With the motorcycle in Colombia

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With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

With the motorcycle in Colombia

With the motorcycle in Colombia

With the motorcycle in Colombia

With the motorcycle in Colombia

45 pictures

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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An additional security feature is the use of common sense.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Private beach of the “Hotel Aite” near Palomino.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Due to the proximity to the equator, the seasonal temperature fluctuations are small.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Today the country is mostly pacified and has never been more pleasant to travel to.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Colombia is currently rising like a phoenix from the ashes from the centuries-old swamp of violence.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Always new surprises: So many different worlds in one country.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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… and Andres Lopez.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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The goal guides: Luis Alejandro Reyes …

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Two Indians from the Kogui tribe enrich our night on the Rio Don Diego in the jungle camp.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Crossing in Salento.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Map: MAIRDUMONT / Claudia Werel

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Travel time: 14 days, traveled distance: 2700 kilometers.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Map: MAIRDUMONT / Claudia Werel

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Colombia: Capital: Bogotá, area: 1141748 km², independence from Spain: July 20, 1810, currency: Colombia. Peso, Population: 47,997,215.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Although the roads look better, the vehicles safer and the traffic far less chaotic than in other Latin American countries, we advise against driving at night: too many animals on the way.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Alpine mountains, deserts, steaming jungles, explosive nature, dream beaches, the most modern metropolises or Indian cultures. Colombia is ten countries in one!

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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The country is full of bizarre contrasts, full of healthy flora and fauna, full of resources, full of stories and full of people of various ethnicities.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Colombia is a rugged, difficult to control country where civilization and wilderness coexist.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Joy of life, hope and departure: the country rises from the swamp of violence.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Friendly curiosity everywhere: Colombia is rich in nature and warmth.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Nowhere is more variety possible.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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The days of terror are over. Today Colombia is a safe travel destination that guarantees unforgettable experiences especially for motorcyclists.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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After Brazil and Mexico, Colombia is the most populous country in Latin America.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Tasty tamarillos (tree tomatoes) everywhere on the roadside.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Sea birds at Cabo de la Vela.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Normal: Smuggled gasoline from Venezuela is cheap and good.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Werel

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Great backroads: Dorfstrasse near Tubara on Ruta 90 A..

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Cactus-lined slope to one of countless Indian villages on the unpaved Ruta 88 in the direction of Uribia.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Church visitor in Facatativa.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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History and beauty lurk everywhere: nocturnal atmosphere in picturesque Salento.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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… caribbean bridesmaids in Cartagena.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Fog phenomena at Yarumal, …

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Grippy loops on the passes from Viani down to the Magdalena River.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Exciting but safe travel in the multiethnic state of Colombia: piste with river crossing near Valdivia.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Afraid of the unknown? Give way to amazement at the diversity.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Swinging curves in the Valle de Cauca.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Sand track to Cabo de la Vela.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Expanse in the Ahuyama Desert.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Curious parrot in the jungle of Taironaka.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Plaza de Bolivar in Bogotá.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Reason for joy: perfect asphalt against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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… and the generous people from all walks of life.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Like a warm blanket: the lush, fertile flora next to the palm-lined slopes …

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Colombia rewards open-minded motorcycle travelers: grandiose graffiti in the Gethsemane district of Cartagena.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Visit to the Los Laureles hacienda near Bogotá.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Street scene with a Cuban touch in Facatativa.

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Markus Biebricher, Claudia Werel

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Everything here is “todo bien”!

to travel

With the motorcycle in Colombia

With the motorcycle in Colombia
Ten countries in one

Alpine mountains, deserts, steaming jungles, explosive nature, dream beaches, the most modern metropolises or Indian cultures. Colombia is ten countries in one! The greatest treasure, however, are the generous, lovable people.

Markus Biebricher

04/01/2015

The parrot’s tongue is hard and black. Again and again he pokes at the motorcyclist’s sweaty face. So many kisses. Amazingly heavy, this big bird on my arm. Our relationship develops in a small lodge in the jungle of the Taironaka National Park. We marvel at the flying skills of macaws and parrots, marvel at their curiosity. At dinner they decorate the wooden table in a colorful way. Greed for a few bites until suddenly God throws a black cloth over the world. Night falls over the jungle. Andres, Claudia and I are alone in the lodge. Hair on the back of the neck stand up. It rustles, cracks, chuckles and whistles from the forest. There are figures moving somewhere out there. What to do?

