Cycling Colombia

14 days
from
£3,119
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 10 reviews >
Challenging
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Trip code: 
MAY
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Road Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Take on the winding roads of Colombia.

With Colombia's road cyclists gaining worldwide recognition, and the country revelling as an up and coming active tourism destination, there really is no better time for a cycling trip to one of South America's most scenic regions. The coffee zone of Colombia lies at the heart of the country on the Western slopes of the Central Andes and our route takes us along paved winding roads that traverse a lush environment populated by coffee plantations and picturesque towns. Your effort on two wheels will be duly rewarded by stunning views and a taste of the famously warm Latin American hospitality.

Highlights

  • Direct London to Bogota flights with Avianca
  • Acclimatise in Bogota whilst joining the city's residents in their weekly traffic-free day of urban cycling!
  • Ride through lush green landscapes and mountainous terrain in the 'Eje Cafetero' coffee zone
  • No vehicles transfers, just point to point rides
  • Hike in the beatiful Cocora Valley amid wax palms (optional on rest day)
  • Extend your trip to visit Cartagena on the balmy Caribbean coast (Unesco World Heritage Site)

Key information

  • 10 nights hotels, 2 nights in a finca (ranch property)
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved tracks
  • Routes predominantly follow quiet well-paved roads
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 11 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

9 (+ 1 optional)

Pace:

Moderate to challenging: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Mid-level altitudes; 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 225.0km/15.0miles
Day 486.0km/53.0miles
Day 567.0km/41.0miles
Day 648.0km/29.0miles
Day 763.0km/39.0miles
Day 831.0km/19.0miles
Day 929.0km/18.0miles
Day 1075.0km/46.0miles
Day 1158.0km/36.0miles
Day 1258.0km/36.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Bogota.

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Bike fitting followed by Bogota 'Ciclovia' city ride and welcome dinner.

    Passengers on our Avianca group flight will have flown overnight and arrive today in the early hours of the morning. There will be time for a few hours rest and breakfast before setting out with the tour leader in order to try out your bike and cycle the car-free streets of Bogota as part of the weekly 'ciclovia' event. Every Sunday large parts of the city are closed to traffic as residents cycle, jog, walk, roller-skate in a remarkable display of utilising public space in the interest of leisure and togetherness. You'll have a chance to see the modern Bogota and also visit a market in the bohemian neighborhood of Usaquen. This immediate exercise is a great way to minimise the effects of jetlag! At a certain point after a couple of hours in the ciclovia, the leaders will give the option of climbing 'Los Patios' optional ascent as practiced by hundreds of Colombians. This is approx 7km climb at an ascent of 6% for most of the route. If you are nervous about the rides later in the itinerary then completing this challenge is a great confidence boost. Note that the road used is not closed to traffic so you should be happy cycling on a busy road, and of course you have a fun downhill with spectacular views over the city.

    Cycle approx. 25km (this will vary and is dependent upon exact route taken, local conditions, group preferences and abilities etc.).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit Zipaquira Salt Cathedral; fly to Cali and transfer to Buga.

    In the morning we will visit the famous and unique Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, located inside a commercial salt mine. After the visit we will be driven to Bogota airport and catch a flight travelling southwest to Cali. From here we will be driven a short distance (approx. 1 hour 15 minutes) to the town of Buga where we stay and prepare for the point-to-point riding that will commence the following morning.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Mostly flat ride following the Cauca River to Roldanillo.

    Buga is one of the oldest settlements in the region and an important religious place for the country as pilgrims flock to visit the Basilica which contains an image of Christ. Buga is surrounded by sugar cane fields and is located in close vicinity of the Cauca River. The tour starts out travelling in a northward direction, staying parallel to the Cauca River as we pass fields of sugar cane and fruit trees. Along the route we will stop to visit a sugar cane farm. The vast majority of today's road is fairly flat or with small undulations, and the route is very scenic thanks to the proximity of the Andean Western Cordillera and the possibility to see peaks of the Central Cordillera on a clear day. The temperature in the valley can get very high so be sure to wear sun cream and stay hydrated. Our destination is the town of Roldanillo and we will spend the night at a hotel just off the main plaza.

    Cycle approx. 86km (Ascent: 515m, descent: 530m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Another flat ride passing fields of sugar cane and vineyards towards Zaragoza.

