Range. 21km. Hotel
DAY 5: We continue climbing up to the highest point of the tour, a stunning and rugged traverse and then descend nearly 2500m. 54km. Hotel
DAY 6: We continue down the Andes to the steamy valley below. Afternoon transfer to Bogota city. 58km. Hotel
DAY 7: Explore Bogota city by bike. 20km. Hotel
DAY 8: Following a transfer out of the city our ride is an ever changing canvas. 53km. Hospideje
DAY 9: We continue through semi-desert and small artisan villages and discover Colombia's largest town square! 30km. Hotel
DAY 10: Its out into real cowboy country today to stay on a working buffalo farm. 76km. Farm-stay
DAY 11: A climb up to a wee village nestled up in the hills. 17km. Hospedaje
DAY 12: 13km up and 60km of twisting, turning hair blowing descent into the Magdalena River valley. 79km. Hospedaje
DAY 13: A hot and sweaty valley ride through cattle, butterfly and iguana country! 50km. Hospedaje
DAY 14: Traveilling up the Magdalena river by boat, then vehicle transfer up and over a 3700m pass before our final descent to Manizales city. 33km. Hotel
DAY 15: Final breakfast together and then on to your next adventure!
US Dollars $3,890 + Local Payment* USD $300
Bike Hire if required USD $300
Singles: You DON'T have to pay a single supplement!
- If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.
- If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply! Single Supplement if requested: USD $950
*Local payment is a part of your tour cost and is payable to your tour leader on arrival in Manizales.
Our Colombia cycle tour is priced in US Dollars as USD mostly accurately correspond to our off-shore expenses.
Convert USD to your currency: www.xe.com
Included in your cycle tour:
- Transfer from the airport to your hotel
- Accommodation -14 nights
- Meals as per tour itinerary
- Two NZ based Escape Adventures leaders
- Local interpreter and driver
- Support vehicle
- Entry fees as per itinerary.
- Bogota city bike tour.
- Coffee tour.
- River transfer
Prices do NOT include: airfares, visas, airport taxes, optional activities and excursions, vaccinations, personal equipment and a couple of meals as per the detailed itinerary.
In Colombia we a fleet of our own mountain bikes available for hire. They are Trek X-Caliber 8 which are a quality hard tail mountain bike with 29 inch wheels for medium, large and XL frame sizes and 27.5 inch wheels for small frame size. They have Rockshox 100mm front suspension, shimano M315 hydraulic disc brakes and shimano 1x10 gearing. We have all spare parts on board and maintain them ourselves to make sure they are in optimal riding condition for your ride with us.
If you will be hiring a bike from us please let us know prior to your trip, and please feel free to bring your favourite saddle and clip in pedals (if you normally clip in).