Blogs from Ipiales, Colombia, South America - page 2


South America » Colombia » Ipiales March 16th 2011

From Manizales we headed to Popayán. Here we happened on an excellent hostel called Hostel Trail. Sure, it had a fairly ordinary name for a hostel, and the Russian screamers in the room next to ours showed how thick the walls were, but the staff were great and it was in a good spot. Popayán was a town in the mountains with about 250,000 people, and offered climbs of nearby volcanoes and many other activities. We did none of these, being content to wander about the place and soak up the feel. It was a relaxed, friendly place, and we really only had a couple of nights there before we headed towards the border with Ecuador. All in all, it was a great town to just hang about and wander in. Popayán to Ipiales would prove ... read more
View from the hostel of Popayán
San Felipe, near the church

South America » Colombia » Ipiales June 26th 2010

With reference to the amount of pilgrims that visit this site every year, Las Lajas is the second most important Virgin Mary sanctuary after Lourdes. And a spectacular one, as the little church is directly built into a small canyon.... read more
built into a canyon
making my way down
selfportrait without church top

South America » Colombia » Ipiales June 23rd 2010

The last city, Popayan, was to be the last Colombian city we visited. However, it was still quite a hike from the border with Ecuador. We tried to figure out a way to get down to Quito in one trip, but it was impossible. So, we ended up stopping for a night in Ipiales, the border town. I won't waste too much time writing about this city except to say that no one should bother staying here unless it is absolutely necessary. It is cold and blustery. It rains a lot... a cold, miserable drizzle. It´s rundown, grimy, dingy, unwelcoming. The guide book describes it as ¨uninspiring.¨ After spending about half an hour looking around town for a restaurant, we ended up at one of the only ones still open (and it was only around 7 ... read more
Ugly hostel
Worst bed ever

South America » Colombia » Ipiales January 29th 2010

Despite the title of this entry, I set off from Quito this morning on a 7:20am bus bound for Tulcan, the closest city to Colombia any Ecuadorian bus will take you. Promptly at noon, we arrived at the Tulcanterminal from where I took an extremely expensive $3.50 cab to the frontera (My 5 hour bus ride cost $4.75). I asked around - both inside and outside of the terminal. There was no budging on the price. I didn’t feel too bad about paying that amount once I saw the traffic getting across the border. I’m not sure what the hold up was because at one point, my cabbie went renegade and drove along the shoulder to where he needed to drop me off - Ecuadorian immigration. Nothing much going here. I simply needed my exit stamp. ... read more
El Sanctuario de Las Lajas
El Sanctuario de Las Lajas

South America » Colombia » Ipiales January 6th 2010

was a hilarious experience. It was basically two days of being dirty because as soon as you got out on the street, someone would come and paint your face (or sometimes by accident your clothes too...) with color, spray foam on you, or throw flour at you, especially if you looked kind of clean. The Carnaval was held over January 5 and 6 and represent the older days of Colombia when slaves were allowed to celebrate on January 5 and their masters painted their faces in black to show approval of the festivities. The following day, the 6th is the white day. However, as you can imagine, the colors were not respected and during the two days of celebrating, watching concerts and parades, I felt like a cameleont, going from black, to green, to orange, to ... read more
Caught by the Ipiales Devil...
Getting a Bath from the Ipiales Devils...
Two Ladies Captured by the Devils

South America » Colombia » Ipiales October 8th 2009

All very efficient - as soon as we arrived at Bogota airport we were picked up and taken to the freight terminal where the bike was waiting to be released from customs. It took a few hours to get the paper work sorted but at least we left the airport on the bike that day which means we have the next few days free to explore. The only slightly inefficient bit was that the only way out of the warehouse was down two sets of steps - not that easy on a bike!! Bogota is a very pleasant city - very modern and clean. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't this probably something more chaotic. There is clearly a lot of money here, there is a very smart BMW dealership where the bike ... read more
Bogota - the main plaza
Bogota - the gold museum
Bogota - gold earrings

South America » Colombia » Ipiales April 9th 2009

Day 735 (03.04.09) Having recharged our batteries it was time to make a move and face the bone thumping journey back to Popayan - not a prospect that brought joy to our morning. We could have carried on south from here but had been advised that both the condition of the road and amount of Guerrilla activity in the area made it better to retrace our steps to Popayan before heading south to Ecuador. Picking up the bus at a military police check point, it seemed that they had upped their activity from our previous journey down with everyone already travelling on the bus getting pulled off and searched before we could carry on. We were lucky enough to avoid the police pat down on this occasion. Another stop further on and we were not so ... read more

South America » Colombia » Ipiales December 6th 2008

Just over the Colombian side of the border with Ecuador is the small city of Ipiales. It is a frequent stopover for backpackers traveling between the two countries. Few are aware of the tiny village of Lajas just 20 minutes away. Here you can find the Las Lajas Sanctuary - a gothic cathedral built into the side of a mountain gorge with a bridge extending to the other side. It is not to be missed. ... read more
Las Lajas Sanctuary
Las Lajas Sanctuary
Las Lajas Sanctuary

South America » Colombia » Ipiales November 23rd 2008

I have just crossed the boarder from Tucan (Ecuador) to Ipialas (Colombia) and it was surprisingly easy. We had absolutely no problems, for the first time everything went incredibly smoothly. The night before entering Colombia, I sat at the bar in the Secret Garden Hostel (Quito, Ecuador) nervously discussing the safest approach into Colombia. We talked to other travellers heading south and got information on the current political situation. We were warned not to catch any night buses in the South of Colombia. Apparently you get a lot of shakedown in which the army take everyone off the bus at gun point and make you stand in line with your hands and feet apart against the bus while they search you. We were also told that the FARC regularly intercept buses, get everyone off and then ... read more
Jerry At Immigration
FARC Reward Poster
Sanctuario De Las Lajas

South America » Colombia » Ipiales April 7th 2007

For more photos including some of actual people check out Katie´s flickr site: KatiesPhotos Colombia has always been something of an enigma to me. Growing up I believed, as I’m sure most you did too, that it was an inherently dangerous place, like it was usually portrayed within the media or by popular culture. In researching the country before I came I even found one red neck American website, that ranked Colombia equal with Iraq as place you are most likely to die while on holiday. But traveling through Central America a few years ago I meet a lot of people who had just come from there and I started to hear an incredibly different view. One of gorgeous lush landscapes, friendly and beautiful people and a vibrant, proud culture. It was a place that ... read more
Off the pier, Taganga
Katie La Colombiana
Off the pier, Taganga 2

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