Cycling Quito - Cartagena in Nov/Dec
Replies: 1 - Last Post: Jul 1, 2012 12:23 PM Last Post By: Axelaxel
Jul 1, 2012 6:36 AM
Cycling Quito - Cartagena in Nov/DecHello folks,
Myself and a friend are planning on cycling from Quito, Ecuador to Cartagena, Colombia starting around 15th November for about 5 weeks, ending around 20 December. I have two questions regarding weather and the route.
1. Weather. I understand that October and November falls within the 'rainy season'. I've traveled extensively in other areas and often, the distinction between the seasons is exaggerated. How pronounced is the rainy season? And will it cause us serious problems cycling?
2. Route: As I mentioned our start point is Quito and end point it Cartagena.
We are looking to take cross the border at Tulcan and head via Pasto to Cali, following the smaller backroads the run in the same direction to the Panamerican. From Cali we have a few options, and I would appreciate everyone's advice:
- Continue following the direction of the Panamerican to Medellin and on to Cartagena. Fly over to Providencia or San Andreas, or to Tayrona NP.
- Go West via the Tatacoa desert to Bogata and then keep heading East to San Gil and El Cocuy NP before heading North to Tayrona NP and East to Cartagena.
- Again, cut West via Tatacoa desert but follow the route 45 via Armenia and up to Medellin. Then follow Panamerican to Cartagena, again perhaps then over to Tayrona NP or Providencia or San Andreas.
^ Any other suggestions welcome.
going to cross the border at Tulcan and follow backroads that vaguely follow the direction of the Panamerican to Cali. I am think split between looking to head East over towards San Gil
Jul 1, 2012 12:23 PM
1Last year the rainy season in Colombia lasted much longer than usual, into January in some places. You should be arriving there at the normal end of the rainy season and the cycling itself at that time is not bad even when it rains. Often the rains do not occur daily, are heavy but only last a few hours or they happen at night. The problems You are most likely to encounter are flooding along rivers, destroyed bridges, plenty of landslides and ( partially ) blocked or very muddy highways. The Panamericana is in great shape north of Quito, but deteriorates once You get into Colombia and is pretty torn up in places between Pasto and Popayan ( But that stretch is also one of the most scenic and enjoyable of the whole route ). Be aware that some of the " side routes " along the main highway are in very bad shape ( often dirt tracks not graded or maintained ), more mountainous and much further, even if that may not be easily visible on Your maps.
I cycled all over Colombia and would suggest as the most scenic south north route the one from Pasto to Popayan to San Agustin to Bogota to San Gil, over to El Cocoy and then north through Santander towards the coast, following the Rio Magdalena once you exit the mountains. The problem with this is Your brief time frame. This trip would mean riding more than 2000 km just in Colombia with lots of high mountains to cross. Even the shortest route along the Panamericana north is about 1800 km from Quito to Cartagena ( through Medellin ). The easiest, fastest and ( in it's northern half past Ibague ) least interesting route follows the Rio Magdalena all the way from San Agustin to the coast. Some people like to travel fast and put in lots of miles every day, but if You like to stay in a few of the beautiful places along the way for a while instead of just passing through, plus figure in time for delays and rest days ( believe me, there are days when Your ass ais going to be whipped, no matter which route You choose ) i suggest that You extend the length of the trip, consider using public transport at times or just ride one area of Colombia.
Enjoy the ride
El viejo loco
Edited by: Axelaxel
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