Colombia MTB holiday

On our 9-day Colombia MTB holiday you’ll explore Salento and Manizales while taking in scenery from one of the most ecologically diverse countries on the planet.

Colombia mtb tour

Mountain Biking Colombia with Haku
Expeditions

Haku’s 9-day Colombia MTB holiday has been crafted for mountain bikers and adventurers looking to step off the beaten path. Our Colombia MTB vacation based in Salento and Manizales, expect world-class mountain biking, breathtaking natural beauty, and unforgettable cultural experience in the most diverse country in the world. Colombia is famous for its vibrant culture, world-class coffee, and wonderful, passionate people. Combine all this beauty with it’s thriving mountain biking scene, and, with Haku Expeditions you’ll be able to experience a one-of-a-kind MTB holiday curated by and for avid mountain bikers.  

Ride Description:   On this unforgettable experience you can expect to ride through lush cloud forest, coffee farms and past artisanal panela factories.  A perfect mix of elevation gain and descent with steeps,  jungly switchbacks and the always sought after brown pow are all part of your Colombian mountain bike experience! We will also spend one epic day on the Enduro World  Series circuit of Manizales.

Tour Dates

Dates for our 9-Day Colombia MTB Holiday

What you can expect

Colombia MTB Holiday Trip Highlights

Some highlights to look forward to on your Colombia MTB holiday

Live a Colombian adventure

Full MTB Tour Details

  • ITINERARY
  • INFORMATION
  • REVIEWS
  • FAQS
  • ADD-ONS

We begin by flying into Pereira and then transferring to Salento, Colombia. Salento’s altitude is a manageable 1895 m/6217 ft, and it’s an unbelievably picturesque town with coffee estates, verdant countryside, and brightly painted, colorful buildings. It’s a perfect place to settle into Colombian life and prepare for your Colombia MTB holiday. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can take a quick hike in the Cocora Valley before dinner to check out the dreamlike, verdant landscape and the tallest wax palm trees in the world (literally). If you don’t have the time or the energy for that, though, you can get a bird’s-eye view of the town by hiking up to Salento’s mirador, a viewpoint won after an easy climb up the stairs at the end of Calle Real. From there, you can see out over the entire valley. Make sure you get back and get some rest, though — we’ll hit the trails hard on the first day!

 

Lodging: Cairo Hotel

Today is your introduction to mountain biking in Colombia! We’ll be taking you to three different places — two trails and one bike park. This will give you a taster of the diversity of Colombia’s MTB scene, from rugged backcountry singletrack to sweet jump lines in bike parks. 

After meeting with your guide in the morning, you’ll load up the bikes and equipment in the support vehicle to head to one of the highest-rated tracks in Colombia, Alegrias. Heading out of town we’ll wind up dirt roads to its starting point. This classic 8 km track flows through beautiful pine forest and stunning countryside landscapes. After that, we’ll head to El Ocho, an ancient, quick-moving, techy trail across the ancient National path boasting berms, rock faces, and rock gardens. This trail deposits you right back in town. Then, after a round of high-fives and waters, we’ll head over to El Cairo Bike Park, Salento’s new bike park that has 3 different trails, jumps, and many other features. 

After an action-packed day behind the handlebars, you’ll relax at the Cairo Hotel, a beautiful historic house in Valle Cocora, where you can sip a cold beer and stretch your legs around its beautiful grounds. 

 

Colombia MTB Holiday Trail Stats:

Alegrias

Distance: 8.5 km/5.06 mi
Max Elevation: 2727 m/8948 ft
Ascent: 98.7 m/323 ft
Elevation Descent: 838 m/2749 ft

El Ocho

Distance: 3.26 km/2.03 mi
Max elevation: 2491m/8174 ft
Ascent: 70 m/232 ft
Elevation descent: 389m/1276 ft

El Cairo Bike Park:

TBD

 

Meals Included: B, L, Snacks
Lodging: Cairo hotel

After a solid rest and a filling, Colombian-style breakfast, we’ll take off on a beautiful drive through the heart of Colombia’s coffee growing region. Colombia produces a whopping 11.5 million bags of beans per year, the second highest in the world behind Brazil. In 2011, UNESCO declared the “Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia” a World Heritage Site. The paved route through these breathtaking coffee fields will lead us to Manizales, the home and training grounds of one of the top DH riders in the world, Marcelo Gutierrez

Manizales, a bustling city of 400,000 inhabitants, is surrounded by steep mountains, so you can imagine how epic the mountain biking will be. We’ll hit the trails right when we get there: we start with Infernal, a DH-style track with some drops, jumps, and wallride opportunities. Then, you’ll hit El Gordo, another breathtaking 3 km/2 mile DH track. We will ride these trails twice and if possible throw in El Colibri as well!

