Feb 14th – 24th 2019
- 11 days, 10 nights
- 3*, 4* and 5* hotels
- 12 people max. (min. 6)
- Difficulty: 4/5
- Avg. distance: 89km/day
- Avg. elevation: 1628m/day
- Total distance: 803km
- Total elevation: 14.650m
- (when selecting the longest option every day – you may choose to do less)
- Transport with an air-conditioned minibus with bike rack
Join us in our bike tours in Colombia
Rigo invites you to ride in Colombia
Tour Colombia 2.1, Alto de Letras, Boyacá and Santander.
THE unrivaled bike tour in Colombia!
In 2019 will be the 2nd version of the most important race of the Colombian cycling calendar: the Tour Colombia 2.1 UCI, with confirmed participation of Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde, among others. The race will be concentrated in the department of Antioquia (centre of Colombia), with amazing mountain stages, and also some opportunities for sprinters. During the trip, after spending the first three days cycling and watching the race, you will also discover fantastic places where Colombian cyclists train on a daily basis, among others: the department of Tolima and its infamous Alto de Letras climb, proclaimed by Colombians to be the longest climb in the world (81km and 3900m of vertical ascent), the Boyacá plateau at more than 2700 meters altitude, where were born some of the best Colombian cyclists, and the department of Santander, where you could try eating the succulent “hormigas culonas” (big-bottomed ants), particularly delicious.
If you can stay a bit longer in Colombia, you will also have the option to end up your trip in the beautiful city of Cartagena along the Caribbean cost. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to cycle in one of the best region in the world to do so, visit and stay overnight in wonderful small colonial villages, do some epic climbs, all of this with the most professional support you have ever seen.
The quality of the hotels is also particularly good, since we have chosen the best hotels in each place we will be staying. Also – and not the least – in order to launch our activity in Colombia after four years organizing cycling trips in Europe for our South American clients, we have set up particularly competitive prices.
And don’t forget that none of the rides is mandatory – you may well decide to take a rest one or several days, depending on your physical condition. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy.
Prices from $2,390 USD (double occupancy)
- $2,390 USD non-rider
- $2,690 USD rider
- Single supplement (subject to availability): $790 USD
- Preferential prices for small groups
- Registrations until February 10th or until fully booked
Register here and pay $600 USD to reserve your spot:
Or pay 100% of your tour right now and get a $100 USD discount
Join us and ride with Phil Gaimon, our VIP guest in that tour!
Watch the video of the trip organized by parent company En bici por Francia for a group of 35 clients from South America during the Giro 2017.
Our Tour Colombia 2.1 full tour (also including bike ride in the Alto de Letras and in Boyaca and Santander departments) is unrivaled so far. After riding and watching the last three days of the Tour Colombia 2.1 UCI pro race, you will enjoy some of the best rides that can be done in Colombia, with astonishing views on canyons and mountains. Here is the detail of what’s included in your tour, and what’s not.
- Transport: all internal transport in Colombia between each hotel with air-conditioned minibus, support vehicle for each ride (possibility to do some of the rides only, if needed)
- Transfer from Medellin (Rionegro) International airport on February 14th to the hotel and transfer to Bucaramanga airport on February 24th from the hotel
- Hotels mentioned in the plan (base shared double room / single supplement on request)
- Food: all breakfasts and dinners
- Presence every day of former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon (Garmin Pro Team, Cannondale, etc.) as a special guest to help maximise your training sessions
- Guided rides every day with our guides + technical support and mechanics
- Cycling jersey “Colombia Bike Tours”
- Sports nutrition (bars, drinks, etc.)
- Cable car in Parque Chicamocha + visit of the coffee farm
- Colombian SIM card for cell phone
- Possibility to come with a non-rider partner (10% discount on the packages)
What’s not included:
- Anything not mentioned in the plan
- Bike rental (check with us)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during dinners (may be included from time to time)
- Travel insurance
Day 1 – Thursday, February 14th – Hotel Movich Las Lomas***** (swimming pool and sauna), Rionegro, Medellin
Arrival and meeting point of the group at José María Córdoba international airport in the city of Rionegro, Antioquia, 20 km from the city of Medellin, in the afternoon (this is actually the international airport of Medellin). From there, we will move on by bus to the hotel Movich*****, definitely the best hotel in the region, where we were able to secure some spots ahead of the Colombian Cycling Federation in order to accommodate our group. There, we will take time to assemble the bikes and go out to see the end of the 3rd stage of the Tour Colombia 2.1 in the afternoon, time permitting. At night we will have dinner in the hotel, followed by a quick briefing about our first ride on the next day.
The hotel Movich where we stay will also be used by several World Tour teams (Team Sky, Movistar, EF Education First, Astana, etc. among others, as confirmed to us by the hotel). So we can share a great time with the pro riders during our stay.
