Colombia part 1
So finally I enter Cartagenia. Captain James and the crew lower my bike on to a somewhat shakey water taxi and we make our way to the shore.
Registering the bike was pretty straight forward. Go to the office with your moto, fill out some papers and have the bike inspected. The temporary import is good for 90 days.
I spent 5 days in Cartagena. A history colonial town mostly famous these days for the movie “Romancing the Stone” The old walled city is really beautiful, but the downside is that it very touristic and therefore you can’t really take five steps without being harassed to buy something.
The history of Cartagena revolves around a giant fort that served to protect the city from pirates and naval invasion.
Moving on from Cartagena I went to Santa Marta where I had arranged to do a Workaway with a motorcycle touring company. My job there would be to help the company with general maintenance, tours and other things.
The company is called Adrenaline Addicts, and they are the number one motorcycle touring company in northern Colombia.
Their office is attached to a hostel with a big swimming pool. Santa Marta is really hot, so it was nice to be able to jump into the pool when I wanted. So after working on a few bikes, I would take a plunge.
I spent two weeks in Santa Marta. The guys at Adrenaline Addicts were awesome and I stayed in their house ,which helped out with money.
Teaching is what I do best.
Running down the river after a day of riding.
Santa Marta isn’t a place that I would say is a must see for Colombia. The town is noisy, hot and chaotic. People are constantly beeping their horns. Sometime I think for no reason. The Center has a couple of walking streets, but lacks charm.
Just over the hill is the village of Tangaga which has nice beaches and is more of a destination. But I am done with beaches, so time to move on.
On my way to Santa Marta I ran into Raul. A guy from Mexico, that I met in Panama just over the frontier. He bought a moto in Colombia and is planning to ride South America.
I just happen to pull into a gas station, and there he was! Small World!
He was on his way to Santa Marta, and we made plans to ride to Medellin together.
The idea was to ride to Medellin in one day, because there was a huge motorcycle show happening there, and we planned on going on the last day.
Now normally, when you get the ETA from google maps or other, you can usually shave a few hours off because being on a motorcycle usually goes faster. Not this time. 13 Hours of riding. It was a painful day, and we experience loooong stretches of very straight autopistas. Nasty rain storms that felt apocalyptic and dark winding roads through the mountains. Finally, we arrived on Medellin around 8:30.
I spent about a week in Medellin. The city is very modern and there are walking neighborhoods with sidewalk cafes and restaurants
My first day there, I was in motorcycle heaven. I went to the Medellin motorcycle show. It is, by far, the biggest motorcycle show I have ever seen. And I only have three pictures.
I spent the next week exploring Medellin. A very cool city. They have the only transit rail in Colombia, and there is a lot of cool architecture. It’s also a pretty big city.
They also have a huge motorcycle zone in the city
Here you can get pretty much anything you want.
I stayed near a neighborhood call Parque Lleras. It has lots of restaurants, bars and sidewalk cafes. This is the most popular place in Medellin for tourist and locals alike.
Waiting for the Tram
Famous restaurant "The Social Club"
After a week in Medellin, I set off for the famous Peñón de Guatapé rock. I giant monolithic rock that towers over the land below.
The village of Guatape is small and quaint, It’s very colorful and there are cafes and restaurants abundant. During the hot season, the village is booming with locals looking to escape the heat in the waters surrounding the rock.
740 steps to the top
From here. I will move on to Bogota before heading south to Ecuador.
So far, Medellin and Guatape have been my highlights of Colombia. I love the cooler climate and Medellin is the perfect spot. Medellin however, is been changed by tourism. The people there are friendly, but not as open as other places I’ve been. It’s been desensitized.