    Another day of cycling on a predominantly flat and quiet road which will take us through beautiful landscapes in preparation for the more mountainous rides in the days to come. We'll stop for some grape juice along the way and continue to the hotel on the outskirts of a small town called Zaragoza for a refreshing dip in the swimming pool!

    Cycle approx. 67km (Ascent: 375m, descent: 405m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    First mountain ride into the coffee country and the town of Pueblo Tapao.

    The first few kilometres of today's ride are along a flat road leading to an intersection from where we'll take an undulating road south-eastwards to Alcalá and up into coffee plantation country. This section will involve the first climb of the tour. After passing Alcalá we’ll have lunch in a village called Quimbaya and continue through Montenegro. We’ll arrive at the hotel and have the afternoon free to rest and enjoy the swimming pool and surroundings. In addition to coffee plantations, the landscape is also home to banana and plantain, bamboo trees and flowers. A short walk down the road from the hotel is a coffee theme park with a viewing platform at the entrance which is worth a visit.

    Cycle approx. 48km (Ascent: 960m, descent: 615m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Some challenging climbs with rewarding views and coffee tasting on the way to Calarcá via Rio Verde.

    Leaving the hotel, today we start riding on a quiet and fairly flat road surrounded by coffee, banana and pineapple plantations to the town of La Tebaida. After passing this town, we’ll stop for a drink break and ride for a short section on a busier road but on a good shoulder. At a point called 'La Y' we will deviate and take a secondary road to enjoy a nice downhill to Rio Verde and then continue onwards to the town of Buenavista. From Rio Verde there is a challenging steep uphill of about 3km to get to Buenavista - this is the hardest climb of the tour but very rewarding. We'll visit a local school before having lunch in the town of Buenavista, and then there will be an opportunity to try one of the region's best exported coffee brands at a wonderful terrace with a beautiful view. After the break, there is still some climbing to be done but after reaching the the top it will all be downhill back to Rio Verde on a different road. From Rio Verde, you will take the same road previously ridden to the hotel for the night.

    Cycle approx. 69kms (Ascent: 1092m, descent: 1084m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    A day of steady climbing through typical natural scenery to Boquia, included coffee tour and botanical gardens.

    Today’s ride is 90% uphill! But don’t worry it is not too steep. There is a steady climb after crossing the river all the way up to Boquia (near Salento). On the way we’ll stop for a Coffee Experience Tour at Café Sorrento for a chance to learn about the process of growing coffee. After this tour the next stop will be at the Quindío Botanic Gardens where we will learn about the local flora and visit a butterfly farm. Lunch will be in the town of Calarca and then we’ll ride the last portion of the route involving a very scenic final downhill to Boquia. The finca for the next two nights is beautifully situated and is a peaceful place for us to be based. After dinner some kids from the area will give a folklore performance . It's also a good opportunity to enjoy a beer.

    Cycle approx. 38km (Ascent: 858m, descent: 378m).
    Finca

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Free day to relax; optional ride or hike to Salento and Cocora Valley.

    You may wish to rest today and take a well-earned break from the saddle, remaining in the surroundings of our beautifully located ranch just outside of Salento. Alternatively you can opt for a wonderful walk in Cocora Valley to see the picturesque endemic Wax Palm trees. There are different walk options varying in difficulty and duration (approx. 11km), all of which are signposted. For those who want to cycle up to the highest point that we’ll meet on the tour (2,410m above sea level), the ride from the accommodation and up to Cocora involves a 1,000m climb. Then of course a rewarding view and downhill on the same road back towards Salento.

    Cycle approx. 29km (Ascent: 910m, descent: 910m).
    Finca

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Some climbs in the morning towards Filandia followed by an exhilarating descent to Cerritos.

    Today we tackle an initially tough climb out of Boquia and the valley up to join the main road to take us towards the pretty coffee town of Filandia. It is claimed that because of its architecture, landscapes and hospitable nature of the locals that Filandia is one of the most charming and attractive towns in the whole of Colombia. We’ll take a break here before setting off on a beautiful stretch of road down to Quimbaya and onwards to Alcala for lunch. This stretch from Filandia to Quimbaya is one of the tour highlights. In the afternoon we continue in the direction of Pereira and take a left turn before the city in order to reach Cerritos, our location for the night.

    Cycle approx. 75km (Ascent: 1220m, descent: 1830m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Gentle ride along the Cauca River before a climb to Anserma.

