JOURNEY TO THE LOST EMERALD CITY

A true off-road motorcycle adventure on the backroads of Colombia

VISIT THE WORLD CAPITAL OF EMERALDS

A unique experience to what was formerly the most dangerous place in Colombia Deep in the rugged eastern portion of the Colombian Andes in the department of Boyaca lies the town of Muzo, known as the Emerald Capital of The World. 

Of all the emeralds in the world, most of them come from Colombia. It is estimated that Colombia accounts for 70-90% of the world's emerald market. Deep in the eastern portion of the Colombian Andes lies the department of Boyacá, known as the world capital of Emeralds. 

 

Formerly the most dangerous place in the world, the region was sealed off from the outside world for decades due to intense fighting. The area is now open for the first time in decades after a peace treaty with the guerilla groups was signed.

 

Drive off-road through rugged terrain, cross mountain ranges, and streams see amazing vistas and waterfalls, and finally get the chance to and interact with local emerald miners. You can even buy emeralds directly from the miners in the field!

 

Truly a once in a lifetime adventure and completely different than any other trip you have ever taken. The perfect South America motorcycle tour to hang out with your friends and experience a remote and rarely seen part of Colombia. 

 

​We've been there, it's safe, and our clients find it one of the most interesting and fascinating places to discover.

Now grab some buddies, and let's go on an adventure motorcycle tour in Colombia!

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
  • Closed to the public for years.

  • Now open for the first time in decades 

  • Buy emeralds from miners in the field

  • Off-road motorcycle riding

  • Off-the-beaten-path

  • Waterfall in mountain top cave

  • Majestic views around every corner

  • Mine for your own emeralds

  • Visit rarely visited towns and villages

  • Great food, beer, and rum!

ITINERARY

DAY 1 - Medellin to Landazuri

 

Leave Medellin in the morning and head off through Bello, Antioquia as we wind our way through the mountains of Colombia. After coming down from one mountain range we spend the night on the edge of the Magdelena River as we rest up for the next day. 

DAY 2 - Landazuri to Windows of Tisquizoque

 

After breakfast and large coffee, we cross the hot plains and begin our ascent into Colombia's wild Cordillera Oriental mountain range.  We drive to Florian, Santander home of the Windows of Tisquizoque, a remote and rarely visited three-tiered waterfall plummets from a mountain cave with amazing views over the countryside.  We will spend the day exploring the huge 650ft cave, taking pictures, and swimming in the pool below the waterfall. 

DAY 3 - Florian to Muzo, Boyacá

Today we take the motorcycles to Muzo, Boyacá the world capital of emeralds. These emerald mines have been in operation since 1594 when the Spanish conquered the Chibchan Indians. Muzo is known not only for the number of emeralds it produces but also for their superb quality and color with the Muzo mine producing the world's highest quality gems known for their warm, grassy-green color, with hints of yellow. Muzo is also the source of the Atocha emeralds.

The Atocha Emeralds

The Atocha Emeralds refer to the Emeralds originally of Muzo and Chivor origins in Colombia, which were rediscovered from the high profile shipwreck of the Spanish treasure galleon, the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” which sank in a hurricane off the coast of Florida on September 6, 1622, about 35 miles (56 km) west of Key West.

The “Atocha” was only, one of 28 ships that constituted the Spanish treasure fleet, Tierra Firme, that left Havana for Spain on September 4th, 1622. The holds of the ships carried the wealth of an Empire, consisting of gold and emeralds from Colombia, silver from Peru and Mexico, pearls from Venezuela, and gemstones from Brazil. However, the most richly laden of all the ships was the “Atocha” whose astonishing cargo consisted of 125 gold bars and discs, 24 tons of silver bullion in the form of 1038 ingots, 180,000 pesos of silver coins, and dozens of chests of emeralds and other gemstones.

