MotoDreamer Supporting Local Businesses in Colombia has always been on Mike and Diana´s radar since the beginning.
Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes
Motolombia (renamed MotoDreamer in 2020) began when the Colombian tourism industry was still in its infancy – opening a business relying heavily on overseas tourist dollars was a big gamble.
We at MotoDreamer never expected the boom that was to follow years later.
It’s lovely to see the positive change in perception, so many foreigners have towards Colombia. Indeed, businesses like us have the natural beauty of the country, the warmth, and the hospitality of its people to thank.
In addition, the entrepreneurial spirit of local tourism operators in supporting us without once complaining shows why we’re still here, over 12 years later.
Part of MotoDreamer’s mission is supporting local businesses.
Indeed, for those going above and beyond to make Colombia a truly world-class destination, whether they’re in the business of luxury boutique hotels or quality digs for the budget traveler.
Then, some love spicing up the tourist experience with innovative tours, activities, and adventure sports. Many in contrast, that just a few years ago, didn’t even exist in the country.
Then, we handpick the best boutique hotels, resorts, and guesthouses on our guided Colombia motorcycle tours in each of our stopover destinations.
Thus ensuring our guests can wind down in comfort at the end of a long day of riding.
Our chosen accommodation is determined by four main features: safety, cleanliness, a good location, and excellent service.
While we’re starting to see more international chain hotels popping up in places like Cartagena, we wholeheartedly believe that choosing locally owned accommodation benefits both the local economy and the guests seeking a more authentically Colombian experience.
We also have close partnerships with activity providers and adventure sports operators. Each is identified to ensure our guests make the most out of any included or optional side excursions.
Many of our guests have marveled at our coffee plantation visits. Enchanted by the horseback riding in beautiful El Cocuy National Park, as well as experiencing pure excitement at the dune buggy blasts across the coastal desert sands of La Guajira.
Traveling by motorcycle gives us the unique opportunity to take tour groups to some remote and still rarely visited locations, bringing much-needed business and awareness to tourism operators all over Colombia.
Our small group tours see up to 10 riders (plus any pillion and support vehicle passengers) overnighting with local accommodation providers. We also recommend these same local entrepreneurs to independent riders, whether they’ve rented a bike through us or are journeying through Colombia on their bikes.
In short, we’re at MotoDreamer, are pretty passionate about supporting local businesses that we think are doing something special.
Then, in 2019, we developed an “Excellent Service” certification that recognized the accommodation and activity providers we used on our tours and the quality service they provided.
We selected the following 21 hotels to receive our Motolombia Excellent Service award.
Each was and still is located in some of the country’s most beautiful, fun, and fascinating corners.
HOTEL DIEZ CATEGORIA COLOMBIA in MEDELLIN
A concept hotel inspired by the various cultures of Colombia. Indeed, Hotel Diez Categoria showcases world-class service and a stylish designer ambiance. It is ideally suited to its setting in the heart of Medellin’s upscale El Poblado district.
TERRAZAS DE SAN AGUSTÍN
One of the finest accommodation offerings in this historic rural village. Terrazas de San Agustin is located in the center of town and is also, only minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Archaeological Park. It features a spa, fitness facilities, and fantastic views from the rooftop terrace.
POSADA LAS TRAMPAS IN HONDA
Surprisingly, set in a beautiful colonial-style house (built c1870) with an outdoor pool. This luxury guesthouse promises personalized service and cozy accommodation, also with 14 individually decorated rooms capturing picturesque balcony views over the Magdalena River.
HOTEL VILLA PARAISO VIEJA IN VILLA VIEJA
A welcoming oasis at the edge of the Tatacoa Desert. Indeed, this boutique hotel features a refreshing outdoor pool and comfortable air-conditioned rooms. Also, this hotel is situated in the center of the charming colonial town of Villa Vieja and rests on the banks of the Magdalena River.
HOTEL BRISAS LA GAVIOTA IN MARIQUITA
If a sprawling property complete with six fish-stocked lakes, tranquil gardens, a swimming pool, and sports grounds excites you. Then, this relaxing tourist complex, hotel, and restaurant are located amid the beautiful rural landscapes outside Mariquita, surrounded by a historic Spanish silver settlement with an authentic Colombian village feel.
HOTEL MARRIOTT IN SANTIAGO DE CALI
This 5-star hotel is located in Granada, Indeed, its Cali’s upmarket dining and entertainment district. It features luxuriously appointed rooms and on-site facilities. Also, it includes a pool, spa, Finnish sauna, and several on-site restaurants.
Furthermore, the Market Restaurant has a show kitchen and serves build-your-own salads, burgers, carpaccio, and pizzas. Even, the poolside Tanoshii Lounge offers open-air drinks, sushi, and live music.
HOTEL SALENTO REAL IN SALENTO
Now if an eco-friendly, colonial-style hotel in the heart of the coffee country is your style of utopia. Then, check out centrally located Salento Real with its warm welcome for guests with traditional Colombian hospitality. It also, rightly, boasts of well-furnished rooms, and daily breakfast served on the rooftop terrace. Enjoy the gorgeous views over Salento and the forests and mountains beyond.
Author´s note: the first seven hotels made it very easy for MotoDreamer never to regret they were supporting Local Businesses in Colombia.
MOVICH CASA ALFEREZ REAL IN CALI
Blending timeless colonial-inspired charm with contemporary elegance. This Movich Hotel (a Colombian-owned boutique hotel brand) is one of the most beautiful accommodation offerings in Cali’s upscale Granada district. The excellent restaurant, outdoor terrace bar, and hotel rooms and suites showcase high-end modern décor. All complemented by exceptional service.
