Road Cycling Holidays

Alto de Letras

5 DAYS · HOTEL TO HOTEL

Map Alto de Letras cycling Trip

LETRAS – THE LONGEST CLIMB IN THE WORLD

Road Cycling Holidays

Alto de Letras

Highlights

  • Acclimatization in the beautiful Oriente de Medellín
  • A myth: The Alto de Letras, the longest mountain pass in the world
  • Tropics and alpine climate in just one day
  • See how tropical fruits are grown and try them directly from the tree
  • Colombia’s highest paved road, the Cerro Gualí

For cyclists who find our Fascinating Colombia Cycling Trip too extensive, but still want to climb the longest pass in the world once in their life, we offer the tour to the Alto de Letras separately and also as a package which can be combined with our cycling camps.

Before we head to the Alto de Letras, your body can acclimatize and get used to the altitude for two days at an altitude between 2,100 m and 2,600 m. In Colombia’s cycling paradise, the Oriente Antioqueño, you will enjoy a pleasantly warm climate and ride on the same roads as the Colombian pro cyclists. With a bit of luck, we might see Rigoberto Urán, Sergio Luis Henao, Fernando Gaviria , Sergio Higuita or other Escarabajos while they are training.

The Myth: The Alto de Letras

The Alto de Letras, colloquially also called “Letras”, is a giant among the mountain passes. The pass crosses the entire Central Cordillera of the Andes and connects Mariquita in the department of Tolima with Manizales, the capital of the department of Caldas. It passes by the Nevado del Ruiz, the second highest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere and one of the highest mountains in Colombia (5,321 m).

Letras is not just a “long” climb with a length of 20, 30 or 40 km. We’re talking about a completely different dimension: over a length of 81 kilometers, we climb almost 4,000 meters in one piece (there are, however, some short descends, which make you lose quickly previously hard-earned altitude, that then has to be gained again…) and ride through all climate zones, from hot tropical climate in Mariquita to the alpine glacier climate at the top at almost 3,700 m. But even at this altitude, the landscape is still fascinatingly green! The vegetation of the Páramos, the typical highland steppes of the northern Andes, is unique and can only be found at high altitude and in a humid climate near the equator.

Get to the Top of Colombia: Letras from the West and Cerro Gualí

Although it can’t be compared with the legendary eastern ramp of Letras, the climb from the west is also fantastic and a great finish for your cycling holidays with it’s length of almost 32 kilometers and an elevation gain of about 1,800 meters. And if you still have some energy left, then we have got a last real treat for you: Colombia’s hightest paved road!

Overview

Duration5 days / 4 nights
Type of TripHotel to Hotel
Guided Tours3
Difficulty
Distance (total)210 km
Ascent (total)6,500 m
Accomodation2 nights in
5-star hotels
2 nights in
3-4-star hotels
Food4 breakfasts
4 lunches
4 dinners
Group SizeMinimum 2
Pricefrom 1,199 €
(1,410 US$)*

*depending on exchange rate

Gallery

With Martin and his team from ELITE CYCLING COLOMBIA and his excellent STORCK rental bikes, a dream came true for us with this cycling trip in Colombia. We had wonderful days! Every ambitious cyclist should experience this at least once in his or her life!

Stefan E. from Vienna, Austria

Holiday Schedule

Arrival / Bienvenido a Colombia

Individual flight to Medellin. We will welcome you at the airport and bring you to the hotel (the airport transfer is included in our prices). After the check-in at the hotel, you will have time to rest and relax. Handover of the rental bikes or the assembly of your bike (we will help you and provide the necessary tools) takes place on the day of arrival or in the morning of the second day, depending on your arrival time. In the evening we have a nice dinner together and get to know each other.

Cycling holidays with Elite Cycling Colombia: Arrival in Bogotá

(please click to enlarge)

INCLUDED MEALS

Dinner

Warm-up and Acclimatization

Our first ride is a very easy one on the plateau of the Oriente Antioqueño, surrounded by emerald mountains. There are some short climbs, but we will avoid all long climbs for today. Today is about acclimatization or active regeneration, for those participants who participated in one of our cycling camps before the tour to Letras. So take it easy and enjoy the ride and the beautiful nature!

Cycling tour in the Oriente of Antioquia in Colombia: Typical village

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  47 km             430 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile acclimatisation tour cycling holidays Colombia

Rest Day and Transfer to Mariquita

Today we use the rest day for the transfer to Mariquita, from where we will start our ride tomorrow. On the way we have the oportunity to visit the Hacienda Nápoles (optional). The Hacienda Nápoles was the retreat of Pablo Escobar, the notorious head of the former Medellín cartel, who terrorized the entire country. The hacienda, with its huge dimensions of approximately 3,500 hectares, is now used as a theme park and is at the same time a sad memorial of history. In Mariquita we will visit a fruit farm and learn interesting details about fruit growing. Of course we will also try different delicious exotic fruits and juices!