The lodging tonight is quintessentially Colombian — you’ll be staying in a finca, or a country estate on the outskirts of the town. Take some time while you’re there to learn about the rich history of fincas in Spanish culture. You’ll feel transported back in time! 

 

Colombia MTB Holiday Trail Stats:

Infernal 

Distance: 3.19 km/2 mi
Max elevation: 1601 m/5255 ft
Ascent: 309 m/1014 ft
Elevation descent: 520 m/1706 ft

El Gordo

Distance: 3.28 km/2.4 mi
Max elevation: 1606 m/5270 ft
Ascent: 302 m/991 ft
Elevation descent: 450 m/1476 ft

El Colibri

Distance: 3.17 km/2 mi
Max elevation: 1922 m/6307 ft
Ascent: 181.5 m/596 ft
Elevation descent: 540 m/1771 ft

 

Meals included: B, L, Snacks

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

Today’s the day to bring your A-game — you’ll shred a legendary, ancient singletrack path starting at almost 4,000 m/13,123 ft called La Elvira. You’ll descend 1,581 m/5,187 ft through thick, deep cloud forest. We’ll be riding down trail with overhead jungle coverage, slick rocks, and steep gradients.The trail finishes off in the best zone of the city to fill up on cold beers and hearty Colombian food!

 

Colombia MTB Holiday Trail Stats:

Elvira trail into Manizales

Distance: 19.71 km/ 12.25 mi
Max elevation: 3772 m/ 12,376 ft
Ascent: 323 m/1060 ft
Elevation descent: 1640 m/5380 ft 

 

Meals included: B, L, Snacks

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

There’s a cable car just a short walk from your lodging that crosses the valley to the center of Manizales. The city has tons to offer, including the beautiful, massive Manizales Cathedral whose towers you can climb for a view of the city and the iconic Monument to the Colonists, a stirring bronze tribute to the first settlers of the region. While in the city, make sure you try one of the arepas or a pandebonos that you’ll smell as you walk down the street. Of course, if you’re looking merely to rest your legs after three days in a row of intense mountain biking, no one would fault you for lounging on the grounds of your gorgeous finca

 

Meals included: B

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

Wishing for a long, sustained enduro adventure? Today’s all-day ride starts at 3690 m/12,100 ft in Nevados National Park. Today will be an adventure. This ride takes us into the wilds of Colombia. We will be far from any villages or people and really have to have full energy to sustain the day. We will carry with us a full lunch as the pedal time alone is 4 hours not including stops and breaks. 

This trail has lots of climbing and descending. Included in today’s ride is the famous Subida al Cielo, which is a 370 m/1200 ft steep climb over 1.4 km/.85 mi. 

The trail ends at a unique molasses farm known as panela chancaca

 

Colombia MTB Holiday Trail Stats:

El Desquite Adventure

Distance: 33.62 km/ 21 mi
Max elevation: 3749 m/12301 ft
Ascent: 2132 m/6997 ft
Elevation descent: 2401m/7877 ft

Meals included: B, L, snacks

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

Steep and technical La Densa is a classic, short DH track that takes you around the city. Right after bagging La Densa, you’ll hit the Panamericano trail, which is more enduro-style and boasts the famous 4 bridges used at the Enduro World Series in 2018. Steep  descents will certainly get your blood pumping on this one. After that, we’ll finish off the day with Morenita, a fast-moving canal offering high berms and jumps, and then head back to Manizales. 

 

Colombia MTB Holiday Trail Stats:

Densa

Distance: 7.84 km/ 4.8 mi
Max Elevation: 2334 m/7657 ft
Ascent: 506 m/1660 ft
Descent: 373 m/1223 ft

Panamericano

Distance: 1.70 km/5577 ft
Max Elevation: 2341 m/1454 mi
Ascent: Almost none
Descent: 228 m/748 ft

 Morenita

Distance: 2.11 km/1.31 miles
Max Elevation: 2252 m/7390 ft.
Ascent: Almost none
Descent: 280 m/920 ft 

 

Meals included: B, L, snacks

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

The trails today will be perfect final rides in Colombia. We can choose to either ride a trail or two that we really loved during the week or we can ride some new trails like Garrucha and Chulo. 

