Everything Included - Our trips and rentals include reliable easy to ride motorcycles, all riding gear, beautiful hotels, and off-the-beaten-path locations for an authentic experience Colombian experience.
✓ Adventure Motorcycle
✓ Unlimited Mileage
✓ Accommodations in hotels
✓ All airport and hotel transfers
✓ All meals included
✓ Fuel and road tolls
✓ Protective gear including helmet, jacket, gloves, knee protection
✓ Rain Gear
✓ Cellphone holder
✓ Wireless / USB Charger
✓ Basic emergency medical insurance
✓ High-quality 50 liter dry bags
✓ Locking 50 liter top box
✓ Tire repair kit including electric air pump and tire tubes
✓ Luggage storage at our office
✓ 24 hour customer support for any needs or emergencies during the trip.
What to Expect:
Our routes are made for intermediate riders.
The mild off-road sections are simply unpaved roads where cars can easily drive.
Rides are at a relaxed pace and our guides are very patient with everyone.
We calculate 5 hours of actual driving time per day but with stops for pictures, breaks and lunch, each day is a full 8 hours of being out and about.
There is always plenty of time to explore the towns and have a nice relaxing meal after we arrive.
THREE BOOKING OPTIONS
① All-Inclusive Guided Tours
Our all-inclusive tours include a knowledgeable local guide / mechanic, fully prepped adventure motorcycle, motorcycle gear, prepaid and booked hotels and all meals. Single occupancy hotel rooms- your own private room each night at no extra charge.
② Motorcycle + Hotels
(aka Self-Guided + Hotels)
Our self-guided tours include a fully prepped adventure motorcycle, prepaid and booked hotels, motorcycle gear, detailed route map, and 24-hour customer support. Single occupancy hotel rooms- your own private room each night at no extra charge.
③ Motorcycle Rental Only
Fully prepped adventure motorcycle rental. All motorcycle gear included as well as 24-hour customer support. Explore on your own or with a group of friends. Let us help you plan a great trip.
10 DAY / HIDDEN GEMS OF COLOMBIA
Explore Colombia's Coffee Region, venture off-road to a jungle ecolodge, ascend Guatape's renowned rock, and unwind and relax at a hot springs resort.
TOTAL DISTANCE / 921 km (572 mi)
RIDING CONDITIONS / 40% Paved / 60% Intermediate Off-Road
SKILL LEVEL / Intermediate Skill Level
MAX ELEVATION / 3693 m (12,117 ft)
MIN ELEVATION / 500 m (1,474 ft)
Nevado Ruiz Volcano: Explore a stratovolcano
Thermal Springs: Stay at a beautiful hot springs hotel
Handfeed Hummingbirds: A one of a kind experience
Jungle Ecolodge: Hike through the jungle, swim in waterfalls
Paramo: Ride through alpine tundra. See 200 year old plants
Coffee Farm Visit: Harvest coffee with a local family
Wax Palms Forest: See the tallest palm trees in the world
Spectacular Views: As always, enjoying all the twists and turns while riding through some of the most amazing scenery in the world.
Cowboy Culture - Hangout with local cowboys in Urrao.
Climb The Rock - Climb to the top of the iconic Peñol Rock near Guatape
If you’re looking to experience the best of Colombia and have 11 days, we highly recommend this trip. Based on the feedback from dozens of travelers, we have put together what we consider to be the “Perfect Loop” of Colombia's famous coffee region. We also added a stays at a beautiful jungle ecolodge as well as the towns of Guatape to climb the famous rock and the remote village Urrao with its vibrant Colombian cowboy culture.
A coffee region motorcycle trip checks all the boxes:
Lush green mountain vistas with soaring wax palms over 150ft tall. Check. Colonial haciendas turned into chic hotels and bed and breakfasts. Check. Hot springs flowing from snow-capped volcanoes. Check. Twist the throttle and lean into turn after turn after turn as you make your way through high mountain passes and fog covered forests. Check. Include the cosmopolitan city of Medellin as the starting point of the trip, and you have a motorcycle trip from heaven.