    Our penultimate day of cycling has it all. We start off gently with a fun downhill section leading to the Cauca River from where our route plateaus out as we are flanked on both sides by sugar cane fields. After lunch at a roadside restaurant with an adjoining trout farm, we follow a branch of the river northwards (Rio Risaralda) as the road becomes steeper and offers up spectacular views on our final climb into the highland town of Anserma. The town’s location on the edge of a mountain makes it different from other places seen on the tour, and several of the streets are too steep to be cycled so it lends itself to being explored on foot in order to get maximum enjoyment! Dinner is taken in a local restaurant and there are a couple of nearby bars to explore afterwards.

    Cycle approx. 58km (Ascent: 955m, descent: 375m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Final day of riding involves a spectacular downhill section plus some climbs to Chinchina.

    Our last day of cycling is another stunning ride as we navigate some hilly sections on our way to Risaralda. From here we face a delightful downhill to cross the Cauca River once more and stop for refreshments in nearby La Rochella. After La Rochela we will ride to the place where we have lunch. We will have to tackle a few more climbs to reach Finca La Romelia, where we will have our farewell meal. After lunch you will be transfered to your hotel where you will spend the last night in Colombia.

    Cycle approx. 47km (Ascent: 874m, descent: 1481m).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Pereira; fly to Bogota; depart.

    After breakfast we will transfer by private bus to Pereira airport where the tour will end and we'll fly back to Bogota in order to connect with international departure flights. Those who have booked the Cartagena trip extension will fly via Bogota up to the Carribean Coast.

    If there is a long waiting time at Bogota airport between arriving from Pereira and departing in the evening, it is possible for the tour leader to organise additional services for you should you wish. For example a driver to take you to see markets in Usuquen or Candaleria to go up to Monserrate. They will be able to organise this locally for a small charge.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

Essential Info

Visas

Colombia

Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries do not require a visa and will be granted a 90-day entry permit on arrival. Please ensure you have at least 3 blank pages in your passport.

Vaccinations

Colombia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 11 dinners included.

We'll have early breakfasts throughout the tour in order to make the most of cycling in the cooler morning temperatures, typically there will be eggs, bread or arepas (thick corn pancakes), local cheese, and no shortage of great coffee! Lunch stops will be made at appropriate points each day, generally at roadside cafes/restaurants where we can get our calorie intake from grilled meats, rice, potato chips, fruit, chocolate, juice etc. Lunches are not included so you should make sure you carry some cash each day for this, preferably in low denominations that are easier to change. The tour leader may suggest collecting a small amount of money from the group for a collective kitty - this would be used to buy fruit and snacks for eating at pit stops whilst on the rides.

The only evening where we don't include the evening meal is the first night in Bogota because there is a lot of choice and enables people to choose where they wish to dine. For the rest of the trip we will be travelling through remote areas where there isn't much in the way of choice for evening meal locations. Most days we will arrive in the afternoon to our accommodation and have a few hours of rest before being fed by our Colombian hosts either in the same hotel or somewhere close by.

Please note that Colombia is not particularly vegetarian friendly, especially in rural areas, as meat forms a major part of the diet and many soups are often made with a meat base. Bogota is an exception, as there are sufficient options to cater to all dietary requirements.

Each day you will have the opportunity to try a fantastic array of delicious fruit juices - some of them familiar to the UK and some of them more exotic! We recommend you to try these as they taste much better in Colombia than anywhere else and cost a fraction of the price.

Weather

Bogota is warm during the day but temperatures can drop quite significantly at night and rains occur at any time of the year. In the coffee region the climate is warmer during the days but again can be cooler in the evenings - be prepared for changeable weather. On the Caribbean coast the weather is generally hot and humid year round.

Bogota

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 5 (Challenging).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 54km (34 miles)
Number of days cycling: 10
Vehicle Support: 100%
Terrain and route: surface 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved roads, hilly terrain. Routes follow mainly quiet back roads with some challenging climbs.

Total distance covered is approx. 540km taking an estimated distance for the ciclovia and including the optional ride in Cocora Valley on day 9. You will be provided with a cycle computer to record your daily distances each day - please take good care of these on all of your drinks stops as there may be a fee to replace any lost units.

This tour covers some remote and lesser visited parts of the region where international tourism is yet to reach. As a result we are unlikely to encounter many other foreign nationalities and can expect a fully immersive Colombian experience. The vast majority of the roads that we use are in very good condition, although there can occasionally be potholes and poorer conditions in some short sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic until we reach small towns where we are more likely to encounter other vehicles. Some of the routes that we take are the same as those used on the 'Vuelta a Colombia' annual cycling race.

