Cycling Colombia, the Coffee Region & Beyond

Cycling Colombia bikehike
Cycling Colombia, the Coffee Region & Beyond
Duration:
9
Days
Priced from:
2999.00
USD

Cycling Colombia, the Coffee Region & Beyond

Trip Overview

On this cycling adventure through Colombia's coffee region, we experience Colombia's dramatic landscapes while becoming immersed in the region's agricultural scene. One of South America’s least visited countries, Colombia is an emerging tourism gem, having undergone immense and positive changes over the past decades. In fact, modern Colombia has emerged as a top cycling destination for anyone seeking thrilling, culturally rich cycling adventures. On this Colombian cycling adventure, we blend exhilarating cycling days and dramatic scenery with stops at coffee farms and in traditional towns. Along the way, we’ll get a true taste of Colombia's unparalleled hospitality and dine in some incredible farm-to-table restaurants. Our adventure begins in Bogota, where we'll experience "Ciclovia," a cycling event that dates back more then 40 years. From there, we'll board a flight to Colombia's plantation region, where the trip's more serious cycling begins. The trip's most spectacular ride is a 69 km / 43 mi ride from the town of Cerritos to Quimbaya, through the village of Filandia. At the end of this 9 day adventure odyssey across Colombia, we will say adios to Colombia having fully experienced this region's phenomenal landscapes, colourful culture and unrivalled hospitality. This is the ultimate South American cycling adventure. 

WOW FACTORS

  • Cycle around Colombia's vibrant capital city, Bogota, amid locals during "Ciclovia"
  • Wind through the heart of Colombia's picturesque coffee & plantation region by bicycle, experiencing the region's warm local hospitality
  • Ride in a classic Willys Jeep to witness the towering wax palms of the Cocora Valley

    Listen to an Apple podcast we recorded with our local Colombian guide. 

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Bogota
Arrival
Our Colombian adventure begins in Bogota. Upon arrival at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, a BikeHike representative will meet you and bring you to your comfortable hotel. You’ll be staying in the capital city’s vibrant Zona Rosa area. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this exciting, colourful city. If you arrive in time, there is an optional welcome dinner scheduled for your first evening. 

Accommodation: Hotel 
Meals: Dinner

Day 2

Bogota - Buga
City Biking
We’ll officially start our Colombian adventure itinerary with a hearty breakfast before enjoying a traditional event that has been taking place in Bogota every Sunday for over 40 years, “Ciclovia.” Throughout the city, more than 120 km / 70 mi of roads are closed to traffic between 7AM and 2PM, allowing locals and visitors a safe way to explore the city by bicycle. We will ride out from our hotel to Usaquen, a bohemian neighborhood in northern Bogota before proceeding onward to downtown Bogota, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will visit “La Candelaria,” a historic area of downtown Bogota that is filled with magnificent churches and government buildings. We will also visit two famous museums, the Gold Museum as well as the Botero Museum. Fans from around the world come to Bogota to marvel at the works of Botero, a Colombian artist famous for his exaggerated human sculptures. Late afternoon, we will transfer to the airport for a short flight to Cali. From Cali, we will be transferred to the city of Buga (1 hour).  After getting checked in to our comfortable hotel in Buga. Dinner will be as a group at your hotel in Buga. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. 

Accommodation: Hotel 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Buga - Roldanillo
Biking
After an early breakfast, we will begin our first official ride. We’ll start early today to make the most of the cooler morning temperatures. There is the option to start riding directly out from the hotel or to transfer out and start riding 8 km / 5 mi from the hotel. We will be riding along The Panorama Road by the Cauca River, the second most important river in Colombia. As we head north, we will pass by typical area scenery, including sugar cane plantations. While today’s riding distance is the longest of the tour, most of the ride is along flat terrain at an altitude of around 1,000 m / 3281 ft. The riding is relatively easy, but the views are superb. During the first part of the morning ride, we’ll enjoy a cool breeze.   We’ll enjoy lunch along the way and our day’s final destination is a town known for paragliding a famous artist, Rayo. After some time to check in and settle at our comfortable hotel, we’ll enjoy dinner as a group in town.

Biking Distance: 84 km / 52 mi
Ascent: +537m (1,752ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Roldanillo - Zaragoza
Biking
Today the ride will be relatively easy and flat, taking us further along the Cauca River. We will pass a variety of plantations, including sugar cane and fruit, stopping along the way for lunch. Eventually, we’ll cross the Cauca River to enter the town of Cartago. From there, we’ll ride on to the day’s final stop, Zaragoza. After some time to check in and settle at our comfortable hotel just outside Zaragoza, we’ll enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Biking Distance: 68 km / 42 mi
Ascent: +403m (1,322ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Zaragoza - Cerritos
Biking
After fueling up with a hearty Colombian breakfast, we’ll have a mixed day of riding ahead that includes tackling our first serious climb.  We will start with an easy ride through a number of towns, following the Cauca River again for some of the ride.  Lunch will be in one of these towns. We will first ride to Cartago, then we will head north to the town of Ansermanuevo before riding on to La Virginia. In La Virginia, we will encounter some gravel roads. Until La Virginia, the day’s ride will be relatively flat. Then, around La Virginia, at around the 45 km / 27 mi point of the day’s ride, we will begin an approximately 9 km / 6 mi climb to Cerritos, near the City of Pereira. After some time to check in and refresh at our comfortable hotel, we’ll enjoy dinner together. 

Biking Distance: 54 km / 34 mi
Ascent: 499M (1,637ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Cerritos - Quimbaya
Biking
After breakfast today, we’ll start riding into coffee country for the first time. While today’s ride is a serious one, including a major ascent, it is also arguably the tour’s most spectacular. We’ll have a chance to admire the expansive beauty of Colombia’s landscapes but it will also be a great opportunity to learn about Colombia’s incredible coffee culture. Lunch will be enjoyed along the ride. The tour also wouldn’t be complete without a chance to stop and taste an authentic cup of Colombian coffee. During today's ride, we will first head towards Filandia, a beautiful and traditional town. To get there, we will have a fairly easy ride for the first 22 km / 14 mi. At that point, our ride becomes an ascent, climbing nearly 1400 m / 4593 ft as we pedal the remaining 27 km / 17 mi to reach Filandia. There, our effort will be more than rewarded by a stop at the town’s view tower. We will be able to soak in breathtaking views across the region we’ve just ridden. There will also be a chance to stop at a traditional basket shop. After these visits, the final section of our ride is the most beautiful downhill ride of the tour, as we descend into the town of Quimbaya. Once in Quimbaya, we’ll have some time to relax and refresh at our comfortable hotel. Later that evening, we will dine as a group. 
 

Biking Distance: 69 km / 43 mi
Ascent: 1,394m (4,573ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Quimbaya - Salento
Biking
After a hearty Colombian breakfast, we will have another challenging but rewarding ride day ahead of us. Lunch will be enjoyed along the way. We’ll first ride to the town of Montenegro. From there, we will begin a challenging 19 km / 12 mi climb to the colourful town of Circasia. The ascent during this climb will be approximately 700 m / 2297 ft. Once there, we will cross the Coffee Highway to go along the Quindió River, riding on a gravel road. We will eventually arrive at the town of Boquía. Our second ascent of the day begins here as we ride approximately 14 km / 9 mi, ascending 500 m / 1640 ft, to arrive at the town of Salento. At Salento, we’ll ride directly to our hotel located just outside of Salento. After getting checked in at our comfortable hotel near Salento, we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Biking Distance: 46 km / 28 mi
Ascent: 1,200m (3,937ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Salento
Sightseeing
After breakfast, we’ll have an easy day sightseeing in and around Salento. We’ll spend some time touring Salento, learning about its history and architecture, sampling coffee and touring at a nearby coffee farm and playing TEJO (a traditional Colombian game). The area around the town, including Valle de Cocora, is also sure to impress. The wax palms here are among the highest in the world, reaching heights of up to 70 m / 239 ft. We’ll then take a typical local taxi (Jeep Willys) to Valle de Cocora where we can have a light hike amid these natural wonders. After returning to Salento, the evening will be at leisure. Dinner will be at the hotel. 

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Salento - Bogota 
Departure
Today is the conclusion of your Colombian adventure. It is time to say adios to Colombia, its beautiful landscapes, colourful culture and friendly people. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Bogota where you can connect with your international flight home or onward travels. Please make sure you book an international flight after 12:00pm.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all internal transportation including domestic flights, bikes, support van, airport transfers and English speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare,  airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 8 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Colombia

Colombia can be comfortably visited all year round as a result of its proximity to the equator. Any seasonal changes are not dramatic, the usual variable being the amount of humidity and rain. Winter in Colombia is from June to September. Overall, light clothing would suffice around the year in Colombia. Temperatures in Bogota hover about 20°C (68°F) all year, during the day. However, at higher altitudes, such as in the city of Bogota, the altitude means nights are cool year round. The coffee region is generally warm all year round, with cool breezes that often prevent it from being stifling. Temperatures average about 25°C (77°F) in the coffee region, with the warmest month being July when the temperature reaches up to 29°C (84°F). Colombia is a very green country and has some rain throughout the year. However, the rainiest months are April, October and November. Colombia's highest rainfall is in the Amazon and usually takes the form of a short daily downpour.

December to February: Sunny skies, warm days.

March to April and October to November: Rainy season. The greatest concentration of precipitation is in April and again in October, especially in Bogota and Cali.

June to September: Driest season. These months have the least amount of rain and are dry, except in the Amazon. The hottest, driest month in Bogota is Aug. In Cali, it is July.

Travel Documents

To enter Colombia, you must hold a current passport valid for six months beyond your date of departure from the country. Citizens of Canada, USA, and many other countries do not require a tourist visa for entry into Colombia. Colombia does require proof of a return ticket or onward travel. Check with your local Colombian embassy for current requirements prior to departure. Application and processing fees for tourist visas to Colombia vary from country to country. If you require a tourist visa, please be aware that the processing time for a tourist visa is typically a minimum of ten business days. By law, as a tourist you are required to carry your passport with you at all times.

Food and Water

The mainstay of the Colombian diet is rice along with red or black beans. These are generally served with beef, chicken or fish. A very typical local snack is fried plantain chips. In Cali, a very traditional dish is a soup that contains plantains. Throughout Colombia, there are numerous regional specialties derived from the region’s available produce and cultural influences. Bogota is a very international capital city, filled with a variety of international cuisine and restaurant choices. In the urban cities such as Bogota, it is technically safe to drink the water as it is treated. As consistency of water treatment can not be guaranteed, as a general rule, it is better to rely on bottled water, fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea as these are safer to drink and widely available.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “challenging” trip.

The route covers approximately 321 km / 199 mi in six continuous days of riding. The main challenge of the trip is the physical demands of six consecutive days of riding, along with a great deal of climbing. We will be riding an average of 6 hours per day. You should have a good level of fitness and the stamina to cope with being in the saddle for six consecutive days.

We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program that includes regular cycling - that is if you are not already doing so. Working out four times a week (including some riding whenever possible), 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. In addition, try to get in some longer distance rides beforehand to prepare for your adventure. Doing some rides between 60-80 km (37-50 mi), with a good amount of climbing involved, would be optimal training for this tour.

 

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

BikeHike's Founder, Trish Sare, also personally joined our BikeHikers for a fantastic inaugural trip when it first launched.

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The age range on this trip is typically from 30-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well. 

What should I pack for this cycling trip?

This Cycling Colombia, The Coffee Region & Beyond adventure is a challenging trip and the route traveled is through an agricultural region which is lush and known for rain, so rain showers can happen at any time of the year. It is important to be prepared for rain while biking.

In order to ensure comfort and health, good outdoor gear is essential. We have prepared a packing list that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

Can you tell me about the cycling terrain?

The terrain is mostly backcountry paved and dirt roads with little traffic, although there will be sections where the traffic is heavier and the roads are busier. There are also a couple short sections of riding along gravel roads.

What kind of bikes do you provide?

We use Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 mountain bikes. Road bikes are available if you prefer, but 15% of the route is on gravel roads, which is why we suggest mountain bikes.

Is there a support vehicle during the rides?

Yes. We will have a support vehicle shadowing our route, carrying all of the nuts and bolts (fresh water and snacks) and all of the group luggage so that riders don’t have to worry about carrying any gear while biking.

 

What is the food like in the Colombian coffee region?

Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region. This trip is through an agricultural region though and Colombia is one of the world’s largest consumers of fruit juices. So you'll encounter a great deal of fresh food, sometimes farm to table. Organic food is also a current trend through out the country, and fruits and veggies on menus are usually very natural and fresh.

How has Colombia travel changed over the years?

The world is still getting to know modern Colombia and discovering it as a safe, politically stable tourist destination. However, the country abounds with opportunities for cultural exploration and adventure. Travellers are increasingly beginning to realize Colombia’s potential. Its largest cities are well-prepared for visitors with great development and infrastructure already in place. In fact, Bogota could rival many European cities for its cultural capital, boasting countless museums and art galleries that have earned international accolades. Colombia’s smaller, picturesque rural towns are equally worth visiting, especially in the plantation region surrounding Cali. There, you’ll discover deeply rooted traditions and a rich culture along with some of South America’s most welcoming people.

To tell you more about it, we recorded a great chat with one of our local Colombian guides, who has been working in tourism there for more than a decade. Listen to this chat to learn more about everything related to Colombia travel — from Colombia’s safety and culture to the cycling conditions in Colombia and more…

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Bogota. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime after 12:00pm on day 9 of the trip.

What are the altitudes like on this trip?

Although it's nothing substantial or anything to be worried about, we’ve listed all the elevations here:

  • Bogotá: 8,400 feet (2,560 meters)
  • Buga: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
  • Roldanillo: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
  • Cartago: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
  • Cerritos: 5,000 feet (1,525 meters)
  • Quimbaya: 5,000 feet (1,525 meters)
  • Salento: 7,000 feet (2,130 meters)
  • Cocora Valley: 8,400 feet (2,560 meters)
What is the best time to travel to Colombia?

March, June, July, August, September and the first week of December, to try to stay away from the rainy seasons.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

This trip is quite popular with singles. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

This trip is generally not a family focused trip for young children. However, this trip could be suitable for very strong and active older teenagers. 

We do offer many other Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS

In an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels, bungalows, and haciendas that showcase the character and local flair of each destination.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Sep 07 - Sep 15, 2019
  • Oct 12 - Oct 20, 2019
  • Nov 30 - Dec 08, 2019
  • May 16 - May 24, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
2999.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour.  Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Bogota
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
d
2
Bogota - Buga
City Biking
— / —
Hotel
b,
l,
d
3
Buga - Roldanillo
Biking
84 km
52 mi
+ 537 m (1762 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
4
Roldanillo - Zaragoza
Biking
68 km
42 mi
+ 403 m (1322 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
5
Zaragoza - Cerritos
Biking
54 km
34 mi 
+ 499 m (1637 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
6
Cerritos - Quimbaya
Biking
69 km
43 mi
+ 1394 m (4573 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
7
Quimbaya - Salento
Biking
46 km
28 mi
+ 1200 m (3937 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
8
Salento
Sightseeing
— / —
Hotel
b,
l,
d
9
Salento - Bogota
Departure
— / —
b

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TW
Tony W
November 12, 2017

After eight different BikeHike Adventures spanning eleven countries around the globe, I must say that BikeHike excels at the art of facilitating adventure travel. A personal favorites moment in Colombia includes Ciclovia (car-free Sunday cycling around Bogota) though I could go on and on. While I’ve also enjoyed many self-organized trips with friends, sometimes it’s nice to let their dedicated experts handle all the research, planning and arrangements. The BikeHike office team has always been very attentive and meticulously organized. Itineraries have been packed with richly varied active exploration often amidst stunning scenery and spectacular wildlife. Every guide has been a pleasure to travel with, generously sharing their knowledge of local history, culture, delicious cuisine and natural surroundings. Thanks to BikeHike, I’ve savored many special experiences. Perhaps best of all, I’ve found that BikeHike tends to attract a wonderful clientele consisting of interesting, enthusiastic, congenial people, so I’ve made some terrific friends. In retrospect, my BikeHike trips are easily among my lifetime highlights. I’m eager for my next adventure!

New York, USA
MH
Mark H
July 22, 2017

The Colombian staff was great, very competent and helped make the experience in Colombia a life long memory. Logistics were flawless. The group I thought really jelled a couple days in. The scenery was spectacular

Augusta, Kansas, USA
MK
Michalis K
July 15, 2017

Recently I did a cycling trip in Colombia with BikeHike Adventures. I have done so far five cycling trips with other companies and I could say that compared to the other BikeHike was the best. The whole organisation was perfect, the trip was not just cycling but also learning about the country, tasting local food and meeting local people. The support team was very friendly, helpful, and did it's best to satisfy all our wishes. But what I appreciated most was the bikes. They were very good bikes and maintained in a perfect condition every day, which made cycling a pleasure.
I do not hesitate to rate BikeHike 5 out of 5 and strongly recommend them!

Athens, Greece
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