Spanish School in Medellin and Motorcycle Riding!

Learn & Ride: 1 Week of Spanish School and 1 Week Motorcycle Rental

TRIP OVERVIEW

Get ready for your South America motorcycle tour. Learn Spanish in Medellin and ride motorcycles! Thinking about coming to Medellin but want to improve your Spanish before your trip?

Get comfortable in Colombia by spending 5 days making friends and learning Spanish at a local language academy. The course includes private instruction to learn specific words that are helpful for motorcycle travel such as asking for directions (Donde esta..) and filling up on gas (Lleno de corriente por favor).  Use your new Spanish skills and head off into the coffee region for a 7 day motorcycle trip through the most beautiful landscapes that Colombia has to offer. 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

​12 Days Total:

  • 5 Day Spanish Course:

  • Spanish School: 4 hours per day for 5 days

  • 20 hours total

  • Small group classes (5 people max)

  • 2 hours of private classes tailor-made for motorcycle travel.

  • Located in the cosmopolitan El Poblado district of Medellin.

  • Excursions and afterschool activities included

Then:

  • 7 Day Coffee Region Tour:

  • Guatape - Climb the Piedra de Peñol in Guatape

  • Nevado Ruiz Volcano - Explore a stratovolcano

  • Thermal Springs - Stay at a hot springs hotel in Manizales

  • Wax Palms - Visit The Wax Palm Forest

  • Spectacular Views - As always, enjoying all the twists and turns while riding through some of the most amazing scenery in the world.

SPANISH SCHOOL!

Study Spanish the first week – then enjoy the best motorcycle riding in the world the next. 

 

Learn faster and save money as you EAT, SLEEP, and LIVE the immersion Spanish experience that is all about fun, pushing your personal limits, and creating new chapters in your life journey.

The 5-day Spanish course includes 4 hours of classroom learning per day for 5 days (20 hours total.) Group sizes are small and are a maximum of 5 people to a class. The course also comes with 2 hours of private classes tailor-made for motorcycle travel. Learn how to fill up on gas, ask directions, and how to say that you have a flat tire, etc. 

Located in Medellin’s El Poblado neighborhood (Barrio Manila), the school aims to provide a safe, familiar, and immersive Spanish learning experience. The school is surrounded by great restaurants and cafes and are one block from the El Poblado police station, supermarkets, and a short walk from Parque Lleras, one of South America’s best parties. 

Everyone studies hard but also has a lot of fun and a lot of activities which are part of your immersion. Dancing salsa with the locals, weekly Comuna 13 tours, football matches, city tours, museums, small towns, and much more. You will learn a lot of Spanish. You will make great friends.  And if your like hundreds of others… you´ll come back to Medellin again!

MOTORCYCLE TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 - Medellin - Guatape 

Recommended Hotel: Zocalo Campestre

 

The trip to Guatape is short, and there are a couple of nice stops along the way. We recommend making your first stop at the Segundo Mirador De Las Palmas or Second Las Palmas Lookout Point. Located only a few minutes outside the city on our route, the lookout point offers a spectacular view across Medellín. If you want to grab a coffee or empanadas before heading out, we recommend stopping at the Estadero El Zarzal located just a little further up the road. The route is easy, and Google Maps will get you there and all the other spots, with no trouble. 

 

The big draw in Guatape is climbing the famous Piedra del Peñol. The Piedra is a high granite monolith (technically an inselberg) that rises from near the edge of a man-made lake called the Embalse Guatapé. A brick staircase of 659 steps rises up through a broad fissure on the side of the rock.  From the top, we'll soak up magnificent views of the region, the fingers of the lake sprawling amid a vast expanse of green mountains. 

 

After your climb of "El Peñon de Guatape" you can walk the streets of the town, snapping photos of the brightly colored houses. Here, you'll have the chance to dine on fresh empanadas and drink ice cold cerveza michelada.

 

Guatape is a nice town but can be quite touristy and crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. There are shops selling t-shirts, wood carvings, and other souvenirs on pretty much every corner. That being said, a visit to Guatape is still worth it, and some tourist attractions are just too good to pass up.

Day 2 - Guatape – Sonson

Recommended Hotel: El Tesoro

This is going to be an interesting trip. Today we ride to the former guerilla conflict zone of Sonson. Sonson has been off-limits for decades due to guerilla activity. Although it's safe now there is very little information on the internet about the area. Consequently, it’s untouched by tourism which makes it the perfect place to get an authentic taste of Colombia. 

