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21 Day Colombia El Dorado Guided Motorcycle Tour

Santa Marta, Colombia

Motorcycle Tour in Colombia

Colombia is perhaps the nicest country in South America. In any case, the happiest country. With its smiling, friendly people, and infectious music everywhere. It is a paradise of beauty situated between the Caribbean region and the Pacific ocean. The country is now slowly opening itself to tourism. Especially now is a good time to go on an adventure and be one of the first ones to discover this fascinating country. The light motorcycle is the perfect mode of transport because it allows you to leave the paved roads and explore areas that remain largely hidden from other travelers.

Key information

  • Terrain: half paved, half unpaved paths
  • Bike: rental bike (AKT180 cc motorcycles)
  • Mileage: 2,575 kilometers / 1,600 miles
  • Daily rides: 60 - 315 kilometers / 37 - 196 miles
  • Riding gear: not included, but mandatory: helmet, motorcycle clothing with protection, good quality gloves, and high boots or sturdy shoes, and goggles
  • Meals: breakfast most of the time

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Santa Marta
  • Explore charming towns of Cartagena, San Jacinto, Mompox
  • Admire the rock formations and natural caves in Playa de Belen
  • Enjoy the impressive views of mountain peaks in El Cocuy
  • Guide, support vehicle, bike rental
  • 20 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Advanced

Styles


20 riding days
Group size: 6-8 participants
Airport transfer included: Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport
Airport transfer included: Simón Bolívar International Airport
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Accommodation

Your overnight stays are in middle-class hotels. These are usually reasonable hotels in Colombia with private bathroom and toilet. Since temperatures can rise there is not always hot water present.

The hotel in Pueblo Bello is simple and in Juan de Acosta, the eco-hostel has three spacious rooms with voids, but the location and atmosphere here are unique.

Program

Day 1 - Arrival in Santa Marta

After a long flight, you arrive in Santa Marta. Santa Marta lies on the Caribbean coast and is, next to Cartagena, one of the main destinations for visitors to the Colombian Caribbean coast. You'll find a wide variety of activities here.

Day 2 - Santa Marta - Minca (60 kilometers / 37 miles)

You drive to Minca, a small town and famous for its organic construction of coffee. Here you flee from the heat of the city and make an adventurous offroad tour through tropical forests.

You can visit a real Coffee Finca where local beer is brewed. Tonight you stay in this village in a hotel with beautiful views over the mountains and where many hummingbirds fly around.

Day 3 - Minca - Fundacion (120 kilometers / 75 miles)

We leave the pleasant climate of Minca behind us and drive a short while along the main road until we reach a side road from here we go offroad into the mountains until San Javier. This is a small, hidden village, which lives exclusively from the coffee cultivation. Here we see how coffee bean is grown, harvested and processed or prepared for export. After our lunch at the farmers we drive back to the valley and reach Marquez in the afternoon, this is the birthplace of Gabriel García Marquez. We spend the night in Fundación.

Day 4 - Fundación - Mompóx

We start driving on asphalt road. Next, the road changes into sandy paths until Mompóx. This is a nice colonial place in Colombia. Here are a few tourists due to the remote location in the mountains. It is the beautiful, little sister of the crowded Cartagena. We cross Colombia's largest river the Río Magdalena with a ferry to reach our final destination of today our Mompóx. From the roof terrace of our hotel, we enjoy a fantastic view of the countryside and the city.

Day 5 - Mompóx - Stay

The long stage of yesterday has paid off. The city of Mompóx is relatively hidden and you will not see many tourists. Here you'll experience the true Colombia and you can imagine yourself as in a novel written by Gabriel García Márquez.

A day off that you can spend strolling or cycling through the old colonial center, swimming in the Rio Magdalena. Or you can take a boat trip on the river, visit museums that provide insight into the past or visit a silversmith.

Mompóx is famous for its filigree silver jewelry. The one who wants to take a ride on his motorbike can do an offroad tour, visiting the beautiful interior of Mompox.

