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Cycling in Colombia: The epic ride to Alto de Letras

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

The goal every experienced cyclist wants to achieve: To have the privilege of reaching the longest climb in the world, Alto de letras.

That’s right, Colombia has the longest mountain pass (54,68 mi / 88 km), with an impressive elevation gain of 14.754ft (4.500m). You will experience all the thermal floors in the tropic, starting almost at sea level and ending at 11.482ft (3.500m) above it, while riding a nice paved road.

According to your time and cycling level, you can ride from Bogota to alto de Letras and then descend to Manizales, one of the main cities of the coffee region, which will take you 3 days. If you have less time, take our transport service to start at the base of the climb in the historic town of Mariquita.

Our recommendation: Add some history to your trophy Alto de letras starts at the historical town of Mariquita, very close to another historical (but rather forgotten) town, Ambalema. You can start your ride from Bogota to Ambalema and go back in time to the 1800s when the town was a burgeoning producer of the country’s tobacco production. We can get you in touch with a local organization that has been working to bring back the history of Ambalema, so you can also understand the importance of the Magdalena river to the development of the Colombian economy.

On the next day you can have an active rest while riding from Ambalema to Mariquita, home of the “Expedición Botánica”, one of the main expeditions to recognize the species in the Americas ordered by the kingdom of Spain between 1783 and 1816. Mariquita is also located at a strategic point where lots of agricultural products are gathered, so delight yourself with their famous salpicón, a fruit salad with orange juice and ice cream that will fill you with vitamins and calories for your epic climb on the third and last day.

Finally, you will face Alto de Letras on the third morning, and after a very happy celebration, you will descend to Manizales to continue your journey in the main coffee region of Colombia.

Let us make your cycling trip come true, tell us about it in our booking form.


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