 

Colombia MTB trail stats: 

To be determined!

 

Meals included: B, L, Snacks, and Farewell Dinner

Lodging: Finca in Manizales

Until next time! You’ll be taken to the airport by our team where you’ll say your tearful goodbyes. (Pro tip: make sure you stretch before you get on the plane!)

What’s the price of this 9-day Colombia MTB holiday? And what’s included?

$1995 USD per person. There must be three people for this trip to go out. If by chance we only have two people booked each person can pay a $200 USD supplement for the trip to run. 

 

Included

  • Airport pickup and drop off
  • 8 nights of lodging with breakfast
  • 6 ride days 
  • Lunch, snacks, and water on all ride days
  • Professional, bilingual mountain bike guide
  • Trip to thermal baths Otorno
  • Cultural immersion
  • Custom “Haku Expeditions Colombia” riding jersey
  • Group farewell dinner on the last night

 

Not included

  • Flights
  • Meals not stated (e.g., lunch on non-ride days, dinners except for the farewell dinner)
  • Single supplement room (if you’d like one, talk to us — it’ll be $35 extra per night)
  • Mountain bike, If you would like to rent a mountain bike we can put you in contact with the right people. Just let us know!

For this 9-day Colombia MTB Holiday Adventure:

You should have a mountain biking skill level of intermediate tech: You’ve got three plus years of riding on singletrack trails of all sorts with features such as rock gardens, steep sections, rolls and drops, roots, and small jumps. You are confident on the bike in most situations. You’re constantly looking to improve your riding skills and enjoy riding for extended periods of time climbing and descending in terrain of all sorts.

Your fitness level should be at least a 3.5: You will want to be in between these two levels

3 You exercise one to two times a week but do not have a normal schedule that keeps you biking or doing other activities weekly. You don’t go to the gym or train for any specific sports but you lead a relatively active lifestyle by biking, hiking, skiing, or whatever it may be. For biking: climbs and long descents give you some trouble and you tend to get tired after about 2-3 hours on the bike.

4 You exercise 3-4 times a week and enjoy physical activities such as biking, hiking, skiing. You are active. For biking: you enjoy climbs that are moderately long and being on a bike for 3-5 hours in one day doesn’t get you too tired or fatigued. 

This Colombia MTB holiday takes place in Salento and Manizales. The airport at Manizales is very small and flights are often canceled or delayed. We suggest you fly into Pereira where we’ll pick you up and bring you to Salento for the beginning of your MTB vacation. For the return home, we’ll take you back to the airport at Pereira for your flight out. 

Before booking flights look into how much baggage you are allowed and how much an oversized  bag will cost you. All bicycles are oversized. The price ranges so check this before booking the flight. 

Check if you need a visa for any of the countries you may pass though such as China. Some countries require it even when passing though, others will allow you to stay in the airport in a special area without leaving. Be sure of your layover countries visa requirements. 

When you arrive in Colombia, you’ll need to fill out a declaration form for customs. It says that personal items may be brought into the country without a tax. It then states that if you have items that are valued more than $1500 you will need to pay a tax. We have researched this topic quite a bit and get many different responses; therefore, we can’t tell you firmly if they’ll charge you or not. Usually, it’s 15% on your bike if you claim the value is more than $1500. 

Important: Generally, anytime you land in another country, even just for layovers, you need to get your luggage and rescan it or re-check it for security purposes. Every country is different so check once you arrive; don’t count on the front desk person who checked you in at your first airport. Make sure you have enough time during your layover for migrations and the bag check.

 

 

 

We include airport pick up and drop off with your mountain bike from Pereira airport.

This 9 day itinerary is based on arrival on day 1 and departure on day 9. If you would like to add on additional days in Colombia please let us know so we can help you with those logistics. 

A driver will be waiting at the Pereira airport for you with a sign with your name. 

Upon departure you may be required to pay an exit tax. This tax is often charged in cash so please be ready with $20-60 cash on hand for the tax. Some airlines include this in their price and some do not.

We recommend you bring a full suspension All-Mountain, Trail or Enduro bike. 