ROUTE MAPS & NOTES
IS COLOMBIA SAFE?
The answer is a resounding YES. Colombia is exactly the opposite of what Netflix Narcos series portrays. People have to realize that Pablo Escobar was killed three decades ago. 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."
Day 0 / Arrival in Medellin
Courtesy airport pickup: Upon arrival at the José María Córdova International Airport, a driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals area holding a sign with your name and wearing a fluorescent shirt for easy identification. They will then take you directly to the Inntu Hotel in the Laureles neighborhood.
Included First Night Hotel Stay: The Inntu Hotel is located in the trendy Laureles neighborhood of Medellin, a vibrant area known for its tree-lined streets, outdoor cafes, and eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. The hotel itself is a contemporary, eco-friendly property that offers guests a comfortable and stylish stay, with amenities such as a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving organic cuisine. The neighborhood is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a lively and authentic Medellin experience with plenty of opportunities for exploring, shopping, and dining. Its central location also makes it an ideal base for visitors to explore other areas of the city, with easy access to major attractions.
Day 1 / Medellin to Guatape
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Zocalo Campestre or Hotel Mansion Guatapé
Recommended Boutique Hotel: Bosko Luxury Glamping
Our first days ride takes us off-road to the gorgeous town of Guatape. It’s safe to say that pretty much all the towns in Colombia are beautiful and this one is no exception; the only difference is that here you can visit the famous Piedra del Peñol. This high granite monolith (technically an inselberg) rises from near the edge of a man-made lake, the Embalse Guatapé. A brick staircase of 659 steps rises up through a broad fissure on the side of the rock. From the top, you’ll soak up magnificent views of this fertile region, the fingers of the lake sprawling amid a vast expanse of green mountains.
After coming down, find a spot in the restaurant below, that boasts a view of the lake. Order up a huge bandeja paisa complete with beans, rice, chorizo and avocado, and of course a cold beer or guanabana juice.
Some tourist attractions are just too good to ignore!
Day 2 / Guatape to Sonson
Our adventure begins in Guatape, the vibrant town known for its colorful buildings and the iconic Peñol Rock. We'll leave the bustling town behind and head towards the lesser-known town of Sonson. This hidden gem has been off the tourist radar for decades due to guerilla activity, but it is now safe and offers an authentic Colombian experience.
The ride from Guatape to Sonson is simply breathtaking, with miles of thrilling twists and turns. The road is in excellent condition and offers a diverse range of ups, downs, and various types of curves. Enjoy the rural landscape and the sparse traffic as we make our way through this scenic route.
Midway, we'll take a break for a cup of tinto, a local coffee, and some fresh arepas at a local farmers house. Prepare to be greeted by her friendly dogs and the warm hospitality of her family. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage with the locals and support a small family-run business.
As we reach Sonson, we'll head up to the Paramo de Sonson lookout, standing at an impressive 10,000 ft. elevation. The stunning view of the fog rolling over the cloud forest and the valley below is not to be missed. Afterward, we'll descend into town to check into our hotel, El Tesoro, and savor some delicious pizza and cold beer.
Visit Hotel El Tesoro, a 200-year-old mansion turned hotel, is a treasure trove of antiques and historical charm. The adjacent pizza restaurant offers a fantastic vantage point from its second-story balcony to enjoy the bustling main square below. Don't forget to bring a jacket for the chilly evening.
Day 3 / Sónson to Norcasia
Arley +57 314 6905067
The Campo Alegre hotel is only accessible by boat.
Park the bike in the recommended parking lot.
Call a taxi driver and have them take you to the port.
A small boat will be there at the designated time to take you to the hotel
The latest you can arrive in Norcasia is 4pm. There is not boat service after 4pm. We recommend that you wake up early and leave Sonson early to make it to Norcasia on time.
