Termales-Puente del ají-La Victoria from Choachí

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Choachí Cundimamarca, Colombia
Date Published:
February 6, 2024
Gravel Ratio:
80% G / 20% P
Difficulty Rating:
Enjoyability Rating:
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We did this route while on an 8-day guided trip with Base Camp Colombia. Special thanks to our local ride guide, Rodrigo Pardo.
For more info about Base Camp Colombia, Contact Felipe Barrera at 720-441-8903 or basecampcotraining@gmail.com


Scenery and views are unbelievable from the high roads in the Andes Mountains. Foliage was lush and green and flowers were beautiful and colorful. The higher you climb, the more spectacular the views of the valley below become. Expect to see lots of street dogs, horses, cows, pigs and chickens.

The town of  Choachí, where we started and ended from, has a lovely town center with a beautiful church and many restaurants, shops, bakeries and coffee shops. (We never tried a treat we didn't like 😉) On the weekends you will find a colorful local market with friendly and interesting vendors.

Even though you are on what feels like extremely remote roads, you are never far from farms, families and road-side services. There are many small stores where you can get, water, Cokes and unique local snacks like  Bocadillo (a combination of guava pulp and sugar which is cooked and formed into a block then traditionally individually wrapped in  leaves- the perfect biking fuel!!)
We stopped at a school and local dairy which was delightful to try their strawberry kefir. It was also fun to watch the kids play and then get picked up from school by parents on motorcycles.

The steep grades and length of of climbs are extremely challenging, making the views and stops we made even more sweet and rewarding. (The first big climb is about 3.5 miles long with an average grade of about 10%. The second big climb is a little over 5 miles with an average grade of 4.4%)

It was especially nice to have a local guide, Rodrigo Pardo. He was able to answer our questions, tell us about local history, share with us the specifics about the route, and of course he knew the best places to stop!!


Do not underestimate the difficulty of gravel riding in this area. You will be starting at 6,309 ft above sea level and climbing a total of 5,500 feet. In addition, the roads are rocky and rough, you will be sweating a lot as the climate is hot and humid, and it is not uncommon to be riding grades of 15-17% for extended lengths. You will need your climbing legs and expert riding skills for the technical and brutally bumpy descents.

It is common in this area to see pavement on the steepest sections of dirt roads so cars (and bikes) can maintain traction. Our friend Steve Parcell termed this "pain-ment" as a play on pavement. Every time we encountered this we cringed, then gritted our teeth and gutted it up the incline.

Do this ride if you want an authentic rural Colombian gravel experience with epic views of the Andes Mountains and super steep, killer gravel climbs.

Other Notes:

We recommend starting this route from the main plaza of Choachí. Street parking is available anywhere you can find it in the town. Bathrooms are available in many of the stores such as bakeries and coffee shops.

As a general rule in Colombia, choose wider tires and more gears than you think you'll need. We were fairly comfortable on 700x45 tires at between 22-28 psi. We also used a mullet drivetrain (40t front chainring mated with the SRAM XG-1275 10-50t Eagle cassette.) A stem or seat shock would also be a nice thing to have for the bumpy descents.

Our first resupply stop happened at mile 10.2, just past a school, Escuela Chatasuga. We were able to get water, Coke, snacks and use a public bathroom. (Make sure you bring pesos to pay as most places do not accept credit cards!)

Our second resupply stop (mile 18.6) was in another school, Escuela Rural Potrerogrande. It is also a local dairy that made delicious yogurt and cheese. Again, we were able to get water, Coke, snacks and use a public bathroom.

We finished the day with lunch at La Banca Parrilla Bar which we would recommend. It had a traditional "Menu del Dia" which consisted of plantain soup, Lulo juice, and rice, beans, chicken and fried plantain- delicious!!

If you are looking for a great Colombian bakery and coffee we would suggest Panadería Punto Caliente. It is located right on the town square of Choachí. They have an impressive display case of gorgeous cookies, cakes, pastries and breads plus decent coffee including espresso.

Another wonderful thing we discovered while in Colombia was Aguapanela, a sugar cane drink that is served with lime, cinnamon and ginger. We had it served hot after a chilly decent, but the traditional drink recipe can be both hot or served over ice. If you have a chance to try it, don't miss out!

If you need to relax after all the biking we recommend the Termales Santa Mónica, a delightful, laid-back hot spring in the town of Choachí. Insiders tip: they offer a reduced price for the entrance fee on Fridays. (Check before you go. For us in Feb of 2024, it was normally $20, but only $9 per person on Fridays.)

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Laura & Rose

Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.

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