The trip is graded as challenging and most days involve some difficult cilmbs. The first couple of rides from Buga and Roldanillo are fairly flat as they follow the length of a valley, in the later rides we tackle some more challenging ascents, with the hardest being the climb to Buenavista on day 7. You need a good level of fitness in order to complete all of the rides but don't be put off by the grading as the rides are completely acheivable. The beautiful surroundings and incredibly supportive team make the rides easier!

Accommodation

Hotels & Fincas

10 nights hotels, 2 nights fincas (ranch property), in a mixture of traditional and modern properties with en suite facilities, some with swimming pools.

The hotels we use are mid-range and will provide us with all the facilities that we'll require throughout the trip. A varied selection of properties includes a charming old house in the historic La Candelaria district of Bogota, and a wonderfully situated ranch in Boquia surrounded by beautiful scenery for our two night stay at Cocora Valley.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip for a supplement (subject to availability). Please ask your sales consultant for details.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Ania Sroka

    cycling columbia - the ups with the downs

    I absolutely loved this holiday. Have a group of like-minded people all sweating around me and puffing and panting, made for a very cathartic experience. At times I thought that I was going to collapse, but I also knew (or hoped) that all the other people in our party were feeling the same way. I would not have gone as fast or as far just off my own steam.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing or rather hearing other cyclists behind me passing me which urging me on. Sharing moments with other exodus travellers and guides. Delighting in the wonderful array of fruits and fruit juices offered inbetween our cycling efforts. Knowing that no matter how slow we were (or rather I was), that there would always be a guide behind urging me on). The list goes on and is too numerous to put down on paper.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel was an inspiration with his 'universal' helmet and helpful insights into the history, politics and culture of the towns and departments we cycled through. Axel was a great help making sure that nobody was left behind and always made sure we were ok. Oscar, words cannot describe how much I enjoyed his company, always showing more concern for us than himself. Jonathan was the quiet one but always there and an inspiration. Cesar was such a support making sure we all had enough drinks and snacks whenever the van stopped for a break.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't underestimate your ability even though everyone else 'seems' to look fitter, faster and stronger. No matter how slow you might be, everyone pulled together and supported those of us that struggled. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know a beautiful area of the world which added to the enjoyment sometimes helped alleviate the sore 'saddle'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and effort that is put in to these holidays. All the staff regardless of roles seem to really pull their weight and by the time the holiday was at its end, it felt as though we were one great big family where it felt to me as if so much had been shared and learned.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Peter Long

    Cycling Colombia - quite a challenge.

    Described as challenging, this is a not a trip for the faint-hearted. Plenty of hills but with magnificent views once you make it to the top. Rather a lot of riding on busy roads, but may be it was because of the Easter holiday that there was so much traffic. Excellent accommodation and support.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the patios hill climb in Bogota, after thinking I was going to die due to the altitude!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The support team were excellent. Gabriel at the front, Oscar in the middle and Axel at the back, all provided encouragement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit and don't be afraid of getting wet!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very good group of fellow travellers.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    John Edwards

    A Great Trip

    Columbia is a huge and varied country. This was a great trip that gave our party a terrific view of part of Columbia in a short space of time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling was through a wonderful hilly landscape so the views achieved through the climbs had to be the highlight of the trip. There were many 'made it' moments rewarded by the fabulous landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel was a novice leader who did a great job. He had a nice light touch and was fun to be with. Potentially he could have been more definitive with what the days cycling would involve but was always happy to answer individual questions. In addition, we were provided with a booklet of the exact profile of each days ride (a great innovation which I have not experienced on other trips) so questions were more to do with reassurance than lack of information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the climbs are quite long and some short and steep. All of our party had done some preparation or were already cyclists therefore no one found the challenges too hard. My advice is prepare as much as you can. For some of us who are not cyclists spin classes really helped get the legs in gear.The team were great at accompanying the group which was all ages up to nearly 70.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think the local operator, Pure Columbia, had put a lot of thought into making the best out of the local conditions. Most of the hotels were above my expectations and where they were more simple I was confident that given we were experiencing non tourist areas they were as good as they could possibly be. The same went for the roads, yes there were some stretches of highway but these were kept to a minimum and a means to get us to long stretches of beautiful country sections. Also we did the Cartagena extension and Pure Columbia did a great job on the organisation. If you can do it do so, the Caribbean coast is a fantastic contrast to the interior. We loved the boutique hotel in Cartagena's old town. The guided tour was great and they made available a trip to nearby islands for a bit of real Caribbean swimming.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Paula Paskell

    Disappointed given the previous rave reviews.

