Encountering traffic, insecurity and similar challenges car use restrictionsTraveling by road is one of the last pleasures left for us car lovers. Besides cycling or motorbike, it is one of the best options for getting to know a country, entering unknown places, enjoying its scenery, food and warmth of its inhabitants.

After more than two long years at the computer for more than ten hours a day, my pre-planned vacation plan with my wife was about to begin: ‘popular’ by Colombia.

While in previous years we had made land trips to the Atlantic Coast, the last of which was in 2016, there was a ‘journalist’ curiosity to see what had changed this time, if true, so much beauty was talked about in official correspondence. and especially, To see the work of ‘entregatón,’ as President Iván Duque called the days of cutting ribbons in the last days of his government.

The main goal of this trip was to visit Bolívar, Santa Cruz de Mompox.It is the first city in New Granada to declare its full independence from the Spanish crown in 1810, when it was the most important port of the Caribbean region on the coast of Magdalena.

Mompox or Mompós has 485 years of history and is marked by the tenacious presence of savior Simón Bolívar, among others. It features beautiful old houses, some of which have been converted into hotels, churches, and museums, and a boardwalk that invites you to walk. All the reviews we read about the beauty of this port in Magdalena fall short. It is undoubtedly a gem of our country that you must know. I hope they fix their street under construction soon.

With the help of Google Maps, the route was for us to leave Usaquén in Bogota along the Cota-Siberian road and continue along the 1st section of the failed Ruta del Sol towards Guaduas, Cundinamarca until it connects to the 2nd section towards San Alberto. stated that it should. ). After visiting Mompós, the idea was to reach the beaches of Morrosquillo Bay, Cispatá Bay and Coveñas; then drive through Cartagena and Tayrona Park and return to Bogota from there.

The announcement stated that “President Duque’s Government has completely paved 226 kilometers.” with an investment of 333,000 million pesos in asphalting, improvement, signaling and rehabilitation worksas well as abandoning the ongoing production of the Magangué variant.

But there is nothing but reality. Things look bad once you reach El Burro, where you turn left to continue towards Mompós. There the Transverse Momposina starts with a path and then there are sections that are not paved at all and where you cannot walk more than 20 km/h.. In reality there are only 26 kilometers of ‘smooth’ road. One consolation is to go for a walk without worry, but according to the past government, this road project “stimulates the commercialization of the region’s agricultural products and promotes tourism in Sucre, Bolivar, Cesar and Magdalena.”

Fortunately, all this is a horror story that has become an iconic song thanks to the beauty of the scenery, the swamps and the passage through towns like Tamalameque, where the legend of the crazy crying was born, the horror story of a party night. El Banco is the ingenuity, creativity and talent of master José Barros, whose bust is found a few kilometers away in Magdalena.

(You may be interested: Accelerating the cigarette tax increases smuggling: FND).

In Magangué you must make a mandatory stop from its port to enjoy the splendor of the Magdalena River and because you must highlight the beauty of that wonderful engineering work, the Roncador bridge between Yati, Magangué region and Bodega, Cicuco region. . . . It is 2.3 kilometers long, joining the one kilometer long Santa Lucia bridge. The landscape, marked by the swamp and mouth of the Cauca River between the municipality of Pinillos and the Las Flores de Magangué region in the La Mojana region, is overwhelming.

These bridges provided a better connection between Mompós and the La Mojana region with the rest of the country as the Transverse Momposina joins the Ruta del Sol. Reaching the island of Mompós previously included crossing the Magdalena River by ferry.

But let’s go back to the beginning of this route of 2,545 kilometers, which paid 326,500 pesos at 30 tolls, because I skipped Mompós as if I had flown, but Transverse Momposina I deserved it. He said it was already a relief to leave Bogota after avoiding the battered Bogota-Cota road, apparently unavailable to the capital or neighboring municipal authorities.

After crossing Siberia and paying the initial toll, you travel to Villeta with double lane transitions, in fair condition and almost always under construction, or with single lane transitions until you reach Alto del Trigo in the rhythm of heavy trucks. trucks. all kinds. As it’s a straight line with enough visibility, the only part you can overtake is a Traffic Police checkpoint with very watchful agents to sanction anyone who dares cross that place.