These days the trail bikes have become more like Enduro bikes and the Enduro bikes have become more like Downhill bikes. Therefore, what we recommend is, a full suspension mountain bike with 140mm or more of suspension front and rear. We also recommend that you have a tubeless tire setup. We also recommend tires like Maxxis Minion, Highroller or Assegai. 

For the bike:

  • Bring a well maintained bike for Enduro, All-Mountain Style Trails: Check that the chain is not stretched, cables are clean or new, the headset and pivots are moving nicely or cleaned and greased
  • You will need extra bike parts, please don’t expect to buy much on this trip
  • Extra brake pads
  • Derailer and shifter (Optional)
  • Spare Tire (Optional)
  • We recommend tires like Maxxis Highrollers, Assegai, Minions or something similar
  • Tubeless is your best bet. Bring extra sealant and an extra valve
  • A derailer hanger, a multi-tool and a tube are essential
  • Extra Screws for the bike and for clip-less shoes if you use them. Zip ties are great too
  • Any kind of liquids you may need, Reverb oil, brake oil, tubeless sealant, chain lube in small bottles. Pack in sealed baggies so they don’t explode in transit.
  • Bleed kit or ask if we have the one you need

Our Mountain bike tours include breakfast from your hotel or finca and lunch on ride days. 

Our MTB rides include lunches at local restaurants and also in the homes of locals who live on the trail. Most meals are a large bowl of soup followed by a main meal. The main meals are generally meat or chicken with rice, beans and plantain. In the case that you do not eat meat you can get a plate that has rice, eggs and fried plantain. 

If you have dietary restrictions please let us know so we can help you plan for the trip accordingly. 

We provide snacks for the ride days. Feel free to bring extra energy bars for the trail if you think you may want snacks you know you already enjoy!

We provide water for the rides. You will need a bottle or camepack to fill.

Colombia’s currency is the COP Colombian Peso. You’ll be able to exchange US currency for the pesos on arrival at the airport. The exchange rate often fluctuates but at the moment (March 2020) is 1 USD to 3.3 – 3.34 

We recommend you bring cash along with credit cards. Credit cards are accepted in many places in Colombia. However, tips and cash for small stores or transports is necessary. 

TIPPING: In Colombia tipping is not obligatory but is very common. The restaurants will ask if you would like the “service” included in the bill. The service is 10%. Generally you should say yes unless you had a terrible service. 

Tipping your guide in Colombia is generally 5-10% of the price you paid for the tour. 

Each person is required to have a specific travel/trip insurance outside of your credit card or regular medical insurance. You should get comprehensive coverage with trip interruption/cancelation and with personal liability. Mention all activities that you will be involved in such as mountain biking and whatever other activities you may have planned. 

We do not provide refunds. Because mountain biking is an adventure activity and getting hurt is a possibility you will want a travel insurance. If you should get hurt not only will it cover your medical expenses it will also cover the lost portion of the trip. Make sure you have trip interruption or trip cancelation included! South America is famous for people striking and shutting down all activities. If you miss your Amazon trip or any other add ons you may have planned for this trip or if you happen to miss your flight due to strikes the insurance will cover the loss or additional costs that are incurred. 

 

5/5

Exercise and prepare yourself physically. This trip requires both uphill endurance and downhill strength. Doing both cardio and strength training will help you to prepare. We also recommend taking vitamin C and probiotics before coming and while here to keep your immune system and digestive system in good order.

In Colombia you can use cash and card. You will need cash for tips and for things like soda, beer or snacks at local shops along the way. At nicer restaurants you can use a card but may want cash for the tip. 

On arrival you can exchange some money in the airport so that you have cash on hand.

Before leaving call your bank or credit card company so that they know where you will be. Include all international stop overs so that you can use the card at the airports too.

Our groups generally range from 2-8 people.

Our clients generally range in age from 25-55. However, all ages from 18 up are accepted if the mtb level and skill fit the trip.

This Mountain bike vacation is an all mountain, enduro style trip.

Some ride days will be shuttle assisted and all downhill with multiple runs, other days require climbing to get to the trail or climbing on the trail.

The Desquite ride day will be an all day physical adventure.

Each day vaires. You can check the schedule to see what we generally expect for the day. However, this is flexible as we may get in more km than expected or less if there are any issues such as mechanical issues or crashes.

All you need for each day is a small camelbak or hip pack with water and your bike tools.

Do not overstep your limits. Please walk any section of the trail that you are not comfortable riding.

We use hotels, fincas or airbnbs depending on the size of the group or the location we are in.

