• Leif Enrique Salinas

Motorcycle Adventures Colombia: Part 3



Today was a long ride. Did about 350km. Including going down a wrong road.

Leaving the mountainous area of Bucaramanga, the day started with cool air and curvy roads in the shade of large trees. As I left the mountains I came into open landscape and straight doble highways. With almost no traffic on the road, because of “festivo”, I relaxed and listened to a podcast.

The street shots was from the day before in Girón, outside of Bucaramanga

Going through a town I passed a truck that had just pulled out in front and was going really slow. I crossed a doble yellow line and right ahead the police were waiting. They waved me in. The officer told me what I did was punishable, that I could be fined and immobilized. Shit. I apologized and tried to explain that the truck was going really slowly, but accepted that I made a mistake.

The fine was 400.000 pesos about 120 USD, if I paid within 5 days. After that it doubled. Not what I need right now I thought. We went over to his motorbike to scan my documents. He seemed quite proper and serious so I didn’t bother to try and bribe. Besides there were a lot of officers around. I asked if he couldn’t let me go with a warning seeing that it was my “first” sin on the road. He said no.

He asked me if I had the money to pay the fine and I said yeah but not really. We stood there for couple of seconds in silence. Today is festivo no? I asked, he said yes. We stood there for a few seconds I silence, then he started speaking but I couldn’t quite comprehend what he saying. But it seemed he was letting me off. So I can go? I asked. He nodded the slightest nod and gave me back my documents. Thank you luck.

I turned off the highway heading inland towards Mompós. Following a river through flat landscape and swamps. I lost my way passing through a dusty town and headed down a dirt road. I was enjoying the ride so much listening to African music I didn’t think about where I was heading. I almost fell a couple of times as well due to the deep gravel and sand.

While I was stopped under a tree to secure my load better, a guy on a motorbike passed and came back to greet me. I said I was on my way to Mompós, he said oh man you’re going the wrong way. I had to go back the same way. About 10km on dirt. This time I had more confidence and rode faster. Over bumps and puddles. So hard that the screws holding my saddlebags jumped out. I found a garage in town where I first took the wrong turn. It took about 20 minutes and 2 dollars to get it solved. Easy fix.

Sweaty, dirty, and hungry I finally arrived in Mompós. Took the first hotel I saw. Got a shower and headed to explore the area. A beautiful old colonial town with lots of old buildings along the river.

Felt good and also strange to be back in the heat and sweat. After a couple of days in higher altitude and cool weather.

The next day I continued to Santa Marta where I’ve been for two days now. It took me about 8 hours from Mompós. A long ride on straight roads.

6/6/19 Today I’m headed in to Tyrona National Park on my way to La Guajira in the north. So happy to have reached the coast and the ocean. I’ve missed it!

Attaching my route so far for those interested. It’s been about 2200km coming here from Cali. The beauty this country has to offer is impecable.

Now I’m off to explore the coast and desert.


Leif Enrique

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