Then comes the unbearable 22 kilometers. Villeta and Guaduas. It’s a 20-minute journey, but takes well over an hour on a very winding two-way road. A knowledgeable friend and neighbor of Guaduas tells me that this road will be a priority for this government. We’ll have to see, because when calculating the value of the previous job, one billion pesos and the design that will be the viaduct for most of the route remain.

Crossing the Guaduas, you pass through section 1 of the ill-fated Ruta del Sol, a project planned years ago to improve the transit of goods and passengers between the country’s center and the Atlantic coast. For the intervening time, it seems to be the longest road in the world. In 1997, the work was finally released, which was frustrated by the collapse of Commsa, a consortium of 12 companies that did not build a single kilometer of roads and sued the Colombian State.


Crossing the Guaduas, you pass through section 1 of the ill-fated Ruta del Sol, a project planned years ago to improve the transit of goods and passengers between the country’s center and the Atlantic coast. For the intervening time, it seems to be the longest road in the world. In 1997, the work was finally released, which was frustrated by the collapse of Commsa, a consortium of 12 companies that did not build a single kilometer of roads and sued the Colombian State.

From there to Santa Marta there are workpieces, transitions to a lane or an untimely shortening of the road without warning. Residents of Bosnia, Pelaya, Norean, and La Mata, among others, have to endure the slow passing of trucks day and night through the center of their city, with quotas of noise and smoke from their engines.

From San Alberto to Santa Marta, traffic officers are wasting their time camouflaging their patrols in the middle of two lanes to catch speeders. Although the limit is 100 km / h, the number of holes and the bad condition of the road in general do not allow you to go above 60 if you do not want to spoil the suspension and shock absorbers of the car. If you are driving in the right lane, be careful as you should, taxi drivers in the area knowing the road condition will pass on the right, drive along the berm, the only area in good condition.

Overall: it’s a disaster. These days, however, the lawyer for one of those involved in the Odebrecht scandal for money laundering and illegal enrichment crimes has assured him that the charge against his client is “judicially harmless, as no one has been harmed”. The defense attorney certainly did not realize that the corruption in Ruta del Sol affected industry, national and international trade, shippers, tourism, and the lives of many Colombian villagers.

Back on the walk, I told them crossing the Transverse Momposina to the Bay of Morrosquillo, the beautiful and quiet beaches of the Bay of Cispatá in San Antero, Córdoba and Covenas and Tolu, in Sucre. From there along the Transversal del Caribe to Cartagena, the highway has improved considerably. 177 kilometers.

There are 112 kilometers up to Cruz del Viso, which are in good condition but where you should be careful with speed control cameras that cover almost the entire route. Waze takes care of this because there is no regulatory information and signage that operators need to do. The maximum allowable speed is 80 km/h and if you pass the via point more than 40 or 50 you have to literally stop on the brake as the camera breaks it.

(Also: Colombia has one of the longest working hours in Latin America).

The same situation is repeated, leaving Cartagena along the Cross or Caribbean Route, which has other names on different routes, to Santa Marta. The Barranquilla-Sabanalarga-Cartagena section is called ‘Carretera de la Cordialidad’ and the Barranquilla-Puerto Colombia-Cartagena section is known as the ‘Highway Parallel to the Sea’.

In this section we should highlight the viaduct on the Ciénaga de la Virgen leaving Cartagena; While getting to this point via Soledad was a disaster, the Puerto Colombia pier and rebuilding work of the boardwalk and the new Pumarejo bridge. Like the section between Barranquilla and Santa Marta.

This is a road full of trucks. Arriving at Tasajera’s corregimiento, the abandonment and hardships of its inhabitants are reflected. A wall of wilted flowers reminds the traveler of the 45 victims left by the explosion of a petrol-laden tanker on July 6, 2020.

The highway continues to drown the swamp that screams viaduct. The swamp was a source of work for its inhabitants, thanks to fishing.Having to endure the fact that cardboard huts and zinc tiles built on stilts become garbage dumps . Thus, after the chaotic passage through Ciénaga, Santa Marta is reached with that gloomy panorama.

After traveling more than 2,500 kilometers and collecting data, it is not possible to give up journalism despite being on vacation, As a result, despite the poor condition of the roads, seeing the sights of Colombia and waking up to a stunning sea view or enjoying the sunset is priceless.. Colombia has a lot to offer domestic and foreign tourists and I hope the new government understands that. And I hope tradition Open unfinished business.

It’s not one but three passes / Opinion

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Source: Exame

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