In the morning we ride to a lookout point that stands at over 10,00ft in elevation and has a beautiful view into the Magdalena river valley before winding down into the rural coffee town of Narinó where we can have lunch and drink coffee with coffee farmers in the towns main square as well as visit a local coffee co-op.
The jungle ecolodge is a great experience. There is only one way to get to the ecolodge: by boat. And let me tell you something, it's awesome! They pick you up at the docks and then you get to enjoy 20 minutes of beautiful landscape, the reservoir and the dam. When you arrive at the foot of the hill where the hotel is located at, be sure to "suffer" a little by climbing up a 350 meter trail to the hotel.
Day 4 / Norcasia
Arley +57 314 6905067
Today is a free day to enjoy the local area. Choose from a boat tour of the lake and swimming in waterfalls or take a hike through the jungle then put on life jackets and float down a crystal clear river. The hotel also has a beautiful pool where you can hang out and take in the view of the lake.
Day 5 / Norcasia to Pensilvania
Drive from the jungle of Norcasia back into the mountains near the town of Pensilvania, Caldas. We take the backroads with spectacular views of the lake, narrow canyon roads surrounded by coffee plantations and huge views across a giant valley near the isolated town of Pensilvania. One of the most beautiful roads I've ever seen!
Day 6 / Pensilvania to Salamina
Salamina is Colombia's best-kept secret. Tucked away in a far off corner of the coffee region, the beauty of Salamina is a sight to behold. The town itself is situated on the peak of a mountain, with entire streets sometimes appearing as if they are about to slide off the side of the mountain. Once we enter the town, we see why it has earned national heritage status. Houses climb the sloping streets with each one seeming determined to outdo its neighbors. Elaborate woodworking takes the form of intricately decorated doors, windows, balconies, and zócalos (the distinct lower sections of the whitewashed facades). It's hard to walk the streets of Salamina without constantly looking upward at the flower-filled balconies.
A gorgeous bronze basin fountain made in Paris sits in the central plaza surrounded by tall trees and benches. In 1900 the fountain was brought to town on the back of ox and mules. Since then it has become a symbol of the region. There are also various restaurants surrounding the main square where you can try typical local dishes, including the local favorite of steamed eggs (Huevos al Vapor), made with the help of an espresso machine.
The road from Sonson is unpaved but in good condition. Almost as soon as we leave Sonson we have to stop to take photos of the expansive valley right outside of town. The rest of the ride consists of windy roads and spectacular views of the surrounding coffee and sugarcane plantations. In the middle of the trip, we drop into a warm valley and cross a bridge over a white water river before winding back into the mountains on the other side. Just before we arrive in town, there's a panoramic view of the town precariously sitting on the top of a hill. Once we arrive, we feel like you have somehow discovered a special place that hardly any other foreigner has set eyes upon.
One of the nicer boutique options in Salamina is the Salamina Highs hotel. Formerly a coffee hacienda, the owners have beautifully restored the house and converted it into a charming boutique hotel. The property is complete with spacious rooms, king-sized beds, and a beautiful courtyard with jasmine trees and a jacuzzi. The hotel has a perfect location and is only a two-minute walk from the main square.
Day 7 / Free Day in Salamina
Most travelers come to town and only get to see the beautiful architecture of the town. Lucky for us we have motorcycles and can travel into the backcountry outside Salamina and see some truly breathtaking landscapes. Today we take a trip over to the hamlet of San Felix and the nearby Samaria Valley. Here, growing on the slopes of lush green mountains, we find the national tree of Colombia, the Quindío Wax Palm. The wax palm is the tallest palm in the world, reaching heights of over four stories. Not only are the palms themselves beautiful, but they are home to green and yellow parrots, which can be seen flying overhead. The views across the valley are picture-perfect, and once you arrive, feel like you have somehow discovered a special place that hardly any other foreigner has set eyes upon.
