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We spent 3 months exploring Colombia by bicycle. It’s an extremely diverse and interesting country. Here’s a brief glimpse of the wildlife, views and people that we met along the way. We hope you enjoy the ride!

For those wondering about choosing a good camera, don’t forget to check out our guide How To Choose The Best Camera For Travel.

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WILDLIFE FROM THE ROAD

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We saw many of these cranes along the road in but as soon as I would pull out my camera, it would fly away. I spent days trying get a shot of one but had no luck. Until one day, I saw this beautiful white crane perched high in a tree that wasn’t camera shy. 

 

 

VAMOS JAMES!

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Here in Colombia the most popular shirt is the Colombia National Football Jersey of James Rodriguez. James (pronounced Ha-mas in Spanish) is a Colombian who is now playing for the Spanish team, Real Madrid. Here, Grandmas even wear a James jersey.

Antonio sported his James jersey and got lots of people yelling out car windows “Vamos James!!!”

 

 

THE BANANA TRAM

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Cycling allows you to see things that you probably wouldn’t notice otherwise. Here at a banana plantation, the bunches are put on a “banana tram” to be taken to the collection center. 

 

 

CHICAMOCHA CANYON

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Cycling the Chichamocha Canyon was one of the biggest challenges we faced in Colombia. We had to crank the pedals up the curves of the canyon roads for hours. After hours of cycling under the pounding heat we arrived to a lookout that gave us an impressive view of the second largest canyon in the world.

 

 

THE LONE WALKER

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

One morning we passed this man on the road. I had seen him the night before, setting up camp. At the time, I thought he lived close by and just wanted some peace from the grandkids.

When I saw him this morning he was in a different spot and I thought he must be walking. Antonio is his name. He is 76 years old and on his 21st loop around Colombia.

 

 

DANGEROUS CURVES

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

The downhill sign always puts a smile on my face. From the capital, Bogotá at 2,600 meters we descended down to 1,000 meters. These dangerous curves proved to be very fun on the bike.

 

 

UNEXPECTED KINDNESS

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There is a section of highway called La Ruta del Sol (The Route of the Sun)…rightly named. The intense sun, boring cycling and high traffic left me miserable.

One day we cycled passed a group of construction workers and they began to yell “Agua, agua!” I stopped and this man ran up with a bunch of these ice cold bags of water. It made my day and reminded me of the power of kindness.

 

 

MOUNTAIN VIEWS

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Colombia is a mountainous country. The Andes Mountain Range runs in 3 chains, from east to west, which means lots of climbing uphill and freewheeling downhill.

 

 

ROADSIDE WATERFALLS

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Off the main highway we spotted this waterfall with a dirt road underneath. We pulled over for lunch and had fun taking pictures.

 

 

 THE JOYS OF CYCLING IN BOGOTÁ

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay
Colombia is a country of cycling enthusiasts yet conditions for cyclists still have a long way to go. Bogotá boasts about its network of bike lanes. Yes, there are lots of bike lanes however we found it safer to cycle on the road than use them.

 

 

ALTIPLANO IN THE ANDES

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Just a hundred kilometers from the busy city of Bogotá we experienced some of the most quiet and beautiful roads in all of Colombia. After climbing to over 2900 meters we reached an altiplano, the flat roads were a much needed break from the steep climbs.

 

 

PICKING UP HITCHHIKERS

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One morning after packing up the bikes this little guy jumped on the back of my bike. He was welcome to come along until he started to snack on my diving fin!

 

 

WHO SAYS BIKES CAN’T GO THOUGH THE TUNNEL? 

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

It is much easier to say sorry than please. A rule for life and even more for cycle tourists.

There were two options, climb a massive hill or go through a tunnel. The problem was that cyclists are not allowed to pass through the tunnel. There is a sign and a security guard at the entrance ready to turn people away.

Even after seeing the sign and being told that we wouldn’t be allowed to pass, we decided to try our luck anyway. We stood by the enterance with thumbs out and our best smiles on. A truck stopped and carried us through the tunnel.

 

 

IN THE WHITE CITY

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Colonial cities are one of the most interesting parts of Latin America. The central plazas and colonial buildings create a unique atmosphere. Here in Popayan, nearly all the buildings are painted white, giving it the name “La Ciudad Blanca” (The White City).

