New Border Crossing
December 18, 2017
We headed back to Quito for a night to get an early start the next morning on our way to Colombia. In order to bus to Colombia, you must take a bus from Quito to Tulcan and walk across the border. The border crossing from Ecuador to Colombia was quite an experience. As it started to rain, we had to wait in line for an hour and a half on the Ecuador side just to check out of the country. Once we got that stamp in our passports, we had to carry our bags across the bridge to immigration on the Colombia side of the border, where we had another hour and half wait in line to get another stamp. Whew!
Once we were through the immigration lines, we had to taxi to the bus station in Ipiales to get on another bus to Pasto. The bus ride was uneventful, but it was after dark and still raining by the time we arrived in Pasto. Our first challenge upon arriving was to figure out how to get to our AirBnb that we had rented.
For whatever reason, we had a really difficult time getting a taxi to take us at the bus station. There were plenty of taxis, but we had to practically beg an open cab to take us. So weird. Once we finally got a taxi we got our first taste of the ridiculous address system in Colombian cities. Our taxi could not find out apartment, even with multiple phone calls with the owner of the apartment. We drove around the city for what felt like forever before we finally found it.
So, our first impressions of Pasto (and Colombia) were not too positive. But, that all changed the next day when we arranged for a car to drive us to Laguna de la Cocha just outside Pasto. This fresh water lake set in the mountains was a bit like a fairy tale place with green hills and volcanoes surrounding it.
There are little shops and restaurants on canals with boats for rent. So, we decided to take a boat tour of the lake.
In the middle of the lake is an island that is a nature preserve with walking trails. We walked through the beautiful park and enjoyed the views.
Overall, we enjoyed our short trip to Pasto and Laguna de la Cocha, but it was time to move on to Cali!