I am planning to cycle from medellin to cartagena in Feb 2013 before taking a boat to panama. I am english and not visited before. I am seeking a good cycle route, would you have any advise. I will look to sllep in guest houses in the evenings.
Dear Mr. Thomas:
Bogotá has long cycle routes, but most of the other cities hardly have any cycle routes. It is my opinion that Colombia does not really have freeways and instead has highways, avenues, and other roads of different widths. Some routes have 4 lines (two one way and two the other way). A few have more lines than that. They are working hard on improving the roads and quite a bit of them are paved. Some get slides from time to time (mainly when it rains) and Colombia know where they occur and have crews that go there and fix them.
If somebody wants to go from Medellín to Cartagena in a bicycle then I advise him to take the route buses use or use road maps. If you were to have a car then you would be able to follow them, but since you are in a bicycle then you should buy some detailed road maps so that you do not get lost. You can take the main roads and follow the map and the signs. I suppose you could also use a GPS. I do not know what roads to take, the roadmap, but you can look at maps on the Internet such as the Google map or use Google earth to design a route to follow. You basically write down the names of the towns you need to go to and the names of the roads. If you know little Spanish then I suggest you to improve your Spanish vocabulary in regards to asking for directions, lodging, etc.
Here is a good link that shows you the road to take and how long it takes:
I pasted the route in case the page gets deleted. It is in the opposite direction. Therefore you will need to use the list backwards:
Cartagena to Medellín
(11 cycle days; 3 rest days; 670km;7595m)
Cartagena to San Juan Nepomuceno (88km; 667m)
San Juan Nepomuceno to El Carmen de Bolivar (32km; 366m)
El Carmen de Bolivar to Sincelejo (70km; 639m)
Sincelejo to Sahagun (51km; 264m)
Sahagun to Planeta Rica (72km; 599m)
Planeta Rica to Caucasia (67km; 301m)
Caucasia to Tarazá (64km; 394m)
Tarazá to Valdivia (62km; 1101m)
Valdivia to Yarumal (38km; 1513m)
Yarumal to Santa Rosa de Osos (51km; 1016m)
Santa Rosa de Osos to Medellín (76km; 735m)
The following link shows you the road backwards: from Cartagena to Pereira. Pereira is farther south from Medellín. You could go in the opposite direction starting from Medellín.