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WHAT TRAVELERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RENTINGA MOTORCYCLE IN CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA; INCLUDING, WHERE TO RENT A MOTORCYCLE, THE EXPECTED COST AND SOME RULES AND REGULATIONS.
There is nothing quite like the freedom you get when you have your own form of transportation while traveling abroad. The ability to go where you want, when you want is so incredibly freeing that we have come to realize that it is a complete necessity for us while abroad going forward.
The only problem? Somehow finding a way to get your own set of wheels.
While in some places, like Chiang Mai, Thailand for example, it can be pretty easy to find a spot that will rent you a motorcycle or motorbike (one of our favorite forms of transportation), in many countries it can be quite a challenge.
We found this to be especially true in Colombia. And more specifically Cartagena, Colombia - the colorful city along the Caribbean coast.
But luckily, after doing a bit of research and reaching out to a couple of rental spots (mostly through WhatsApp) we finally found a spot that does motorcycle rentals in Cartagena. Enter Bike and Dive Hostel.
Below you will find everything you need to know about renting a motorcycle in Cartagena, Colombia.
WHERE TO RENT A MOTORCYCLE IN
\\ Directions to Bike and Dive Hostel
Luckily, even though there is only one spot to rent a motorcycle in Cartagena, it is pretty easy to get to, even on foot. Below are easy to follow directions from a couple of the more popular locations in the city.
From the Clock Tower Monument (Monumento Torre del Reloj) in the Old City
It is just over a 1.5 kilometer (0.9 mile) walk from the famous yellow clock tower on the edge of the Old City to Bike and Dive Hostel. To start, head down Avenida Calle 24 towards the Getsemani neighborhood. From there, keep going until you reach Calle 25 (the main road through Getsemani). Once on Calle 25, keep walking through the wall and over the bridge and into the Manga neighborhood. Then turn right onto Carrera 18 and you will see the hostel on the right side.
💬 INSIDER TIP: there will be a white metal gate and a sign at the hostel. If no one is around simply hit the bell and someone will open up the gate.
From the Bocagrande Neighborhood
If you are staying outside of the Old City, specifically in the more modern Bocagrande neighborhood, then you can simply follow much of the same directions as above. The only difference is you will start by first going down Carrera 1 until you reach Parque de la Marina. From that small corner park, you should be able to see the yellow clock tower (Monumento Torre del Reloj).
From the clock tower do the same as above and head right out on Avenida Calle 24 towards the Getsemani neighborhood. From the middle of Bocagrande (around Plaza Bocagrande Centro Comercial) is about a 2.7 kilometer (1.7 mile) walk to Bike and Dive Hostel.
☎️ If you need to get in contact with the hostel beforehand (which we recommend doing) you can reach out to them via their Facebook page (here) or even better, contact them through WhatsApp. This was the easiest form of communication for us. The hostels WhatsApp number is +57 3023718924.
\\ How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Motorcycle in Cartagena
Bike and Dive Hostel had three types of motorcycles to rent: an AKT 125CC, an AKT 200CC and an AKT 250CC.
We ended up renting the AKT 200CC motorcycle for the weekend. And while it had its quirks, it did get us (the two of us and a pretty heavy backpack) everywhere we needed to go pretty easily. Similarly, it was able to handle both rough dirt roads and paved highways equally well.
The price of renting a motorcycle in Cartagena totally depends on which type of bike you get - or more specifically, how many CCs it has. Below is a rough estimate of what it will cost to rent a bike for a day (a 24 hour period) from Bike and Dive Hostel.
AKT 125CC = 110,000 COP (roughly $29 USD // €25.65 Euros)
AKT 200CC = 130,000 COP (roughly $34 USD // €30 Euros)
*though when we rented the motorcycle they only charged us $30 USD
AKT 250CC = 150,000 COP (roughly $39 USD // €34.50 Euros)
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: Bike and Dive Hostel does accept both cash and credit card.
\\ Is it Safe to Ride a Motorcycle in Cartagena, Colombia
This is always something to consider before you rent a motorcycle, no matter what city or country you are in. If you have prior experience riding a motorcycle (especially in a busier city) then Cartagena is pretty run of the mill in terms of safety: always watch out for buses and turning cars, but be confident on the roads yourself.
Plus, because motorcycles are so common in Cartagena it is pretty easy to just go with the flow of traffic. Similarly, because of the popularity of bikes, most cars and buses are already aware of driving with motorcycles on the same road and therefore know how to watch out for them.
Finally, if you are looking to not just ride a motorcycle around Cartagena, you can expect great roads within a few short kilometers of town. Once out of the city - really just a few kilometers from the busy Old City - we found the roads pretty easy to handle and not very busy at all (plus the scenery is beautiful).
