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Cartagena to Bogotà December 2023

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WS Member WS Member's picture
Cartagena to Bogotà December 2023

Hi guys,
I'm a 36 y.o. Italian taking a gap year to travel with my bike in South America. I'll fly to Cartagena by the end of November and stay there a couple of weeks. When the weather will be ideal I'd like to reach Bogotà and I pretty much planned a route that takes me through national parks, along the Rio Magdalena and across the mountains. It will take approximately 20 to 25 days as I'd like to take it slow and spend some more time where it's worth it. I speak decent Spanish, I'm flexible and open to suggestions! This is just the first part of the trip across Ecuador, Perù, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina that will eventually lead to Ushuaia. I'm now looking for companions for this first part of the trip and then I will spend a period in Bogotà. I have my tent but also plan on sleeping in hostels or hotels as they are pretty cheap in Colombia.. I'd love to meet people on the road too and get hosted when possible to have a purer experience with locals and embrace Colombian culture.
I hope to find someone that would like to share all this also because safety, I'll have to admit, is one of my biggest concerns.

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WS Member WS Member's picture
Hola :) how is your trip

Hola :) how is your trip planning going? I am looking at something similar but probably a month later…but be good to share ideas! When are you looking to leave Cartagena?

I have to admit safety is also my concern… ! Have you had much feedback on that? I have cycled in Costa Rica which was great and lots of people seem to cycle in colombia but sure that 2 is better than 1!

I was also hoping to combine hammock / wild camping (which is my preferred but feel like could be tricky) and cheap hotels.

Looks like a great route to Bogotá - have you mapped it out?

All the best


WS Member Piotras's picture
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Thank you - mindful of this -

Thank you - mindful of this - think it is specific areas which are more at risk than others according to FCO website - namely the west / south and pacific coast areas not recommended with the carribean coast, Medellin and area around Bogotá considered safer?

Are you in Colombia at the moment? be great to hear some perspectives of people on the road .

WS Member Piotras's picture

Traveling alone? Don't you speak Spanish? Do you look ethnically foreign? Do you have equipment that indicates money? If so, be careful…

WS Member WS Member's picture

Hi there I speak fluent Spanish and have lived and worked in remote rural areas of peru, Guatemala and Nicaragua for a few years. I have cycle toured in Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica and parts of Nicaragua (as well as south east Asia, Indonesia, Nepal, malawi and Tanzania) but mindful Colombia is a very different context so that’s why I am keen to hear from people on the ground - know that plenty of people cycle here so interested in experiences and perspectives. On this page to find companions so no not looking to cycle alone :) sad reality that it may be considered safer / more accepted for someone of another gender too.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hi Nicclò

Hi Nicclò
I will get to Bogotá in 3 weeks and plan to cycle. Can you share your route?
I honestly don't have any route yet as I will combine touring/volounteering.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hey Nicolo and others,

Hey Nicolo and others,
I've been hoping to do some combination of touring/volunteering in South America, taking time and going slow where it's worth it as you put it so well and really working on my Spanish. I had sort of discounted the ideal of touring as a solo female traveler, but your posts are making me reconsider. Your trip sounds awesome and I would happily be a buddy if it seems like a good fit. Lets chat!

WS Member WS Member's picture
Ehy everyone, I'm happy to

Ehy everyone, I'm happy to see other people interested in this topic! Since I started planning this trip I found out a lot about people cycling around Colombia and got a lot of tips from locals. I'm now in contact with travelers on IG that cycled all around the Country and I joined a Whatsapp group called Viajeros en bicicleta por Colombia - Red de apoyo. This one is super useful: lots of locals sharing tips, useful infos and anytime someone looks for a place to stay in a specific area they answer immediately.
I created a route Cartagena-Bogotá with Komoot based on recommendations, points of interest and the special gps track I found on called "Oh Boyacá!". I think it's so much better than doing the classic itinerary that follows the main roads, with traffic and dangers. It's a bit demanding and a perhaps a bit wild in some parts, but other people did most of this route and I'll take my time. If I'll be so lucky to travel with other people I'm keen to be flexible and change the route to make it easer and faster if needed.
I'll fly to Cartagena on the 19th of November and I'll probably start la travesía by the end of the month or in the beginning of dicember. It'll take roughly one month to cover it and once in Bogotá I'll stop for some time before to go to Medellin. Then I'll be heading all the way down to Ecuador where I will hopefully arrive on the beginning of March. This is the link of the route I planned on Komoot:

WS Member polaaw's picture

Hello Nicolò,

Beautiful plan! I'm also planning a travel in this part of the world. I could start about mid of January from Bogota and I will have 2/2,5 months to ride. I would love to take smaller, maybe more difficult roads through villages to avoid traffic car but also to know better the area. I also consider to stop sometimes for 1-3 days for some hikes or maybe to visit some places. But I'm totally flexible with the itinerary in general. Let me know when do you think to leave Bogota so maybe we can ride later together.

I wish you a wonderful biginning of your travel!

WS Member WS Member's picture

Hello Paulina,

This is great news because I will arrive in Bogotá in January, stop for a a bit and then move on with my bicycle trip towards Medellin. I am very flexible too, but I planned my tour with Komoot based on the infos I collected here and there...just to have a base to start:D I also have a contact in Meta and that's another option. It would be nice to meet in Bogotá and discuss different plans. I'd like to cross the Colombian border and reach Ecuador in March.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Colombia experience

Hi all around Co!
Actually working for a month in Medellín. I would like to encourage you to profit from this bike friendly country! Dangers exist around the world, especially traffic.
I did as a couple from Germany 2500 km on Gravelbikes without camp gear early 2020 and share some experiences:
Our last part was from Bogota towards Medellín via Madrid, Facatativa, Alto la Tribuna, after Alban left on good road, up to Bituima and a marvelous descent to Cambao at Rio Magdalena.
Be aware of heavily hot conditions there, as always the further down you get!
From Cambao passing Armero (impressively sad memories of 1985 volcano catastrophy) and Mariquita climbing to 3800 m in 80 km to alto de letras, tough but worth it.
For Manizales to Medellín avoid definitely the main road between La Felisa and La Pintada, traffic terrible, though smaller roads aside have many grades. We took small hard unpaved road between Riosucio and Jardin crossing the mountain to coffee land.

WS Member WS Member's picture
This all sounds amazing

This all sounds amazing thanks everyone for sharing your plans and experiences :)I will be arriving into Bogota end of January so may be able to link in with some of your plans! How do I join the what’s app group Nicolo :)

WS Member WS Member's picture
VIBICO _viajeros en bici por Colombia_

Buoenos días :)) tengo que preguntar al
grupo si puedo introducir tu numero de whatsapp y después te van a anadir.. Puedes escribirmelo en privado si tu quieres.