In Colombia we ‘enjoyed’ the first days in Cartagena, where we mostly spent our time doing paperwork to get our car out of port. Paperwork is not at all an enjoyment, but Cartagena has a lot of life and is quite a beautiful city. After a quick stop at Volcan de Totumo for a mud bath (the mud is heated by the volcanic activity below!), we headed towards National Park el Cocuy.  There we did two magnificent hikes to the glaciers. The first day we hiked to ‘El Pulpito’, but a strong fog blocked our views. The second day was ‘Ribalcoa Blanco’, where we enjoyed a beautiful view of the valley and the glacier!

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From there, we went to camp at Lake Tota. We were ready to relax after the long days of driving and hiking. The lake had a very nice beach on one side, but at an elevation of 3000 meters, it got very cold there once the sun went down.

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From there we went to Villa de Leyva, a village surrounded by trails for horse riding, montain biking, as well as excellent spots for rafting. There we unfolded our Montague bikes and made a day out of riding.

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We enjoyed a few hours of riding both outside the city exploring the surroundings, and through the city as well. Many of the roads there are cobblestones (Paris-Roubaix here we come!).

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We had fun with the bikes in the plaza, and afterwards we folded our Montagues, packed them in the Land Cruiser and headed in the direction of Bogotá.

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We passed Bogotá without spending much time there, and crossed the mountains toward the coffee region of Colombia. We went to a large finca (estate) where we learned how the coffee is processed. Our previous coffee experience was in Honduras at a small producer. This was a much larger operation and it was very interesting to see the difference between them.

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Ripe coffee beans ready to be picked.

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Peeled coffee beans, bagged and ready to be sold.

From here we continued toward the border with Ecuador, traveling through the Tatacoa desert:

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The road to the border is narrow and winds through the mountains. In years past many people have died going over the steep cliffs. The roads have recently been repaired and fitted with guard rails, so it’s quite safe now. The views still make it an exciting trip though:

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In three weeks we managed to see most of the spots we planned, and we have truly enjoyed the country of Colombia; it’s people and it’s mountains. Expect an update from Ecuador soon, we’ll be riding our Montague bikes in a new country soon!

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