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Colombia is one of the world's most biodiverse countries. It's home to more birds (over 1,900 species, more than Europe and North America combined!), more butterfly, orchid and even more fish species than almost any other country on the planet. With the fourth-largest economy in Latin America, Colombian towns and cities offer fantastic lodging, sightseeing and dining as well. Explore an amazing route through the Andes and rainforest in the north central region. Ride the Alto de Letras, highest paved road in the country. Stay at boutique inns ranging from a 5-star city hotel to a coffee plantation. Explore National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sample local dishes, Brazilian fruits and regional drinks, all the while learning about Colombia's fascinating culture and history.
Meet at the airport in Bogotá. Shuttle to tonight's lodging at the 5-star BOG Hotel in the exclusive La Cabrera neighborhood. Dinner is at Club Colombia, one of the country's best restaurants.
Explore Facatativá Archaelogical Park's pictographs, then ride to Villeta for a tour of a panela factory. Keep going to the National Historic Site of Guadas. Route: 45.4 mi /+ 2154 / - 8132 ft
Shuttle 2 hours to Facatativa Archaeological Park this morning. Stretch your legs on a tour of the ancient pictographs made by the Muiscas, one of Colombia's indigenous people groups. Ride 71 km to Villeta ("little village") for lunch and a short tour of a Panela (sugar-cane candy) manufacturer. Prefer to skip the tour and ride? Keep going to the National Heritage Site of Guaduas (32.7 km). Take an optional walking tour of the city this afternoon, and learn about the seamstress who gave her life for spying for the Revolutionary Forces in the 1800s.
Route: 45.4 mi; Elevation + 2154 / - 8132 ft
Ride beside the Rio Magdalena River to Armero, a town that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Stay tonight at a fishing resort in Mariquita. Try your hand at traditional Colombian fishing or relax by the pool.
Awake in the colonial gem of Guaduas before a brief climb and a lovely descent to the Rio Magdalena River. Rio Magdalena was the original passageway of the Spanish conquistadors in search of the famed El Dorado “City of Gold." Ride along the Rio Magdalena with the towering snowcapped Nevada Del Ruiz looming above you at an elevation of 17.5 thousand feet. Pass the Armero memorial, site of the 1985 tragedy in which Nevado Del Ruiz erupted and the subsequent lahar killed 23,000 Colombians. Spend the night at a fishing resort in Mariquita. Try your hand at traditional Colombian fishing, or just relax in the pool.
Route: 74.5 mi; Elevation: + 3761 / - 5536 ft
Today: take on an 80 km climb up Alto de Letras. Finish in the famed páramo between the treeline and the glaciers. Keep going for another 18 km into Los Nevados National Park on the highest paved road in Colombia. Route: 54.4 mi; Elevation: + 13755 / - 3951
Alto De Letras is known as the 'Longest Climb in the World,' starting in Mariquita at just over sea level and topping out in the Páramo at 12,139 feet. Ride through half a dozen ecosystems en route to the pinnacle. The Páramo is an incredible ecosystem unlike any other in the world, its flora having evolved to survive in the mist of the clouds. Frailejón (a succulent cousin of the sunflower) draw moisture out of the atmosphere through thick leaves, releasing water into the soil to create high-altitude subterranean deposits that feed the lakes and rivers of the Andes. Stay tonight at Termales del Ruiz on the face of the volcano. The resort is surrounded by Frailejón and is named after the 104 degree volcanically-heated thermal swimming pool nestled in the Andes. Time for a dip!
Route: 54.4 mi; Elevation: + 13755 / - 3951
Take a hummingbird hike, then ride down to Manizales in coffee country this morning. Tour a coffee plantation and learn how to cook plantains this afternoon. Route: 16.7 mi; Elevation: + 836 / - 5138 ft
Sleep in and rest your climbing legs at the thermal resort. Then take a morning hike along the hummingbird trail just out your back door. As one of the most biodiverse places on earth, Colombia has more hummingbirds than any other country - 147 species in total, 77 of which are endemic. After the hike, choose between a mountain bike or road bike for the ride down to Manizales into the Coffee Region. Enjoy lunch in Manizales before shuttling to Hacienda Venecia, an active coffee plantation. Cap off the day with an interpretive tour of the coffee farm and a crash course in plantain cooking. Enjoy your stay at the hacienda tonight.
Route: 16.7 mi; Elevation: + 836 / - 5138 ft
Shuttle to Plaza de Bolivar to explore. Ride to Salamina, one of 17 Coffee Culture Landscape towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Route: 45.0 mi; Elevation: + 6824 / - 7956 ft
Shuttle to the historic Centro Manizales in the Plaza de Bolivar to explore a bit. Climb the tower of the Cathedral Spire before embarking on a lovely ride through the coffee region to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Salamina. We’ll spend the night in the lovely colonial town and practice our hand at Tejo - think gunpowder horseshoes - the official drinking game of Colombia. While you're at it, enjoy some Aquardiente ("firewater"), the official libation of Colombia. Enjoy an evening exploring the colonial town before heading over to the boutique Casa de Lola Garcia, just off the town square.
Route: 45.0 mi; Elevation: + 6824 / - 7956 ft
Ride from Salamina to the Rio Cauca River. Route: 42.5 mi; Elevation:+ 3150 / - 6948 ft
Bicycle from Salamina to the rushing Rio Cauca, Colombia’s other major river, snaking its way through the Central and Western ranges of the Andes. Spend the evening poolside, perched a thousand feet up overlooking the canyon of the Rio Cauca far below.
Route: 42.5 mi; Elevation: + 3150 / - 6948 ft
Ride to Amagá. Then it's off to Medellin,'City of Eternal Spring' and former home of Pablo Escobar. Stay at the gorgeous Hotel Diez tonight. Route: 58.0 mi; Elevation: + 6892 / - 4927 ft
From the nest high above the Rio Cauca, it's back on the bike to continue riding beside the Rio, stopping to glimpse the Class V rapids around every bend - each more tumultuous than the last. Finish on the outskirts of Medellín in the colonial town of Amaga. Spend time exploring the Centro and Iglesias before shuttling to Medellín, City of Eternal Spring and former home of Pablo Escobar. Hotel Diez, where you'll stay tonight and tomorrow, is in the heart of the city’s finest Poblado District. Medellín is known for its culinary delights: Explore with the best, enjoying local Colombian delicacies.
Route: 58.0 mi; Elevation: + 6892 / - 4927 ft
Bike to Santa Fe de Antioquia. Take a walking tour around the city, known for its cobbled streets and colonial architecture. Stay one more night at Hotel Diez. Route: 49.5 mi; Elevation:+ 4553 / - 9437 ft
This morning, pay a visit to Christo Rey, the 26 meter monument to Christ that overlooks the city of Medellín. Explore the area before starting your journey to Santa Fe De Antioquia. Known for its tamarind snacks and cobbled colonial square, it's also famous for the suspension bridge that signals your arrival to the back door of the pueblo. At the time of construction the Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West) was the seventh largest suspension bridge in the world. Its wooden walking and driving surface is reminiscent of the Brooklyn Bridge, which the same architect - Jose Maria Villa - also helped construct. After spending the afternoon in Santa Fe De Antioquia, head back to Medellín to enjoy another night of splendor in the City of Eternal Spring.
Route: 49.5 mi; Elevation: + 4553 / - 9437 ft
Enjoy another traditional Colombian Breakfast of arepas (corn cakes), fruit and eggs before heading to the airport in Medellín - or wherever you’d like if you’re staying longer in Medellín.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.