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Ipiales From Colombian Border, Colombia - Don't Be Scared, Come On In

Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman - May 2010 July 2011 July 2012   » View Photoset (39 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Crossing the Colombian border from Tulcan in Ecuador is a straight forward process, very easy compared to crossing the border between Peru and Ecuador.
Colombia Photo - Heading from Rumichaca to Ipiales.
Heading from Rumichaca to Ipiales.

From Tulcan

From the bus terminal in Tulcan I took a taxi to the border town of Rumichaca for $3USD. I then went to the immigration office on the Ecuadorian side for my passport stamp and walked across the bridge into Colombia for more passport procedures, very simple and safe. In this area around the immigration offices and bridge there are many money changers and taxis. Police were checking vehicles for contraband. The border has a few duty-free shops and you can buy things to eat off the street. After immigration on the Colombian side, I got a taxi to Ipiales for about $5000 pesos which is
Colombia Photo - 3 angels monuments at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
3 angels monuments at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
around $2.50USD, the journey takes 5-10 minutes and is 3kms away. The driver took me to the bus terminal in Ipiales so that I could catch a bus up to Pasto.

One or Two Way?

Between Tulcan and Rumichaca you will pass a gas station that has a miniture truck monument and colorful water windmill beside it, the scenery is green and hilly. At one point the road becomes one-way but I didn't realise at first and was worried I was about to die when the taxi went round the corner on the left side!

In Ipiales

The town of Ipiales is fairly simple with some colorful houses and buildings, some horse drawn carts, vehicles and green hills and trees as a backdrop. From the bus terminal you can see the cathedral in the distance. In the area of Ipiales, 8kms away is the gothic church built in the middle of a bridge
Colombia Photo - Monument of a boy reading a book at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
Monument of a boy reading a book at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
called The Sanctuary of our Lady of Las Lajas, which can be visited by taxi or bus. It is well worth visiting Las Lajas, it was better than I thought it would be.

Las Lajas

Take a walk from the top of the hill in Las Lajas where the taxis wait down the cobblestone road. I left my main backpack with one of the shopkeepers for a small fee. It felt very much like Ecuador here, there are many indigenous people and llamas dressed up in colorful hats, crowns, clothes and jewelry. There are many souvenir shops also. The walk down the hill to the church has beautiful scenery, flower gardens, trees, plants and monuments and you can see a waterfall
Colombia Photo - Waterfall on the hill at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
Waterfall on the hill at Las Lajas in Ipiales.
on the hillside. A bronze statue stands along the pathway of Manuel de Rivera - a blind man and there is another statue of a woman and a girl. They are Maria Mueses de Quinones with her deaf-mute daughter Rosa, there are plaques explaining what they did. It really is a beautiful church with intricate designs, colored stained glass windows and angel figures playing musical instruments - guitar, harp, xylophone, drum, violin and trumpets. I got to see inside because there was a service going on at the time, it has pilars and archways of white and gold.

The River

At Las Lajas look down to the river and bridge below, you will see a walkway along the riverside amongst nature, it looks spectacular. It really is a very lovely place.

Bus 90mins to Pasto

From Ipiales it is 78kms to Pasto and takes about 90 minutes. The journey has some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen - green mountains and valleys, rivers and small communities. The road has many curves so make sure your tummy is full before you travel up to Pasto.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Ipiales from the Colombian Border (Colombia) to:


Map location: Ipiales from the Colombian Border, Colombia. Border crossing from Tulcan Ecuador to Ipiales Colombia and Las Lajas church!
 A : Tulcan - Ecuador 9 kms 9 kms straight distance | 27mins 27mins by car (15 kms) | 32mins 32mins by bus (15 kms) (15 kms)
 B : Montufar & Ibarra - Ecuador 34 kms 34 kms straight distance | 1hr 4mins 1hr 4mins by car (54 kms) | 1hr 16mins 1hr 16mins by bus (54 kms) (54 kms)
 C : Pasto - Colombia 56 kms 56 kms straight distance | 2hrs 2hrs by car (88 kms) | 2hrs 24mins 2hrs 24mins by bus (88 kms) (88 kms)
 D : Quito to Tulcan - Ecuador 77 kms 77 kms straight distance | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by car (140 kms) | 3hrs 3hrs by bus (140 kms) (140 kms)
 E : Otavalo - Ecuador 96 kms 96 kms straight distance | 2hrs 51mins 2hrs 51mins by car (159 kms) | 3hrs 25mins 3hrs 25mins by bus (159 kms) (159 kms)
 F : Cayambe - Ecuador 105 kms 105 kms straight distance | 3hrs 26mins 3hrs 26mins by car (192 kms) | 4hrs 7mins 4hrs 7mins by bus (192 kms) (192 kms)
 G : Pasto to Popayan - Colombia 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 3hrs 50mins 3hrs 50mins by car (210 kms) | 4hrs 36mins 4hrs 36mins by bus (210 kms) (210 kms)
 H : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 3hrs 58mins 3hrs 58mins by car (220 kms) | 4hrs 45mins 4hrs 45mins by bus (220 kms) (220 kms)
 I : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 129 kms 129 kms straight distance | 4hrs 38mins 4hrs 38mins by car (257 kms) | 5hrs 33mins 5hrs 33mins by bus (257 kms) (257 kms)
 J : Quito - Ecuador 135 kms 135 kms straight distance | 4hrs 37mins 4hrs 37mins by car (260 kms) | 5hrs 32mins 5hrs 32mins by bus (260 kms) (260 kms)
 K : Machachi - Ecuador 182 kms 182 kms straight distance | 5hrs 13mins 5hrs 13mins by car (301 kms) | 6hrs 15mins 6hrs 15mins by bus (301 kms) (301 kms)
 L : Mindo - Ecuador 159 kms 159 kms straight distance | 5hrs 52mins 5hrs 52mins by car (328 kms) | 7hrs 2mins 7hrs 2mins by bus (328 kms) (328 kms)
 M : Popayan - Colombia 213 kms 213 kms straight distance | 6hrs 27mins 6hrs 27mins by car (337 kms) | 7hrs 44mins 7hrs 44mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 N : Saquisili - Ecuador 218 kms 218 kms straight distance | 5hrs 54mins 5hrs 54mins by car (347 kms) | 7hrs 4mins 7hrs 4mins by bus (347 kms) (347 kms)
 O : Tena - Ecuador 204 kms 204 kms straight distance | 6hrs 56mins 6hrs 56mins by car (408 kms) | 8hrs 19mins 8hrs 19mins by bus (408 kms) (408 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


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