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Colombia Maps and GPS Information

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Mapas de Ruta - the excellent strip-maps we used in Colombia
Mapas de Ruta - the excellent strip-maps we used in Colombia (View on flickr)

The most commonly available map of Colombia (outside the country) is the widely available one from ITMB (International Travel Maps). As usual theirs is quite poor, but since it was the only one we could get before arriving in the country, we bought it.

However, we were able to get some excellent map resources at the national institute of geography, the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi, and that did us very well. They offered a number of maps, but we bought their set of route maps "Mapas de Ruta", that gave 1:750,000 renditions of the major highway stretches of the whole country.

There are also a couple of widely available travel guides for the country, with lots of great information, but they're big glossy books with lots of ads and they're extremely heavy. One of these is the Guia de Rutas Por Colombia and another is published by the big telephone company Telefonica.

The GPS maps we used don't seem to be available, but a helpful visitor commented "If you are looking for very good maps for tha garmin GPS try Gisco at www.mygisco.com."

We crossed into Ecuador today

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Nancy and Randy at the Ecuador border
Nancy and Randy at the Ecuador border (View on flickr)

We crossed into Ecuador today! Our 10th country. 11,000 miles (17,700 km) into the ride. It's high, cold, mountainous.

In the last few days we've been riding up to and above 10,000 feet in elevation and it's been so cloudy or foggy that we can't see much at all of the beautiful scenery above us. We can usually see valleys below, but can't see even the sides of the great volcanoes.

Colombia Wrapup and Memories

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Woman carrying her bundle of firewood
Woman carrying her bundle of firewood (View on flickr)

Some more ramblings about our (wonderful) time in Colombia:

Colombia is such a diverse country. I'd say there's more money here than in any country we've been in since we left the US. Many relatively small towns have very fancy downtowns, with great services. (If you're looking for a place to invest, you should consider Colombia. It's looked on so poorly by the outside world, but is actually thriving and on the way up.)

On the other hand, we've seen poverty as severe as many other places, and lots of rural scenes. Horse carts galore, competing in cities with fancy cars in underpasses. Bicycles loaded with all kinds of construction goods and equipment. People living along the highway in shacks made of plastic sheeting. Beggars crawling around in the cities. Sometimes very sad.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Colombia: Notes along the way

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Randy getting a lift on a passing truck
Randy getting a lift on a passing truck (View on flickr)

Some notes from our 1000 miles (1600+ kilometers) so far in Colombia:

It's very common here for cyclists to grab the back of a slow-moving truck for a ride up to the top of a hill. It's loads of fun. Don't slap my hand too hard...  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We're Sponsored! (Sort of)

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Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali
Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali (View on flickr)

We met some very nice people in Cali. One of them was Jose Lopez (and his whole family), an excellent and active cyclist who has ridden the entire country on his mountain bike. Jose belongs to a group called Colombia Nuestra Meta (Colombia Our Goal), which does major country-crossing rides and raises money to get bikes for kids in remote villages.

Last year, Colombia Nuestra Meta rode the entire route that we're riding (impressive!) and this year they're doing a route that's even harder, crossing all three mountain ranges that define this country, crossing it from east to west.

Jose met us and gave us a grand tour of Cali, and then gave us two absolutely beautiful cycling jackets (shown in the picture) - the nicest we've ever had. Our job is to take a picture of ourselves in front of famous South American sites with these beautiful jackets. It gives us a good excuse to get more pictures of us together.

Thanks, Jose!

The Casa de Ciclistas in Cali, Colombia

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Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day
Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day (View on flickr)

We stayed at our first "Casa de Ciclistas" (House of Cyclists) in Cali, and it was an incredible experience.

Casas de Ciclistas are a special Latin American institution, probably started by a gentleman in Trujillo, Peru named Lucho. He opened his home to travelers on bicycle years ago and has now hosted hundreds. He has a very humble home, but always makes it available for cyclists, and is one of the best known resources for touring cyclists in Latin America.

Well, other people think it´s a good idea too, and our new friend Miller Hernan in Cali. Miller is interested in touring, and decided to follow Lucho´s example, and what a delightful Casa de Ciclistas he has created. Hernan's family has a very simple house in a calm "tranquilo" neighborhood in southern Cali, and they just invited us in. We put up our tent in their very nice patio and were more comfortable than we've been in 90% of the hotels we've ever stayed in.

But it even went further. We were there for Mother's Day, and Miller invited Nancy to join his mother for the dinner festivities. And they shopped together for the ajiaco soup, then prepared it together and it was a delight.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Photos of Colombia and Sailing from Panama

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There are new pictures posted of our Trip through Colombia so far and of the boat trip from Panama.

And you can always see all our pictures on the photos page. (We did add some more to the Panama pictures announced them.)

Colombia: Llegamos a Medellín

Climbing in the morning, high in the Colombian Andes
Climbing in the morning, high in the Colombian Andes (View on flickr)

Hola de Randy y Nancy (Hobobiker.com) en Medellín, Colombia

¡Saludos a todos desde Medellín, Colombia! Nos estamos disfrutando mucho de este país tan bello, amigable, y hospitalario.

Aquí es una actualización sobre lo que nos ha pasado en el último mes.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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