Guests from Elite Cycling Colombia on a fruit farm in Mariquita during the cycling trip "Alto de Letras"

(please click to enlarge)

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

The Alto de Letras – Myth and Challenge

Today is the day! That’s what you came here for: Well rested and with the batteries fully charged, today we climb to the Alto de Letras (the summit of Letras)! A real challenge and certainly a highlight in the life of every cyclist. The mountain pass connects the departments of Tolima and Caldas and overcomes the entire Central Cordillera of the Andes. Letras is not only the longest climb for cyclists in the world, due to its length and altitude, it is considered also one of the toughest climbs in the world. Over a distance of 81 km, we climb from altitude of under 500 m above sea level to 3,700 m! Today’s elevation gain is about 4,000 m.

Cycling Trip "Alto de Letras": Fantastic view of the longest climb in the world, Letras in Colombia

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  81 km             3,970 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Alto de Letras

Letras from the West and Cerro Gualí / Transfer to Medellin / Departure

If you have some energy left after yesterday’s ride, the last day of our cycling trip we climb up the Alto de Letras from the west. The western ramp of Letras can not be compared with the legendary and unique climb from the east, but it is a great climb with fantastic views, too, and with it’s length of 32 kilometers it is also quite challenging! And if that still is not enough, we have something very special for you at the very end: The Cerro Gualí. The 11 kilometer climb to Cerro Gualí is the highest paved road in Colombia and leads up to over 4,000 meters. It can not get any higher!

If you prefer to relax, you can visit the city of Manizales or just stay in the hotel. At noon we will head back to Medellin in our support vehicles (alternatively you can also fly home directly from Manizales via Bogota or Medellin), where our trip ends.

Group of cyclists from Elite Cycling Colombia at the Cerro Gualí

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  34 km             1,930 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch

Elevation Profile

Day 1

Arrival / Bienvenido a Colombia

Individual flight to Medellin. We will welcome you at the airport and bring you to the hotel (the airport transfer is included in our prices). After the check-in at the hotel, you will have time to rest and relax. Handover of the rental bikes or the assembly of your bike (we will help you and provide the necessary tools) takes place on the day of arrival or in the morning of the second day, depending on your arrival time. In the evening we have a nice dinner together and get to know each other.

Cycling holidays with Elite Cycling Colombia: Arrival in Bogotá

(please click to enlarge)

INCLUDED MEALS

Dinner

Day 2

Warm-up and Acclimatization

Our first ride is a very easy one on the plateau of the Oriente Antioqueño, surrounded by emerald mountains. There are some short climbs, but we will avoid all long climbs for today. Today is about acclimatization or active regeneration, for those participants who participated in one of our cycling camps before the tour to Letras. So take it easy and enjoy the ride and the beautiful nature!

Cycling tour in the Oriente of Antioquia in Colombia: Typical village

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  47 km             430 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile acclimatisation tour cycling holidays Colombia
Day 3

Rest Day and Transfer to Mariquita

Today we use the rest day for the transfer to Mariquita, from where we will start our ride tomorrow. On the way we have the oportunity to visit the Hacienda Nápoles (optional). The Hacienda Nápoles was the retreat of Pablo Escobar, the notorious head of the former Medellín cartel, who terrorized the entire country. The hacienda, with its huge dimensions of approximately 3,500 hectares, is now used as a theme park and is at the same time a sad memorial of history. In Mariquita we will visit a fruit farm and learn interesting details about fruit growing. Of course we will also try different delicious exotic fruits and juices!

Guests from Elite Cycling Colombia on a fruit farm in Mariquita during the cycling trip "Alto de Letras"

(please click to enlarge)

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

Day 4

The Alto de Letras – Myth and Challenge

Today is the day! That’s what you came here for: Well rested and with the batteries fully charged, today we climb to the Alto de Letras (the summit of Letras)! A real challenge and certainly a highlight in the life of every cyclist. The mountain pass connects the departments of Tolima and Caldas and overcomes the entire Central Cordillera of the Andes. Letras is not only the longest climb for cyclists in the world, due to its length and altitude, it is considered also one of the toughest climbs in the world. Over a distance of 81 km, we climb from altitude of under 500 m above sea level to 3,700 m! Today’s elevation gain is about 4,000 m.

Cycling Trip "Alto de Letras": Fantastic view of the longest climb in the world, Letras in Colombia

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  81 km             3,970 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch Ι Dinner

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Alto de Letras
Day 5

Letras from the West and Cerro Gualí / Transfer to Medellin / Departure

If you have some energy left after yesterday’s ride, the last day of our cycling trip we climb up the Alto de Letras from the west. The western ramp of Letras can not be compared with the legendary and unique climb from the east, but it is a great climb with fantastic views, too, and with it’s length of 32 kilometers it is also quite challenging! And if that still is not enough, we have something very special for you at the very end: The Cerro Gualí. The 11 kilometer climb to Cerro Gualí is the highest paved road in Colombia and leads up to over 4,000 meters. It can not get any higher!

If you prefer to relax, you can visit the city of Manizales or just stay in the hotel. At noon we will head back to Medellin in our support vehicles (alternatively you can also fly home directly from Manizales via Bogota or Medellin), where our trip ends.

Group of cyclists from Elite Cycling Colombia at the Cerro Gualí

(please click to enlarge)

TODAY’S RIDE

  34 km             1,930 m

INCLUDED MEALS

Breakfast Ι Lunch

Elevation Profile

Note: By submitting the inquiry you do not enter into any contractual relationship. Based on your request, we will work out an individual offer for you. Only with your confirmation of this offer your commitment will then be binding.

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