For our last night on tour with Motolombia (motorcycle tour Colombia), we checked into a six-bedroom private mansion with an infinity pool running into the lush valley below, a valley backed by mountains as far as the eye can see. Mads and I shared the master suite, a large room with double glass doors spread wide, the bed placed directly in front. From the balcony hung a colorful hammock, a stone’s throw from the pool. In the bathroom was a jacuzzi tub larger than most jacuzzis, nestled against three large windows boasting the same glorious view.
“Will this work for the princess?” he asked.
I hadn’t been feeling well that day, and I sensed his sarcasm. “I’m not trying to be a princess,” I argued.
“But you are, of course,” he said. No sarcasm (right?). “Who would have thought luxury travel would be so hard,” he continued. And then he left me to sleep, just minutes after admiring our new digs, the doors still open and a fresh breeze wafting through.
The truth is, tours are hard. They’re exhausting, nonstop and there’s very little time for yourself, which is something I think we all value. We were up by 7 every morning and on the road by 8 or 8:30 for what usually turned into an eight-hour day of travel with bi-hourly stops to rest our tired butts and fuel our bodies with food and drinks. When we arrived at a new destination, we had just enough time to shower and change before meeting again for dinner and drinks. We practically fell into bed each night, heavy with a long day’s adventure, and woke to do it all over again.
But I’m not complaining.
I knew what I signed up for (though the decision probably had more to do with the man and the escape than the tour), which was to see Colombia by motorcycle, and that’s exactly what we did.
We rode over 3,000 kilometers (nearly 2,000 miles) in 14 days, which took us from Cali to Manizales and Honda to Bogota. From there we hit Bucaramanga, and then Santa Marta and Cartagena on the Caribbean sea. Then we crashed our motorcycle and had to stay in a small town off the itinerary called Sincelejo before getting back on track in Medellin and then driving to our private retreat just outside of Armenia.
And it was nothing short of amazing.
We saw brilliant flowers and happy children. We saw mountains upon mountains upon mountains, as well as the Carribbean sea, three rivers and one of the few lakes in the country. We tasted fruits we didn’t know existed, we gained weight from the fried plantains, abundant chorizo, and potatoes and arepa (corn cakes) that accompany almost every meal. We stayed in five-start resorts and Spanish villas and quaint boutique hotels and, at the end of the tour, in the home of Mad’s brother-in-law’s family whose modest house sits on the peak of a mountain with a wrap-around porch and a million dollar view. We spoke Spanish as much as we could and we met friendly faces everywhere we went. We ventured down cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, all lined with colorful homes and bars and restaurants and shops, every third one blaring Colombian music from the loudspeakers on high.
From the start I knew I wanted to return to Colombia, that three weeks wouldn’t be enough.
In 3,000 kilometers, there wasn’t any scenery I didn’t find stunning. Though we only spent one or two nights in each city on this fast-paced tour, it was the perfect introduction to Colombia, and perhaps just a teaser for a time when I can do it again at my own slow pace, with ample time to soak in each day, write about it and better learn the language. I can see myself there already, perched in an idyllic mountain town, teaching English for a locals wage, waking up to a variety of birds chirping and enjoying a fresh cup of locally grown coffee before riding my own motorcycle to work in the sunshine.
When I awoke from my afternoon nap on that last day in the private mansion to one of the best views of the entire trip, Mads had ordered a massage for me. The therapist placed her table on the covered deck outside, and it was here, amidst the gentle sounds of nature and the sun setting in the night’s sky that I reveled in the luxury of this tour, and dreamed of my eventual return.
No, tours aren’t really my thing, but I’d recommend Motolombia to anybody who wants a wonderful introduction to Colombia and a lot of adventure with a friendly, down to earth and knowledgeable guide. Plus, with hand selected places to sleep, equipped with enough ways to pamper any princess, there’s surely a tour for everybody.
Motorcycle Tours are Hard!
Written by:Jessica J. Hill
- We Crashed the Motorcycle in Colombia
- Fear and Freedom: Riding Motorcycles in Colombia
- I’m going to travel Colombia by motorcycle!