Day 2 – Friday, February 15th
After breakfast, we will organize the bike rides in two groups, if needed (short and easy or long and more difficult, according to the level of the participants). We will ride in the morning and go watch the 4th stage of the race and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Rionegro plateau, oscillating between 2000m and 2300m above sea level (Rionegro is at 2080m). In the Tour Colombia 2.1 UCI race, we will be able to watch and cheer up some of the world best riders: Chris Froome, Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali (tbc), etc. and local riders Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal, Sergio Luis Henao, among others. Once the stage is over in the afternoon, we will go back to the hotel and relax a bit, before having dinner with the group. We will then explain what we will be doing the following day.
Day 3 – Saturday, February 16th
Today is supposed to take place the queen stage of the Tour Colombia 2.1, even though the final route has not been unveiled to the public at the time of publishing.
After an early breakfast, we will do another ride in the eastern part of the Antioquia region where Rigoberto Uran and Fernando Gaviria – among others – usually train. Our goal will be to climb the Puerto de la Union, a not-too-difficult climb, 7.5km long with a 5% average incline and finalizing 2540m above sea level. Once we are done with the ride, we will find a nice spot from where we will be able to watch the stage. The most motivated and trained riders will be encouraged to go cycling to that place, while the other part of the group will go with our minibus. Then we will regroup to go to the hotel, have dinner and prepare everything for the next day in order to carry on our tour to the warm city of Honda, in the department of Tolima.
Day 4 – Sunday, February 17th Hotel Posada Las Trampas***, (with spa), Honda, Tolima
After breakfast at the hotel in Rionegro, we will go cycling to watch the last stage of the Tour Colombia race – likely to be a criterium in Medellin (tbc). Once the race is over, we will go by bus towards the city of Honda, department of Tolima, which used to be the biggest fluvial port in Colombia in the 19th century. This is approximately a four-hour drive from Medellin.
Once we arrive at the hotel, we will have the adequate dinner in order to load our carbohydrate reserves, as the following day will without doubt be the longest day on the bike: the climbing of the mythical Alto de Letras, supposedly the longest climb in the world. For those who want to rest that day, it is also perfectly fine not to ride the bike, in order to keep some energy for the following day.
Day 5 – Monday, February 18th
With our queen stage coming up, we will need an early waking-up and a nice breakfast: Alto de Letras, the world’s longest climb, is waiting for us!
The Alto de Letras is 81km long, offers some 3392 meters’ vertical ascent (3970m according to Strava but we assume it is slightly overstated), starts 495m above sea level at Mariquita (near Honda), and finishes at an altitude of 3679m. The climate change is extreme. It is a mountain pass located in the central Andes mountain range that separates the Magdalena river valley from the coffee growing areas of Caldas and Antioquia. Also, we will go through four thermal floors during this epic ascent.
With a 4% average gradient, and some stretches at maximum 11%, the climb itself is not that difficult. What makes it really difficult is the length and the climate change, from hot at the bottom (not so hot at 7am in the morning) to cold at the top (some 8-12 degrees, depending on the day). The best time so far was done by multiple Vuelta a Colombia stage winner Juan Pablo Suarez with 3 hours and 31 minutes, but our group is expected to climb in around 5 hours and 30 minutes. For our guest, the former pro WT rider Phil Gaimon, this will be THE challenge of his Colombian trip: tackling the KOM of Letras on Strava.
For the logistics, we will have the main vehicle following the group up to Letras, while a motorbike will be carrying the winter jackets, drinks and snacks up to the summit for the riders who will arrive first.
Once at the Alto, if the weather allows us, we will have a fantastic view at the volcano Nevado del Ruiz and all the surroundings. We will then wait for the last riders to arrive at the top and go back with the minibus down to Honda, where we will have a rest at the hotel.
Day 6 – Tuesday, February 19th Hotel Cacique Real***, Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca
After the epic climb of Letras, we will have a more relaxing day, travelling towards the small touristic city of Zipaquirá, which is about two hours and a half from Honda and located around 50km northeast from the Colombian capital, Bogotá D.C. The city is known for its underground Salt Cathedral, a church built inside a salt mine, a place where we will have the opportunity to go in the afternoon. The average temperature in “Zipa” is around 20°C. The hotel where the group will be staying is particularly nice, with its traditional colonial architecture. We will also have time to walk through the main square and taste some of the typical foods of this historic town, where Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal (Team Sky) lives. If we are lucky, we might even share a coffee with him.
In addition, we will have the option of an easy ride in the outskirts of the city (about 40 km) to spin the legs and know the sceneries of this nice area of Colombia. For those who want to rest from cycling, we have planned a visit of the Salt Cathedral, a spectacular place to discover. In the evening we will return to the hotel for dinner.
Day 7 – Wednesday, February 20th, Hotel Villa Roma***, (swimming pool and sauna), Villa de Leyva, Boyacá
We will have breakfast early in the hotel, then we will travel to the amazing colonial town of Villa de Leyva, a city well known for its colonial architecture, its cobbled streets and its wide main square, one of the widest in South America; all of these making you feel like you are going backward a few centuries when visiting this place. From the square, we can see the 17th century church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and the House of the First Congress of the United Provinces, in which new laws were drafted after the Independence in 1810. In the southwest part of the square is the House Museo Antonio Nariño, where this major Colombian war hero died.
