Colombia Cycling

Trip Length 9 Days
Group Size 4-14
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,890 for REI Members
$4,290 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Sep 2020

Embark on a lively guided 9-day adventure of cycling, coffee, mountain towns and tropical beauty in oh-so-lovely Colombia.

We?ll spend nine days pedaling through verdant highlands, past sprawling coffee plantations, and through quiet colonial villages as we explore the rapidly changing face of Colombia. Climbing from the flat lands of the Valle de Cauca to the coffee zone in the central Andes, the rolling hills of Colombia?s coffee region seem designed for cycling. Every serpentine turn unveils a new adventure in one of South America?s most exciting destinations.

Colombians love cycling and you?ll soon understand why so many world famous cyclists have emerged from this nation. By day we?ll cycle the same roads that many of the greats train on and by night we?ll relax at small haciendas filled with big Colombia spirit. Big climbs lead to big descents, coffee beans transform into a steaming cup of joe, and the sugarcane of the lowlands will transition into the towering wax palms of the Cocora Valley. Colombia is a cyclist?s paradise just waiting to be discovered.

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Trip Highlights

  • Ride up to 60 scenic miles a day with expert guides on a fully supported bike tour
  • See Colombia?s many faces?coffee haciendas, colonial towns, the Andes and more
  • Walk among sky-high wax palms in the subtropical Cocora Valley
  • Try playing the national game tejo, with its tiny gunpowder explosions (really)
  • Stop along the way to sample local delicacies, such as fresh avocado and cacao

Activities

This trip is rated as Vigorous [4]. Participants should have cycling experience and be comfortable in the saddle for 5-7 hours per day. Rides consist of both moderate and vigorous cycling days covering 40-55 miles. Terrain is predominantly hilly with some long, steep climbs. Daily rides have total elevation gains and losses ranging from 1,100' - 5,200' with hill grades averaging 4-8% and with short pitches up to 16%. Participants should be comfortable riding on a variety of surfaces with light vehicle traffic. Vehicle support is available when needed.

  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling

What's Included

Airport transfers; Internal flights; accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; choice of hybrid bike or road bike; skilled bi-lingual cycling guide; vehicle support while cycling; maps, trip notes and detailed route directions; luggage transfers.

Accommodations

Hotels

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Bogot� Welcome Dinner

Our trip begins today in Bogot�, Colombia. Transfers from the airport to the hotel are provided. Please arrive in Bogot� by 4pm. At 6pm we will meet in the hotel lobby and get to know our guides and fellow travelers over a welcome drink. The guides will provide a brief orientation to discuss the upcoming itinerary. Dinner is on your own tonight. Your hotel is located near the vibrant Zona T area which has numerous restaurants to choose from. All meals on your own.

Day 2

Take to the Streets for the Original Ciclov�a and Fly to Cali

Ciclovia is a beloved pastime for Bogot�nos. Every Sunday, the main street though the city is closed and cyclists and pedestrians have free range over the normally busy street. We?ll join the locals for a cycle through Bogot�, stopping to visit Paloquemao market, the gold museum, and downtown Bogot�. In the afternoon, we fly to Cali. Cali is a vibrant and diverse city known for its love of salsa, vibrant arts scene, and layered history. Rich Afro-Colombian heritage inspires everything from architecture to food. Cali is considered the salsa capital of the world and calenos live and breathe it - you won?t go a day without hearing salsa on the streets. In the evening, we gather with our guide for a trip briefing that will be held over our welcome dinner with a special salsa performance. All meals included.

Biking: 8 miles, 430 ft gain / 280 ft loss

Day 3

Ride La Cumbre to Calima Lake

Rise and shine in the land of sabrosura. After a short transfer to La Cumbre, your guides will familiarize you with your bike and go through a safety briefing and expectations for the week ahead. This first ride will give us a sample of cycling in Colombia as we ride over quintessential Colombian rolling hills to arrive at Calima mountain lake. Calima lake is a beautiful lake nestled in the hills outside Cali. We?ll be staying at a local hotel called "La Huerta," orchard in Spanish, that is set on a working farm. The owner has studied organic agriculture for many years and now experiments with different organic crops and technique on his land. After lunch, choose to explore the orchard and learn about local fruits and vegetables with the owner or embark on a 20 mile circumnavigation of the lake. Dinner is a traditional asado located on the hotels inspiring terrace. All meals included

