Off the again of Ducati’s current Patagonia Expedition, right here’s a story from a contact additional north of that distant wonderland: Columbia… a rustic the place journey rises from the soil just like the espresso beans its famend for.

Three native Columbians – Mateo Medina, Andres Arroyave and Julian Trujillo – pack their DesertXs and take us with them on a journey deep into their homelands; a visit about which essentially the most adventurous amongst us dream. Learn on as they inform their story….


The nation of author García Márquez’s magical realism, Colombia is immediately recognised worldwide for a lot of issues, not least its espresso and music. However amongst journey motorcycling fans, it is called a using paradise. It has routes for all tastes and expertise ranges, however we wished an actual journey route; a bodily and psychological problem for us and our bikes. And that’s why we ventured into essentially the most distant areas of the nation to succeed in one of the crucial unimaginable locations not solely in Colombia, however on the planet: the Cerros de Mavacure. We knew it wouldn’t be a straightforward route, with 1300km of asphalt and virtually 2000km of off-road making up a journey that has undoubtedly marked our lives.

“A journey by way of legendary lands the place time appears to have stopped, the place actuality is much more improbable than fiction itself: the Guaipunare journey would start right here.”

DAYS 1-2:



Our wake-up name on day one was at 4.30am, contemplating we had 200km of off-road to cowl to Puerto Oriente on the banks of the Vichada river, a spot that was as soon as residence to a affluent inhabitants however is now inhabited by simply two households who’re accountable for promoting meals to the indigenous populations on the opposite aspect of the river. Immediately, solely the soiled partitions, damaged ceilings and half-open doorways present a clue as to its affluent previous.

We spent the evening there, sleeping between electrical mills, the one supply of vitality within the space, till the daybreak refrain of the plain, with its intense colours and jungle sounds, roused us earlier than 5 within the morning. It was time to enter indigenous territory.


We ready to journey an space that doesn’t even seem on Google Maps – Chupabe; an space dominated by indigenous individuals. First we needed to cross the pure border that’s the Vichada River, however we have been shocked to search out no bridge. Much more shocking was the rudimentary boat with passenger truck we noticed within the distance, modified for this wild terrain and navigating the river that cuts by way of the jungle plain. This was to be our transport to a land unknown to many, to the Alto Unama indigenous reservation. Land that’s inhabited by the Sikuani and Paipoco indigenous individuals, who nonetheless dwell like their ancestors and use the bow and arrow as their foremost searching and protection mechanism.

On reaching this ancestral territory, we quickly realised we have been removed from residence. We had arrived within the different Colombia, the deepest Colombia that few individuals know. We travelled on and will see males with their bows on a mountain within the distance, however we by no means imagined that we’d be detained – 3 times in all, in truth. They requested us to show off our bikes and cameras whereas they spoke dialect amongst themselves. One acted as spokesperson and instructed us about his ancestral land, warning us that the indigenous individuals wouldn’t be as pleasant additional on, however there was no going again now. The journey needed to proceed, and so it did.

We carried on, passing by way of extra indigenous communities till we once more reached the Vichada River, the ‘white man’s border’. There was no bridge after all, simply transportation that was much more rudimentary than earlier than, a easy canoe with area for simply three bikes. There was nonetheless an extended option to go to Cumaribo Vichada, the most important municipality in Colombia when it comes to space, bigger than many European international locations however a lot farther from actuality as a consequence of its restricted entry. We’d spend the second evening there, after travelling virtually 250km off-road by way of lands that taught us each that white males haven’t any place in sure areas, and that what we take as a right within the consolation of our properties counts for nothing on ancestral land.

DAYS 3-4-5:



In 1498, Christopher Columbus documented the mouth of the Orinoco within the Atlantic, whereas Alexander Von Humboldt explored the basin in 1800, reporting on the pink river dolphins. The third largest river on the planet after the Amazon and the Congo, it was certainly one of our targets, and we got down to attain its banks and the city of Puerto Nariño Vichada, proper on the border with Venezuela. From Cumaribo, an off-road stretch of just about 300 kilometers awaited us. Travelling sand, plains, stony floor and roads utilized by locals and suited solely to bikes, the times have been powerful, with temperatures in extra of 40 levels Celsius and tangles of roads that each one seemed the identical, making it very straightforward to get misplaced on the immense plain.

We arrived in Santa Rita, on the banks of the Vichada River, a strategic place for commerce and provide of the world. In winter, every part from meals and autos to gasoline is shipped from right here, transported for a number of days alongside the river to Puerto Inirida Guainia. On this event although, as a result of it was summer season, it was unattainable to navigate the river and autos needed to enterprise to Puerto Nariño on the banks of the Orinoco, our objective the subsequent day.


And so started day 4 of this journey into the unknown, the Santa Rita-Puerto Nariño route. Nothing however plain and, within the distance, that pure barrier that separates the Colombian plains from the Amazon. We have been in for a day of high quality and intensely white sand, a problem for bikes and riders alike. We crossed with no downside, however the troublesome half was nonetheless to return; a spot the native consult with because the ‘pool’. In winter, it’s a pool of water however in summer season it’s simply mud that may simply swallow a motorbike.

