To get our Ecuadorian Visas that will allow us to stay in Ecuador for more than six months, you have to leave the country and file the paperwork in a consulate located in another country. (They prefer that we do this paperwork in the states before we come to Ecuador - The closest US consulate was in San Francisco.) The closest consulate to Quito is in Ipiales, in Southern Colombia.
We had heard mixed remarks about the border crossing into Colombia, so were a little nervous. We rode a bus from Quito to Tulcan (in the very north of Ecuador) and went to the border to leave Ecuador. After standing in line for five minutes and getting a friendly exit stamp we were officially out of Ecuador and crossed ¨La Frontera¨- the no-man´s land between Ecuador and Colombia - into Colombia.
We found the line to enter Colombia and slowly inched forward for over an hour before we got to the window. We explained that we were only there for the day to get our visa and he waved us through without a second thought.
We found the consulate office and explained that we needed our visa
to the Gentleman who greeted us. He asked somewhat gruffly if we had filed all of the correct paperwork in the Quito offices, and when we explained that we did, he mumbled something we didn´t understand and left. After that, we waited in confusion for about an hour and a half before the woman who handles visas returned to the office.
After about 30 minutes of working with this woman, she told us she had everything she needed and to come back in 2 hours. Again a little confused, we went to lunch and checked out a church we had read about in our guide book - definately worth a visit, see the photos.
We returned to the office and worked with the woman for another 30 minutes, getting ¨official¨stamps, stickers, and signatures put into our passports.
We passed quickly and easily through both borders again. The only other interesting part of the trip was when we returned to the bus station, as soon as we stepped out of our mini-bus, ten different men literally sprinted to us yelling out that there bus was the best for getting us back to Quito. Kerensa and I got split-up
by these very agressive guys and we finally went with one of them to the ticket window to buy our ticket (for more than the guy had actually told us...).
All-in-all, the visa process was a major pain in the ass, but ultimately worth the time, patience, and money because we can now stay long enough to finish Kerensa´s research.
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