DCSportbikes.net  
» Help Support .NET!
DCSportbikes Premier Membership for 25$ per year. Discounts! Click here for full information.

Now available in the .NET Shop:



Get your DCSBN Gear!
» Shoutbox
Sorry, only registered users have the ability to use our real-time shoutbox to chat with other members.

Register now, it's free!
» Online Users: 479
6 members and 473 guests
beatle, Diggy, legendindisguise, otb, ReasonableDoubt, SSLow3
Most users ever online was 4,519, September 2, 2015 at 03:26 AM.
Go Back   DCSportbikes.net > Sportbike Forums > After the Ride...

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Bogota Colombia Ride Report
Unread
  (#1)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
Thumbs up Bogota Colombia Ride Report - August 16, 2010, 09:00 AM

I've been riding for a while now. I'm pretty bored with the standard rides within a day or two of DC. My goal is to do some more theme and destination rides. (give me more ideas.) Someday in the future, I want to be able to say that I've done a decent amount of riding on every continent. So far, I've done at least a few thousand miles on two wheels in Europe, Asia, and N America.

So when I saw an opportunity to go to Bogota, Colombia, last month I went with it. As usual, I did a bit of research on the net but didn't really do much planning or organizing. The flight was quick and painless, but getting out of the airport was not. Bogota is a city of 8 million, but the airport is very small - only 2 runways - and pretty run down.

I flew out of DCA. My luggage was one duffel bag with gear, PacSafe backpack with clothes/etc, and helmet. All carry on. Those of you that know me will not be surprised I got to the gate about 10 minutes before they started boarding the plane.



Because of long lines at Immigration, it took me exactly 4 hours from the second the plane touched down to me exiting the airport at Bogota. After exchanging some money, it was time to fetch a cab and start looking for a hotel.

Road from airport. There is a ton of construction in the city, and lots of makeshift detours. Notice the motorcycle in the photo. All motorcycles in Bogota are required to display their tag in three places - 1) standard fender area, 2) reflective vest, and 3) Helmet. If you are missing any of this, you will be pulled over. The reason for this is that it makes riders easier to track. Bogota has a long history of motorcycle enabled robberies, assassinations, kidnappings, etc.



Anyway, I soon found out that it's not that easy to find decent accommodations in this city. Cheap hotels - under $100/night - are pretty horrible. Expensive hotels are, well, expensive. There are no virtually no mid-range options. In the week I was there, I tried like 4 places slowly moving up in the price range. Eventually, I ended in this hotel.





I negotiated the rate down to about $160-170/night or so. Looks pretty good, but do you see something missing?



Climate control! Bogota is surrounded by mountains which results in a rather stable climate. Most places don't have climate control. It sucks. During the night, I put the stove on for heat.

Bogota is very big and very poor. Even their renowned Universidad Nacional looks like a very run down, graffiti infested public housing project to me. People still use donkey carts and horse drawn carriages in the center of the city. There is police everywhere, but amusingly enough they don't carry guns - only sticks. At night, all police disappears and the good areas are patrolled by the military with automatic weapons and the so-so areas don't seem to be patrolled at all. FARC/ELN war of terror is still creating a ton of displaced people who come to Bogota and whole families beg on the streets.

But... this city is pretty cool. La Calendaria, the historical part of the city, looks amazing with it's Spanish Colonial architecture. Good areas of the city look just like upscale US metro areas with Hugo Boss stores and the like. There are plenty of great clubs with a great feel and music. Restaurants, even high end, were generally a let down.












Motorcycle rentals are damn near impossible. I run into many dead ends. Eventually towards the end of the trip I struck a deal with a random Colombian rider who sourced an Indian 200cc bike for me and showed me around for a day. But I was really hoping to rent a bike do more riding.

So I mostly just played tourist. Transportation was mostly a rented bicycle and cabs. Cabs in Bogota are a PIA. Majority of them tried to screw me in a major way. You are not supposed to get cabs on the street, but I ignored this advice. Anyway, screwing around a bicycle was pretty fun anyways.

I guess this wouldn't be a true Bogota experience without getting mugged at knife point which also came towards the end of my trip. Walking down a shady street I saw this coming a mile away so I watched my back. Then I glance behind me to see a dude run up to me. I grabbed him and threw him on the street and ran my ass off down into grassy woods. Then I slipped and in no time I was surrounded by 3 dudes with knives. They got my camera and a small money. They did not get the $700+ I had on me.



I tried to pick up Lonely Planet Colombia at Union Station 2 hours before my flight but B&N sucks and they were out of stock. I was browsing it the other day and I saw this:



I wish I had seen this before my trip. haha. Anyway, Bogota is safe enough in the 'good areas', but the good areas are just like any metro USA city - who wants to travel X,XXX miles to see that? And the interesting and cool parts are indeed sketchy, especially after dark.

Hello Miami




The recurring theme for Bogota - 8 million city with facilities and amenities of 200K city. But as Colombia continues to win against FARC/ELN and security improves, things are getting better by the day it seems.

I mostly used my small camera that got stolen to take pics. The second I stepped off the plane I knew I would not be logging around my $5k camera+lenses because of security.