The plain started to decrease and make method for rocky mountains, forest and extra indigenous communities that will watch and wave from a distance, an indication that we have been near our vacation spot – the imposing Orinoco river in Puerto Nariño. Bordering Venezuela, it’s a strategic spot for the transportation of meals and passengers to the division of Guainia, an space minimize off from the remainder of the nation by land.

DAYS 5-6-7:



One of many targets of this journey was to go to the Cerros de Mavecure, thought of by the indigenous individuals to be the house of the gods. These three monoliths are a part of the Guiana Defend and situated within the jungle on the banks of the Inirida River, which bears the title of an indigenous goddess.

We readied ourselves for a seven-hour boat journey. First, we’d navigate the Orinoco River in direction of the town of Puerto Inirida, passing by way of the Fluvial Star with the identical title, the place the Atabapo, Inirida and Guaviare rivers converge into the immense Orinoco. We continued to journey deeper into the jungle, into the unknown, till we spied the Mono Pajarito and Mavecure hills within the distance, which meant we have been closing in our vacation spot. A mirror of water fashioned by the final rays of the solar on the waters of Río Inirida welcomed us.

“Astonishment, happiness and euphoria took over. We have been in one of the crucial magical, imposing and wonderful locations we’d ever seen. Probably the most distant and majestic locations on this lovely nation – the hills of Mavecure.”

We’d sail in entrance of the hills, on in direction of the San Joaquin channel, which might be our residence for the subsequent two nights. A small river of reddish waters and white sand, it’s a paradise. There may be merely no different option to describe it.

DAYS 8-9-10:



Again in Puerto Nariño with our bikes, we’d proceed our journey into the unknown, travelling now in direction of the seashores of the Tuparro River, within the neighborhood of the imposing Maipures rapids of the Orinoco. Down on the seashore, we had an 11am appointment with a Panga, a typical boat used to move merchandise within the space. We loaded our bikes and sailed in direction of the limitless Orinoco as soon as once more, to succeed in a spot identified by the locals as Tambora, an deserted facility that was used as a rehabilitation centre for youngsters till the Nineties. Essentially the most shocking factor is that it’s situated in the course of nowhere, with the Orinoco like a barrier on one aspect and the forest and immense plain on the opposite.


It was a brief day, however certainly one of unimaginable landscapes – together with the Atures Rapids, one other spot that few motorcyclists could have visited, with no highway or apparent indicators. Fortunately our information, Andres, was capable of finding it with the assistance of a map and his recollections.

We have been shut. We started to maneuver away from the highway and enter a forest perched on an infinite rock, after which there they have been, within the distance, big rapids with large rocks and currents so robust that navigation is unattainable. We have been as soon as once more proper in entrance of Venezuela, dealing with the capital of the Amazonas state, Puerto Ayacucho.

A golden sandy seashore welcomed us, as did some native fishermen who have been sheltering from the scorching solar in improvised huts. We frolicked taking within the spectacular panorama, a panorama that, 200 years prior, had held explorer Alexander Von Humboldt captive.

We continued on to our vacation spot, the city of Casuarito Vichada that’s proper on the border with Venezuela, separated from the Amazonas state of the neighboring nation by the Orinoco. As soon as an essential web site for commerce and smuggling with Venezuela, it continues to be of the utmost significance immediately, as it’s simpler for Colombians to entry well being and training providers within the neighboring nation than in Colombia itself, just because the city lies lots of of miles from any massive metropolis.

“And now the longest and most exhausting stage of the whole journey awaited us, 453 kilometers of off-road as we headed again. A really difficult route for bikes and riders.”

DAY 11-12:



It was time to move residence, however we nonetheless had 1400km to cowl, half of which was off-road on troublesome tracks. The Casuarito-La Primavera stage can be essentially the most demanding of the journey, however we’d already come up to now and the Ducati Desert X bikes have been nonetheless doing nice. We will’t converse for different components of the world, however actually in Colombia this was the largest check these bikes might ever face – a route that sees many autos depart by crane, or not depart in any respect.

The llanero daybreak welcomed us with its colours and sounds as we ready to spend hours travelling the immense plain.

“After so many days, we already felt the exhaustion. However we nonetheless wished to share in an expertise that will undoubtedly be the journey of a lifetime for a few of us.”

Its title suggests an asphalt freeway with flyovers and bridges, however the well-known Route 450 couldn’t be extra totally different. It’s a nationwide route that connects the town of Puerto Carreño with the remainder of the nation however is in such a horrible state that it’s virtually unattainable to navigate it in winter and continues to be fairly the problem in summer season. We’d trip for 14 hours earlier than reaching La Primavera.


A closing stage of 247km to Puerto Gaitan supplied that second of introspection as we realised simply what we’d executed, crossing one of the crucial distant and in depth departments of Colombia; a spot that, for a few years, it was not potential to go to as a result of armed battle. We’ve got crossed indigenous lands by bike, skilled the immense Orinoco, visited the house of the gods within the Cerros de Mavecure and sailed by way of the Tuparro to Venezuelan borders.

“Even immediately, now that it’s potential to go there, it doesn’t characteristic in individuals’s plans as a consequence of its remoteness and the difficult nature of the journey. That’s the reason we determined to do it”.