GUIDED VS. SELF-GUIDED MOTORCYCLE TOURS

One of the most important choices you’ll have to make when planning a motorcycle tour in Colombia, is whether to take an independent self-guided tour in or take a local and experienced guide along for the guide. There are pros and cons to both types of tours, of course and although some may be obvious, others may elude you – this is especially true if you’ve never taken a motorcycle tour in a foreign country before.

 

Here’s a quick overview of what each option entails:

The Pros of Self-Guided Motorcycle Tours:

Self-guided tours are an excellent choice for those with riding confidence and mechanical know-how, and work particularly well in Colombia. Here’s why: 

  • Independence – Come and go as you wish – get up late, or super early, change directions, stop where you like, when you like and for however long you like – this one is a pretty obvious bonus of going at it independently

 

  • As guided as you’d like – We can recommend hotels to stay, restaurants to feast in, wonderful places to see and activities to do along the way, offering a great compromise. This is, after all, our neck of the woods so it’s only fair we share all our knowledge with you to ensure you have an unforgettable time. We can help as much or as little as you like – that kind of freedom can be priceless for the independent rider

 

  • You choose your riding companions – We may well be great company (really, we are!) but you may also want the freedom to ride with those you know and love – friends or family, or even on your own. Lone rider?! We hear you!

  • Locals are friendly and helpful – The people in Colombia are super friendly and given they have a deep love of motorcycle riding, as well as an inherent interest in foreign travelers, are among the most helpful you’ll ever meet. Many who’ve come, toured and left, have stated that Colombians seem always ready to lend a hand and that’s a huge relief for independent bikers

 

  • Language – The famed Colombian helpfulness and friendliness is a godsend if you don’t speak Spanish. Some knowledge is always helpful (as mentioned earlier, in case of emergencies) but we’ve certainly had many guests who’ve landed on our shores, rented bikes and had a fantastic tour, without experiencing hugely painful language-barrier issues

 

  • Good roads and enjoyable riding conditions – The roads in Colombia are well maintained and, once you get out of Medellin, there is very little traffic with which you’ll have to contend. There are plenty of options for adventurous off-roading but, as opposed to what many people think, you’ll need to go out of your way to find them. You can definitely stay on tarmac the entire time, if you wish to 

 

  • You’re not really doing it alone – Just because you’re riding alone, it doesn’t mean you’ll be left to your own devices completely, come what may. It’s not like we’re going to hand you the keys, take your money, and shove you out the door! We’re always happy to talk about routes, options, highlights, riding times, and everything else you’d like to know before you take off. And, once you’re out there, know that we are only ever a phone call away. Anything you need? We’re (virtually) there!

The Cons of Self-Guided Tours:

  • You need to be self-sufficient – We may be just a phone call away but that doesn’t mean we can solve all your problems, as you face them. You should know the basics of motorcycle maintenance (because that flat tire won’t change itself, unfortunately) and you do need to have the confidence to make last-minute changes, deal with road closures etc etc

 

  • You can’t panic or stress easily – If you know that a small inconvenience can send you into a flurry of anxiety then a self-guided tour may not be the best option for you. Out there, you’ll only have yourself for backup if anything happens, so you need to be level-headed and not prone to panic

 

  • Some Spanish knowledge is kinda essential – Yes, we’ve had plenty of guests who’ve enjoyed independent touring without knowing a smidgen of Spanish but they are also the same ones who didn’t encounter any problems or emergencies on tour

 

  • Self-guided tours are time consuming – Both before and during your tour, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time and effort into the planning and then executing of your tour and, for some, that’s a huge time-investment for a weeklong jaunt abroad

The Pros of Guided Motorcycle Tours in Colombia 

 

The simpler, most convenient, and in many ways more enjoyable option, the self-guided tour can be the most genius compromise: you get to experience a wicked motorcycle experience in this phenomenal country BUT you don’t have to deal with any of the logistics. 

Our guided Colombia motorcycle tours allow you to truly enjoy Colombia in style:

  • Custom Route - There's nothing wrong with adventuring around and finding trails on your own if you have the time and resources but riding with a guide means you’ll enjoy the best trails, hand-picked to suit your riding ability, maximizing your time on the saddle 

 

  • Best Food and Hotels – You’ll definitely eat at local’s favorite places and stay in the best hotels that also offer fantastic value for money 

 

  • Lighter and Safer – Carry less, enjoy more, and be even safer when you take a guide along for the ride. Enjoy that priceless confidence that comes from knowing someone else is thinking about all the logistics 

 

  • Meet great new friends – Ride out of Medellin with a guide and you’ll have an instant ‘local’ friend that speaks your lingo and is there to make your experience even more rewarding 

 

  • Interesting routes - We prefer to put you on smaller and more interesting local roads (with lots of twists and turns) but are always happy to concoct a bespoke route for adventurous riders  

The Cons of Guided Tours:

You may communicate less with locals – If your Spanish isn’t up to scratch, you’re likely to fall back on your guide more than necessary, which can also hinder your contact with locals

 

You may find it hard to let go of all the controls – A bit of a control freak and an experienced rider and traveler? You may find guided tours to be stifling to you doing ‘your thang’

 

The pros of guided tours:

 

  • See and do more with less time – There’s no wasting of precious holiday time when you’re on a guided trip. All you really need to do is saddle up and enjoy, we take care of all the rest. If you only have a short vacation time and want to squeeze as much adventure as possible into your journey, a guided tour can be a life (and trip) saver.

 

  • Almost no prior research required – You can get stuck into the research and planning of a bespoke tour, if you like, but you can also simply choose a pre-planned, tried and true itinerary and just show up at the airport on day 1, not having spent a minute more in preparation of your itinerary

 

  • You need not be a motorcycle mechanic – Not confident that you can handle the bike’s maintenance or any potential problems on your own? A guide is there to help you, in real-time, from 30cm away

 

  • It’s OK if you don’t speak Spanish – Your motorcycle tour guide is your translator on the road and you’ll no doubt learn more Spanish this way than by using Google Translate 125 times a day

 

  • Comforting company – You don’t need to be a fervently anti-social loner to find yourself looking at taking a motorcycle tour in Colombia alone – sometimes, you just can’t find anyone to go with you and that’s a bummer. Never mind, though, because having a guide means you can have companionship, and aloneness, whenever you like. A guide isn’t just a great source of comfort in times of need but they’re also there for companionship if you’re traveling alone.