Colombia is famous for its cyclists and mountain-bikers. Getting to know Colombia on two wheels is obviously a fabulous experience. There are many biking trails all over the country.
Here we are particularly interested in biking around Minca and Paso del Mango, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This region is home to a biosphere Unesco Reserve with endless opportunities for hikers and cyclists alike.
We are particularly interested in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a biosphere Unesco Reserve with endless opportunities for hikers and cyclists alike..
Biking around Minca: from Paso del Mango to Cerro Kennedy, and back
We opted for a two-day ride: a trail connecting Paso del Mango, Bonda, Minca and Cerro Kennedy. This would mean a dream comes true: ascending over 3000 metres (Bonda – Minca – Cerro Kennedy) and the next day a crazy downhill (Cerro Kennedy – Minca – Bonda).
This would mean a dream comes true: ascending over 3000 metres and the next day a crazy downhill.
Indications and photographs
You may decide to start in Hostel Finca Carpe Diem in Paso del Mango, a small and beautiful village not far from the coast. From thereon go downhill towards Bonda (20 min). A quite bumpy road, but a good start and practise for what is coming next 🙂
In Bonda take the main road to Santa Marta and on the big roundabout of Mamatoco (another 15 min from Bonda), take the direction for Minca (2 hours). This last stretch is asphalted and is not the nicest section of the trip. There are many cars, buses and trucks that pass along. Local powers decided to widen the road between Santa Marta and Minca. Good for tourism and local industry, bad for nature and hikers. If you ask us, a real pity!
In Minca take the road to la Y (3 hours uphill). You can decide to climb up on one of the trucks loaded with materials for the villages higher up in the mountains, such as La Tagua. In La Ye, the real climb starts for Cerro kennedy. It is a bad, very steep, bumpy road with little traffic. Ascending goes slow, depending on your condition you might jump off your bike and walk for short distances.
The good thing about biking around Minca are the views, as they are just spectacular. All the way up there are breathtaking vistas looking over the many valleys and Minca. At some points you even see Santa Marta below, and you may have a glimpse of Cienaga and Barranquilla.
Biking around Minca – from Paso del Mango downhill to Bonda
Biking around Minca: all the way up there are breathtaking vistas looking over the many valleys
Higher up La Y, the temperature falls, which makes biking even nicer. After another two or so hours from la Y, you get to the local Office of the National Park Authorities. They have a nice place looking over the entire region. You can rent a bed for 28.000 pesos/night, and use a gas stove. It is not possible to buy food up there, you have to bring everything from Santa Marta or Minca.
A good night rest is necessary for reaching Cerro Kennedy since there is still 1,5 hours to go. If you want to get there for sunrise, you have to start quite early and in the dark. What you get is rocky terrain, mud, and of course amazing vistas. At around 6 AM you will arrive at the first towers of Cerro Kennedy, on your right hand; some 20 minutes further up you will arrive at the second towers of Cerro Kennedy, where a television station has been set up. If you are lucky you can buy breakfast up there: arepa with eggs and coffee, but don’t count on it.
Biking around Minca – an option is to get a truck to the villages higher up on the mountain
Biking around Minca – ready to ride downhill from Cerro Kennedy
After watching the sunrise over the mountains – it is absolutely amazing, this is the reason to come here – you can decide either to go downhill the same way or take a more adventurous route.
Biking around Minca – enjoying sunset just below Cerro kennedy
In between the second and the third towers, biking around five hundred metres up and down, you will see La Tagua on your righthand some thousand meters below. There is a trail to La Tagua but not so easy to find: all off-the beaten track, small paths circling around the mountains, descending open grasslands…It will remind you of your skiing or snowboarding holidays. These stretches are without doubt the best part of the trip if you like it the adventurous way.
…All off-the beaten track, small paths circling around the mountains, descending open grasslands…It will remind you to skiing or snowboarding if you have any experience. These stretches are without doubt the best part of the trip if you like it the adventurous way.
If you decide to go biking around Minca and Paso del Mango, then do not hesitate to contact Finca Carpe Diem! We ourselves are biking lovers and can arrange bicycles and offer maps upon arrival. Also, check our other activities, so you know there is much more to do than just biking 🙂
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