 

 

COLOMBIA’S DEATH ROAD

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The dirt road that crosses the Southern Andes of the country has taken many lives and is known as Colombia’s Death Road. It is narrow and the fog can be so thick that it’s impossible to see what lies ahead. One wrong turn can send you plummeting over the edge hundreds of meters.

 

 

HAVE A NICE TRIP!

Cycling Through Colombia Photo Essay

Soldiers and police officers stand by the side of the road holding up signs that say “Feliz Viaje” Have a nice trip.

 

16 Responses

  1. Sharyn

    Less than a week till our next cycling tour. Ours will be in the Arctic and Eastern Europe. But I just put Colombia on our wishlist! Beautiful pics and sounds like a great experience. Thanks

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Sounds like an amazing trip Sharyn. The Balkins are on our list as well. Enjoy! We will be following along.

  2. Liliana

    It makes me so happy to find people saying great things about my country Colombia. I’ve been away from Colombia for way too long and just having completed our year trip makes me one to continue and do Southamerica to finish at my parents’ house. Thank you so much for putting this beautiful photos out there and letting people know about the good things you can find in Colombia!!! thank you!!!

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hola Liliana! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. We truly enjoyed our time in Colombia and are already talking about going back one day. I’m sure your parents would love if you rolled up to their house on your bike. Let us know if you end up cycling South America.

  3. Rhonda Albom

    Wow, so much here. Columbia is really beautiful and I enjoyed seeing it through eyes. I am impressed by how strong the two of you are, that you could do day after day on some of those hills in the heat, and the man giving you the water made me smile too. Thanks for sharing all of these amazing photos and your story.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Thanks for coming along for the ride Rhonda! One of the shots I missed was of a man who drives along the highway dropping of boxed lunches to the construction workers. He had a few extras so he gave one to us. He probably thought I was crazy from the huge smile I had across my face and the amount of times I said thank you haha.

  4. Mary Mack

    Your photos are amazing. What a beautiful country. Your photos give an interesting perspective that we don’t usually get to see.

  5. Angel

    wow! impersonates fotos. Colombia it’s a country that I’ll have to stop. Thanks for sharing! By the way, are camping spots easy to find in Colombia? and how’s the weather at night?

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Thanks Angel! Yes you two have to spend sometime exploring Colombia. It depends where you go for camping. The hotels are very cheap and good quality so we were taking rooms often. For the weather it also depends where you go, the coast and Andes have very different climates. If you plan to go to the mountains make sure to bring warm clothes, a good tent, and sleeping bag.

  6. Tom Oxby

    Wonderful phtoto’s of Colombia. Your stop by the waterfalls reminds me of some of my bicycle touring trips where unexpected discoveries along the journey turned out to be a highlight.

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Thanks Tom! Happy to hear that you liked them. That’s one of the great things about bicycle touring right? Sometimes those memories are better than going to a famous waterfall full of tourists.

  7. Adriano

    I’m dreaming to go in my first big bicycle journey. Congratulations for pictures of Colombia’s trip, its make me more encouraged to go!

    Adriano Monteiro – Campinas – Brazil

      • Adriano

        Hi Amanda!

        I’m dreaming (and planning) innitially to ride in my country, south of Brazil and crosses borders through Uruguay and Argentina.
        I think to spend 5 weeks for all.
        Probably I’ll start journey in spetember/ october next.

        and you planning some day a trip around in Brazil? if yes, you and Antonio are welcomed in our home!

        Adriano Monteiro

  8. Marjo

    Thanks for the pictures, they are lovely! I am actually heading there, although it will still taken me a couple of months. Currently I am in Guatemala City. I cycled there from Cancun and hoping to make my way all down south. Columbia is actually one of those countries I am really looking forward to.
    Talking about countries with bad reps, I have been living in Nigeria (Lagos) for almost 1,5 years all together. Everything we (in the ‘west’) know about this country is BocoHaram, bombings and corruption. Well I had a wonderful time and the people are really great once you get to know them. Once I was on my way home from work, when a tuktuk driver knocked on the carwindow. Looking at me with a angry face, it scared my so much that I didn’t know what else to do then smile at him. The next moment his face open up and giving me a smile from ear to ear.

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