Get hungry on the approach to a random town in rural Colombia, and wherever you pull in, it won’t be an air-conditioned coffee chain, or anywhere with English speaking staff or Israeli salad on the menu.
Colombia’s history is as rich, surprising, startling and complex as its geography. It’s this history that has led to a blending of people and cultures unique in all of Latin America.
When you look at the country’s tumultuous, often brutal history, it’s almost miraculous that Colombia has survived at all – let alone functioning successfully enough to now be attracting record foreign investment and a growing number of tourists year-on-year.
If you’re planning a long-haul motorcycle journey through South America, you’re inevitably going to want a set of wheels of your own. Provided you’re not hell bent on bringing your own wheels from home, buying a used motorcycle on arrival is generally the most cost- effective way to country-hopping through the continent.
If your first question was; “can I, as a foreign tourist, legally purchase a motorcycle in South America” we’ve already given you the answer:
Is Colombia safe? This is the single most frequently asked question about travel to Colombia. Bring up your plans to travel to Colombian in conversation and the response may well be “are you crazy?”
Mention planning to travel Colombia on a motorcycle? You’re now considered certifiably insane.
There really is no better way to escape the chaos of the cities than saddling up and hitting the highway, forging onward as the traffic dwindles and then finally disappears, and empty roads open up before you, inviting a world of endless possible adventures. Of course, not all of us can afford to ride without plan or purpose. You’ll most likely want to map out the majority of your route, including picking out your stopovers, many of which will end up being small towns. In truth, many of Colombia’s small towns have little to offer besides a cheap feed and a bed for the night. On the other hand, there are some truly delightful rural pueblos and small towns which make worthy destinations in their own right.
Before Colombia, the last place I’d embarked on a long-distance motorcycle journey was another Latin American country, Mexico. But unlike Mexico, where cars are definitely king, in Colombia, road-goers harbour a unique passion for travelling on two wheels. We all know Colombians are renowned as some of the world’s keenest cyclists, but motorcycles too, are an integral part of life on Colombia’s highways.
The vast, fertile tract of countryside at the foothills of the Cordillera de los Andes is known as Colombia’s Zona Cafetera (Coffee Zone). Also referred to as the Eje Cafetero (Coffee Axis), and the Coffee Triangle, the area is Colombia’s most important coffee growing region.
Santiago de Cali (‘Cali’ for short), is the largest city in southwest Colombia, nestled against forested mountains in an eternally warm valley between the Pacific coast and Colombia’s western Andean region.
There’s no doubt about it, Colombia has arrived on the global tourism stage in a big way. It’s not just an improved international perspective on safety that’s led to Colombia’s rise as one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations. Back in 2008, the Colombian tourism board ran a series of ads touting the country’s cultural, historical and natural wonders.