Tag Archives: Cartagena

Colombia, that’s a wrap folks

I’m queuing at the border to get stamped out of Ecuador and I see one of the pesky moneychangers outside standing on my bike. I walk out and tell him to get off. He starts getting aggressive, making gun signs with his hand and shouting that he has friends in FARC, the Colombia terrorist group, waiting for me on the other side. I ask a policeman to keep an eye on the bike. The moneychanger carries on FARC this and FARC that.

I bit unsettled, I enter Colombia, my 25th and final country of the trip. I blast through to my first overnight stop in Pasto. I sort out off the usual paperwork that is required when entering a new country, road insurance and the rest. Colombia has a few extra “unique” requirements; your registration number needs to be displayed on your helmet, on a hi-viz vest and male riders can’t carry male pillions. These rules were introduced to stop to the ‘Motorcycle Assassins’ that plagued Colombia in the 90’s.  Sorting this out was surprisingly quick and easy; thanks to some super helpful locals. People here are extremely friendly, stopping to ask about my trip and seeing if I needed any help. My encounter at the Ecuador border seems completely unfounded.

Registration Number on your helmet, a legal requirement in Colombia to stop would-be ‘Motor Assassins’

Continuing north to Medellin is slow going. Most of the route is through the mountains with tight bends and lots of slow trucks. Because the road is so twisty, the locals tend to overtake on blind corners, sometimes the only way to get past the trucks. More scary, is that you start to do the same; at least on the bike it is easier to filter back into your lane.