Breakfast each morning, lunch on ride days and a farewell dinner.

The luggage comes with us on this trip when we move from Salento to Manizales

Most people can get a tourist visa on arrival. Please check online if your nationality  needs to apply beforehand. 

Colombia is very tropical and can rain at any time. However, we pick dates that are considered the driest time of year.

Colombia MTB Holiday Packing List:

  • Passport and plane tickets!
  • Cash, credit cards, ATM card
  • Trip/Travel Insurance papers
  • Toiletries/medicines/epi pens/inhaler, etc…
  • Bug spray, natural or chemical
  • Travel towel
  • Ear plugs and face mask for sleeping at night
  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun screen and SPF lip protection
  • Light Rain jacket and lightweight rain pants
  • Battery pack  and charging cables
  • Smartwool socks/biking socks
  • Buff 
  • Camera and GoPro (optional)
  • Headlamp
  • High calorie snacks
  • Clothing for dinner and after rides: Manizales can be chilly or hot. Lightweight jackets, pants, shorts, long sleeve and short sleeve are all recommended
  • Bathing suit

 

For your mountain bike:

  • Bring a well maintained mountain bike for Enduro, All Mountain Style Trails
  • You will need extra bike parts, please don’t expect to buy much here…
  • Bring extra brake pads. 
  • A spare tire is nice to have but is optional
  • We recommend tires like Maxxis Highrollers or Minions for our style trails.
  • Tubeless is you best bet. Bring extra sealant and an extra valve.
  • It is up to you if you would like to bring an extra derailer and shifter.
  • A derailer hanger, a multi-tool, tubes, pack or camel pack to carry snacks and water.
  • Extra Screws for the bike and for clipless shoes if you use them.
  • Any kind of liquids you may need, Reverb oil, brake oil, tubeless sealant, chain lube in small bottles. Pack in sealed baggies so they don’t explode in transit.
  • It is pretty common for at least 1 or 2 bikes on the trip to get an air in the brake lines, bring whatever bleed kits you may need or ask if we have it for you. 
  • Gear: Full face and enduro helmet (or convertible one), elbow and knee pads, gloves, riding shoes, rain shell, camel pack or hip pack, 
  • Riding shoes
  • Sunblock, sunglasses or goggles.
  • Weather in Colombia can be chilly or very warm so prepare for both in regards to riding clothes, bring extra gloves and clothing as you might get wet

We do not recommend that you bring a drone for this trip as much of the trip is in forest where you will not be able to see the footage very well.

We require that you purchase travel/ trip insurance outside of cc or medical insurance from home. This insurance is much more broad than just medical insurance in case you get hurt. These insurances also cover, trip interruption, trip cancelation and many other good benefits. If something happens and you miss part of the trip these insurances will return the lost portion of the trip to you. We do not do refunds for missed trips, trips that are cut short due to an injury or trips that are interrupted due to natural causes such as weather, strikes by the people, etc.

If you are able to bike out or walk out this will be the first choice. If you need to be evacuated we will have you evacuated by the local authorities or we will evacuate you if it is a life or death emergency.

If you would like to rent a bike, please let us know and we will put you in contact with the right place to get you all set up! 

Fitness & skill level

Is This Colombia MTB Holiday For You?

This 9-day Colombia MTB holiday is crafted for avid mountain bikers that consider themselves intermediate to advanced-level riders. On this MTB tour, you can expect enduro and downhill-style riding with challenging climbs and steep descents.

Part of making sure that your mountain bike vacation is perfect will mean honestly assessing your own ability level. The MTB trails we will take you down in Colombia will often be intermediate to advanced-level trails. If you’re a rider that can handle the challenges that come with those kinds of rides — someone who often practices DH, enduro, or XC-style riding — then we’re sure you’ll love our Colombian MTB tour. If you’re newer to mountain biking, contact us so we can suggest another route. 

Our 9-day Colombia MTB holiday is ideal for you if:

  • You have experience riding on singletrack trails of all sorts with features such as rock gardens, steep sections, rolls or small drops, roots, and small jumps. 
  • You are confident on the bike in most situations
  • You’re constantly looking to improve your riding skills and enjoy riding for extended periods of time climbing and descending in terrain of all sorts.
  • You are fit and handle climbing for extended periods of time

The ride in images

Colombia Photo Gallery

Giving back

1% For Charity

Haku Expeditions donates 1% of all profits to support local education programs.

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