Push your pedals up the longest cycling climb in the world, the 80km-long Alto de Letras, then head to your hotel next to the Hot Springs and soak those aching legs!. Enjoy a ‘Ciclovía’ morning, the way literally a million locals do, having the opportunity to see different areas of cosmopolitan Bogota.. Cycle and sweat through steamy jungle scenery, coffee plantations and colourful colonial towns nestled in the verdant (and hilly!) Colombian countryside.. Connect with the colours, culture and coffee of Colombia as you tackle the undulating terrain and harpin bends that make this country a cycling haven!
Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. Take a front seat along the backroads of Colombia and challenge yourself to the undulating and stunning scenery of this so often misunderstood country. Power up with the famously flavoursome Colombian coffee and push your pedals (and your limits) through lush jungles and colonial towns as you traverse the mountainous terrain, winding roads, Andean summits and hairpin bends that make Colombia a cyclist’s haven! Forget the famed French Alps as you take on the mother of all mountain passes – Alto De Letras – the longest cycling climb in the world, and experience Ciclovia, as you ride through the bustling car-free streets of Bogota with over one million locals. This is a trip to test your cycling skills and fitness but rewards you with sublime Colombian vistas, thrilling downhills and great company!
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Your Colombian Road Cycling adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Situated at 2644 metres, Colombia's lofty capital is a charming, yet hectic, mix of old and new. If you arrive early, head down La Candelaria, Bogota's cobblestoned Old Town, and check out Plaza de Bolivar, the Botero Museum and the Gold Museum. If you have brought your own bike, it’s a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. For those that have brought their own GPS device, we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter what pace you are riding at.
Heard of Ciclovia? It's incredible. Every Sunday and public holiday, from 7 am till 2 pm, Bogota shuts down certain streets in the city to create over 100 km of car-free space for cyclists – there are also stages set up in parks and public areas so non-cyclists can participate in group activities like aerobics or yoga. Spend the morning riding through the flat streets with over one million locals, before leaving Bogota and cycling north – passing the San Rafael crossing into the Cundinamarca Province. Then, introduce yourself to hilly Colombia, with the first climb of the trip coming after only 8 kms! Descend for 20 km, then enjoy quiet undulating roads through small towns and villages, riding alongside beautiful Lake Tomine and up the Altiplano Cundiboyacense all the way to the scenic town of Suesca.
Ride Details - approx 90kms/56 miles with 1230m/4000ft of total altitude gain
Leave Suesca and enjoy a relatively flat ride for almost 95 kms, interrupted by a single climb after around 60 kms. This climb, some 5 kms long, is on some of the smoothest tarmac you'll ride on and provides amazing views of the plains below. It’s a firm favourite for riders from nearby Bogota! Next, enjoy a lightening quick descent for 7 kms then kick back on a gentle downhill to the oddly named Siberia Intersection on the outskirts of Bogota.
Today you’ll ride from Siberia Intersection to Cambao, before taking a vehicle transfer to Mariquita. Today is the longest distance you’ll ride on this trip (approximately 130 kms), and one sure to test your descending skills! Once again, after 45 kilometres, leave behind the relatively flat plains surrounding Bogota and enjoy one of the longest descents you'll ever do – a constant downhill for 30 kilometres, dropping 1600 metres – a rewarding ride that sees you surrounded by towering trees. Reach the small town of Alban (with fresh legs thanks to the downhill!) then start a small climb before descending another, more sedate, 30 kilometres into the riverside town of Cambao – located on the banks of Colombia's biggest river, the Magdalena River. From here, transfer by vehicle approximately 60 kilometres north to the small town of Mariquita at the foot of the mighty Letras Mountain.
Ride details: approx 130kms/80 miles with 1370m/4500ft of total altitude gain
Alto de Letras
While France hogs the cycling world's attention with the Alps, these climbs pale into comparison with the mighty Alto de Letras. Touted as the longest cycling climb in the world, the statistics are astounding – at 80 kilometres (52 miles) long and with a vertical gain of 4163 metres, this 3679- metre-high mountain will leave you breathless in more ways than one! On this trip, you have the option to do the 20, 40, 60 or the full 80 kilometres, depending on how much you want to challenge yourself. After the ride, transfer to your hotel next to the Hot Springs at the base of the volcanic Nevado del Ruiz mountain – soak those aching legs!
Ride details: approx 84kms/52 miles with 4230m/13900ft of total altitude gain (for the full Letras climb)
Start the day with a short vehicle transfer (approximately 15 minutes) to avoid busy traffic, then begin riding over 40 kilometres downhill! With many hairpin bends, this descent will test your concentration more than your legs, but after yesterday’s efforts, it's a welcome relief. After skirting the city of Manizales, take the long and winding road downhill all the way to La Finca. Stop at the Orchid Farm, Finca La Romelia, for a change of pace, before boarding the vehicle and driving to Cerritos (approximately 1 hour 30 minutes).
Today's ride sees you leaving Cerritos early to beat the traffic, then take on a few undulating hills before arriving in the outskirts of Cartago and beginning the gradual climb to the small town of Montenegro. After a quick drink of Colombian coffee, the real climbing begins as you ascend to the vibrant mountain town of Salento, gateway to Los Nevados National Natural Park. For those still feeling energetic, an optional visit to Cocora Valley awaits, otherwise, just kick back and enjoy what this charming town has to offer – from the colourful buildings of Calle Real and the bustling Plaza Bolivar, to the delicious coffee shop – Jesús Martín. Tonight, why not enjoy a final group dinner together to share stories, and of course plan your next two-wheeled adventure!
Ride details: approx 82kms/51 miles with 1950m/6400ft of total altitude gain
Your Colombian Road Cycling adventure comes to an end today, there are no planned activities and you are free to leave at any time. A transfer out to Pereira´s airport (for the first flight back to Bogota only) is included and takes approximately 1 hour.