Colombia, Travellers information


Colombia is a fantastic country to travel in, the people are terrific and very friendly, and the roads and scenery are among the best in South America.

As of 2005: The political situation and the drug wars mean that there is a very real danger to travellers passing through. Many motorcycle travellers have had no problems at all, but some have. One was kidnapped by the guerillas and spent several weeks in captivity.

As of 2007: The situation in Colombia has improved considerably since this was written, but it's still wise to be careful and follow the general advice given. We currently recommend Colombia, but do follow the "rules" as outlined below, and play it safe always.

Here is some information to help you reduce the risk.

From Tiberio Jaramillo, HU Medellin Community in 2004:

"I think that if you take care in your riding times and take precautions that will not be a problem, may I suggest a route for you in Colombia.

Cartagena, nice city, no good beaches, Santa Marta a vacation spot for Colombians, Taganga is a small fishing village very nice stay there, from Taganga ask for ride near the base of the walking path to Ciudad Perdida, leave the bike on a paid parking or at the fire station, is always good to ask for example at the fire station or police station on how is the situation on the path to Ciudad Perdida, I think you can take a bus from Taganga to the bottom part of the path, now I will recommend you to ask about going to Cabo de la vela, this is the route go to Rioacha and ask direction to Cabo de la vela, sometimes the road is bad, you may be able to get a 4x4 to take there and see the Indians and some beautiful scenery.

Bogotá is a big city, so I will recommend you go back to Cartagena from Santa Marta and go towards Medellin, taking this road: Cartagena, Maria la Baja, Tolu Viejo, Sincelejo, Planeta Rica, Caucasia, Yarumal, Santa Rosa de Osos, Medellin, Pintada (good campground in weekdays not on weekends), La Felisa, Irra, Santagueda, Chinchina, Santa Rosa de Cabal (good hot springs, do not sleep at the hot spring stay in Santa Rosa it is cheaper), Pereira, Salento, Montenegro, Cartago, (ask for carretera Panorama), Cali, Popayan, Pasto, Ipiales, ECUADOR.

Place to stay safe South of Cartagena will be Caucasia. If you do not like big city stay in Pintada campground. Santa Rosa is nice place to rest and has a hot spring pool, the best one is the authentic Arbelaez hot spring or the old hot springs. Another place is Salento, a small town, a hidden treasure for bike riders. Once in Salento ask for direction to Valle de Cocora is about 10 Km from town but is very nice, and if you like take a horse ride to El Divisadero or the house of the park, good fish there, from there you may go to Cali - nothing to see, you may stay in Buga in the Regidor hotel, Popayan is interesting for old architectural housing.

SPECIAL NOTES (The "rules"). Ride in the mornings, never after 4 pm , good food where ever you see truckers or buses, when ever you stop look to the sides, now from Cali to south is like this, Cali or Buga leave very early morning 6 am and go to Popayan. Try not to stop too much in this road, and from Popayan to Pasto or Ibarra it can be done in one day. Leave again at 6 am with a full tank and eating because this is the only place I will ask not to stop, only for emergency and some photos, beautiful road and mountains, once you get to Pasto Airport you are safe, it has been a long time that nothing happens but is better to be safe, do not forget at all times whenever somebody asks for your nationality say loud and clear AUSTRALIA. Tiberio."

Tiberio died of a heart attack in 2007. He's remembered by many for his always hearty and friendly assistance.

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Some reports on Colombia

Peter and Kay Forwood, 2002-03

Glen Heggstad, USA, kidnapped, 2002

Jo-Anne Smith, Canada, 2002

Mika Kuhn, Germany, 2002

Dale Thornton, USA, 2002

Mariola Cicchon, USA/Poland, 2001

Grant Johnson, Canada, 1997

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How safe is Colombia?

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