LIMITED PLACES FOR 2018.
This is an exciting 13 day motorcycle tour exploring the extraordinary country of Colombia, a place of startling contrasts, from dense Amazonian jungle, spectacular tropical beaches and snow-capped Andean mountain ranges to Bogotá’s fast-growing metropolis and the immaculate colonial architecture of Villa de Leyva, Cartagena and Popayan.
The Columbia motorcycle tour was a sell out tour in 2017, showing that Colombia is definitely back on the map! The Andes riding delivers foot-peg scraping bends through lush green forests, mountains and valleys, and its fair to say that riders are staggered by this incredibly beautiful and friendly country, which challenges their preconceptions.
GlobeBusters Founders, Kevin & Julia Sanders, first travelled here in 1999 and celebrated New Year and the start of the new millenium in one of the many fabulous restaurants in Cartagena. They returned in 2003 on their Guinness World Record™, hosted by a group of amazing Colombian BMW GS Riders. Since 2009, GlobeBusters has operated our Trans Americas Expedition through Colombia and great feedback meant it was perfect for a short tour too! Overwhelmingly, riders are thrilled at exploring this country and are sad to leave. Colombia – the only danger is wanting to stay!
At a glance
Here are the highlights of this 13 day Colombia motorcycle tour
This is a 13 day, 12 night itinerary, covering around 1,380 miles (2,220 kms). It starts in Bogota and ends in Popoyan.
27 Sept 2018. Day 1: Bogotá
Fly into the Colombian capital welcome briefing. Evening in Bogota’s La Zona T for our Welcome Group Dinner.
28 Sept 2018. Day 2: La Palma y El Tucan
Morning ride out of Bogota to a coffee farm in the hills, with the afternoon to take a coffee tour, followed by a Group Dinner.
29 Sept 2018. Day 3: La Palma y El Tucan – Villa de Leyva (115 miles)
We leave the city heading north, through the multi-coloured mountains of the Cundiboyacense Plateau. with a stop at the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. Then onto a colonial gem, UNESCO listed Villa de Leyva for overnight – it has Latin America’s biggest cobbled plaza and a great place to have a beer or coffee and watch the sunset.
30 Sept 2018. Day 4: Villa de Leyva – Bucaramanga (165 miles)
More great roads through the Colombian Highlands. The Chicamocha Canyon has fantastic hairpin bends. Enjoy!
1 Oct 2018. Day 5: Bucuramanga – Mompox (217 miles)
Continuing north, we reach the Magdalena River Valley – a great dirt road takes us in the marshes and a small old ferry across the river to reach the forgotten town of Mompox, once a thriving port town, now an untouched colonial timewarp!
2 & 3 Oct 2018. Day 6 & 7: Mompox to Cartagena (192 miles)
With just the right mix of sun, sand, and old world charm, much of the attraction of Cartagena lies in strolling through its colonial streets. It is a World Heritage City (raided by Sir Francis Drake in 1586 in the Battle of Cartagena) and is considered to be one of the most picturesque cities in South America. You have a day off to explore the cobbled streets and old ramparts, or just chill by the pool.
4 Oct 2018. Day 8 : Cartagena to Monteria (176 miles)
We leave behind the Caribbean and head south to the town of Monteria and on the banks of the Sinu River – this means we are perfectly placed for tomorrow’s ride back into the Andes.
5 & 6 Oct 2018. Day 9 & 10: Monteria – Medellín (250 miles)
We climb back into the peaks, with plenty of twists and turns through the Andes – this is a “full on” ride, jostling with the traffic latino style as we head into Medellín, former stomping ground of drug lord, Pablo Escobar. You have a day off here and can explore the city on its extensive cable car system, giving incredible views over the city or stroll down to Plaza Botero and look at the curvaceous sculptures.
7 Oct 2018. Day 11: Medellín – Alcala (162 miles)
We continue our journey snaking up and down through the Andes amidst the verdant, green terraces of the coffee plantation area. We overnight in a small coffee lodge, where there is the opportunity to go zip lining over the plantations.
8 Oct 2018. Day 12: Alcala – Popayan (191 miles)
Your final days ride along the Pan American to historical Popayan, also known as the “White City”, and is one of the most scenic and well conserved in Latin America, with many colonial era white buildings, narrow streets and a charming atmosphere.
9 Oct 2018. Day 13: Popayan – Home
Transfer to the international airport for your flight back home.
Colombia offers an excellent standard of hotel accommodation through this tour. We use great quality 4 star hotels, boutique hotels or traditional haciendas.
You have the benefit of booking your motorcycle tour with a UK tour operator who has in place Financial Payment Protection Insurance with Towergate Stevens & Chapman, so that your money paid to us in advance is protected in accordance with The Package Travel Regulations 1992.
