We started our trip in Colombia, more specifically in Cartagena where we have imported the sidecars. We finally got the sidecars delivered 7 days after their arrival at Cartagena’s port. It’s usually quicker but there was a high traffic in the port which meant unexpected delay for all the deliveries.
For our first kilometres, we decided to go towards Pamplona (770kms away), a city next to the Venezuelan border as we have a friend living there.
The Colombian roads are not the cleanest ones as you can cross frequently potholes and roadworks. You can easily loose one hour on a journey just due to the wait for the roadworks and therefore roads being closed, you need to be very patient! Daily you can also see cows crossing the motorway, pedestrians and even children as the schools are often located next to the main roads between small villages. We needed to be very cautious all along.
There are many tolls on the road, but it’s free for motorbikes. We just needed to be a bit agile with our sidecars as the “free lane” for motorbikes is adapted for the wide of a normal motorbike.
Regarding the fuel, we used the “corriente” which is the equivalent to the petrol.
For the accommodations, there are not that many campsites in Colombia. Plus, wild camping doesn’t seem very safe. However, we easily found cheap hotels including 2 double bedrooms, secured parking and Wi-Fi for 100 000 COP (30€).
On the way to Pamplona, we did a small detour before reaching Bucaramanga to enjoy the waterfalls of Misiguay. We did 8 kilometres in the mountains on an uneven and very steep path. Probably the hardest kilometres we did in Colombia. That took us a little while but it was great to camp next to a waterfall in the middle of a Colombian forest!
We continued our journey and loved a little village in the mountains: Mutiscua which is just 25kms before Pamplona, a small village with very generous and welcoming people. Then, we stopped for a few days in Pamplona in our family’s friend, the opportunity to live like a local!
After this stop, we head to Medellín, 500kms towards East. We discovered Girón on the way, the paved town centre is very enjoyable for a night.
In Medellin, our favourite place was the area of the «Comuna 13». In the past, this was one of the most dangerous areas in Colombia, which is today one of the most touristic areas.
Then, we rode 80kms to reach Guatapé which is a real beauty! The village is pretty and very colourful. We climbed its famous rock with its 659 steps. A touristic place but with breathtaking views and glorious surroundings on the top. This is a must to see!
We carried on our journey towards the South. The journey between Medellín and La Pintada is a wide road in the mountain with a perfect road surface. Ideal for the riders! We stopped a couple of days in Salento (331kms away from Guatapé). A nice village with many handcrafted shops, plantation coffee and hiking possibilities in the Cocora Valley.
The next goal was the Ecuador border at 675kms away. We did a few stops on the way and before to reach our goal we stopped in Ipiales to visit El Sanctuario de Lajas. A religious monument built in a valley. It’s worth it!
Then was the time to cross our first border and this one was actually maybe the easiest one!
Ipiales is one of the most frequented border due to the Venezuelans leaving their country to reach Ecuador. We arrived quite early, around 7:30am and the longest was the wait. We first left officially Colombia by getting a stamp on our passports by the Colombian authorities. Actually, this step was the longest. Then, we gave the temporary paperwork of the Colombian importation of the sidecars to the Colombian customs. A few hundred meters further we arrived at the Ecuadorian customs. We went to get our visa (90 days) by getting a stamp on our passport and then we requested the temporary importation for the sidecars. Not too much paperwork required, we just needed our passport, driving license, international driving license and the vehicle document. In Ecuador, insurance is not mandatory and we chose not to take any for the vehicles. In 2h30, everything was settled!