For keen cyclists, it doesn’t really get any better than being able to race against Egan Bernal, 2019 winner of the Tour de France, and his fellow cycling superstars. To do so in their Colombian homeland with its kaleidoscopic colours, stunning scenery, and take part in the invitation-only Giro de Rigo is even more rewarding. There are few places on earth that can match Colombia for an epic cycling adventure.
Cycling in Colombia is a national obsession. In 2019 cycling superstar Egan Bernal became the youngest winner of the Tour de France in more than a century, and fellow countrymen Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran are also among the world’s best. The reason? The mountains of Colombia are simply the best place on the planet to train to be a cyclist.
As you explore Colombia, you’ll tackle a four-day cycling route through Colombia’s stunning mountains and coffee country, before having VVIP access to the Giro de Rigo – a festival and exhibition race hosted by pro cyclist Rigoberto Uran. You’ll take part in the Giro itself, enjoy ‘at-homes’ with the top competitors and attend a special gala dinner, before winding down in seductive Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.
This trip is designed for a small private group. You’ll have a full support team and van to back you up and, whether you’re a complete beginner or a semi-professional wanting to reach the next level, you’ll always have the option either to push your limits or take it a little easier and ride in the van.
Arriving in Bogota, you’ll have two days to acclimatise and enjoy the incredible cultural and gastronomic renaissance taking place in this dynamic city. Based in the plush Four Seasons Casa Medina, you’ll discover mouth-watering cuisine in restaurants like Leo, Cocina y Cava and meet some of the capital’s more interesting creatives.
The fun really begins next day as you tackle a 4.5-hour montada that weaves its way through characterful Colombian villages and spectacular scenery down to the colonial town of Honda on the banks of the River Magdalena. In the afternoon, explore the local markets with a top chef and help him choose what’s for dinner this evening as you stay at a gorgeous private house.
Make sure you are well fed and rested, because next day you’ll be taking on Colombia’s most challenging climb. The Alto de Letras ranks next to Hawaii’s Mauna Loa as one of the longest mountain passes in the world. It’s a truly iconic climb that’s on any serious cyclist’s bucket list, ascending more than 12,000 feet over a gruelling 50-mile route.
Continuing along the backroad, you’ll arrive in Colombia’s justly famed coffee country with its endless montage of sweeping mountains, working coffee fincas and poncho-wearing, horse-riding locals. Taking to the sky in a hot-air balloon, immersing yourself in local life as you explore under-the-radar small towns and experiencing some of the country’s finest cuisine will all provide you with a fabulously authentic snapshot of rural Colombia.
Continuing to the race venue in the sensational colonial jewel of Barichara, you’ll have a luxurious private house as your base for the Giro de Rigo. You’ll enjoy a gala welcome dinner, and have face time with Colombia’s superstars as you get ready for the Giro itself. On race day, you’ll be able to test yourself against some of the best in the world in a 100-kilometre road race, enjoying the landscapes and the passion of the crowds that line the way. The event is attended not just by the top Colombian pros, and you may also find yourself rubbing shoulders with greats such as Alberto Contador, Chris Froome or Peter Sagan.
There’s no better place to finish than UNESCO World Heritage Cartagena, where you’ll have the keys to the city as you enjoy three days exploring Cartagena’s pulsating Caribbean rhythms. With an opulent private house as your base in the heart of the city’s historic old town, you’ll delve into the city’s rich musical and literary heritage, meet the city’s movers and shakers at a specially hosted dinner, checking out the hottest clubs and relaxing aboard a private yacht among the tropical Rosario islands.