Summary

Destinations: South America
  • 13 Days From
    R 44500
  • Trip code: MAY
  • Activity: Cycling, Road Cycling
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 5 - 16
Challenging

Rewarding cycling in a beautiful region of rural Colombia

With Colombia’s road cyclists gaining worldwide recognition and the country revelling as an up and coming active tourism destination, there really is no better time for a cycling trip to one of South America’s most scenic regions. The coffee zone of Colombia lies at the heart of the country on the Western slopes of the Central Andes and our route takes us along paved winding roads that traverse a lush environment populated by coffee plantations and picturesque towns. Your effort on two wheels will be duly rewarded by stunning views and a taste of the famously warm Latin American hospitality.

Key information
  • 10 nights hotels, 2 nights in a finca (ranch property)
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved tracks
  • Routes predominantly follow quiet well-paved roads
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
Activities
  • 10 nights hotels, 2 nights in a finca (ranch property)
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved tracks
  • Routes predominantly follow quiet well-paved roads
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

Highlights

* Direct London to Bogota flights with Avianca * Acclimatise in Bogota whilst joining the city’s residents in their weekly traffic-free day of urban cycling! * Ride through lush green landscapes and mountainous terrain in the ‘Eje Cafetero’ coffee zone * No vehicles transfers, just point to point rides * Hike in the beautiful Cocora Valley amid wax palms (optional on rest day) * Extend your trip to visit Cartagena on the balmy Caribbean coast (Unesco World Heritage Site)

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
16 Feb 2019
28 Feb 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 44500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
14 Sep 2019
26 Sep 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 44500
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
09 Nov 2019
21 Nov 2019
Available
R 46300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
14 Dec 2019
26 Dec 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 46300
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
11 Jan 2020
23 Jan 2020
Available
R 47800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
15 Feb 2020
27 Feb 2020
Available
R 47800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Apr 2020
16 Apr 2020
Available
R 49600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
12 Sep 2020
24 Sep 2020
Available
R 47800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
07 Nov 2020
19 Nov 2020
Available
R 47800
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
19 Dec 2020
31 Dec 2020
Available
R 47800

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start Bogota.

Land only passengers can arrive at the hotel in Bogota this afternoon/evening. *Standard Hotel*

Day 2

Bike fitting followed by Bogota ‘Ciclovia’ city ride and welcome dinner.

Passengers on our Avianca group flight will have flown overnight and arrive today in the early hours of the morning. There will be time for a few hours rest and breakfast before setting out with the tour leader in order to try out your bike and cycle the car-free streets of Bogota as part of the weekly ‘ciclovia’ event. Every Sunday large parts of the city are closed to traffic as residents cycle, jog, walk, roller-skate in a remarkable display of utilising public space in the interest of leisure and togetherness. You’ll have a chance to see the modern Bogota and also visit a market in the bohemian neighborhood of Usaquen. This immediate exercise is a great way to minimise the effects of jetlag! At a certain point after a couple of hours in the ciclovia, the leaders will give the option of climbing ‘Los Patios’. This is an optional ascent that is practiced by hundreds of Colombians. It is approx a 7km climb at an ascent of 6% for most of the route. If you are nervous about the rides later in the itinerary then completing this challenge is a great confidence boost. Note that the road used is not closed to traffic so you should be happy cycling on a busy road, and of course afterwards you have a fun downhill ride with spectacular views of the city. You will have the afternoon at leisure and we strongly recommend visiting one of the fantastic museums the city has to offer, which all offer free entrance on Sundays. *Standard Hotel*

Day 3

Visit Zipaquira Salt Cathedral; fly to Cali and transfer to Buga.

In the morning we will visit the famous and unique Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, located inside a commercial salt mine. After the visit we will be driven to Bogota airport to catch a flight travelling southwest to Cali. From here we will be driven a short distance (approx. 1 hour 15 minutes) to the town of Buga where we stay and prepare for the point-to-point riding that will commence the following morning. *Standard Hotel*

Day 4

Mostly flat ride following the Cauca River to Roldanillo.