For those who are happy to do a long ride, there is the option to ride directly from the hotel in Zipaquirá to go to Villa de Leyva, meaning a ride of 148km in total, with 2050m of vertical ascent (mostly short and easy climbs). On this route, we will go through Tocancipa, el Sisga, and – most notably – the national monument “Puente de Boyacá” (‘Boyacá Bridge’ literally), the exact place of the very last battle of independence in Colombia’s History. There we can have a quick coffee and take a few photos, before finishing our ride up to Villa de Leyva, 40km from there.
Once we are in the hotel, we will have lunch around the beautiful central square and go through the lovely cobble stones streets in the village, have some typical regional snacks and in the evening we will have dinner in a very nice place near the hotel.
Day 8 – Thursday, February 21st, Hotel Finca Buenos Aires*** (with swimming pool), Barichara, Santander
After an early breakfast at the hotel in Villa de Leyva, we will travel to another beautiful colonial village called Barichara, also declared national cultural patrimony in Colombia. During the trip, we will do a quick stop to buy some typical sweets made of Guayaba (fruit), known as Bocadillos. Then once we get close to Barichara, we will have lunch at the beautiful Hotel Finca Buenos Aires with its true colonial architecture, and we will take time for a coffee at the café-bar La Bicicleta museum, where we will see trophies and photos of the cycling glories of Santander who participated in several great races, including the Tour de France, in the 80’s and 90’s. Some trophies belong to cyclists like Hernán Buenahora, Víctor Hugo Peña (Colombian’s first ever Yellow Jersey in the Tour), and Ana Cristina Sanabria, among others.
From the hotel, we will have the option to go out after lunch in the surrounding villages (Guane, Villa Nueva, etc.) where we will observe the amazing view from the great Chicamocha Canyon, the second biggest canyon in the world after Grand Canyon, see the trails of the Camino Real, etc. Then we can end up having some drinks in the main square of the lovely Barichara, close to the 17th century church. For those who do not wish to go out for a ride, we will have the option to do a nice touristic tour in the village (walk through its paved streets, discover its chapels, the main square, museums, stone workshops, shops crafts, etc.), or just relax in the hotel or have a refresh in the swimming pool. At the end of the afternoon, the group will gather to have dinner in a typical restaurant in this beautiful little town.
Day 9 – Friday, February 22nd, Hotel Chicamocha*****, (with swimming pool and spa), Bucaramanga, Santander
Another day of mountain riding for the group, with the exiting opportunity to ride along the Chicamocha Canyon. Once we had breakfast in Barichara, there is a choice of two routes: Barichara-San Gil-Aratoca-Panachi (45km), or an easier option, by starting in the outskirts of San Gil (20km). Taking pictures and observing this great canyon is one of the best experiences you can have in Santander, and it is even better when riding a bicycle. Its majestic mountains of different shades and colours are astonishing. The Chicamocha river and the National Park where we will be able to take the cable car with our bike on board are just amazing, while visiting the Monument to the Santandereanidad are among the interesting activities in Panachi (Parque Nacional del Chicamocha), one of the most beautiful national park in Colombia. Surely, it will be an unforgettable day for the group. Once we arrive in the park, we will take the bikes with us through the cable car, and cross the canyon, more than 100 meters above the river at some points, to arrive at the Mesa de Los Santos station. There, we will continue riding around 12 very easy kilometres up to Hacienda El Roble, to take a typical lunch from Santander, before taking a tour of the coffee plantations. On this farm, one of the best rated coffee in the world is grown up.
In the evening, we will travel to Bucaramanga with our minibus (1.5 hours) and we will arrive at the Hotel Chicamocha***** where we will be able to go out for a walk in the night to get to know the city and have a cold recovery beer.
In front of the hotel, there is a huge Specialized bike shop where we will have the opportunity to benefit a few discounts while the staff will provide mechanical advice for our bikes.
Day 10 – Saturday, February 23rd
After an early breakfast in the hotel, we will leave for another day of high mountain, with the climb of the mythical Alto del Picacho, a hors-category climb, 48 km long, with 2391 metres of vertical ascent, at 4.7% on average. We will start directly from the hotel and reach a height of 3,378 meters above sea level at the site known as El Picacho, a place that has been used several times as a stage of the Vuelta a Colombia. This climb is one of the most renown and challenging in the country, its climate changes can be harsh but the landscapes while climbing are astonishing. The approximate time for climbing is 3 hours; the minibus will be accompanying us with our winter jackets so that we have something warm to put on once we arrive at the top (expected temperature around 10-12 degrees). Once the whole group has arrived, we will return with our minibus to the hotel to have lunch. In the afternoon, we will have the option of a tour of Bucaramanga, the capital of the department of Santander, like visiting the hill of the Santísimo, and other sites. In the evening, we will have our special farewell dinner in a very nice place in the city.
Day 11 – Saturday, February 24th
“Everything comes to an end…” – unfortunately our wonderful trip through the most amazing places to ride a bike in Colombia is over. We will take the group to Bucaramanga’s airport in the morning after breakfast or we will be more than happy to assist anyone who requires to stay a bit longer in Colombia, with plans and suggestions.