Dance while the music is playing
- The people
- Great for cycling
- Cheap food and accommodation
- Try to learn Spanish before you get there
CARTAGENA – BARRANQUILLA
From Cartagena, which is a beautiful colonial town, I cycled to Barranquilla for the carnaval. It is one of the biggest carnavals in the world. I’m a bit spoiled though after celebrating carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, but still, it was cool and I met some great people.
Cartagena is one of the highlights in Colombia. Definitely go there. And yes it is crowded with tourists but it is one of those places that make it still worth it.
MEDELLIN, JARDIN & SALENTO
I didn’t feel it for Medellin. It’s personal I know so it doesn’t have to mean anything. Maybe you’ll love the place. Cycling there I took the incinerating hot coast (El nino was around..) which was flat and fast.
After that, finally the mountains started. I love mountains and cycling from Medellin to Jardin was a treat. Tough climbs, a 13 hour cycling day but so beautiful! And Jardin? That’s a hidden jem. So maybe you shouldn’t go there so it stays like that ;)
Cycling to Salento was climbing and climbing until reaching this small touristy place. From here many things to do for travelers. Hikes, etc, very nice.
Cycling from Salento through Buga and Manizales to reach Popayan was great cycling. Again it’s climbing but there are also long descends and even a flat part. Before reaching Popayan I had my bike repaired. Go to go untill Rio de Janeiro (I hope).
Popayan is a white colonial town, non-touristic (when I was there) and very very pretty. Mellow and safe atmosphere. Beautiful women, good coffee and some fun bars. No party life, no gringo-scene. Good place for cyclists!
TRAMPOLIN DE LA MUERTE
The road to the border with Ecuador is called Trampolin de la Muerte because it’s a jump away from death. It’s an alternative route. One I will never forget. I did it for the adventure, not for fun. Because fun is not what it is. Remeber that when you start considering to cycle El Trampolin. In short it was a 14 hour ride over rocks, mainly going down. That is not down as in fast, no, it’s going down as in an aching back, arms and neck because you can’t decsend faster than 4 km/h over rocks.
Is it safe? If you keep your cool definitely. You are cycling so for you it’s a relative wide stretch. If you are by bus, car or truck, now that’s a different story. No wonder you see so many white crosses of people who found their last resting place there. Just watch it when you enter another curve, go slow please.