Buga is one of the oldest settlements in the region and an important religious place for the country as pilgrims flock to visit the Basilica which contains an image of Christ. Buga is surrounded by sugar cane fields and is located in close vicinity of the Cauca River. The tour starts out travelling in a northward direction, staying parallel to the Cauca River as we pass fields of sugar cane and fruit trees. Along the route we will stop to visit a sugar cane farm. The vast majority of today’s road is fairly flat or with small undulations, and the route is very scenic thanks to the proximity of the Andean Western Cordillera and the possibility to see peaks of the Central Cordillera on a clear day. The temperature in the valley can get very high so be sure to wear sun cream and stay hydrated. Our destination is the town of Roldanillo and we will spend the night at a hotel just off the main plaza. (Ascent: 515m, descent: 530m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 5

Another flat ride passing fields of sugar cane and vineyards towards Cartago.

Another day of cycling on a predominantly flat and quiet road which will take us through beautiful landscapes in preparation for the more mountainous rides in the days to come. We’ll stop for some grape juice along the way and continue to the hotel on the outskirts of a small town called Cartago for a refreshing dip in the swimming pool! (Ascent: 381m, descent: 394m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 6

First mountain ride into the coffee country and the town of Pueblo Tapao.

The first few kilometres of today’s ride are along a flat road leading to an intersection from where we’ll take an undulating road south-eastwards to Alcalá and up into coffee plantation region. This section will involve the first real climb of the tour. After passing Alcalá we’ll have lunch in a village called Quimbaya and continue through Montenegro. We’ll arrive at the hotel and have the afternoon free to rest and enjoy the swimming pool and surroundings. In addition to coffee plantations, the landscape is also home to banana and plantain, bamboo trees and flowers. A short walk down the road from the hotel there is a coffee theme park with a viewing platform at the entrance which is definitely worth a visit. (Ascent: 890m, descent: 530m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 7

Some challenging climbs with rewarding views and coffee tasting on the way to Calarcá via Rio Verde.

Today we start riding on a quiet and fairly flat road surrounded by coffee, banana and pineapple plantations to the town of La Tebaida. After passing this town, we’ll stop for a drink break and ride for a short section on a busier road. At a point called ‘La Y’ we will deviate and take a secondary road to enjoy a nice downhill to Rio Verde and then continue onwards to the town of Buenavista. From Rio Verde there is a challenging steep uphill of about 3km to get to Buenavista – this is the hardest climb of the tour but very rewarding. We’ll visit a local school before having lunch in the town of Buenavista, and then there will be an opportunity to try one of the region’s best exported coffee brands at a wonderful terrace with a beautiful view. After the break, there is still some climbing to be done but after reaching the the top it will all be downhill back to Rio Verde on a different road. From Rio Verde, you will take the same road previously ridden to the hotel for the night. (Ascent: 1000m, descent: 1147m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 8

A day of steady climbing through typical natural scenery to Boquia, included coffee tour and botanical gardens.

Today’s ride is 90% uphill! But don’t worry as it is not too steep. There is a steady climb after crossing the river all the way up to Boquia (near Salento). On the way we’ll stop for a Coffee Experience Tour at Café Sorrento and have a chance to learn about the process of growing coffee. After this tour the next stop will be at the Quindío Botanic Gardens where we will learn about the local flora and we also visit a butterfly farm. Lunch will be in the town of Calarca and then we’ll ride the last portion of the route involving a very scenic final downhill to Boquia. The finca for the next two nights is beautifully situated and is a peaceful place for us to be based. After dinner some kids from the area will give a folklore performance . It’s also a good opportunity to enjoy a beer. (Ascent: 591m, descent: 282m) *Finca*

Day 9

Free day to relax; optional ride or hike to Salento and Cocora Valley.

