Colombia by scooter: A lifetime memory

Story by: Edwin van Bruggen     Date: 29 March 2022    Image by: Unsplash | Mike Swigunski

4 minutes reading time Colombia

Traveling in Colombia by public transport is great, but it gets even better when you have your own scooter or motorcycle. Despite traveling the world for two and a half years, the Colombian adventure remains the most memorable.

The biggest advantage of having your own scooter is that you get to the most spectacular places and colonial villages, where no other tourists are coming. In this article, therefore, an overview of several places and routes in Colombia you must with your own scooter!

Colombia, Route San Rafael

Colombia, Route San Rafael | Image by: Edwin van Bruggen

San Rafael, Antioquia – San Luis, Antioguia
When you drive a little further than the very touristic Guatape, you come to an authentic village, called San Rafael. The 76-kilometer route to San Luis is wild, spectacular, and rough. Starting on a paved road, with one landslide after another, the road gets progressively worse. As always in Colombia: the worse the road, the better the views. The last 30 kilometers are at a high altitude, full of fog banks on a dramatic road. Because of the lousy condition of the ‘road’, you can’t go much faster than 10 kilometers an hour, but you shouldn’t even want to drive faster than this: wherever you look, nature is at its most beautiful and purest form.

Colombia Zapatoca

Colombia Zapatoca | Image by: Edwin van Bruggen

Aratoca, Santander – Zapatoca, Santander
When you’ve seen enough greenery, rain, and waterfalls, drive this great route right through the Chicamocha Canyon. It is a 30 kilometers long drive, just enjoying the view over the Grand Canyon of Colombia. Meandering through the hairpin bends you will be amazed by the immense Canyon every time you turn the bend. If you also want to see the other, almost unvisited, side of the Canyon, drive on towards Zapatoca. You will not only be rewarded with warm weather and unforgettable views, but also with a beautiful, old-fashioned Colombian village. Unlike the other routes, the road is completely paved, so this could be the road where you want to make your first kilometers!

Colombia Route 60

Colombia Route 60 | Image by: Edwin van Bruggen

Chiquinquira, Boyaca – Puerto Boyaca, Boyaca
This route goes entirely over route 60. There is a reason that no tourists come here via public transport. You will have to drive your scooter through several waterfalls and the road is very difficult to drive in some parts. However, it is more than worth the effort and you will experience all four seasons on this 160-kilometer route. In addition, you will sometimes be stopped by locals who put a string over the road, but for a dollar, they will give you a smile and let you continue this amazing trip. I myself was lucky enough to see a life-size tarantula crossing the road in this wild nature. What a fantastic experience!

Colombia, Route Santa Fe

Colombia, Route Santa Fe | Image by: Edwin van Bruggen

Mutata, Antioquia – Santa Fe de Antioquia, Antioquia
If you want to see a completely different side of Colombia, then drive this route. Be prepared though: there are numerous landslides and when it rains (which is quite every day), the road is a big mud puddle. The area is also still considered unsafe and from the many wheelies by locals, you will also see that it is all a bit ‘rougher’. However, it gives you a more complete picture of this fantastic country, although completing this 170-kilometer long ride is a huge challenge. Start early so you don’t have to drive in fog and dark like me for the last two hours!

As fantastic as riding a scooter in Colombia is, it can sometimes drive you insane. Therefore, do not underestimate it and keep the following in mind:

  • Despite riding in the dry season, I had pretty much everyday rain and sometimes really long periods of rain. Colombia is not as tropical as it may sound!
  • Although it may seem that there are no traffic rules, they are there, and the penalties are unexpectedly severe. My scooter was even confiscated twice (for wrong parking and overtaking on a double line). You can only get it back after following a course about traffic rules, paying at least 150$ fine, and a lot of frustrating bureaucracy.

The most important thing to mention, however, is the population: friendlier, more helpful, and more patient you won’t find them quickly around the world. As much as I was in trouble when my scooter broke down again, the Colombians were always there to help, even though I didn’t speak any Spanish.

So, don’t worry about your safety: traveling via Colombia on a scooter is an unforgettable experience and it will give you a complete picture of what this fantastic country has to offer!

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