Now the mugging did leave a sour taste in my mouth, but Bogota is a pretty decent place and worth a visit for sure. Technically, I can say I fulfilled my goal of riding in S. America, but I definitely want to go back and so some more substantial riding if I can source a bike.

Bogota questions? Ask away. I am Bogota expert now. haha.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#2)
Super Moderator
 
kevers's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,247
Join Date: December 17, 2002
Location: Ashburn, VA
August 16, 2010, 11:02 AM

Yeah you're a lot braver than me!


~Kim
CCS# 827
01 GSXR1000
01 SV650S

I'm ADOS: Attention Deficit Oooooohhhhh ... Shiny!!!

Life's a BITCH. 'Cause if it was a slut, it'd be easy.
  Send a message via AIM to Send a message via AIM to kevers  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#3)
intermediate
 
silky's Avatar
 
Posts: 571
Join Date: July 1, 2009
Location: maryland
August 16, 2010, 11:05 AM

nice trip. Did they have those van buses? I've been to some central and South american countries and the van buses were always the cheapest source of transportation. your robbery incedent is common too, also extortion from the cops. It's always better if you know someone in the place your visiting because food and transportation can be dirt cheap or really expensive.
  Facebook Page Send a message via AIM to Send a message via Yahoo to silky Send a message via AIM to silky Send a message via Skype™ to silky 
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#4)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 16, 2010, 01:25 PM

When I wasn't using the bicycle, I just fetched random cabs on the street. Technically, for safety you're supposed to call the taxi service and they send a cab and give you a PIN number. When the cab arrives, the driver confirms the PIN. But whatever, I just got random cabs off the street. I don't really see the point of using buses when cabs are so cheap. (at least the ones that don't try to screw you.)
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#5)
I hate Hybrid drivers
 
david636's Avatar
 
Posts: 4,780
Join Date: May 25, 2006
Location: Woodbridge, VA
August 16, 2010, 01:33 PM

I hear they have good cocaine. You are a crazy man.

Could have been worse. you could have been on this flight.
Plane Struck by Lightning, Splits in Three - weather.com

edit: Picture added

  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#6)
starbucks ADV rider
 
nani's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,484
Join Date: June 6, 2006
Location: silver spring
August 16, 2010, 01:52 PM

going to S A in december if youre interested
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#7)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 16, 2010, 01:56 PM

I did almost fly LAN, which filed for Chapter 11 last week.

Where you going Nani?
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#8)
starbucks ADV rider
 
nani's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,484
Join Date: June 6, 2006
Location: silver spring
August 16, 2010, 02:00 PM

the final destination is Bolivia, but we'll ride all the way down there. take a cargo plane from panama to Colombia and keep going south
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#9)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 17, 2010, 09:51 AM

Sounds like you guys have it figured out. Great. You can do all the research and then I can steal the route from you. hehe.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#10)
././././././././
 
Posts: 969
Join Date: April 30, 2010
Location: Va
August 17, 2010, 04:22 PM

Awesome pics, Was Bogota the only city you ventured in? I'm originally from Versalles (Valle de Cauca) and I've been mugged at knife point before as well lol. Glad you had a bit of enjoyment while you were there , but I don't understand how you would even WANT to motorcycle ride down there. Obeying traffic laws is not something Colombians keep in mind at all.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#11)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 18, 2010, 02:03 PM

The one day I did some riding it was mostly exploring the city a bit and then outside the city on 40, 45, similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jez01 View Post
Obeying traffic laws is not something Colombians keep in mind at all.
Well, it kind of works out, cause I don't really obey traffic laws either. hehe.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#12)
Licensed Rider
 
atmetcalf's Avatar
 
Posts: 128
Join Date: March 1, 2010
Location: SW DC
August 18, 2010, 03:31 PM

That looks like a good time, Bogota is one of the next cities I want to go to since I love traveling.

Side note: what helmet is that?
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#13)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 20, 2010, 11:11 AM

Bogota is more of a business city with not that much tourist stuff to do. I think next time I will check out Medallin. I heard it has more stuff. It looks like moto rentals are easier, hotels are cheaper, and things like that.

Helmet is from Gmax brand. I like this helmet. When I crashed it, I wanted the same helmet as a replacement. (I usually want to try something new.)
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#14)
MSF Student
 
LoneRider's Avatar
 
Posts: 80
Join Date: May 19, 2007
Location: Rockville
August 21, 2010, 08:42 PM

Cool pics Witold.... I like the effect that one has, and the hotel looks nice. Looks like a neat place, It must be cool to see places where people are pulling carts with a horse or mule to take care of what they need to do. Also to see architecture so different than anything here is pretty cool.

But, at the same time .... U Crazy .....did they charge you any extra fees to carry those huge balls on the airplane? ? ?
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Unread
  (#15)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 3,459
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: NYC UES
August 23, 2010, 10:04 AM

La Candelaria historical neighborhood is definitely worth a look. Part of what is cool about Bogota is that there are very few tourists there. A lot of places in the world not only have a lot of tourists, they are completely overrun with tourists.

I did get a lot of questions from US immigration. Then I showed them my balls and they understood and waved me through.
  Send a message via AIM to  
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Skin developed by: vBStyles.com
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest 2002-2010 by DCSportbikes.net. DCSportbikes.net is owned by End of Time Studios, LLC.