Northern Colombia on a Motorcycle

Before coming to Colombia, I knew I wanted to mix in some water sports, beautiful scenery, sunrise hikes, and at least a day on a motorcycle during my month here. Little did I know that I would do all of this and more on an incredible motorcycle trip through the northern coast of Colombia for seven days.

Since my visa in Brazil needs to renew, I was forced to leave the country and go on vacation somewhere else until January 5th. I chose Colombia to fill these weeks… and so far, it’s been a blast.

I started off in Bogota where I met a lot of people in the coffee industry. I actually ended up roasting for a week with a major player in the Colombian special coffee industry and became friends with him. I’ll be visiting his coffee farm around Christmas time, but that’s a story for another article.

Knowing I needed some nature and adventure in my life – and because I am not the biggest fan of large cities – I looked online and found a seven-day motorcycle tour with a company called Adrenaline Addicts based out of Santa Marta, Colombia. I booked a flight to this smaller coastal town and got ready to ride!

This company works by giving guided tours and renting motorcycles for people to ride wherever they want within Colombia. I figured it was best to leave it up to the experts, as I had no idea where to go in Colombia. They had a seven-day tour that promised to explore desert, jungle, beach, and mountain terrains, both on and off-road, with all meals and accommodation taken care of. Brayden (Australian) and Christian (American) led our group to some beautiful places, taking care of all the details that go along with planning a big trip like this.

I simply showed up and got ready to fully enjoy every moment. Not worried about where I was going or how to get there, just ready to ride and have a good time.

For the first three days, we had a group of 10 people in total. The “goal” was to get to the desert of Cabo de la Vela, a large indigenous-populated land in the northern part of Colombia. It’s a crazy strange place that consists of a dry sand desert parked right next to the ocean.

This land is home to the Way├║ people, an indigenous group that’s been there far before the Spanish conquered the country. Because tourism has picked up in the area over the past few years, increasing the amount of cars and motorcycles that pass through the “roads”, some of the locals (mainly children) have started creating makeshift roadblocks.

By this, I mean that they plant sticks in the ground on either side of the “road” and tie a rope across. Sometimes you get lucky and they let you pass. Other times, you have to pay the tax, which one guy in our group named Sean coined as the “Lollipop Tax”. We traveled with a bunch of lollipops and they usually did the trick. I made the mistake of securing three to my backpack and was quickly robbed by an 8-year-old at the first (of about 100) roadblocks.

However, there was one kid that we gave a lollipop and a few coins to, but she still wouldn’t let us pass. Only after a lot of negotiation and waiting, she finally passed us through and onto the next 3 roadblocks before reaching our destination.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this drive, but it was quite the experience!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a motorcycle trip without some falls. Sean took slam into the ground in the desert and wasn’t sure he would be able to ride, really hurting his ribs. Luckily – and crazily – enough, an ambulance later rolled through the desert and took him to the hospital. Some IV drips and a few prescription drugs later, he was back with us ready to ride!

Once we arrived at the ocean in the desert, we parked the bikes and most of the guys got some freshly caught lobsters. I’m a vegetarian so I passed, but I still downed quite a few Polars – beers that I am assuming were smuggled in from Venezuela because the border was so close. 5+ hours of dust in your face in scorching heat and you’d be surprised how many Polars you can drink!

After lunch, our accommodation consisted of hammocks on the beach under the stars in a kitesurf shop. I got a rental hooked up and had an amazing session during sunset! Definitely a dream day: kitesurfing and motorcycle riding??? Yes, please!

After our time in Cabo de la Vela, most of the group rode back to Santa Marta, while four of us stayed together for another 4 days of off-road adventures. Sean and Billy (two guys from the United States with lots of riding experience) booked a trip to specifically take this tour. I hopped on as the third person, along with our guide Brayden.

We stopped in little mountain villages, by beautiful eco-lodges on the river, passed through lots of waterfalls, and even visited coffee and cacao farms. And on one of the days, Brayden took us on an offroad trail he labeled as “intermediate”…

Three hours of grueling fun later, three of us had fallen off our bikes but without any major injuries. Billy would have a crushed toe and a limp for the rest of the trip, but as Sean’s wife put it, “That was a small price to pay for luxury.” This trip was definitely a luxury. We all got out without any major injuries and the Honda XR 150s went through some beatings and help up just fine!

Nobody was complaining – that’s for sure! Looking forward to more intense offroad motorcycle riding in the future. I might have to get one of these bikes in Brazil. ?

While too much fun was had, not many pictures were taken. This post has some of what I captured.

Big thanks to Adrenaline Addicts for this amazing experience. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week in Colombia. If you like adventure, motorcycles, and generally having fun, check them out for sure!

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