There are few things more enjoyable than riding a motorbike on the open road. The freedom, the adventure, the world at your fingertips. Colombia is not the first place that would pop into your head when imagining where those perfect roads might be. But, as I discovered on my 8,000km ride around the country, it has some absolutely awe inspiring rides, from cold mountain top trails, to sunny, snaking tarmac, there is something for everyone. Are you looking for your next adventure biking destination? Look no further.


1: Via Al Nevado

Murillo to Thermales / 50km / 3.5 Hours / Cold

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A faint squiggle on most maps, this high altitude trail runs alongside the national park Los Nevados. Among the magical volcanic scenery are immense brutalist rock formations, cascading waterfalls and black lakes. Other vehicles are few and far between up here and expect to cross streams, negotiate deep rutted tracks and run alongside steep precipices. And, when the clouds descend around you, partially obscuring the epic scenery, you will find yourself in an alien world, floating in the sky. Just don’t forget your jacket as temperatures can reach freezing.


2: Pan American Highway

Chichagui to El Tablon / 42km / 50 Minutes / Hot

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One of the most famous routes in the world, the Pan American Highway spans 30,000km, all the way from Alaska to Patagonia. While the majority of its route in Colombia is uninspiring, this 60km section sweeps along the side of a stunning deep arid canyon. Surprisingly low on traffic and for the most part a great surface makes this a superb ride.


3: Chicamocha Canyon

Piedecuesta to Aratoca / 50km / 1 Hour / Mild

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At 2000m deep, Chicamocha Canyon is Colombia’s own ‘Grand Canyon’ and the road which sweeps and winds through it is
simply a joy to ride. The perfect surface, the endless curves and the stunning scenery – if there is one road in Colombia that will remind
you why you chose to ride a motorbike, this is it. It is also well worth leaving time to stop at the National Park which sits at the summit where you will find restaurants, hiking trails, paragliding and stunning 360° views of the Canyon.


4: El Trampoline De Muerte

Mococa to San Francisco / 76km / 3.5 Hours / Mild

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Built to transport soldiers at the height of Colombia’s civil war, the ‘Trampoline of Death’ cuts an almost impossibly steep route through the countries jungle covered mountains close to the border with Ecuador. It got it’s name for good reason; it is Colombia’s most dangerous road where 500 people lost their lives in 2011. The narrow, dirt track is used by trucks, buses, cars and bikes alike and, while it has had some additional barriers added in recent years, drivers remain largely unprotected from the huge precipices, landslides
and extreme weather that plagues the route. Catch it on a good day however and it offers an exhilarating and truly adventurous riding experience unlike any other in Colombia.


5: Tatacoa

Alpujarrá to Villavieja / 70km / 2.5 Hours / Very Hot

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Tatacoa Desert is actually a tropical dry forest and a stunningly different landscape to the rest of the already varied Colombia. As you descend from the mild mountain town of Alpujarra, the landscape transforms around you; trees are replaced by huge cactai and the green flora by bare rose coloured rock, while the temperature increases well into the thirties. As the road turns to dirt, you sweep into the vast open desert, free to explore a truly intriguing landscape. Just don’t forget your suncream.

If you find yourself in Colombia looking to rent a bike or  to tour in a group, Motolombia is a great place to start. Based in Cali, they stock a great range European and Japanese bikes and do bike tours all over the country.

About Aram Balakjian

Born in 1980’s London, Aram spent a large portion of his 20’s running a web design agency. After a major life event, he decided to leave that life behind and hit the road. Today he spends the majority of his time searching out new places to visit and fresh stories to tell.

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