El Niágara en Bicicleta

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"El Niágara en Bicicleta"
Single by Juan Luis Guerra & 4-40
from the album Ni Es Lo Mismo, Ni Es Igual
Released March 8, 1999 (1999-03-08)
Format Airplay
Recorded 1997-1998
Studio 440 Studio
New River Studio
(New York City, New York)
Crescent Moon Studios
Critiera Moon Studios
(Miami, Florida)
Kíu & Midilab
(Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
Genre Merengue
Length 4:25
Label Karen
Songwriter(s) Juan Luis Guerra
Producer(s) Juan Luis Guerra
Juan Luis Guerra & 4-40 singles chronology
"Palomita Blanca"
"El Niágara en Bicicleta"
"La Hormiguita"
"Palomita Blanca"
"El Niagara en Bicicleta"
"La Hormiguita"

"El Niágara en Bicicleta" (English: Niagara Falls by Bicycle, literally Niagara Falls on a Bicycle) is a song written and performed by Dominican singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra and his backup vocal group, 4-40. The track was released as the third single released from his eighth studio album, Ni Es Lo Mismo, Ni Es Igual (1998) which Guerra produced by himself.[1] The single became a success on the Top Latin Songs and Latin Tropical Airplay chart where it peaked #2.[2] It was the best-performing Latin Tropical Airplay song of 1999.[3]

Song Information[edit]

The phrase "[pasar] el Niágara en bicicleta" (English: to ride a bicycle across Niagara Falls) is a Dominican idiom used to describe overcoming a difficult situation.[4] In the song, Guerra uses the term to describe the near impossibility of obtaining medical treatment in a developing country. He has been known to compose political songs that reflect on the current situation in his country.[5] In writing the song, Guerra stated that he was inspired by "a pressing problem with public health services in my country.[6] The song was based on the experience on a hospital trip he took for his high bilirubin and criticized the lack of equipment that was either broken or unavailable.[7]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Venezuelan-American JC Barros and was filmed in Santo Domingo and Miami, Florida over two days.[8] As with the song, the music video takes place in a hospital after a person had an accident on a bicycle. Due to a lack of supplies however, the person is asked to wait for his turn in a long line of people.[9]

Chart performance[edit]

"El Niágara en Bicicleta" debuted at #39 where it climbed to #5 on the week of May 8, 1999.[10] The song then peaked #2 on the Top Latin Songs on the week of May 29, 1999 for which was being held off by Ricky Martin's song Livin' La Vida Loca.[11]


Chart (1999) Peak
US Hot Latin Songs (Billboard)[12] 2
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)[13] 4
US Tropical Songs (Billboard)[14] 2


On the review of the album, Evan Gutierrez described "El Niágara en Bicicleta" as "irresistibly singable".[15] David Wilson of Wilson & Alroy's called the song "an interesting merengue-rap".[16] On an editorial review of the album, Fernando Gonzalez of Amazon.com called the song the highlight of disc describing it as "Guerra at his very best".[17] In 2000, the song received a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Tropical Song" as well as a Latin Grammy Award nomination for "Song of the Year".[18][19] The song also received a Latin Billboard Music Award for "Tropical/Salsa Track of the Year".[20]


  1. ^ "Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual - Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Juan Luis Guerra — Charts & Awards — Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  3. ^ "1999-The Year of Music: Hot Tropical/Salsa Tracks". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 111 (52): 16. 
  4. ^ Perez, Jose. "Dominican expression". guavaberry. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ Levin, Jordan (June 21, 2002). "Guerra's Music Mirrors Dominican Republic". The Miami Herald. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ Juárez, Celeste. "Juan Luis Guerra". in. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  7. ^ Small, Mark. "Juan Luis Guerra: Tropical Music Superstar". Berklee College of Music. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ Rivera, Miguel. "Juan Luis Guerra pide al pueblo que se apegue a Dios para detener la violencia". Guavaberry.net (in Spanish). Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ Guerra, Juan Luis (actor, singer). El Niágara en Bicicleta by Juan Luis Guerra Music Video on Yahoo! Music (Music video) (in Spanish). Yahoo! Music. Retrieved August 30, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "El Niágara en Bicicleta — Week of May 8, 1999". Billboard. May 8, 1999. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ "El Niágara en Bicicleta — Week of May 29, 1999". Billboard. May 29, 1999. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Juan Luis Guerra Chart History (Hot Latin Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  13. ^ "Juan Luis Guerra Chart History (Latin Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  14. ^ "Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual — Charts & Awards — Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. 
  15. ^ Gutierrez, Evan. "Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  16. ^ Wilson, David. "Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews - Juan Luis Guerra". warr.org. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  17. ^ Gonzalez, Fernando. "Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual - Editorial Reviews". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  18. ^ Bashman, David (September 14, 2000). "Santana, Luis Miguel, Maná Lead Latin Grammy Winners". MTV. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  19. ^ Bresson, Nancy (July 7, 2000). "Latin Grammy Nominations Announced". NBC. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  20. ^ Lannert, John (April 29, 2000). "And The Award Goes To..." Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: LM-62. Retrieved September 14, 2010.