The ride to the valley is as spectacular as the destination itself. The road out of Salamina takes us across a ridge with yet again, spectacular views of the town and the surrounding cloud forests with fog spilling over the treetops. The road is almost completely paved and makes for some easy riding before arriving in the small town of San Felix. San Felix is a pretty quiet place, and we won't see much activity other than the occasional local farmer wandering around the plaza dressed in his poncho and cowboy hat. This area is still relatively undiscovered, and it wouldn't be surprising if we were the only foreigners in town. Heading from San Felix to the wax palm forest, the road becomes unpaved but well maintained with hard-packed gravel. The ride to the palm forest is only 15 minutes and takes us through tropical forest and farmland with cows and horses dotting the lush green hillsides.
Before sequoias were discovered in California, the wax palm was considered the world’s tallest tree, with some growing 200 feet high. This palm species can grow to a height of 45 m (148 ft) —or rarely, even as high as 60 m (200 ft).
The wax palms of the Samaria Valley isn't the only sight to see. The surrounding area is filled with isolated off-road tracks that are perfect for riders wanting to explore more of the area. Visiting isolated towns such as Marulanda and Manzanares make great day trips if you wake up early. Continuing the drive south from Manzanares to the Nevado del Ruiz volcano is a great trip. Better yet, it keeps us out of the city traffic in Manizales. The ride is truly breathtaking and takes us through spectacular cloud forest landscapes with rolling fog spilling over the treetops.
Day 8 / Salamina to Manizales
Nevado de Ruiz
Today takes us to the famous Nevado Ruiz Volcano. Colombia is part of the Ring of Fire, a 40,000 kilometer (24,900 miles) long string of volcanoes that forms a horseshoe-shaped ring around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This Ring of Fire contains 75% of the world's volcanoes and 90% of its earthquakes with Colombia itself being home to 23 volcanoes, of which 19 are considered active. Conveniently located right in the heart of the coffee region is Nevado Ruiz stratovolcano which reaches a staggering height of 5,311m (17,424ft)
Rides around the Nevado del Ruiz are often touted as “The best rides in Colombia.” You’ll ride up through the clouds until arriving in a high altitude tundra known as Paramo. Sitting at 13,000ft you will be surrounded by ancient plants that look a lot like cactus. Called frailejones these plants are actually related to sunflowers and are over 150 years old. Although you are at a high altitude the temperatures aren’t freezing and the cool air feels more like a sunny day in the Swiss Alps than sitting on a stratovolcano on the equator.
Although beautiful, Nevado Ruiz was the cause of one of the most devastating events in Colombian history. On November 13, 1985, after ignoring evacuation warnings from geologists, the Nevado del Ruiz erupted. The intense heat of the eruption melted the volcano's ice caps producing high-speed avalanches of mud, water, and debris (called lahars) that rushed down the side of the mountain destroying the town of Armero and claiming the lives of 23,080 of its residents.
You can still visit the destroyed town of Armero and see abandoned buildings which are actually the upper levels of the town with the lower parts still covered with dirt.
Termales del Ruiz Hotel
Whatever you do, don’t even think of coming down from the volcano without visiting the Termales del Ruiz Hotel, one of the few hotels actually located on the side of an active volcano. Located amid stunning landscapes at 3500masl (11,500ft), this glorious thermal-bath complex is the place to go to for total relaxation. The ride to get here is just as good. Visiting this hotel means navigating an off-road route that takes you from the relatively low altitude of Manizales through the jungle and into the high altitude paramo. Constructed in the 1940s by a German skiing champion, the rooms have the feel of a classic alpine lodge because it actually was an alpine ski lodge, used by the first-ever Colombian ski-team. While not huge, the rooms are certainly comfortable.
Outside, there are two large hot thermal pools. Sitting in the steaming hot pools while feeling the cool mountain air and looking out over the valley below feels great after a long ride. The lodge is also great for bird watching. Located on a hillside above it, there's a birding shelter beside a gushing stream where 17 species of hummingbird come to feed including the second largest hummingbird species in the world. The front desk can provide you with brightly colored sugar water feeders to feed the birds from your hand.
