CATURRA BIKE TOURS
Caturra started when 18 riders from Colorado visited our Lead Guide, Cesar Grajales, in his home town of Manizales, Colombia. The group was blown way at the level of detail Cesar put in hosting. Every ride, logistic, meal, and attraction was carefully executed through managing a staff of 6 locals. High-end accommodations and curated experiences on and off the bike made for a memorable trip. With Cesar's history and access to the local community, he revealed the true nature of his home. It was a seamless local's experience for everyone who joined.
Cesar started his career in Colombia and showed great potential as a young rider. While racing for Giant, he medaled three times in the Colombian National Mountain Bike Championships. He later went on to road race throughout S. America, Europe, and Asia with some of the biggest names in cycling. He helped pioneer mountain biking as a sport in Colombia and is one of two Colombians who raced in both world championships for mountain biking and road on the the national pro team.
Cesar is known for his climbing prowess throughout the American peloton. His reputation was set at the 2004 Tour de Georgia. Everyone expected a showdown between Lance Armstrong and Jen Voight. As they hit the climb, the pack fell off. When the group was down to 6, Cesar made his historic attack. Voight eventually took up the chase and dropped everyone except Armstrong and Horner. He held a huge gap to the finish for the greatest win of his career. Check out the piece of history in "The Lance Chronicles" here.
Cesar is retired after 14 year of racing, and now splits time between Manizales, Colombia and Lyons, Colorado.
John is a midwest transplant to the great state of Colorado. He spent 6 years in the advertising industry, three of them as a Product Integrator in the luxury car space, and three in client services.
John traveled the world attending countless film and photo shoots and had the privilege to watch how some of the best directors and photographers set up shots. He's come away with a simple recipe that works for aerial photo and video.
In his spare time, he's outside riding bikes, white water rafting, off-roading, gardening and tossing frisbee with his Catahoula dog-son, Duke.
John is a creative cook; fresh ingredients, simply prepared are his jam. A big appetite will accompany big days.
What an amazing trip! I would say it was a trip of a lifetime, but I want to go again! Surreal rides - exotic jungle, flora and fauna. Unbelievable verticality - elevations of 11k+ to 3k, trail variety from crazy technical to lazy remote roads with jaw-dropping vistas to super fun urban downhills. Incredible
hospitality from start to end. Cesar and his team cheerily catered every moment. Fantastic eats. at the end of every ride. Bandeja Paisa, Arepas, sausages of all kinds, Chicharrón Colombiano, mouthwatering fruits everywhere you turn, unrivaled coffee, and the best Rum (locally made) you've ever put in your mouth!
I've traveled the world riding and racing and my trip to Colombia was one of the best. I rode with 18 friends and everything worked out beautifully. Cesar’s local trail knowledge is what really made the trip special, he showed us his secret stash of epic trails. The trip was so well-organized and catered to the needs of so many people. Cesar went beyond the call of duty after one rider crashed and needed to visit urgent care. He stayed with him during the process translated and made sure he was well taken care of. Manizales is a beautiful city with a bustling athletic population and a great mix of local restaurants. I felt safe the whole trip thanks to the welcoming people and superb planning.
Traveling with locals was key, you get the inside scoop on the area and which made the whole experience feel more like visiting friends and family. The entire experience was completely real, zero tourism factor.
The highlight for me was the post-ride lunches. Without a local, we'd have been hard pressed to end our ride at local riverside restaurant with succulent pork. Also land access through various farms on the rides would have been awkwardly impossible without local friendships. We were a group of 18 foreigners and you can't just poke around a coffee plantation without a clue on how to get out.
Incredibly affordable. Airfare is very reasonable - and the flight is a cakewalk (it was longer from Denver to Ft Lauderdale than it was to Colombia). The US dollar goes a long way ($1US = 3,000 Colombian Pesos!) And the Colombian people are so genuinely appreciative .
Luxurious lodging with ample room for all 18 of us (10 bedrooms, 5-1/2 baths). Well equipped kitchen - and delightful cook/maid. Living and dining room. Laundry. Garage. Good WiFi. Never had to wait for a shower! Very cool neighborhood with nearby stores, cafes, restaurants and street vendors and performers.
Remarkably safe. Sincerely welcoming, friendly and respectful people - both in the city and out in the countryside. No nasty plants or critters and, perplexingly, almost no bugs whatsoever! Incredible wireless coverage almost everywhere. Medical care is incredibly high quality and readily available (and crazy cheap!) - as I discovered after a crash.
Local knowledge goes a long way. Riding private property required some “negotiation” with ranchers. The private/hidden trails were among the best of our tour. Almost every other day included huge shuttle rides and ended with beers and local food—there is absolutely no way to get all that without a well known local opening doors.