The total weight of emeralds carried by the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” in several chests was estimated to be around 60-70 pounds (27-32 kg), equivalent to 135,000-160,000 carats. Out of this only around 6 pounds (2.7 kg) of emeralds have been re-discovered, equivalent to about 13,500 carats. This represents about 6,000 uncut rough emeralds.

On July 20, 1985, Mel Fisher discovered the shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora De Atocha off the Florida Keys. The cargo's value was estimated to be worth around $400 million making it the most valuable shipwreck in history.

DAY 4 - Emerald Mining in Muzo, Boyacá

Today we visit the Emerald mining area.  In the 1980s drug dealers fought the country's leading emerald mining families for rights to the emeralds.  The mine owners fought back, turning Muzo into the most dangerous place in Colombia, and by the end of the decade, more than 6,000 people had been killed. Inevitably - as is often the case in Colombia - many of them were civilians caught up in the gun battles between rival paramilitary forces. 

 

Now Muzo is a peaceful and beautiful place where we will be able to watch informal emerald miners known as guaqeros scour the river beds along the Itoco river in the Muzo valley in search of precious stones.  This is a great opportunity for documentary photography as well as a chance to speak with emerald miners about life in the mining camps and surrounding areas. 

 

DAY 5 - Muzo to Doradal

 

The adventure isn't over yet. Get ready for off-road motorcycle riding as we leave from Muzo and drive through the heart of the Colombian Emerald mining zone passing through the towns of Coscuez and Otanche. The area is extremely remote but at the same time very beautiful and awe-inspiring.

DAY 6 - Doradal to Muzo

Today wind through the mountains before winding up into the mountain range of Medellin and ending the trip back home in beautiful Medellin.

HOW MUCH

Guided Trip

  • $1,425USD per person based on shared occupancy

  • +Add Pillion/Passenger $175USD ($25USD/Day)

  • + Upgrade Single Room: +$300 USD

  • Support Vehicle Available 

INCLUDED

 

We aim to provide you with the best value for your money. Our trips and rentals include great bike, all riding gear, and clean, budget-friendly hotels off the beaten path for an authentic experience in Colombia:

  • Bilingual Guide / Photographer

  • Fuel and Road Tolls

  • Unlimited Kilometers

  • Hotels - Clean, budget-friendly hotels

  • Helmet

  • Cell Phone Holder with Wireless and USB Charging

  • SOAT - Colombia's mandatory liability insurance

  • Medical Insurance - (Just in case)

  • High-quality 50 Liter dry bags 

  • Emergency Tool Kit and Spares 

  • High-Quality Rain Jackets

  • GPS Tracking Device

  • Gloves 

  • Jacket 

  • Top box 

  • Luggage Storage

  • Optional Motorcycle Lowering Kit

  • Flexible Refund Policy - Cancellations 31 days or more will be allowed to reschedule or given a full refund. Cancellations 30 days or less prior to rental will be allowed to reschedule their trip at no cost. If rescheduling isn't possible you will be refunded the full price of the trip excluding the price of the hotels.

ALL GEAR INCLUDED

For maximum comfort and convenience, we recommend that you bring your own riding gear but if you need something we have quality gear available for you at no extra charge.   

IS COLOMBIA SAFE?

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This is a rare trapache emerald, an emerald that was infused by carbon during its formation, causing the emerald to split off on each crystal face, causing a sort of gem flower.

Now it is. Gone are the days of kidnappings, drug lords, and guerrillas. We routinely encounter Colombian military checkpoints that ensure safe travel throughout the country. We've led hundreds of tours around the country and have never had any problems with security. 

 

Anthony Bourdain summed it up perfectly:

 

"If you want to find bad people in Colombia, you can surely find them, as you could in New York or Los Angeles. But nowhere have my crew and I been treated better or with more kindness and generosity. I'd bring my family on vacation there in a heartbeat. And hope to soon. As I said before: Colombians are proud. Let them show you what they are proud of."

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