You may wish to rest today and take a well-earned break from the saddle, remaining in the surroundings of our beautifully located ranch just outside of Salento. Alternatively you can opt for a wonderful walk in Cocora Valley to see the picturesque endemic Wax Palm trees. There are different walk options varying in difficulty and duration (approx. 11km), all of which are signposted. For those who want to cycle up to the highest point that we’ll meet on the tour (2410m above sea level), the ride from the accommodation and up to Cocora involves a 1000m climb. (Ascent: 1000m, descent: 1000m) *Finca*

Day 10

Some climbs in the morning towards Filandia followed by an exhilarating descent to Cerritos.

Today we tackle an initially tough climb out of Boquia and the valley up to join the main road to take us towards the pretty coffee town of Filandia. It is claimed that because of its architecture, landscapes and hospitable nature of the locals, that Filandia is one of the most charming and attractive towns in the whole of Colombia. We’ll take a break here before setting off on a beautiful stretch of road down to Quimbaya and onwards to Alcala for lunch. This stretch from Filandia to Quimbaya is one of the tour highlights. In the afternoon we continue in the direction of Pereira and take a left turn before the city in order to reach Cerritos, our location for the night.  (Ascent: 1220m, descent: 1830m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 11

Gentle ride along the Cauca River before a climb to Anserma.

Our penultimate day of cycling has it all. We start off gently with a fun downhill section leading to the Cauca River from where our route plateaus out as we are flanked on both sides by sugar cane fields. After lunch at a roadside restaurant with an adjoining trout farm, we follow a branch of the river northwards (Rio Risaralda). As the road becomes steeper and offers up spectacular views on our final climb into the highland town of Anserma. The town’s location on the edge of a mountain makes it completely different from other places seen on the tour, and several of the streets are too steep to be cycled so it lends itself to being explored on foot in order to get the maximum enjoyment! We will have dinner at a local restaurant and there are a couple of nearby bars to explore afterwards. (Ascent: 955m, descent: 375m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 12

Final day of riding involves a spectacular downhill section plus some climbs to Chinchina.

Our last day of cycling is another stunning ride as we navigate some hilly sections on our way to Risaralda. From here we face a delightful downhill to cross the Cauca River once more and stop for refreshments in nearby La Rochela. After La Rochela we will ride to the place where we have lunch. We will have to tackle a few more climbs to reach Finca La Romelia, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch you will be transfered to your hotel where you will spend the last night in Colombia. (Ascent: 874m, descent: 1481m) *Standard Hotel*

Day 13

Transfer to Pereira; fly to Bogota; end Bogota.

After breakfast we will transfer by private bus to Pereira airport where the tour will end and we’ll fly back to Bogota in order to connect with international departure flights. Those who have booked the Cartagena trip extension will fly via Bogota up to the Carribean Coast. If there is a long wait at Bogota airport between arriving from Pereira and departing in the evening, it is possible for the tour leader to organise additional services for you should you wish. They will be able to organise this locally for a small charge.

Included

* All breakfasts and 11 dinners * All accommodation (see accommodation section) * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights) * Local bike hire

Food

All breakfasts and 11 dinners included.

We’ll have early breakfasts throughout the tour in order to make the most of cycling in the cooler morning temperatures, typically there will be eggs, bread or arepas (thick corn pancakes), local cheese, and no shortage of great coffee! Lunch stops will be made at appropriate points each day, generally at roadside cafes/restaurants where we can get our calorie intake from grilled meats, rice, potato chips, fruit, chocolate, juice etc. Lunches are not included so you should make sure you carry some cash each day for this, preferably in low denominations that are easier to change. The tour leader may suggest collecting a small amount of money from the group for a collective kitty – this would be used to buy fruit and snacks for eating at pit stops whilst on the rides.

The only evening where we don’t include the evening meal is the first night in Bogota because there is a lot of choice and enables people to choose where they wish to dine. For the rest of the trip we will be travelling through remote areas where there isn’t much in the way of choice for evening meal locations. Most days we will arrive in the afternoon to our accommodation and have a few hours of rest before being fed by our Colombian hosts either in the same hotel or somewhere close by.