    Returned from Colombia feeling we needed a holiday. With the notable exception of some lovely downhill much of the route is on very busy roads with heavy commercial traffic. If you enjoy diesel fumes and fruit juice then this is the trip for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Filandia descent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Charming, knowledgeable and hard working but too inexperienced to manage the group aspects of cycling.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Routine and pace of riding was rigorous although hills achievable for the average cyclist. Don't expect too many quiet backroads, haute cuisine or premium hotels. Unnecessary large lunches appeared to determine the rather rushed itinerary. Hence during the rides little time for appreciating the scenery or taking photographs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was unlike any other Exodus cycling trip we have done and not one that I would recommend.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Steve Mallon

    Cycle colombia

    I have done many trips with exodus but this rates as probably the best cycle trip I have ever been on so well organized the fantastic scenery the people the food the cycling was just amazing although the group was ok there were 2 people on the trip that did make me feel quite uncomfortable at times .Colombia is just a great country and it deserves more western visitors go now before it becomes to overcrowded with tourists.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Well what can I say Oscar a fantastic guy leader person nothing was to much trouble for this amazing man also having Gabriel and Andreas plus a great man Axel who stayed with me pulling me up the climbs and how can I forget Adelmo the mechanic also a former pro cyclist and of cause Augustus and Cesar the driver supplying us with endless water which was very welcome.These men all where a credit to the country one word EXCELLENT

    What did you think of your group leader?

    One of the best I have ever had

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Allison Lindsay

    Brilliant cycle trip to Colombia

    Fantastic trip. 100% recommend it. Point to point cycling in beautiful scenery with great staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being part of the Bogota Ciclovia - Sunday riding through the closed streets of Bogota with thousands of other people. Some amazing downhills I really liked the side trip to the salt cathedral - the main chapel was stunning!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tatiana is great. Very warm and friendly. She really took the time to look after us, and share her enthusiasm for Colombia. I'd really like to give the whole brilliant staff team, Oscar, Cesar and Jonathan, a mention as well as it was all of them coming together to look after us that made for such a great trip. Whether it was Oscar pointing out glaciers and sharing his boundless enthusiasm for cycling, Cesar filling up our water bottles without even being asked, or Jonathan sorting out the bikes and helping carry our luggage, we were thoughtfully looked after at every point. It really felt like nothing was too much trouble and they were all very keen to show us the best of their beautiful country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We came out a day early (Friday night) and it was worth having the extra time to look around Bogota. It was also good to have an extra day to get used to the time difference before heading off for the Sunday cycling - otherwise you land at 4am and then head out for a steep hill ride on just a few hours sleep. Make the most of all the juices - many like Loulo and Guanabana are really delicious. We really enjoyed trying them at the different rest stops. Recommend organising a kitty approach for lunch and rest stops. It makes it much easier than everyone trying to find small amounts of money at each stop. If you want to visit Coffee Theme Park at Pueblo Tapao be aware the last entry is at 4pm. Do the Sunday hill ride - it really boosts your confidence and it's brilliant to be cycling with so many other riders who are all having a lot of fun! A totally unique experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip had the best bikes of any Exodus trip I have been on. The staff were great, really friendly and organised so everything went very smoothly but you never got the feeling that you were 'being organised'. I much preferred being able to cycle point to point - the bus transfers on other trips I have done can feel a bit disruptive to the cycling. I'd also say that doing the Sunday hill ride in Bogota is a real confidence booster and although there are some long uphill rides in the rest of the trip, the support from the staff means that they are doable and the downhills afterwards are amazing. We added on some days at the end (to go to Cartagena and Tayrona National Park - highly recommend both) and felt completely safe at all times. The people of Colombia are really friendly and welcoming and it is them that make the trip as much as the scenery.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    sally lees

