Colombian Highways (AutoPista):
If your behaving well in Colombia, the biggest problem you will have is getting a cold! Or, suprisingly accurate is the commercial which states, "The only risk is wanting to stay!", and I am not kidding either. The current Colombian president Uribe, now in his second term has made the highways safe and secure. Security is how he got elected and re-elected. Colombians travel on the roads more than ever now. You can see porches, BMW and many other types of expensive cars cruising the highways in Modern Colombia. It is quite a different image than what people have in their heads from watching the movies and hollywood films. I have to be honest, it took me a couple years to relax and take it all in. When i travel out of my neighborhood i still get people stairing at me all the time, but I dont look like i am from here either. Tourism is quite new, and is an area of rapid growth in Colombia, but don´t be shy because most Colombians love to talk, you just have to say buenas?, or como estas?
The most economic and the most relied upon transportation for many who travel in and out of the city. Many foreigners are using the buses to explore the nearby pueblos, and travel from city to city. If you are leaving the city you will need to know which of the 2 Medellin bus terminals you need to depart from. Just remember that shortt distances on a Colombian Highway take much longer than in the USA. The highways are very secure today, although it's best not to travel at night time. However, with that in mind many prefer to take long bus rides at night time.
The busing system is quite developed, and the major bus lines which run between the major cities are very modern. Just keep in mind that you will want to make sure you keep a sweat shirt and sweat pants handy, because after the large buses get going for about an hour it gets really cold. The quality of the buses varies depending on how far your going to travel usually. The long hauls between major cities which are usually more than 4 hours tend to be much larger and nicer buses, or a combination in some points. The really long hauls are usually exlusively the more modern buses. The long runs between Medellin and Bogota, or Bogota and Cartegena, will usually just stop for food 1 time every 4 hours or so. Its easier to travel at night time, and if you get sea sick or motion sickness please take some medicine with you. The big ole buses tend to bounce around a bit on the windy roads.
Micro Buses I recommend using the small buses to get out of the major cities to visit the pueblos if you dont know the way. You can get to nearby villages for anywhere from 3,000 pesos to 6,000 pesos or so. Express van services to Santa Fe Antiquia runs about 10,000 pesos each way, (about 5 US dollars). Always ask around to be sure the area is safe before venturing out. Major tourist destinations have been secured by President Uribe, and are fine places to visit. Stay over night at popular pueblos. Usually the popular pueblos (villages) have a few hotels around the town square. Search the internet for hotels, or finca hotels, and you will be suprised. They are actually showing up on the internet now.
Colombia on Motorcycle:
If you like motorcycles then touring the windy roads of Colombia can be pretty fun! However, you should be used to the South American style of driving first! Just Contact James at 313-390-7109 for info on motorcycle travel in Colombia. We now have sports bike / motor cycle rentals in Medellin Colombia. Colombia Tours on motorcycle are alot of fun if you got the reflexes you will have a great time. Not to mention motorcycles dont have to pay the tolls on the highway and can get around huge traffic pile ups pretty quick.
Hire a private driver, go on a tour bus or rent a car. You may find it less stressful to have someone along that knows the highways and how to drive in Colombia, because like everywhere else in South America Colombians have their own style of driving aggressively on the tiny windy mountain roads. Car rentals are good but don´t forget gas is about 4.50 a gallon and there lots of tolls on the major highways. Cars are great to tour in but if your comparing renting a car or getting a driver, you might be suprised at the difference. If you have a bilingual driver your gettig a 3 for 1 deal, both a translator, guide, and driver all included in 1 price.
Please add comments below regarding your busing experiences in which ever part of Colombia! Thanks and happy traveling!