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Then they stand in the light of the lamp cone. There are two of them, see our goosebumps. Indians from the Kogui tribe who have been marching from the Sierra Nevada to the coast for ten hours. The younger one speaks some Spanish. The older one is only physically present. His mind is far away on a journey. He chews mind-expanding substances. Spiritually work to save the world that is being destroyed by the whites. A mámu, a holy man who needs supernatural experiences for his work for the good of the earth. The two Indians seem distant, but friendly, we offer them drinks and food. The younger one wants to see the camera display and asks for a photo. We show you pictures of Germany, which seems to amuse you. After half an hour they want to leave. When I say goodbye I give them my flashlight, then they are swallowed up by the blackness. Andres, our Colombian friend and tour guide, thinks this experience is unique. Usually the Kogui don’t approach whites. They live self-sufficient in tribal associations in the wilderness of the highest coastal mountains in the world: the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Motorbikes simply drive past the pay booths

Ten days in advance: We explore Bogotá, the pulsating capital. It is located at 2650 meters on a summit-lined high plateau of the Cordillera Oriental. Every fifth Colombian lives here, in this melting pot of new beginnings and decay. But bloom triumphs over decay, hip neighborhoods dominate slums, cultural life over hopelessness. Companies expand, the sound of mighty history ebbs away in picturesque alleys. Just like the deep hum of our 1200 GS as we leave this fascinating city to the north. It immediately becomes clear: It’s fun to drive in Colombia. The last remnants of respect for unpredictable traffic, for violent guerrillas on the roadside, for the drug war are blown away by the wind. Consistent.

It is a pleasure to follow Luis Alejandro Reyes, who circulates dynamically and who provides us with the BMW and his knowledge of the country. Andres, his chief tour guide, complements our small tour group. We visit the Los Laureles hacienda owned by Luis’ family. A huge gem of colonial architecture in the midst of lush nature that will accompany us for the rest of the trip. Nature, so powerful, healthy, diverse. Plump fruits everywhere! Are we driving through paradise? The first samples already show that the food tastes great. Exotic fruit explodes on the palate, meat and fish surprise with their depth and variety of taste. We had simply forgotten such culinary experiences. Our senses are expanded. Which is also to blame for the curves from Alban via Viani down to the Rio Magdalena. It’s unbelievable how daring you can surf asphalt here. In between toll booths again and again. Motorbikes simply drive past the pay booths on narrow extra strips. Muy bien! In the colorful places in between, fruit stands, grill restaurants and sweets beckon. We are amazed at the cleanliness in the villages. Dogs, cats, chickens, cows and horses stroll around, salsa music thunders from the bars, wafts around the houses. Hips sway in time, heads turn after female beings, whose beauty causes traffic accidents.

Police officers drive enduros from the DR series

The guy on the bridge raises snakes, birds and turtles. He taps poison from the snakes, which he sells as an anti-cancer drug. The building is in Honda, in the Tolima department. Spans the Rio Magdalena, which used to give the city great wealth. The yellow ponte was built as the first steel bridge in South America by Joseph Strauss, who was also responsible for the Golden Gate in San Francisco.

This is what Guillermo tells us, who also shows us Colombia’s first pharmacy in the pretty streets of Honda. The excursion into the city’s history continues in the gorgeous styled town house of Marcello, who exchanged the stressful life as a businessman in Bogotá for the existence of a cattle farmer in Honda and is simply happy here. Shall we stay here too? Luis and Andres promise us more places to “get off”.

Salento, for example. The drive there takes ten hours and leads over a 4000 meter pass. Striking curves without end, the cleanest places, delicious coffee, friendly people on every corner. In Manizales we meet Martin from Wurzburg. He’s out on his bike and feels the same as we do: Colombia’s healing atmosphere. You get energy and joie de vivre! It’s fun to glide through cities with hundreds of other motorcyclists or to chat with motorcycle cops who have a good deal with Suzuki and Yamaha: They ride enduros from the DR range, from 200 to 650 cubic meters or V-Strom if they are fast must be. Yamaha’s 660 single-cylinder also seem popular.

Incredible views, infernal music

And Renault 4 again and again. What the Beetle is in Mexico, the French box is here. Came to Colombia in 1965 on the initiative of the importer Auto Anden, it was later produced in Medellín until the mid-1990s. Also in exotic versions and with more powerful engines. In Salento, on the other hand, old, original Willys jeeps dominate. Invite their leather-skinned drivers to a ride in the famous Cocora Valley. Huge palm trees grow thousands of times on the mountain slopes. An excursion on horseback or on foot reveals incredible views. The nightlife and the range of mega-cool pubs in this lovely town are surprising. Which also applies to Jardin. An urban pearl at the end of an off-road track. Spontaneously we dance to hot salsa with the occupants of an intercity bus. Fiery life then in Medellín. Infernal music, the finest shopping streets, charismatic squares, thousands of service providers, the huge bronze figures by the famous sculptor Botero. And the most beautiful women in Colombia. Motorcycles too, of course: Small copies of the R1, R6 and Fazer are built in a Yamaha factory. Up to 200 cubic centimeters in size, but with thick slippers and stable chassis. Luis has to go back to Bogotá. Andres, Claudia and I can go on to Monteria.

Always surprising: how hard and organized work is done on road construction sites. Four men shovel a truck full of earth in 45 minutes. Speaking of trucks: we have to overtake a few. See young men riding on the loading area as stowaways. They proudly show us their tattoos: Atletico Nacional, the football club with the most loyal fans. The GS pushes us on fog-shrouded passes, then it goes in a thousand curves down to the Rio Cauca. People’s faces now show influences from the Caribbean and Africa. Reveal the story of the slaves who were brought here. Music is booming from the shops, there is a party in every workshop. The cleanliness in the places is visibly decreasing, we drive a wonderful coastal road.