    Cycle Colombia

    Point to point cycling on undulating roads, in beautiful warm scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the whole of Bogota coming out for a Sunday cycle, most of it in Lycra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was lovely, very keen to show off Colombia and wanted to make us as happy as possible. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fly out on the Fridays if you can make it to London in time as an extra day in Bogota to recover and look around is worth it. It's cold in Bogota, especially at the top of the hill and the long down hill so take a jacket. The rest of the cycling will be hot, around 30C, but not too humid. The evenings get cold during the two night on the Ranch so take a sweater and long trousers. Most of the hotels have Wifi in the communal areas, some of it quite quick. Breakfast is mainly eggs and fruit, but Tatyana supplied those of us who preferred cereal with oats after the first couple of days. If you drink tea take tea bags, you can get the hot water, but the Colombian tea is not good. Tatyana really like the English teas so take some for her to try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is well organised, has good bikes and great staff. We added extra days on to the beginning and end of the trip (it finishes on a Thursday!!). Traveling both with Exodus and afterwards, independently, I felt completely safe at all times. Trip wise it was similar to the Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama trip, but much better organised, with better staff and without the long bus transfers.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Paula Morris

    cycling Colombia

    I had the most amazing holiday cycling through the beautiful coffee region of Colombia, the challenging cycling was made so much easier by the amazing scenery and the camaraderie and friendliness of the whole group. The holiday lived up to all of my expectations and highlighted Colombia as a holiday destination which is safe, friendly and welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I couldn't choose just one moment! The scenery everywhere we went was breathtaking, long and sometimes steep climbs up mountains gave me the opportunity to take in the atmosphere of the Colombian Andes, while fantastic, fast, sweeping descents were exhilarating. The people that we met on our journey were friendly and welcoming, it was amazing to see the huge numbers of cyclists out on the roads. Our local guides and support team were so attentive and supportive, they were committed to cycling and tourism in Colombia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group leaders were Oscar and Tatiana, they were always smiling and attentive to everyone's needs. They made sure that we all had everything that we needed and were all having the best holiday. Oscar was very skilled at making sure that the group didn't get too spread, while also allowing individuals to go at their own pace. The whole team, including Jonathan the mechanic and Cesar the driver, had a good vibe, they obviously got on well together and all had a very positive outlook.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a challenging and rewarding cycling experience, but don't be put off by the challenging grade. We all made it to the top of the steepest and toughest climb, and we were a mixed group with a variety of cycling backgrounds. I took too much cash with me (USD) and ended up changing money back when I got home, there is not much to spend money on. Lunches are amazingly cheap and all dinners were included in the trip price, wine was not available in many places and beer was about £1 a bottle.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip lived up to all my expectations of a challenging bike ride in an amazing country. I'm still buzzing a week later and ready to think about my next Exodus adventure.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Geoffrey Norman

    Cycling Colombia (MAY)

    Coffee and cycling = Colombia. If you like both then you will love this trip...even if you don't like coffee but love challenging cycling then this is the trip for you! Visit areas hardly touched by foreign tourists, with stunning scenery and a brilliant local team.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many: 1. How friendly the Colombians were, and how safe we felt. Everyone was so accommodating and incredibly hospitable. 2. The number of cyclists everywhere we went. Individuals or small groups, in towns or in the countryside - the Colombians love cycling and cyclists! 3. The "optional" climb up Los Patios in Bogota and the carnival scene of the Ciclovia. The climb is worth doing to experience the true Colombian cycling atmosphere. 4. The challenging, but rewarding climb to Buenavista, made better by a refreshing iced coffee at San Alberto (and a cheeky steep uphill section afterwards!) followed by an exhilarating downhill section. 5. Riding to Salento as a beautiful rainbow emerged over the Cocora Valley - made the climb less painful! 6. Trekking in the Cocora Valley on the rest day in Salento to see the endemic wax palms and hummingbirds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole team was excellent and worked incredibly well together. Oscar is an experienced cyclist and organised everything perfectly, with spot on timings for each day to get to the hotel/fincas with plenty of time to relax before dinner. Nothing was too much. He also ensured that the speed was tailored to the group capabilities, so that we stayed fairly close together while cycling. His ever present smile and encouragement is most appreciated, especially after a long climb! Tatiana was fantastic in organising especially the food and money payments at each lunch stop. Drinks miraculously appeared once we arrived at a restaurant, and food was served quickly and efficiently. Jonathan (the mechanic) and Cesar (the support driver) were both attentive in making sure the bikes were well maintained and everyone was kept hydrated with water. You are also given an informative booklet which provides details on the route for each day with an accompanying map and gradient chart (don't be put off by the gradient profiles - the views along the way are stunning and you won't realise that you have climbed so far).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. This is a challenging trip, with long days and many hills, but all are achievable. However, it is certainly worth preparing for this trip. The steepest climb was up to Buenavista, but everyone made it. Other climbs are longer, but not as steep. 2. Food is cheap (but good) with most lunches (including copious amounts of different juices) ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 pesos - unless you want to use an ATM change your money in Bogota as it is not easy to change once you are on the road. 3. Carry a spare set of cycling clothing in your hand luggage so that you are not caught short - 1 person from our group had a bag delayed en-route and we had 2 bags delayed on the flight back.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cycling in Colombia was amazing due to the scenery and the friendliness of the people. During the trip we did not have any concerns about security or safety, and felt safer than in many Latin and South American countries...although the normal precautions apply.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Adam Roberts

