Magangué – Mompox – El Banco

Unfortunately I did not sleep well in the hotel in Magangué, and so I woke up pretty tired the next day. I went to the quay to get the small boat to Bodega and then continue by bike to Mompox. This Monday was a public holiday, so there were few people. I got there at 6am in the morning, and the first boat left little before 8am. These boats only leave once they are full, so with little traffic you have to wait ...

Crossing the Rio Magdalena to Bodega takes little more than 15 minutes. Having arrived at Bodega, I first had breakfast in one of the restaurants there, and then did the 40km to Mompox. The landscape is all very flat, and there is lots of water (and a humid heat). The road is a little elevated, but the rest lies pretty low, and I imagine there is a high risk of flooding because of the river.


Mompox is an old colonial town, and a good part of the historic centre has been maintained intact. It has quite some tourist infrastructure (lots of small hotels, bars, and restaurants), and in fact Mompox was the first place since my arrival to Colombia where I met other tourists (but none on a bicycle). Luckily it seems August is low season, and there were not too many tourists. It also wasn’t difficult to find a room in one of the small hotels (Hotel San Andres – economical and friendly) in the centre of the town and near the river.

I rested a bit and then I went to have lunch in one of the restaurants at the river. I allowed myself a fish from the river – and maybe that was a mistake. After that I waited a bit to see the partial solar eclipse, but unfortunately because of the clouds I couldn’t see much.

Back at the hotel things went bad. My mobile suddenly stopped working after a random ‘hard-reset’. Later I left again to have a papaya juice with milk, and possibly either the papaya or the milk were bad (there had been no electricity in Mompox since a thunderstorm the night before) – I got some problems with my stomach. I tried to eat something light for dinner, but in fact could almost not eat anything. I went back to the hotel and soon had to vomit – I vomited probably all the papaya juice. I also got some diarrhoea.

I passed the night slightly bad, and again with little sleep, but at least the next day I woke up already feeling better, even though with little energy. I looked for some light breakfast – a bit of bread and cheese – and tried to fix my mobile, the latter without success (finally I bought a new one, because it serves as navigation, alarm clock, camera, and phone …). All day I was still pretty tired, and only did some short walks through the historical town centre. For lunch I ate some champignon crème soup, and for dinner I allowed myself a vegetarian pizza.

I took the decision to continue the next day by bus to El Banco, to allow myself to sleep well one night – which I managed. I slept until 8am in the morning – and I woke up feeling much better. I spent a last morning in Mompox and at 12:30pm I took the bus to El Banco.

Transporting the bike by bus wasn’t a problem at all – I did not have to take everything off. And I have to say that I was lucky I did this part by bike – the road was initially so bad that the bus needed 1 hour for 25km ...


El Banco lies on another arms of the Rio Magdalena. At first I looked for the quay to get information about the boat to Barrancabermeja (luckily it leaves at 8am and not earlier), and I found a hotel just opposite (Río Grande Hotel). I took a brief walk through the centre of El Banco and returned to the hotel to rest and write.