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17 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Howard Reece-Smith

    A Mixed Bag

    First things first,this is hard cycling,long and steep gradients,and hot weather. The team of Paolo,Gustavo,Jonathan,Hernan and Caesar were sensational.Helpful informative,kind,supportive and excellent cyclists. The accomodation was patchy with the Mirador hotel in Ansema easkly the wlorst.Tiny double bed suitable only for 2 midgets.The bed rock hard and the room tiny and airless.Whoever could have approved it had obviously not spent a night there. The Food was cheap and often excellent but could fall to earth with a bang,when a tepid lasangne was served still in the silver foil.Unsxurprisingly one of our number spent the night vomiting with food poisoning.No suggestion of bubbling hot there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Achieving the climbs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above, a paragon of virtue,as were the whole team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for a very hard ride or accept that you will have to take the bus,sometimes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scenery is spectacular,the roads vary from sublime to ridiculous.Some of the wayside trips are very good ,but English is pretty much not spoken.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Peter Gomes

    Cycle Colombia - Excellent trip through a beautiful and varied country. Recommended.

    A undulating ride through verdant countryside between Cali and Pereira, plus a few days in each of Bogota, Medellin & Cartegna. Lots to see on and off the bike, so the perfect mix of riding and sightseeing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As ever there are so many. Here are a few. 1. We added a couple of days in Medellin before the main trip started and were glad we did. A lovely city centre in the valley & stunning views from the cable car network that soars up the steep valley sides. Plus one of the best meals I have ever had. 2. We added a couple of days in Bogota too and that gave us a chance to see as many of the many sights as possible, as well as go on a cycle tour of the capital. We loved the street art in both cities. 3. Once the tour proper started - the Sunday cyclovia - shutting down swathes of the city of cyclists, skateboarders, walkers and runner of all ages & abilities to come together and play. What a wonderful idea. Cities around the world - please copy. 4. Catedral de Sal at Zipaquira : spectacular. 5. Views from the coffee stop San Alberto Estate at Buena Vista. 5. The wax palm trees at El Bosque de las Palmas near Solento. 6. The Orchid tour at Finca Romelia in Palmera on the final bike day. 6. We added the Cartegena Extention on the end of the trip & this too was well worth doing with colonial Spanish architecture and an energetic vibe particularly around the various plazas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was Head Boy in the nicest sense - organised, thorough, enthusiastic - making it all happen without hitch so that you are able to leave your brain at the airport knowing everything will be sorted for you, leaving you to ride, eat drink and enjoy. His sidekicks - the double act that was Gustavo & Paola - were a truly delightful couple - albeit they did make those hills look remarkably easy. Completing the foursome was driver Cezar - not a man of many words but someone who made everything (bikes, luggage, etc) magically appear at the right place and time, every time. A good team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by the Grade 5 - the route is almost entirely on road, not technical, and whilst undulating, it is (based on figures from my Garmin) no harder (in terms of ascent) than grade 4 trips we have completed in Chile/Argentina and Albania/Macedonia. There is some (but not a lot) of traffic but this is far less than in the UK (& we live in the country).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bogota is a city with lots to offer and its worth spending extra time there before or after the trip to do it justice. Some of the museums were superb, and there is much more besides. Go visit Medellin - before everyone else cottons on. Cartegena is a nice unwind after the time on the bike. Our whole trip ended up being a full three weeks and that felt about right.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    stuart jackson

    Personally Challenging Trip

    Despite missing the first day's sight-seeing around Bogota, having a slight injury the first week, and then succumbing to some gastric bug the second week, this trip had enough highlights to be memorable for other reasons. The subterranean Salt Cathedral is amazing and unique, the orchid farm collection another superb destination. Long climbs followed by the inevitable speed-junky's downhills ensure that the challenging label is lived up to. There are many miles of busy main roads with pollution-belching monster trucks, but if you can see past those then this is a great cycle. The team of Andrea, Gabriel, assisted by Jonathan, Jose and Cezza are always on hand with help and a smile; thank you guys.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Achieving BuenaVista summit the first week, and then the hard climbs the second week running on an empty tank.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good and ably assisted by a good team.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Thomas Kelly

