America Latina by bike….. el Caribe to Santiago

This is the second part of a trip I started a couple of years ago when I flew to Santiago and biked from Villarica  (about 1000km south) to Ushuaia. That was my first cycle touring mission but I immediately took to it. The scenery was amazing, the encounters with the people sublime and what a great way to travel. After having traversed the southern tip of the Andes it was only naturally that I now ‘needed’ to traverse the rest of the Andes, to complete the trip….a plan was made.

At the end of April I flew to Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. It’s a beautiful well preserved Colonial town, an architectural gem. It was founded in 1533 and grew to the most important port in the ‘New World’. The core of the city was built on an island and completely walled in for defense purposes. This very thick impressive wall one can stroll along on top today. The city itself has spread onto the mainland and has over a million inhabitants today and makes for a busy place. It’s nice just to stroll through the streets and hang out on the plazas of the old town, drink cafe and take in the atmosphere. I stayed for a few days, just enough to get over the culture shock and the jet lag. I did a trip out to Playa Blanca for some beach time and than headed south east to a small town called Mompox, a Unesco World heritage Site on the eastern arm of the Rio Magdalena. Founded in 1540, Mompox is now one of Colombia’s most beautiful colonial towns. Rows of well preserved white one story buildings have served as a backdrop in many Colombian films.

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I decided to start my trip here in Mompox, and not in  Cartagena as there was too much traffic and it seemed too hot and too far away from the mountains. I now am a couple of hundred kilometers closer to the hills, but Mompox lies 15m below sea level and therefore is hotter than Cartagena! I also just realized that now is the start of the rainy season and most rain falls in May and June. I finally decided on my route and will head east to El Banco tomorrow, a 85km dirt road ride to start me off….I guess there is no easy way!! At least it will be a flat ride and hopefully it wont rain over night, nor tomorrow?!

And here she is mi MARIPOSA…..out of the box and ready to go!!!

Mi Mariposa