Get off your bike, dance, keep going

The journey culminates. In the fateful walls of Cartagena. On the gasoline smugglers’ routes on the border with Venezuela. On the slopes to Cabo de la Vela, the northernmost point of South America. A lot here looks like Africa. Huge lizards scurry across the street, colorfully costumed people celebrate Carnival, stretch ropes across the street. So get off your bike, dance, keep going. Even far away from the main route, in slum-like huts, the people seem happy. Then the GS is swallowed up by the Ahuyama desert and a sandstorm. Those who enjoy the wind are Etto from Bremen. He has been giving surfing courses on the Cabo for tens of years: “360 days, four to six winds, no mosquitoes, a paradise.” Also for the Wayuu Indians who live here. Very close is the cave where the souls of their dead rest before they fly out to sea. Shall we stay here? Or would you prefer the kissing parrots? Everything here is “todo bien”!

The tour guides


With the motorcycle in Colombia

Luis Alejandro Reyes

Luis Alejandro Reyes

is a Colombian agricultural economist and respected entrepreneur. In addition to palm oil plantations, he runs the company Adventures57, which offers organized motorcycle tours and rentals. Luis has been riding Enduro since he was seven and has a reputation as a top driver. In Germany he trained as a BMW-certified tour guide. He leaves nothing to chance, is an educated, charming travel companion.


With the motorcycle in Colombia

Andres Lopez.

Andres Lopez

is a Colombian marketer with numerous additional talents. At Adventures57, the cheerful nature is the chief tour guide. Andres also takes care of marketing, technology, logistics, security and route scouting. He also runs his own small company that offers universally usable scarves for bikers. Info: www.capitalroad.com.co

Info


With the motorcycle in Colombia

Duration of the trip: 14 days; Distance driven: 2700 kilometers.

General: After Brazil and Mexico, Colombia is the most populous country in Latin America. It borders Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, as well as the Pacific and Atlantic. In between are the Andes highlands, the coastal regions and the hardly populated Amazon lowlands. Colombia is a rugged, difficult to control country where civilization and wilderness coexist. It is full of bizarre contrasts, full of healthy flora and fauna, full of resources, full of stories and full of people of various ethnicities. Around 90 percent of the population are Catholics. 

Security: Colombia is currently rising like a phoenix from the ashes from the centuries-old swamp of violence. A swamp that was fed by the gold-greedy Spanish conquerors and later by drug cartels, guerrillas, paramilitaries and government troops. Today the country is mostly pacified and has never been more pleasant to travel to. There are still parts of the country where guerrillas are up to mischief, but they are mostly in remote regions that are not important for tourism. Ignorance and misinformation create a vague fear of Colombia, especially in Germany, which is no longer justified. Bogotá and Medellín have grown into modern cultural and economic metropolises, in which there is no more crime than in major German cities. Although the roads are better, the vehicles are safer and the traffic is far less chaotic than in other Latin American countries,
we advise against night drives: too many animals on the way. An additional safety feature is the use of common sense and information: A good source is the “Colombia” travel guide by Ingolf Bruckner (travel know-how, 24.90 euros).

Stay: There is no shortage of (nice) accommodations. We would like to recommend the following houses: “Urban Royal” in Bogotá (phone: 5 71/7 95 35 00); “Las Trampas” in Honda (5 71/2 98 17 52); “Mirador” del Cocora in Salento (5 76/7 59 36 12); the “Hotel Aite” run by the friendly Claudia, two kilometers behind Palomino (5 73 21/7 82 13 00, www.aite.com.co); “Rancheria UTTA” on Cabo de la Vela (simple but atmospheric) and for jungle nights the “Reserva Natural Taironaka”, accessible by boat over the Rio Don Diego.

Money: One euro is equivalent to 2800 Colombian pesos (COP). There are ATMs in larger towns, US dollars and euros are exchanged everywhere. The cost of living is lower than in Germany.

Travel time / documents: Due to the proximity to the equator, the seasonal temperature fluctuations are small. But because Colombia has a wide range of climatic zones, you should inform yourself separately for each region. From December to March and from July to August it rains less than in the other months. Since it is warm and even in the “rainy season” it only pours once a day, motorcyclists don’t have to suffer. German citizens do not need a visa to enter the country, but a passport (valid for at least six months). Further information: www.das.gov.co and www.botschaft-kolumbien.de

Motorcycle trips: Adventures57 by Luis Alejandro Reyes offers customized tours of Colombia for all needs. In addition, Luis offers top-class enduro training (Offroad Academy). His vehicle fleet: the latest BMW models, which can also be rented individually for “self-guided tours”. Note: absolutely recommendable! All information at: www.adventures57.com. Luis and his team speak excellent English. 

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