Head uphill through a side road and you’ll come to a forest of frailejones, a tundra plant that’s been adapting at this altitude for eons, covering its flowers in white hairs to protect it from the sun and surrounding its stems in dead leaves to protect it from the cold.
Day 9 / Manizales to Jardin
Leaving Nevado de Ruiz, we make our way down from the paramo and through the jungle until we reach the city of Manizales. Here we cross the city in about 30 minutes before we climb back up into the mountains towards the town of Riosucio. After reaching Riosucio the trail switches from pavement to unpaved gravel. We stay on the unpaved trail, winding our way through the forest until we reach the town of Jardin.
Revered for its brightly-colored houses and quaint mountainside location, Jardin is often dubbed ‘the most beautiful town in all of Colombia’ and acts as the poster-child for the culturally-enriched Antioquia region.
In Spring, when the town’s floral decorations are in full bloom, Jardin is an explosion of colors (and tourists), and local cafes do a great job of reflecting the vibrant essence of the city with their rainbow-colored outdoor seating. The town looks tailor-made for postcards. In town, you can simply stroll the little colonial streets, admire the stunning architecture, and watch as cowboys come into town in the evening with their trained horses. The center of town is compact and easily explored on foot.
A great way to get a bird’s eye view of the town is by cable-car. La Garucha is a home built metal lattice cable car that pulls you across a valley while suspended hundreds of meters in the air. The views of the city, mountains, and valley below are incredible, and there is a restaurant located on the other side.
Visiting the Parque Natural Jardín de Rocas is a must-do trip for birdwatchers. You can see the shockingly bright orange and black Gallo de Roca Andino also known as the Andean Cock-Of-The-Rock. Located at what is known as a lek, we can see courtship displays with males trying to impress the females. The best time to go is in the early morning and just before dusk. You can get within feet of the birds as they socialize to start and end their days.
A hidden highlight of Jardin is found just outside the town, though: a magnificent spot called the Cave of Splendor (La Cueva del Esplendor). The best way to see this splendor is on a 12-mile hike, which is hard work but rewarding - you’ll come face to face with a spectacular cave with a waterfall cascading right through its roof. You can enjoy a refreshing swim here, so pack your swimmers. The cave is on private property, and there’s a small charge to enter.
Today, we embark on an exhilarating journey from Jardin to Urrao. The road to Urrao is a thrilling mix of narrow roads and hairpin turns, offering breathtaking vistas of the lush, green mountains of the Antioquia region. As we ride, we'll come across cowboys on horseback and beautiful coffee plantations, giving us a true sense of the region's vibrant culture.
As we approach Urrao, we'll be met with the sight of the majestic Páramo de Frontino, one of the highest peaks in the area. The town itself is nestled in a lush valley, offering a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. Urrao is an authentic Colombian town, largely unspoiled by tourism, making it a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the local way of life.
We'll check in to the Finca Hotel Las Araucarias, a charming and cozy hotel surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the region. The hotel offers comfortable rooms and a warm, friendly atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax after a long day on the road.
Once settled, we can explore the town, taking in stunning surroundings and its colonial architecture and lively main square. In the evening, we'll dine at a local restaurant, savoring the delicious flavors of traditional Colombian cuisine.
Day 11 / Urrao to Medellin
Diez Hotel Categoria
All good things must come to an end, and today marks the final day of our thrilling off-road adventure through Colombia. We'll depart from Urrao and set our sights on Medellín, the bustling city we started from. Although we're leaving behind the untouched beauty and authentic experiences of the countryside, the ride back promises to be equally breathtaking.
As we make our way to Medellín, we'll navigate through a mix of exhilarating twists and turns, ascents and descents, and an array of captivating curves. The road ahead is a testament to the diverse and challenging terrain we've traversed throughout this journey. Along the way, we'll pause at a roadside café for a refreshing tinto and a chance to chat with locals who rarely encounter tourists.