I'm beginning my trip in Central America- October 2015 - Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. I will be taking a boat along the Caribbean coast to Turbo, Colombia.
My concern is Colombia.
1. Is this insane for me to take this route alone on a solo tour?
2. Is there a suggested route that can bring me south into Ecuador more safely?
3. I have been pondering if I can connect with other cyclists touring through Colombia or South America for that matter, is this possible and would it make it safer? What is the likelihood?
Any other advice is much appreciated thank you for your suggestions.
Sorry I can't give you any specific info on routes but I don't see anything insane about it. Many cyclists pass through Colombia without any problems in fact a great many of my guests have raved about the place.
As for companions its quite possible you'll be able to meet up with other tourers there as Colombia is something of a bottleneck for cyclists passing from Central to South America and cycling with others would probably at least make you feel safer ( I find in really dangerous places that I prefer to be alone so as to present less of a target - but again I don't think Colombia today would qualify as a dangerous proposition for a touring cyclist).
We (my girlfriend and me) are going to Turbo - Arboletes - Cartagena in december 17th. Im going to answer your questions:
1. Is this insane for me to take this route alone on a solo tour? It´s not insane to take it alone. You can take two routes from Turbo:
a) Turbo - Apartadó - Carepa - Chigorodó - Mutatá - Dabeiba - Uramita - Cañas Gordas - Santa Fe de Antioquia - Bolombolo - La Pintada - La Felisa - Irra - Chinchiná - Santa Rosa de Cabal - Pereira - Cali - Quito (Ecuador).In this route you no enter to Medellin, and it is 553 kms away.
b) Turbo - Apartadó - Carepa - Chigorodó - Mutatá - Dabeiba - Uramita - Cañas Gordas - Santa Fe de Antioquia - Medellin - Alto de Minas - Santa Bárbara - La Pintada - La Felisa - Irra - Chinchiná - Santa Rosa de Cabal - Pereira - Cali - Quito (Ecuador).In this route you enter to Medellin, but it is 10 kms longer that first.
2. Is there a suggested route that can bring me south into Ecuador more safely? Both routes are safety and beatiful.
3. I have been pondering if I can connect with other cyclists touring through Colombia or South America for that matter, is this possible and would it make it safer? What is the likelihood? Yes, you can connect other ciclists from Colombia. We (Colombians) are very kind. If you tell me the date when you arrive to Chinchiná I can attend you. I can help you to look for a cheap hotel and indicate you the routes to Quito. Or we can go with you until Cali or Quito.
If you arrive to Turbo you don´t need to go to Cartagena (north) because you are going to south.
Hernando and Francy
yes there is a war going on, yes it is dangerous. But not more than in other places. I have met plenty of tourers who have made it trough Colombia with out any problems. I myself have cycled big chunks of it without any problems. I even heard about a Canadian couple who skipped Colombia only to be mugged in Ecuador so... I would always bike during the day, do check about road conditions. I am not sure about the current condition of the road from Turbo (specially if you are heading towards Medellin then heading south) Most tourers take the boat to Cartagena or Barranquilla then head south. You also have to know that cycling is basically the second national sport and with Colombians making it big in the European racing world (Quintana, Uran etc even taking second places at the Giro and Tour) the place is a bit cycling crazy.
Also the country name is Colombia no U. Unless you are talking about the University in NY or The city in South Carolina...
Esneider: Es verdad, Colombia es seguro y no estamos en guerra. Si Daniel se dirige e Quito no necesita subir a Cartagena, pues son 480 Kms adicionales que debe recorrer hacia el norte. Alli le envié la ruta detallada a Daniel porque mi novia y yo vamos a hacer en diciembre 17 esa ruta desde Chinchiná (Caldas) hasta Turbo y de acá (al norte) a Cartagena.
Por supuesto que no es recomendable que viaje de noche por la inseguridad de los carros.
My hubby and I cycled through South and Central America for 12 months and didn't have any problems. We felt safer in South (particularly Colombia) than we did in Central America, but the usual things apply. Talk to the locals about safety up ahead, but bear in mind that there is generally a suspicion about the people on the other side of the border or region. NEVER cycle at night and don't venture into dodgy areas (check with your guide book/hostal). Having said all that, have a fantastic time and try new things but be sensible.
We always felt we were at our most vulnerable when we were fully loaded and on the road. So if the road you are travelling has a reputation or just doesn't feel right either take a bus, or, plan for danger. In these circumstances I had a plastic wallet inside my bra which held a credit card, our passport numbers, USB sticks with photos and some US$ and be prepared to give everything else up.
Colombia is a fantastic place to cycle, as are Ecuador and Bolivia. My blog is here if you fancy a look, but it is 5-7 years ago now. Have a fabulous time! www.travelpod.co.uk/members/50odd
Currently in Peru and just enjoyed 5 weeks cycling through Columbia and Ecuador, in my opinion there is nothing to worry about, people a very friendly and Columbian and equadorians are some of the best drivers iv seen so far, I mainly stuck to the pan am as I was sick of the heat and wanted to stay in the mountains and it was a great ride. Have fun and enjoy your boat ride. Not a single thing to worry about.