 

The ride to Sonson is great. One of the best things about this ride is the miles and miles of exciting twists and turns. Ups, downs, ascending curves, descending curves, increasing radius curves, decreasing radius curves. You’re going to get a ton of riding experience on just this one road. The pavement here is in good shape and as is the case in lots of areas in the countryside, there is very little traffic.

 

Midway we’re going to stop off at Luisa’s house and have a cup of local coffee called tinto. If you like kids you’ll be delighted to meet her twin toddlers. Tourists never stop here and you’ll see how happy she is to talk with us. Besides being a fun way to connect with the locals, it's a way to directly support a family business.

 

We’ll visit the HALO demining operations and learn about their efforts to remove leftover anti-personnel landmines from the area. We get the chance to hold deactivated landmines they have recovered. Yep, there are still landmines out here.

 

The town of Sonson is located at a high elevation but we’re going to climb even higher. The Paramo de Sonson is a lookout point that stands at over 10,000ft in elevation. The lookout has a scenic view of the fog rolling across the cloud forest and nearby valley. By now it will be late afternoon and we’ll head back to town to check in to our hotel and grab a pizza and a beer. 

 

We stay at the El Tesoro hotel located on the main square. This is a 200-year-old mansion that has been converted into a unique hotel. Unlike other hotels, this one hasn't been updated and still retains its original charm. In addition, the hotel is somewhat of a museum and is filled with an eclectic collection of antiques. Looking over everything will keep you captivated for hours. 

 

Located next door to the hotel is a great pizza restaurant. From the second-story balcony, we can enjoy a brick oven pizza while people-watching on the main square. It’s good to note that Sonson leaves the warm weather of Guatape behind. Located at 8,100ft you’ll want to bring a jacket because it's going to be cold at night.



Day 3 -  Sonsón to Salamina

Recommended Hotel: Casa de Lola Garcia

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 Casa de Lola Garcia. 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.

Optional Route - Instead of heading directly to Salamina today, you can add a day to the trip and drive from Sonson down into the jungle, past Norcasia. Have lunch or stay at the quaint hot-springs hotel (Espiritu Santo) where rooms are simple and the springs lovely - the restaurant is decent here, and the river is great. From there, take the backroads across the mountains to the isolated villages of Pensilvania (yep, that's the correct spelling) or Samaná located in the department of Caldas. After spending the night, you can take a rarely traveled road through Manzanares to Marulanda and then onto Salamina. One of the most beautiful roads I've ever seen!

Day 4 - Free Day in Salamina

Recommended Hotel: Casa de Lola Garcia

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.

 

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 5 - Salamina to Manizales

Recommended Hotel: Termales de Ruiz

 

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 spending at least one night at 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 6 - Manizales to Jardin

Recommended Hotel: Casa Passiflora Boutique Hotel

 

Jardin is the perfect place to finish a great trip. 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.

​​​

Day 7 - Jardin to Medellin

Recommended Hotel: Diez Hotel Categoria

Sorry dudes, today we have to go back to Medellin. The trip is beautiful though and its a great way to end an awesome motorcycle adventure in Colombia. ​

HOW MUCH

Guided Trip

A bilingual adventure guide/photographer is included. Luxury accommodations are also provided on this trip and are some of the best boutique hotels in Colombia.

  • $2,900USD per person based on shared occupancy

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

  • + Upgrade Single Room: +$300 USD

  • Support Vehicle Available 

Self-Guided

  • $1,655USD per person based on shared occupancy

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

  • + Upgrade Single Room: +$300 USD

  • - (Fuel not included but it's not expensive)

  • Downloadable GPS route included 

INCLUDED

We aim to provide you with the best value for your money. Our motorcycle rentals include all the high-quality gear you need to have a great motorcycle trip in Colombia at no extra cost:

  • 5 Day Spanish Course:

    • Spanish School: 4 hours per day for 5 days

    • 20 hours total

    • Small group classes (5 people max)

    • 2 hours of private classes tailor-made for motorcycle travel.

    • Room Included

  • 7 Day Motorcycle Trip:​

    • Bilingual Guide / Photographer (With Guided Trip)

    • Fuel and Road Tolls (With Guided Trip)

    • Unlimited Kilometers

    • 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

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?

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."

🚠 Skyline of Medellin from the Metro Cable 🚠
Bandeja Paisa
Alan Wax Palm Forest, Colombia
Paul Some Off-Road Riding in Colombia
Termales Del Ruiz Hotel
Colombian empanada with spicy sauce