HOTEL CAMPESTRE CAFE CAFÉ IN MONTENEGRO
Set on acres of stunningly landscaped gardens, a massive outdoor swimming pool, vibrant Colonial-style architecture, and brightly furnished rooms. This calming and colorful retreat is also surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations, 3.9km from Quindío’s National Coffee Park.
HOTEL B3 IN BOGOTA
Nestled in the exclusive Chico area of Bogota. This smart modern hotel features a selection of stylish rooms and a relaxing terrace and cocktail bar. In addition, sample tapas menu, chilled-out evening DJs, and international service standards.
HOTEL BOUTIQUE VILLA ROMA IN VILLA DE LEYVA
A gorgeous colonial-inspired hotel that’s only within walking distance to the central plaza. Villa Roma features whitewashed walls and contrasting wooden furniture. A garden courtyard, an outdoor pool, and spacious, elegantly furnished rooms and suites.
THE HOLIDAY INN BUCARAMANGA
Consistently one of the most highly-rated hotels in Bucaramanga. The Holiday Inn is a chic, contemporary hotel and restaurant in a fantastic location. Also, this location promises superb comfort, high-quality international cuisine, and breathtaking views over the tropical mountain city from the rooftop pool and Skybar.
LA CASA AMARILLA IN MOMPOX
La Casa Amarilla is a homely and inviting family-run retreat. Nestled beside the Magdalena River and Santander Forest Park. And also just a short stroll from the magnificent colonial center of Mompox. Check out the quiet, comfortable rooms and delicious breakfasts. Each served every morning at an airy communal dining table overlooking lush floral gardens.
Author’s note: the second set of seven also came shining through for MotoDreamer and its wishes in supporting local businesses in Colombia.
HOTEL FRUTAS DEL LAGO IN CAUCASIA
In a quiet yet convenient location just outside the urban center of Caucasia. You will discover Frutas del Lago, which offers some of the best boutique accommodation in the area. Subsequently, you will be delighted with spacious yet straightforward and comfortably furnished rooms, an excellent on-site restaurant, and a reputation for genuine Paisa hospitality.
HOTEL FERNANDO PLAZA IN PASTO
Providing cozy and elegant accommodation in the heart of Pasto’s business district, and only a short walk from the central Plaza Nariño. In addition, this hotel features ultra-spacious, lushly furnished rooms: a restaurant serving regional Andean cuisine and a bar with various wines and cocktails on offer.
HOTEL DANN MONASTERIO IN POPAYAN
In a renovated Franciscan convent built-in 1570. Hotel Dann Monasterio showcases some of the most exemplary traditional architecture in the ‘White City.’ Popayan is one of Colombia’s most beautifully preserved colonial cities. Its forty-seven rooms are arranged around a majestic central courtyard. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool and the Campanario Restaurant, which serves regional and international cuisine while you are overlooking the manicured gardens.
HOTEL ECOSTAR IN IBAGUE
A stylish hotel in the Milla de Oro shopping and dining district of Ibague. The Ecostar is a stylish, business-style hotel with friendly service. In addition, each air-conditioned room comes with innovative modern décor, a daily breakfast buffet, and a lobby bar.
HOTEL VARUNA MANIZALES
Located in the lively Zona Rosa district in vibrant Manizales. The gateway city to the Zona Cafetera. This sophisticated hotel features huge, heated rooms, each with a luxurious modern décor finish. The on-site Tabil Restaurant enjoys fabulous city and mountain panoramas, especially at sunset. In addition, there is an indoor spa and wellness center. Perfect for those cool Andean nights.
HOTEL HOLIDAY INN YOPAL
Yopal lies at the doorstep of the magnificent Los Llanos. The aptly named sprawling plains of north-eastern Colombia. Making them a nature lover’s paradise. Hence, this centrally positioned hotel is highly regarded for its large, superbly appointed rooms, on-site restaurant, and gym. The top-floor pool terrace captures sweeping views of the city and the wilderness of the plains beyond.
HOTEL ALMIRANTE CARTAGENA
The 5-star Hotel Almirante boasts an unbeatable location, right opposite the beachfront in the always-lively Bocagrande neighborhood. The hotel has a vibrant tropical vibe, and spectacular beach, and the Caribbean Sea panoramas. All seen from its deluxe Ocean View rooms. You’ll find a pool and fitness center on-site. As well as countless seaside restaurants and nightlife options only a short walk away.
HOTEL EMERAWA IN RIOHACHA
Now for the center of the coastal Caribbean city of Riohacha. The renowned gateway to the desert dunes and unspoiled beaches of La Guajira. Hotel Emerawa provides guests with a relaxed country atmosphere. It features a sparkling pool surrounded by tropical gardens—a thatched-roof cabana lounge, and spotless, furnished rooms, as well as more luxurious spa suites.
Author´s note the final seven did us proud. That made MotoDreamer´s mission in supporting local businesses in Colombia 100% correct.
In conclusion, this list should give you a taste of the type of accommodation you can expect on a MotoDreamer tour. We can wholeheartedly recommend these hotels to anyone visiting Colombia seeking genuine Colombian hospitality and an authentic local flavor. After such an abysmal couple of years with Covid-19 causing such despair and headache. For MotoDreamer, they can begin to smile again at the joy of many reunions to be enjoyed with all future MotoDreamer motorcycle Adventure Tours in Colombia and beyond.
Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer)
Edited for SEO optimization by Mike Bowley at www.mikedbowley.com
We know all too well how generous all Motorcycle Adventure Warriors are, and we also, like you, smile when touring with MotoDreamer and seeing the sheer pleasure radiating on the locals when we arrive. For many, that is “payment in full.”
Now enjoy yourselves in our next two full-on articles that should leave you smiling too.