    Thrills and hills in rural Colombia

    Incredible scenery, rewarding cycling, and a fascinating insight into rural Colombia. We were the first group to do this trip and barely encountered any other foreign tourists for the entire duration - the route winds through picturesque valleys and mountains with drink stops either in local roadside restaurants or small towns. No transfers, just pure cycling! The hotels were well chosen on the whole, and nothing was too much trouble for the attentive team of Colombian staff. The bikes were great and support was constantly available if needed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the 'Los Patios' optional ride straight after the Bogota ciclovia. Arriving to the beautiful ranch near Salento and seeing a rainbow across Cocora Valley. The climb to Buenavista was tough but something i'll never forget, as was the exhilarating downhill stage between Filandia and Quimbaya on day 10. Being mistaken for (somewhat slower) members of the 'Vuelta a Colombia' by curious locals on a daily basis was amusing! The destination exceeded expectations, as did the route, and meeting such a friendly and adventurous group was a real pleasure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oscar and Tatiana make a good team and are both experienced cyclists. On a personal level they cared very much for each individual in the group and worked tirelessly to ensure the logistics of each day were seamless. Jonatan was the mechanic and his presence as a talented young cyclist was an inspiring addition to the tour, i had a puncture one day and he promptly sorted it out in a matter of minutes. Ceasar the driver must have filled my water bottle up 200 times!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather - The weather is variable, but in general it is cool in Bogota and hot (high 20s - low 30s) in the coffee region. The first couple of long days cycling are in a valley which stays quite hot, but as you climb into the mountains the nights get cooler. We experienced some high temperatures in August but i was told that this heat wave was uncommon. Food - As with other Latin American countries in the region, the staple diet is rice, beans, plantain, grilled meats, fish, soup, plus the local bread alternative 'arepa'. Breakfasts were usually egg, coffee, juice and bread. Lunches and dinners involved very similar choices and there isn't a huge amount of choice or variation. A surprise on the trip was the amount of delicious fresh fruit juices that we had the opportunity to drink. The lunchtime and drinks stops that we made were excellent value for money. Money - You can either bring US Dollars and change them in Bogota (not possible to anywhere else) or just withdraw Pesos directly from ATMs with your card (best to check this with your bank before travelling though). Lunchtime prices ranged from about 3000 to 14000 Pesos depending upon the order. This is just a couple of Pounds. The average beer price in hotels was around 4000 Pesos. Language - The more words you can learn in Spanish beforehand the better. The mechanic and driver don't speak English so it enables more communication with them, and of course the friendly local Colombians who are eager to interact. Packing - Definitely bring either padded shorts or a saddle cover. Mosquitoes weren't an issue in August but have some repellent with you just in case. There isn't much opportunity for clothes washing but you can wash cycling jerseys etc. in hotels and hang them up to dry if you prefer not to bring lots of clothes changes with you. Remember your water bottle and helmet. Don't worry so much about bringing your trip notes as you are provided with a detailed booklet at the start of the trip with ride profiles and descriptions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Colombia has had a troubled few decades and only in recent years has tourism started to grow in areas away from the Caribbean coast. The country really has it all in terms of natural beauty, a welcoming population, and destinations as yet untouched by foreign visitors (especially on two wheels!). Now is the perfect time to visit, and the added bonus of direct overnight Avianca flights to/from London means that jet lag is minimal. This trip is a great example of how the money spent on holidays directly benefits the communities visited. We stayed in locally owned independent accommodation and ate at small traditional restaurants. Oh and the coffee was delicious!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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