Before you go
Where you have chosen to rent a motorcycle, this is organised by us with the local motorcycle rental provider, who is the Approved BMW Travel Partner for Colombia. Your rental fee includes:
We act as agent for the local provider and on arrival, you are required to sign the local rental agency terms and conditions of hire – please request these, if you require sight in advance. It is mandatory that you provide valid credit card details as a guarantee against damages. On collection, we advise you to check your rental motorcycle carefully and to take photographs of it, as proof of its condition.
Please note that on rare occasions we may need to substitute your choice of motorcycle for something similar.
If you require any other motorcycle accessories (tank bag, top box, GPS mount, GPS unit etc), please request these on booking and an additional charge may be applicable.
For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights. It is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the destination. You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Bogota to arrive no later than 27 September 2018. The earliest leave date is any time on 9 October 2018 from Popayan. However, do not book your flights until the tour is designated as a Guaranteed Departure.
Should you wish to arrive before the official start date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.
What riding experience do I need?
The Columbia motorcycle tour is suitable for a good road rider, with previous experience of overseas touring. It is also suitable for experienced two-up couples. Traffic conditions in Bogota and Medellin are very busy and quite chaotic, with poor lane discipline. Once outside of these major cities, the main roads are quieter but please be aware of slow trucks and buses on some of the great twisty roads, which can also throw out black smoke! You must be a positive and assertive rider to ensure your overtakes are safe and progressive around these vehicles. We have included some small sections of unpaved road to get you off the beaten track to see some hidden gems, most of which are optional.
Do I have to ride in a group?
No! We do not make you ride in convoy. We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride. We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information. You can use this to self-navigate. If you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Tour Leader, then you can do this.
What is the average group size?
Our groups are normally between 6 – 10 riders (some riders will have passengers). Most of our groups are from the UK, but we also have customers from the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland etc.
Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
Yes. In fact, every tour we have operated in Colombia has had couples riding two-up, but we do recommend that your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer.
Is there a support vehicle?
Yes, this tour operates with a local support vehicle and driver; the support vehicle operates with a bike trailer. The support vehicle will carry your luggage – you must ensure that your bags are suitable to be packed into a 4 x 4 vehicle. Hard suitcases and wheely trolleys are not suitable for en route. We recommend soft, robust bags, such as Ortlieb, that are waterproof and dust-proof.
What documents do I need?
You will need your original documents as follows: Passport, Driving Licence, International Driving Permit. In addition you must have travel/medical insurance (compulsory requirement). As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and can be complex, with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our appointed visa agency for advice. www.thevisamachine.com
What about flights?
For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights. Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the start and end point.
You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Bogota to arrive on 27 September 2018. The earliest leave date is any time on 9 October from the town of Popayan. Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your tour is a guaranteed departure. We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.
We will pick you up from the airport, provided you arrive on the official start date. We drop you off at the airport provided you leave on the official end day. Airport transfer may be done by bus, minibus or taxi. If you arrive on any other day, you are responsible for your own journey between the airport and the group hotel.
Should you wish to arrive before the official date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.
What will the weather be like?
We cannot guarantee the weather on tour! The climate is very different on this route. Bogota lies at 2,640m altitude and daytime temperatures are normally around 14-18C. In Cartagena, daytime temperatures are likely to be 30-35C. In Medellin, daytime temperatures are normally around 24-26C – it is called the City of Eternal Spring due to its constant temperatures. Due to the season, there is likely to be some rain during this tour.
Do I need visas for travel?
UK / EU / USA / Canadian citizens do not require a visa in advance of travel, at the time of writing.
The above information is provided in good faith. It is your responsibility to have the correct visas in place prior to travel. Please check what requirements are necessary for your nationality.
What about my health when I am abroad?
It is a condition of your travel with us that you have in place travel / medical insurance to cover you for medical treatment and repatriation if you suffer any illness or injury when on the tour, including any injury sustained from riding or being a passenger on a motorcycle.
Before you travel, we strongly recommend that you visit your GP or a specialised travel clinic to get advice on the recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures needed for the countries on this trip. As background, the websites listed below may prove useful.
Please note that many countries on this route do not have the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to. In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times. This is a risk that you accept on booking.
What about local currency?
The base currency for this trip is the US Dollar. The US Dollar is readily exchangeable for the local currencies. When you bring US Dollars, it must be in MINT condition or locals will not readily exchange the notes. The websites below will give you the current rates of exchange.
How safe is Colombia?
Colombia has a long democratic history, but the country has suffered from internal conflict for over 50 years. However, security levels have improved significantly and as at November 2017, the British FCO has not issued any travel advisory warnings for our route in Colombia. However, travel advisory warnings are in place for other parts of the country where risks relating to drug gangs and other criminal or terrorist activity is higher. We do not travel in these regions. As with all countries, you should take common sense precautions for your safety. All previous participants on our rides through Colombia have been very positive about their experience.