    Cycling in wonderful Colombia

    Colombia is a fascinating country and we experienced it all from bustling Bogota with its 8 million population to the lived in non touristy Cartago and the locally very popular Salento. When cycling, one is struck by the lush green cultivated hills rising up on both sides of you. it could be sugar cane, plantain, bananas, papaya or the distinctive coffee plants, all stunning and all tended by hard working locals. Colombians are really beautiful people and welcoming. We visited over Easter and observed the locals attending in large numbers the various religious services in beautiful churches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many magic moments but conquering the climb to the hilltop town of Anserma probably stands out. A long steady climb to a bustling little town like no other. My madeira cake in a little bakery near the mini bus hub was most welcome that afternoon. Our visit to the amazingly beautiful Finca La Romelia on our last day of cycling will also live long in the memory. I would also have to mention the king of the mountains and drum playing Australian from Wales who supports Liverpool and cycled with a sombrero attached to his helmet and a poncho in Colombian colours, he inspired me too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres our group leader was an absolute gentleman with a great sense of humour. I also found him to be extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of his country. While soft spoken he was a very competent leader of an outstanding team who delivered time and again when they were called upon. Whenever you needed information, help or just encouragement one of the team would appear as if by magic. We could not have asked for more from this special team of people who worked non stop every day to make our visit to their country so memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is classified as challenging and it was, so come prepared. Expect some rain during your trip, it really is inevitable but does not take away from the enjoyment. Doing the Ciclovia in Bogota on the same morning as you arrive in Colombia is probably not a good idea, consider arriving earlier if you can. Carry insect repellent on the cycles as there are lots of stops at coffee plantations etc. We received an excellent booklet covering each days cycle on our first night. It is a good idea to bring this to each briefing and note down the coffee and lunch stop points for the next day, this helps in pacing yourself. Some of the roads cycled are very busy and on occasions diesel emitting trucks on uphill sections are also challenging.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    María Martínez

    Cycling Colombia’s coffee region

    Beautiful landscapes

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The coffee region so green and lush and the beautiful green mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Found the leading guide Andres a bit arrogant and failing sometimes to convey information. Oscar, another guide, was amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Climbs are tough but very rewarding. Just need to get your rhythm. No need for snacks as they were provided. Insect repellent and sunscreen absolutely necessary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Colombia is an amazing country every bit worth a visit. Lovely people, beautiful landscapes, a lot of history and delicious fruits!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    John O,Donnell

    Cycling Colombia

    Really brilliant country really brilliant staff.Weather very changeable and cycling was challenging with in everyones abilities[im 70 and another cyclist 76]Felt safe at all times and really enjoyed the scenery which was amazing I think vegetarians may need to be aware of limited options at some of the remote hotels as you cycle point to point on most days.Suggest more use is made of supermarkets during the day so as to supplement any needs.Didnt worry me but it can be difficult for some.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ready to throw in towel on a massive climb to our finishing town TEMP was 38c down to last couple of gears then saw a small child struggling up the mountain leg in plaster using a zimmer frame following her dad to get to where ever they were going .Got up the rest of the climb in a bigger gear and pigged out on cakes and juice at the local supermarket.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole crew were amazing and worked as a team Impressed with respect they all showed to the mechanic[Hose] who they referred to as Don Hose.Brilliant to see and we all were delived safely to the trips conclusion.No mean feat

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make use of the Supermarkets as you may not eat a given hotel meal eg Fish as one rider didnt Was the only option.I ate everything but did buy up a few extras from time to time All good fun loved it even if things went pear shaped from time to time[things of my own doing eg Bumping into a car riding off at the wrong time] Just stick to your own ability and pace When I felt ok I went hard if not took it slowly and looked at the incredible scenery

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will go back to see the rest of Colombia it was simply the biggest but best surprise packet of all my travels I have ever been on
  • Reviewed January 2018
    John O,Donnell

    Cycling Colombia

    Really brilliant country really brilliant staff.Weather very changeable and cycling was challenging with in everyones abilities[im 70 and another cyclist 76]Felt safe at all times and really enjoyed the scenery which was amazing I think vegetarians may need to be aware of limited options at some of the remote hotels as you cycle point to point on most days.Suggest more use is made of supermarkets during the day so as to supplement any needs.Didnt worry me but it can be difficult for some.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ready to throw in towel on a massive climb to our finishing town TEMP was 38c down to last couple of gears then saw a small child struggling up the mountain leg in plaster using a zimmer frame following her dad to get to where ever they were going .Got up the rest of the climb in a bigger gear and pigged out on cakes and juice at the local supermarket.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole crew were amazing and worked as a team Impressed with respect they all showed to the mechanic[Hose] who they referred to as Don Hose.Brilliant to see and we all were delived safely to the trips conclusion.No mean feat

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make use of the Supermarkets as you may not eat a given hotel meal eg Fish as one rider didnt Was the only option.I ate everything but did buy up a few extras from time to time All good fun loved it even if things went pear shaped from time to time[things of my own doing eg Bumping into a car riding off at the wrong time] Just stick to your own ability and pace When I felt ok I went hard if not took it slowly and looked at the incredible scenery

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will go back to see the rest of Colombia it was simply the biggest but best surprise packet of all my travels I have ever been on
  • 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.