Biking: 30 miles, 2,667 ft gain / 2,608ft loss. Optional ride: 20 miles, 1,450 ft gain / 1,850 ft loss

Day 4

Tropical Birds, Sugarcane Roads, & the Cauca River Journey

Colombia is famous worldwide for the number of endemic bird species that live within its forests. Choose to embark on an optional morning birding excursion with our guide as the sun rises. More than 100 type of birds inhabit and visit Calima Lake, a fun way to introduce ourselves to this activity and witness the biodiversity of Colombia. After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer about thirty minutes to start the next leg of our journey ?a memorable ride through the Valle del Cauca. Valle del Cauca has been the muse for many a Colombian poet and you?ll soon see why. Today?s ride is mostly flat, allowing us to fully appreciate the spectacular views of the valley around us. Following the Cauca River, we allow its gentle twists and turns to guide us through the valley. Make sure to appreciate the flat lands of the Cauca today ? they?re the last you?ll see in Colombia as we start our ascent into the coffee region. In the afternoon, we?ll arrive at our hotel for the night where we?ll have a group dinner. All meals included.

Biking: 57 miles, 2,372 ft gain / 2,270 ft loss

Day 5

Climb into the Coffee Region

After fueling up on a hearty Colombian breakfast, we gear up to start climbing from the flatlands of the Cauca into the coffee region. Today?s ride starts off flat before we start to see a change in the steepness of the climbs as well as the landscape around us. The ride is challenging but the views make it well worth the effort. As we ride North, we bid farewell to sugarcane plantations and start to see coffee plantations and forestlands. Every steep climb leads to epic views as the central mountain range begins to appear behind the terraced emerald hills of the coffee region. We?ll stop along the way to sample lemonade sweetened with freshly pressed sugarcane juice and have lunch along the way. Our ride ends at our peaceful, bicycle themed hotel for some well-deserved R&R. All meals included.

Biking: 55 miles,4,940 ft gain / 2,280 ft loss

Day 6

Explore the Valley of Wax Palms & Giant Bamboo

No visit to the coffee region would be complete without a hike through the towering wax palms. We take a break from the saddle today to explore the Cocora Valley and the town of Salento on foot. A short walking tour through the town of Salento, one of the Coffee Region?s oldest settlements, offers insight into Colombian culture and history. We ascend to a lookout point that has stunning views of the Cocora Valley in the distance before sampling some of the region?s best coffee at a local favorite caf�. All powered up, we?re ready to continue on to the Cocora Valley. Few sights are as impressive as the endemic wax palms of Cocora. Amongst the tallest in the world, they can grow up to 70m tall. Tonight, we?ll have the chance to play the traditional (and explosive) Colombian game of tejo. Have free time to explore Salento before heading back to the hotel. Dinner is on your own.

Hiking: 2 hours

Day 7

Haciendas, Buenavista Climb & Exquisite Coffee at a Cafe in the Mountains

After a good day of rest, we return to our bikes and start off the day with a long descent along rolling hills before facing the short, but steep, climb to Buenavista. This climb offers some of the best views of the route. The San Alberto Caf� is located at Buenavista pass, the perfect place to enjoy a local coffee with views across the entire region. Lunch is at the mirador followed by an educational coffee tour and tasting. Tonight, we venture into Filandia for dinner at one of the town?s most beloved institutions.

Biking: 52 miles, 3,615 ft gain / 4,626 ft loss

Day 8

From the Coffee Highway to the Cloud Forest

Our last ride starts with a final climb to the colorful town of Filandia, taking the coffee highway before we exit towards Circasia where we will start a long and gradual descent to finish with a few fun rollers. We arrive in the early afternoon at our hacienda where we?ll have lunch. In the afternoon, we venture to the hacienda?s cacao plantation where we can see the process of chocolate production from the source ? and try some too! Free time to relax before our farewell dinner.

Biking: 47 miles, 2,592 ft gain / 4,551 ft loss. Walking: 2 hours

Day 9

Farewell to Colombia

After breakfast, we head to the airport for our departing flights. Trip members can opt to return to Bogot� for connecting flights home or extend their travels in Colombia. Breakfast included.

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour