Magical Colombia on a 

Royal Enfield

Travel time: 10 days - 9 nights
Travel period:  contact us for the new dates for 2020
Engine: new Royal Enfield Classic 500 cc
Terrain: 80% asphalt, 20% off road
Up to 8 motorcyclists (passengers can also join)
Price: 2950 euros / 2580 Pound Sterling (excluding flight)
Price motorcyclist + passenger: 4600 euros / 4050 Pound Sterling (excluding flight)



The route

Day 1: Bogotá - Girardot
Transport with a van from the hotel in Bogotá to a place outside of Bogotá where the motorcycles are. In this way we avoid having to leave in the busy traffic of the Colombian capital.
Presentation of the team, filling in documents and consultation about the route.
Departure towards Girardot.
The climate changes from the relatively cool climate of Bogotá (with 2640 meters the second highest capital in the world) to the hefty 38 degrees Celsius of the lower Girardot.
We drive a total of about five hours.


Day 2: Girardot - Tatacoa desert
We follow the beautiful and fertile valley of the mighty river Magdalena, as far as you can see plantations of rice and cotton. We follow a beautiful trail through the lonely landscape for about 40 kilometers, where you barely encounter a living soul. An impressive road that runs through a stretch of the Tatacoa desert. We end in the old colonial village of Villa Vieja where we stay in a 300 year old hacienda in the middle of the village. You can rinse off the desert dust in the pool.

Day 3: Tatacoa desert - Archaeological park of San Agustín
We leave immediately spectacular: we ride the motorbikes on a small canoe that takes us across the Magdalena river, after which we slowly drive towards Andes through the coolness of an elongated forest road. In this part of Colombia the Andes branch out in three mountain ranges; also the source of Colombia's three main rivers. We stay in San Agustín, one of the highlights for every Colombian traveler, because here is the Archaeological Park; declared Unesco Heritage.

Day 4: San Agustín - Popayán
We start the day with a visit to the archaeological park, where beautiful pre-Colombian statues (some estimated at 6000 years old) can be admired
Then we drive straight through the Purace nature park, where eleven volcanoes are quietly smoking on their backs and where we can cover up to 4000 meters high, off-road and through jungle and lush vegetation. We arrive in the late afternoon in Popayán, a beautifully preserved colonial city, where you feel like a film set.

Day 5: Popayán - Buga
We walk into the city in the morning and then jump back into the saddle; this time to Buga, near Cali. We drive through the warm valley of the Rio Cauca through a winding mountain road to the picturesque village of Silvia where the original Andes indigena population still lives and works in a traditional way. After a short visit to Silvia (the local fruit and vegetable market is poetically beautiful in its simplicity) we drive to Buga, a colonial town with white houses and churches that is very important for Catholics with its cathedral.

Day 6: Buga - Salento
Here we cross the river Cauca with an old flat bottom and we start the quiet climb over small roads to the coffee zone: where coffee worlds grow best, because the mildest coffee is grown. We drive first through a valley full of sugar cane plantations that slowly turns into the hills of the banana and coffee plantations.

Day 7: Salento: rest day
In Salento, a cozy village in the heart of the coffee plantations, we can rest our weary limbs for a while. You can explore the village, do some shopping and perhaps make one of the trips organized here: by old Willy's Jeep to the Park of coffee, to the Cocora Natural Park with its characteristic gigantic 'Colombia palms', to the butterfly garden . Or just check your mails and laze, of course you can!

Day 8: Salento - Manizales
We drive past several typical coffee villages and then take the route to Manizales, in the Andes, where we stay in a small hotel with thermal baths. We enjoy the wonderful warm water in the three baths all evening that will make your stiff muscles supple again.

Day 9: Manizales - Honda
We follow an off-road path that takes us over the mountains and through the jungle to the base of the Nevado del Ruiz, a volcanic mountain at 4000 meters altitude. We follow a beautiful new asphalt road (bendjeus!) To the valley of the old harbor city of Honda, a historic inland port and an important crossroads of trade and culture. During that descent you immediately understand why you can experience four seasons in one day in Colombia; we drive from the wintry chilly peaks of the Nevado del Ruiz, over the autumnal side sounds until we are warmed by a spring sun and end up in the valley of Honda where we stew in tropical temperatures and stay in an old colonial hotel.

 

Day 10: Honda - Bogotá
We take a short tour through Honda and then set off to cross the eastern cordillera of the Andes. We leave the main road again and take all sorts of off-road mountain roads that take us along valleys with spectacular views. We drive via the village of Utica in the direction of Bogotá, where we say goodbye.



Safety: guerillas
The peace has returned to Colombia for the last five years. The communist guerrilla chose eggs for her money and negotiated a peace agreement with the government (after being militarily forced on her knees). The referendum that had to approve the outcome of the negotiations (including the insured political presence of the FARC in the congress and an unemployment benefit for the ex-soldiers) made it a great relief to all parties last year. The whole of Colombia is now safe, with the exception of an impenetrable jungle strip bordering Venezuela, on more than 1000 kilometers of our route. During the try-out, we noticed that we were very warmly welcomed by the population (and the police!) In the various departments we drive through; our arrival also seemed to confirm that everything is turning back to normal. As our Colombian friends always tell us, in Colombia the only risk is that you will not want to return home.

Safety: on the road
Traffic around the big cities is chaotic. The advantage - compared to, for example, Belgium and the Netherlands - is that there are a lot of motorcycles and everyone therefore has an eye for engines. Fortunately, we rarely drive past large cities (for example, we leave outside Bogotá to avoid the busy roads): the route is mapped out so that we drive on secondary and tertiary roads, often very well asphalted (100,000 curves in total, the wet dream of every motard!) or off-road (in the jungle and desert). The top speed of the Royal Enfield is low: about 90 km per hour and that is still very rare. We drive cautiously and defensively. Off-road sometimes goes against 20 km / hour. The Royal Enfield is a very reliable engine, with a low center of gravity, easy to maneuver. He does not achieve top speeds, but does have a particularly great traction, making it ideal for rough terrain and in the mountains.
We drive completely alcohol free during the day: Colombia has zero tolerance. On arrival at the hotels the stop may of course be taken from the bottle!

Safety: guides and back-up vehicle
We always ride at least two guides on the motorcycle: a guide in front (our local guide German) and a guide as the final piece (Alain). The guests always ride between these two guides: at all times we have the group together. Behind it is the back-up Jeep with the luggage and the mechanic. The engines are checked every day (and sometimes also in between) by our mechanic; in this way small defects can be detected immediately.



Practical

Included
- Rent engine Royal Enfield Classic 500 cc
- Gasoline
- Comfortable hotels based on double room (single supplement: 40 euro / night)
- Breakfast and lunch
- Trailer for luggage and support with mechanic.
- 2 local Colombians guides
- 1 English / Spanish speaking guide

Not included
- Flight to Bogota h / t
- Dinners are free (food is cheap in Colombia, but we leave the guests free choice for dinner)

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