Colombia cycling vacation

“An eight day cycling adventure, discovering Colombia’s cultural and natural hotspots along with a small group of like minded travelers.”

Highlights

Bogota | Salento | Coffee tasting | Cocora Valley | Filandia | Alcala | Optional zip-lining | Cartago | Cerritos
Responsible Travel, Travel Team

Travel Team

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Date
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07 Dec 2019
US $2585
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04 Jan 2020
US $2345
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01 Feb 2020
US $2345
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06 Jun 2020
US $2345
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11 Jul 2020
US $2345
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08 Aug 2020
US $2345
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05 Sep 2020
US $2345
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21 Nov 2020
US $2345
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05 Dec 2020
US $2345
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Colombia cycling vacation

Environment

Cycling requires constant hydration, especially in hot climates or during the summer months, and rather than use single-use plastic bottles we encourage our travelers to bring their own cycling water bottle. This can then be refilled from the large water drum we keep on our support vehicle. Where the water is drinkable, we encourage our travelers to use tap water, or take advantage of drinking water fountains found in many small towns and villages. In addition to taking in fluids from the fresh seasonal fruits we find in local markets along the way.

Our greatest contribution to minimising our transportation's impact on the environment is to travel by bike, avoiding the use of any energy or fuel. When we do use a vehicle, we are committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy during this trip we use local forms of transport wherever possible. Where we use private transport we stick to the small back roads which minimises the impact on locals using the main roads for daily routines. Where we do use a support vehicle, we will always ensure that it is an appropriate size to suit the cyclists it supports – no using a 16-seater minivan if we only have five people traveling.

On this trip we have joined up with a local Colombia-based supplier who shares our commitment to responsible business, from waste and water management to ensuring we are leaving as minimal a foot (or rather tyre) print as possible. We ensure they are educated on all aspects of responsible business and supported in making any changes they need to improve in this regard.

Community

An important part of travel is mixing with the locals and experiencing “real life” in your destination. On this trip, along with staying in locally-owned hotels/guesthouses, we visit small cafes and restaurants and buy locally produced crafts and locally grown fresh produce. This gives locals the opportunity to earn money directly and our travelers the chance to interact with local people in their everyday environment.

We also use only Colombian cycling guides and support staff, as well as local guides in many destinations. On this trip we use locally-sourced bicycles too, which helps to employ others beyond this trip alone.

We source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy in that they allow the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience, rather than remain concentrated with tourism providers. This could be as simple as spending time in a local café, to cooking classes in a local home and shopping at small local stores. On this trip you have the opportunity to mingle with up to a million locals during ‘Ciclovia’ where the roads of Bogota are closed to vehicles and cyclists and pedestrians rule the streets. We are proud to be part this progressive event helping to lessen pollution and encourage a healthy lifestyle in Colombia. You will also experience Colombia’s cultural heart, with visits to the Cocora Valley (the home of the hummingbird) and the small towns that make Colombia’s coffee culture come to life. You’ll also enjoy a coffee experience tour at the family-run Cafe de Altura in Quimbaya and a trip to the embroidery factory in Cartago to learn about the region's history with the needle and thread.

Colombia also has a rich arts and craft culture, with a special emphasis on the traditional indigenous-made bags (mochilas), Sombrero Vueltiao hats, Ruana ponchos and many other textile-based products. Rather than shopping in larger tourist shops we recommend checking out the small village morning markets that often feature the work of local craftspeople, and our local leaders can assist with that including translating, so you can have a more interactive experience.

To help truly interact with the locals we’ll also teach you the Colombian national pastime (some would say obsession) of tejo which involves throwing a metal disk at small envelopes of gun powder. Yes, seriously!

All aspects of this trip (on the ground) are operated by Colombians (most of whom live locally) including all our cycling guides, support vehicle drivers, local site guides, and accommodation providers. We provide our cycling leaders with a formal 4-day cycling training course so that they are up to speed with the needs of our travelers as well as building their skills.

Locals know where the best food, souvenirs, local crafts and entertainment can be found. This trip is operated by local Colombians and we ensure any shopping opportunities, from the larger centers like Bogota to the small 'coffee country' towns such as Filandia, offer authentic experiences that showcase Colombian's rich and unique culture and crafts.

Local food is often a highlight in Colombia and we offer a variety of opportunities to sample the full range, from the simple but delicious arepas (cornmeal bread) to the classic bandeja paisa (a platter of red beans cooked with pork, rice, fried egg, plantain, chorizo, avocado and lemon.
Our cycling trips usually have a maximum group size of 16 to minimise our impact on the smaller communities we cycle through in Colombia. We believe this is the perfect size for a cycling trip in Colombia while respecting the capabilities of the destinations we visit. Overtourism is an issue we are very conscious of and we are taking measures to ensure our impact on the communities we visit and their environment is our top priority.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles for Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40ft shipping containers that Bicycles for Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence.

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