Day 6 - Mompox - Playa de Belén (270 kilometers / 168 miles)

Starting in Mompox, you continue driving along the banks of Rio Magdalena. The route is dusty and hot, a landscape like in a western. At El Banco, you proceed driving via the main road to Aguachica. There you leave the surface and follow a beautiful and shady tarmac road which leads up to the hills of Ocaña Playa Belén.

Day 7 - Playa de Belén - Stay

Playa Belén is a beautiful little village with a colonial character. After the heat in Mompox, you enjoy a more temperate climate. This village is located on the Parque de Estoraques. From here, you will look to the rock formations and natural caves.

With your motorbike, you can drive to the lookout Los Pinos and enjoy the fantastic scenery. Would you like more adventure then there's the Zipline in Playa Belén.

Day 8 - Playa de Belén - Pamplona (270 kilometers / 168 miles)

In the first half of the day, you drive many turns on paved mountain roads up to 2400 meters. On the highest point, you will enjoy a traditional Colombian lunch. Then you go downhill towards the border city of Cucuta where you drive through the middle of the busy city.

On a quiet country road, you continue towards Pamplona. Here it is pretty cool with an average temperature of 16 degrees. For the first time during the trip to Colombia, you see people in a down jacket and a hat.

Your hotel is situated directly on the Plaza and has the charm of an antique shop selling old typewriters to antique irons, the owner has an old and special collection of items.

Day 9 - Pamplona - Capitanejo (155 kilometers / 96 miles)

Following the beautiful green countryside, the road goes towards Capitanejo. Starting from 3200 meters altitude, just after Chitaga there is no asphalt anymore and you go further up to 4000 meters on a dirt road.

On this altitude it is often foggy and chilly, keep this in mind with the choice of your clothes. In this thin air, the motorbike moves in second gear, on clear days you have time to enjoy the great views.

Although you use a country road, there is hardly any other traffic. From Málaga, the temperatures rise again and you drive through the beautiful landscape of Capitanejo

Day 10 - Capitanejo - El Cocuy (60 kilometers / 37 miles)

You drive on unpaved roads to National Park El Cocuy. Here you get a view of the snow capped mountains with some giant peaks of around 5000 meters. The farmers in this region live mainly by cultivating onions. The people on the way are very friendly and open and they enjoy meeting new people. In the villages, they swap products.

Around noon, you arrive in El Cocuy. If you have enough time for a ride following small roads you drive to around 3800 meters. From here you have splendid views on impressive mountain peaks. Your overnight stay is "only" on 3000 meters.

Day 11 - El Cocuy - Mongui (170 kilometers / 106 miles)

Today you have another long driving day ahead of you. Via an asphalt road, you go to "La Uvita" then the rest of the day you drive on unpaved roads through the gigantic mountain landscape of the Andes.

After almost every turn you would like to stop to enjoy the beautiful views. Gentle hills and rugged mountains alternate, the panorama is just splendid.

You pass the villages of Chita and Jérico, which are so far away that they are still really surprised to see tourists. A very special and unique world, where you are privileged to be able to take a look.

Full of new impressions, you arrive in the enchanting town of Mongui. You are still on 3000 meters altitude, the air is cool and tenuous. Mongui is known for the manufacture of footballs, that's why you come across footballs in the whole village.

Day 12 - Mongui - Barichara (190 kilometers / 118 miles)

Via Duitama, you go to Barichara. You are driving again on a pass of 4000 meters before going downhill on a stony and occasionally muddy road.

You pass a village of the Tao-sect, which live in the middle of nowhere and have founded a colony, they are fully self-sufficient. Some Europeans settled here as well and you will notice some blond children playing in the streets.

Starting from Charala, you proceed on an asphalt road, but after 60 kilometers unpaved roads, this is not a punishment. You spend the night in the colonial town of Barichara, which is situated at 1336 meters altitude and you will feel this due to the temperature.

Day 13 - Barichara - Stay

Barichara is ideal for shopping and going out. There are delicious restaurants, fun souvenir shops and you can admire the work of the local stonemasons. There are also adventure activities such as rafting or horseback riding. If you just want to chill out, the plaza is a colorful place in the city.