\\ Rule & Regulations in Cartagena
A couple of things to know before renting a motorcycle in Cartagena includes a few specific motorcycle-focused rules and regulations, as well as some specific rules from the hostel itself:
| Motorcycles are not allowed in the Old City (Walled City)
| Females are not allowed to ride a motorcycle in the Bocagrande area (which is a bit ridiculous)
| According to the hostel, you are not allowed to ride a motorcycle after 11 PM (though maybe this is more of a “shouldn’t” situation and not a rule)
| Helmets must be worn at ALL times
\\ The Best Places to Ride a Motorcycle Around Cartagena
We wanted to rent a motorcycle so we could escape the city and head out to see some nature and nearby attractions on our own, and we are guessing if you are reading this you feel similarly. Luckily, there are some really great places to explore just outside of Cartagena, all of which are a simple hour to three-hour ride away.
Some of the Best Motorcycle Rides Near Cartagena, Colombia
VOLCAN DE TOTUMO
This motorcycle ride is great - not just because of the mud volcano itself - but more so because of the amazing ride along the coast and the access to a couple of nice beaches along the way. Similarly, if you have the time and the desire, you can also stop and see the somewhat famous pink beach - which is really just a pink salt lake (still kind of pretty).
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
If you want to explore an area that does not include beaches or the coast, consider instead heading more inland and towards the beautiful Cartagena Botanical Garden.
To start the ride, first head out to Playa Manzanillo (Manzanillo Beach) and then turn right on Transversal Via al Mar-Cordialidad (right across the street from the turn to the beach). Take that nice quiet road all the way down to Highway 90. Once there, turn right and then keep going until you make it to the outskirts of Cartagena. This part of the ride is very green and lush, and it is crazy how different the scenery is from downtown Cartagena - even though the city is still only about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away.
Eventually, you will reach a roundabout. From there head out on 90B (to the left) and then once again turn left towards Turbaco when you reach Highway 90 again (there will be a big cemetery at the intersection). Once on Highway 90 (again) it is a straight shot to the Cartagena Botanical Garden.
💬 INSIDER TIP: when you get close to the turn off for the Botanical Garden you will actually have to drive a little past it and take one of the retornos on the left side. Then take the first right off the highway down a somewhat narrow dirt road. Follow that dirt road for 1 kilometer. You will see a big gate on the left for the garden.
TURBACO TO CARTAGENA (VIA SANTA ROSA)
This is another pretty motorcycle ride that takes you even further into the open farmland and forests that surround Cartagena. To do the route, first head through Turbaco (the same town as above) until you reach Calle 19. Once there, turn left and then take another immediate left onto Carrera 3. You will stay on this road through the town of Turbaco and all the way through the rolling green countryside.
Along this road you will get to see small fincas, open meadow vistas and even some vibrant green forests. But unfortunately, all too soon it will T-off at another busy road (called Via Santa Rosa - Villaneuva). Turn left here.
Ride for another half a kilometer until you get to the main highway (Hwy 90). From there you can turn right and go back to town the back way (see route above) or turn left and go directly to the outskirts of Cartagena.
Other areas worth exploring on a motorcycle include riding out to Baru and Playa Blanca, heading all the way up to Barranquilla (roughly 75 miles or 120 kilometers away), heading south towards the town of Palenque or riding through the wetlands to the El Corchal Sanctuary, a national park with lots mangroves and wildlife.
Having your own form of transportation while traveling abroad opens up so many opportunities, many of which you cannot get to unless you have the ability to get there on your own. While a car is a great option as well, for many people (and many places) it isn't always feasible to rent or buy a vehicle. Luckily, motorcycles are way more common and usually much, much cheaper.
So, if you are looking to explore the area around Cartagena on your own, definitely consider renting a motorcycle. If you have any more questions about how to rent a motorcycle in Cartagena, Colombia - or just questions about Cartagena and Colombia in general, please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us directly here.
PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR COLOMBIA
| Reusable water bottle: we cannot imagine traveling without our LARQ water bottles thanks to their fancy rechargeable filter that eliminate up to 99% of bio-contaminants.
| Eco-friendly sunscreen: we love MadHippie sunscreen because it’s cruelty-free, vegan, broad spectrum, and reef safe. And even better, they donate $1 for every purchase to conservation efforts.
| Allbirds shoes: comfortable shoes can make or break an adventure or travel day, these eco-conscious and cozy shoes from Allbirds have been our faves for years.
► Find our full sustainable travel packing list here.
STAYING SAFE & PLANNING AHEAD
| SafetyWing: make sure you are staying safe with this easy-to-sign-up health insurance that is specifically meant for digital nomads. You can even sign up once you are already abroad.
| WayAway: this flight aggregator helps travelers find the best rates on airline tickets to tons of different locations.
| BusBud: explore millions of bus routes and destinations in one easy-to-use search; plus, you can compare prices and book your tickets online (in your language).
| Rentalcars.com: check out the world’s biggest online car rental service that is available in over 150 countries.
| iVisa: this site helps make sure you have all of the necessary documents and entry requirements while traveling.
| Wise: this app makes it super easy to transfer money between currencies while abroad, keeping you from worrying about whether you are getting the right exchange rate or not.