Day 1: Santa Marta to Buritaca. 4 hours ride time.
We meet at our office at 9 AM and get everyone set up on their motorcycles, complete the safety briefing, finish the paperwork, and get everything strapped down on the bikes. Then around 10am we set off down the coast. Today starts with some basic-intermediate riding around the Paso del Mango area, where we will stop in at a swimming hole, and for lunch and a tour of at Caoba Biological Reserve. After lunch we move further up the coast to El Rio Hostel, our accomodation for the night. At El Rio we provide drinks for an All-You-Can-Drink tubing ride through the jungle, which is the perfect way to get to know everybody in the group the evening of the first day.
Day 2: Buritaca to Riohacha. 5 hours ride time.
We get up, have breakfast and go on Day 2, leaving our luggage behind and heading up into the Sierra Nevada mountains to tackle the Quebrada del Sol off-road trail. This is a 4-hour loop that reaches 1,100 metres above sea level, crossing rivers, steep climbs, rocky embankments, grassy plains, and muddy stretches, as well as an indigenous village that we stop in for a short break and to have a look around. After finishing the loop we come back out onto the main road for lunch at a local eatery, before getting back on the bikes and cruising another hour or so up the coast to our night’s accomodation at Pura Guajira hostel in Riohacha.
Day 3: Riohacha to Cabo de la Vela. 5 hours ride time.
After breakfast in Riohacha we head up the coast towards Manaure, riding a couple of hours on a mix of brand new, asphalt highway, and winding, single-track, dirt roads. In Manaure we team up with a local guide to go explore the indigenous salt fields containing 100’s of multi-coloured pools of salt water pulled from the ocean, which when dried, leaves the salt available for extraction. We grab a quick lunch in Manaure, then start on the last couple of hours to Cabo de la Vela, riding on a hard gravel road, until the final hour spent riding across desert flats to arrive at our accomodation at Rancheria Utta in El Cabo around 4:30pm, just in time for a few drinks on the beach as we watch the local kite-surfers making the most of the fading evening light.
Day 4: Cabo de la Vela to Punta Gallinas. 5 hours ride time.
Today will be an early rise, as we need to meet our Indigenous escort for a 6am departure through the desert to Punta Gallinas. The long haul through the desert can be draining in the dry season and exhausting or just straight up not possible during the in the wet season. We assess the conditions the day before, but in most cases we will depart early enough to beat the heat of the day, and arrive in Punta Gallinas for lunch, giving us the rest of the day to explore the harsh beauty of the most northern point in South America. Accomodation tonight is basic, but we will be looked after in large, comfortable hammocks, or basic twin-share rooms, before an early rise to do the trip back to Cabo the next day.
Day 5: Punta Gallinas to Cabo de la Vela. 6 hours ride time.
Another early rise greets us today, with the idea being to get back to Cabo with enough time to have a look around in the afternoon/evening. After lunch in Cabo de la Vela, we will have a couple hours to spare, before hopping back on the bikes to visit El Pilon de Azucar, El Faro, El Arcoiris, and Los ojos del agua, all of which are within 30 minutes drive of Cabo de la Vela, and El Pilon is the perfect vantage point to watch the setting sun dip below the Carribbean sea.
Day 6: Cabo de la Vela to Buritaca. 7 hours ride time.
Get ready for a big riding day, we’re heading back down the coast. The earlier the better today, as we head out of the desert for a quick stop off in Uribia, before continuing down a straight gravel road for an hour and a half to Mayapo beach and a seafood lunch. After lunch we push on further south back to Buritaca, stopping in at Dibulla, a small fishing village before Palomino if time permits, and checking into Rancho Relaxo, our accommodation for the night, around 5pm, in time for dinner and some relaxation time before bed.
Day 7: Buritaca to Minca. 4 hours ride time.
After the epic mileage that was Day 6, we allow ourselves a lazier start to the day this morning, starting off at Quebrada Valencia waterfall for a swim and a 6-metre cliff jump for the thrill-seekers. After a lazy morning we’re back on the bikes and heading up the mountain to Minca, a jungle town perched 600m above sea level. We will have lunch at La Fuente Bed and Breakfast, before heading up and around the mountain, riding offroad trails for several hours, before arriving just before sunset at Casas Viejas, our boutique accomodation for the night.
Day 8: Minca to Santa Marta. 6 hour ride time.
We start the final morning with a bang. Rise and shine at 3am for the ascent to Cerro Kennedy, perched 3,200 metres above sea level, in the middle of the night. Lighting the road with nothing but the headlights from our bikes, we slow the pace a little, and climb for 2 hours in the darkness, to arrive at San Lorenzo for a jaw-dropping view of the rising sun. After the sun is up we ride the final 20 minutes to Cerro Kennedy Military base, the highest accessible point in Minca, before turning around and heading back down to Casas Viejas for breakfast. After breakfast some groups like to catch another hour or 2 of sleep, so when everybody is ready, we cruise back down the other side of the mountain, stopping in at a swimming hole and a local barbecue house for a late lunch. You will arrive back in Santa Marta around 3pm, dirty, tired and sweaty, but with bright eyes and wide smiles, having bared witness to a side of Colombia that few people before you ever have.