Please note that Colombia is not particularly vegetarian friendly, especially in rural areas, as meat forms a major part of the diet and many soups are often made with a meat base. Bogota is an exception, as there are sufficient options to cater to all dietary requirements.

Each day you will have the opportunity to try a fantastic array of delicious fruit juices – some of them familiar to the UK and some of them more exotic! We recommend you to try these as they taste much better in Colombia than anywhere else and cost a fraction of the price.

Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Map

Reviews

Personally Challenging Trip

Despite missing the first day's sight-seeing around Bogota, having a slight ninjury the first week, and then succumbing to some gastric bug the second nweek, this trip had enough highlights to be memorable for other reasons. The nsubterranean Salt Cathedral is amazing and unique, the orchid farm collection nanother superb destination. Long climbs followed by the inevitable nspeed-junky's downhills ensure that the challenging label is lived up to.nThere are many miles of busy main roads with pollution-belching monster ntrucks, but if you can see past those then this is a great cycle.nThe team of Andrea, Gabriel, assisted by Jonathan, Jose and Cezza are always non hand with help and a smile; thank you guys.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Achieving BuenaVista summit the first week, and then the hard climbs the nsecond week running on an empty tank.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Very good and ably assisted by a good team.

Cycling in wonderful Colombia

Colombia is a fascinating country and we experienced it all from bustling nBogota with its 8 million population to the lived in non touristy Cartago and nthe locally very popular Salento. When cycling, one is struck by the lush ngreen cultivated hills rising up on both sides of you. it could be sugar ncane, plantain, bananas, papaya or the distinctive coffee plants, all nstunning and all tended by hard working locals. Colombians are really nbeautiful people and welcoming. We visited over Easter and observed the nlocals attending in large numbers the various religious services in beautiful nchurches.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • There were many magic moments but conquering the climb to the hilltop town nof Anserma probably stands out. A long steady climb to a bustling little town nlike no other. My madeira cake in a little bakery near the mini bus hub was nmost welcome that afternoon. Our visit to the amazingly beautiful Finca La nRomelia on our last day of cycling will also live long in the memory. I would nalso have to mention the king of the mountains and drum playing Australian nfrom Wales who supports Liverpool and cycled with a sombrero attached to his nhelmet and a poncho in Colombian colours, he inspired me too.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Andres our group leader was an absolute gentleman with a great sense of nhumour. I also found him to be extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of nhis country. While soft spoken he was a very competent leader of an noutstanding team who delivered time and again when they were called upon. nWhenever you needed information, help or just encouragement one of the team nwould appear as if by magic. We could not have asked for more from this nspecial team of people who worked non stop every day to make our visit to ntheir country so memorable.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • The cycling is classified as challenging and it was, so come prepared. Expect nsome rain during your trip, it really is inevitable but does not take away nfrom the enjoyment. Doing the Ciclovia in Bogota on the same morning as you narrive in Colombia is probably not a good idea, consider arriving earlier if nyou can. Carry insect repellent on the cycles as there are lots of stops at ncoffee plantations etc. We received an excellent booklet covering each days ncycle on our first night. It is a good idea to bring this to each briefing nand note down the coffee and lunch stop points for the next day, this helps nin pacing yourself. Some of the roads cycled are very busy and on occasions ndiesel emitting trucks on uphill sections are also challenging.

Cycling Colombiau2019s coffee region

Beautiful landscapes

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • The coffee region so green and lush and the beautiful green mountains

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Found the leading guide Andres a bit arrogant and failing sometimes to convey ninformation. Oscar, another guide, was amazing.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Climbs are tough but very rewarding. Just need to get your rhythm. No need nfor snacks as they were provided. Insect repellent and sunscreen absolutely nnecessary.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Colombia is an amazing country every bit worth a visit. Lovely people, nbeautiful landscapes, a lot of history and delicious fruits!