Day 14 - Barichara - Giron (120 kilometers / 75 miles)

The route to Giron starts with a nice, long off-road passage until Zapatoca. Here you enjoy lunch in typical Santander-style. The specialty of the region is tamales: filled dough wrapped in banana leaves.

The Cathedral is worth a visit, just like Don Quixote Museum. Starting from Zapatoca brings us a beautiful mountain road with wonderful views of Giron where you spend the night in a hotel in the old town.

Day 15 - Giron - Aguachica (175 kilometers / 109 miles)

After Aguachica, you will leave the Andes Mountains behind you. You pass banana plantations and small villages and in the afternoon the weather is hot. This route is the "Ruta del Sol" and connects the Andes with the coast.

Day 16 - Aguachica - Pueblo Bello (315 kilometers / 196 miles)

You continue to the North. You drive on the main road to Bosconia, then you go into the direction of Valledupar. Before you get there, you take the exit to Pueblo Bello, a sleepy village that the Colombian farmers and ranchers share with the local Arahuac Indians. The centrally located hotel is simple, but it has a lovely roof terrace with hammocks.

Day 17 - Pueblo Bello - Stay

Today is a day off, it is possible to visit the village of Nabusimake in a custom made high jeep. Through a very bad path, you travel back in time to the village, Nabusimake. This is the ceremonial center of the Indians and Aruhuaco visitors enter in the pre-Columbian time, a whole different world.

You get to know more about the culture of the Indians, their world view and their life in unity with nature. It is also possible to make a trip on the motorbike in this beautiful surrounding.

Day 18 - Pueblo Bello - Palomino (290 kilometers / 180 miles)

In this region, you drive through the hinterland and the desert area "La Guajira" where mainly the Wayúu Indians live. Then you go back to the coast. It is a long day's drive but it is wonderful to be in Palomino the end of the day on the palm-fringed sandy beach.

Day 19 - Palomino - Stay

The village lies between two rivers that are fed from the Sierra Nevada. The area is great for hikes, horseback rides, and water tubing on the river. If you stay at the beach, relax and enjoy the fantastic view of the snow-covered mountains of Sierra Nevada on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other side.

Day 20 - Palomino - Santa Marta (80 kilometers / 50 miles)

After a drive along a beautiful coastal road, you are back in Santa Marta. You can make a small detour into the Sierra Nevada before you drop off the motorbikes. You will stay in the colonial center of Santa Marta. Here you can buy your last souvenirs and relax on a terrace along the sea or on the plaza.

Day 21 - Santa Marta - departure

Depending on the flight times, you can enjoy the last few hours on the Caribbean coast or maybe pay a final visit to the bustling market to buy some last souvenirs before being taken to the airport.

Motorcycle available for this tour:

During this tour, you ride AKT180 cc motorcycles, made in Colombia. The motorcycles come with standard liability insurance. This insurance covers physical damage to third parties. Material damage to third parties is not insurable in Colombia. Damage to the motorcycle is not covered by the basic insurance. You are liable for the costs of damage to the motorcycle caused by you.

Difficulty of the journey

On this trip, you drive very alternating landscape and climate zones. Sometimes the route is on good quality asphalt roads, over sand paths in the hot flat countryside, but also on stony mountain roads through the tropical forests and on a gravel road with mountain passes up to 4000 meters.

You do not spend the night at very high altitudes. The distances are sometimes long but usually, there is enough time to make time for nice stops along the way.

Around half of the route is on unpaved roads. Most roads are not difficult to drive, but some sections are challenging without any off-road experience. Motor Trails, therefore, recommend a basic off-road training before the trip.

On the spot you can always choose to avoid a challenging part, you can follow the support car which drives the easier road. This trip is not suitable for beginners. The motors are light and maneuverable Enduros.

Clothing

Mandatory items: helmet, motorcycle clothing with protection, good quality gloves, and high boots or sturdy shoes. Because of the temperature, it’s recommended you bring breathable protective clothing. A good option is a protective armored shirt with an airy enduro shirt over the top.

