Yes, Colombians are bike mad! They love road cycling; they love extreme mountain biking; they love urban downhill…. they love bikes, any bikes and most Colombians ride a bike… just any old bike will do and Sundays is cyclovia where the main roads in the the towns and cities close to motorised traffic and are filled with people riding bikes, skates, skate boards and scooters!
We make the most of the cycling culture and epic cycling terrain as we ride through thriving cities and friendly cowboy towns; vast coffee growing regions, tropics, jungle, semi-desert and Andean alpine environments.
Colombia is so diverse that it boasts every growing climate imaginable: hot steamy tropical valleys full of pineapples and papayas, higher up coffee, cacao and banana plantations thrive and in the highlands almost they grow every fruit and vegetable you can imagine!
If ever there was a land of diversity – Colombia is it! With a turbulent history of European colonialism, political struggles and drug wars, Colombia has now moved on and as a cycle touring destination – it is pretty much perfect!
We can’t wait to share with you this land of divine cycling and warm welcomes from everyone we meet!
Start: Colombia, Manizales
Finish: Colombia, Manizales
Arrive at Manizales, pre-departure meeting and first dinner together.
We ride into Colombia’s coffee region and learn where our coffee comes from!
Cycling Distance: 37km
Accommodation: Coffee Lodge
We continue pedalling through a patchwork of coffee, banana and citrus. 32km.
Cycling Distance: 32km.
A short ride, but it’s all UP onto the Central Andean Range.
Cycling Distance: 21km
We continue climbing up to the highest point of the tour, a stunning and rugged traverse and then descend nearly 2500m.
Cycling Distance: 54km
We continue down the Andes to the steamy valley below. Afternoon transfer to Bogota city. 58km.
Cycling Distance: 58km
Explore Bogota city by bike.
Cycling Distance: 20km
Following a transfer out of the city our ride is an ever changing canvas.
Cycling Distance: 53km
We continue through semi-desert and small artisan villages and discover Colombia’s largest town square!
Cycling Distance: 30km
A climb up to a wee village nestled up in the hills. 17km.
Cycling Distance: 17km
13km up and 60km of twisting, turning hair blowing descent into the Magdalena River valley.
Cycling Distance: 79km
A hot and sweaty valley ride through cattle, butterfly and iguana country!
Cycling Distance: 50km
Travelling up the Magdalena river by boat, then vehicle transfer up and over a 3700m pass before our final descent to Manizales city.
Cycling Distance: 33km
Final breakfast together and then on to your next adventure!
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.
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.
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 1×10 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).
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:
*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. 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.
This trip has 6-12 bikers, plus two experienced Escape Adventures tour leaders and a small local team with a bilingual interpreter and support drivers.
We biked Colombia with Escape Adventures and experienced another unforgettable adventure. I understand why Escape Adventures has so many repeat customers! It has been 8 years since we biked Laos with Mandy and John for an amazing journey in remote Asia. Colombia met and exceeded our high expectations. So many varied and different landscapes from tropical jungle and alpine tundra. In between this was the coffee and chocolate plantations, buffalo farms, mining and pottery towns and of course amazing people everywhere. It’s easy to see why Colombians have the reputation for being the happiest people on the planet. We were warmly welcomed and met only happy people, no sign of PABLO and his bad men
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!
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’.
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.
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.