When you choose your motorcycle trousers, make sure they provide sufficient ventilation. Motor Trails recommends an open face helmet and goggles with a good seal against dust.

Location

Your journey begins in the city of Santa Marta, situated on the coast. Here you let the Caribbean coast work its magic on you straight away. From Santa Marta, you ride to Cartagena with its impressive colonial city center and on to the hidden jewel of Mompox, the stage for many of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels.

Panoramic views alternate with rugged scenery, and everywhere you experience the unique warmth and hospitality of the Colombian population. You also gain some insight into the lives of the Arhuaco and Wayuu Indians and get an idea of the cultural roots of the country.

Riding along the coast, it is surprising to see the rapid transition from the La Guajira desert to the tropical exuberant vegetation of the Sierra Nevada (de Santa Marta) with its high peaks, some over 5000 meters high. Not only is this the place to enjoy the dream beaches of the Caribbean, but it also leads you along small tracks to discover the pristine nature of its interior.

This trip can be extended with a visit to Bogotá and the National park Tayrona on the Caribbean coast.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Optional pre-program

Since you probably fly via Bogotá, it is a nice option to make a stop-over in this beautiful metropolis. Motor Trails proposes the following optional pre-program:

Day 1 - Home - Bogotá

You will get a transfer from the airport to Bogotá where you stay in a centrally located hotel. Bogotá is 2,640 meters altitude.

Day 2 - Bogotá - Stay

You can walk to visit the beautiful old historic center La Candelaria, but Motor Trails recommends to take an organized bicycle ride (optional). This way you will see many different areas and you get a good impression of the city. It's a fun alternate tour off the beaten track and not heavy cycling despite the mountainous surroundings.

Day 3 - Bogotá - Santa Marta

In 1.5 hours you fly to Santa Marta, where the temperatures are significantly higher than in Bogota, so get your slippers ready.

Day 4 - Santa Marta - Stay

Today you can relax or make an optional day trip to the famous National Park Tayrona. From Santa Marta, you will get a transfer to the entrance of the Park. You walk through the jungle with beautiful views of several bays.

Take swimwear with you because you can relax on one of the many beaches that you will pass. You return on a speed boat to Taganga close to Santa Marta. Finally, you will get a transfer back to your hotel in Santa Marta where you'll meet the rest of the group.

What's included

  • All airport transfers
  • Overnight stays with most of the time breakfast
  • Motorcycle hire
  • Support vehicle with local driver
  • Accompanying mechanic in the support vehicle
  • English speaking tour guide on motorcycle
  • Third party liability insurance for the motorcycle
  • Comprehensive handbook

What's not included

  • International flight
  • Airport taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Fuel for motorcycles
  • All other meals and drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Cost for visa

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Simón Bolívar International Airport (SMR) or Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport (BAQ). Transfer from and to the airport is included.

Airport: Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport Airport transfer included: Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Simón Bolívar International Airport Airport transfer included: Simón Bolívar International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 12.1% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
21 days / 20 nights
from --
Booking policy

In the event that the participant cancels the trip, the participant is liable for cancellation costs. These cancellation costs cover reimbursement of any costs incurred by Motor Trails on behalf of the participant, up to the moment of cancellation, for which Motor Trails does not receive a refund. In the event of cancellation, each participant is liable for the following amounts:

  • on cancellation up to 56 days before departure: the deposit plus any cancellation costs charged by the airline.
  • on cancellation from 56 (incl.) to 28 days before the date of departure: 50% of the trip price.
  • on cancellation from 28 (incl.) to 14 days before the day of departure: 75% of the trip price.
  • on cancellation from 14 days (incl.) up until the date of departure or during the journey: 100% of the trip cost.

All cancellation costs are supplemented, as applicable, by the cancellation costs of any issued tickets. Cancellation of the travel agreement by the participant must always be made in writing (by letter or email). You are strongly advised to take out a good travel cancellation insurance. This insurance will compensate for the cancellation costs provided that the cause of the cancellation is covered by the policy.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 6 participants

Friday February 26, 2021
(21 days / 20 nights)

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