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Pasto to Popayan, Colombia - My Least Favourite Stretch Of Road In The Country

Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2010 July 2011 July 2012

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I have travelled the road between Pasto and Popayan 3 times now, each year between 2010 and 2012, twice up, once down, it is my least favorite
Colombia Photo - Beautiful tree of red and yellow between Popayan and Pasto.
Beautiful tree of red and yellow between Popayan and Pasto.
stretch of road in Colombia.

First Time

The first time I travelled to Popayan was on an overnight bus from Pasto in the south, it took less than 5hrs because of the way the bus driver drove - overtaking at any opportunity. The journey was not that much fun, the roads have many curves so it was like some kind of rally race. I was not feeling well by the time we got close to Popayan and needed to hold a plastic bag near my mouth incase I brought up my stomach. I did get a little sleep at one point while I clutched tightly to my personal backpack full of my important belongings - laptop computer, camera, money and passport etc. I was fast asleep in the back seat when I got a tap on the shoulder by a policeman. I woke to find the whole bus was empty except for me. It was a checkpoint, all other passengers were out on the roadside while the police were checking under seats, in the back of seats, in the toilet, anywhere where contraband could be hidden. He immediately checked under the seat I was sitting on. I got off the bus and joined the other passengers out on the road in the middle of nowhere until the police had finished their inspection of the buses interior and luggage compartments. After arriving at the bus terminal in Popayan I needed to sit down for a while and recover and have a think about where I would stay.

Second Time

The 2nd time I just passed through Popayan traveling south to Pasto during the day. I did bring up my stomach this time and had to stop halfway in a place called Mojarras for the night and rest and continue on the next day.

Third Time

The 3rd time I visited Popayan in 2012 the bus took 8hrs 30mins from Pasto, we were stopped by police in the middle of the night for 90mins at one point because bandits were robbing the buses ahead of us. After it was safe to continue, we did so.

Eat a Big Meal!

All I can say about this journey is to make sure you have a big meal before you leave. It's safer to do it during the day, but still reasonably safe to do it at night. Good luck!

     


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from about halfway from Pasto to Popayan (Colombia) to:


Map location: Pasto to Popayan, Colombia. I have never had much luck traveling this road any of the 3 times north or south, car sickness, winding road, bandit country, not fun man!
 A : Pasto - Colombia 75 kms 75 kms straight distance | 2hrs 36mins 2hrs 36mins by car (126 kms) | 3hrs 7mins 3hrs 7mins by bus (126 kms) (126 kms)
 B : Popayan - Colombia 89 kms 89 kms straight distance | 2hrs 37mins 2hrs 37mins by car (127 kms) | 3hrs 8mins 3hrs 8mins by bus (127 kms) (127 kms)
 C : Ipiales from the Colombian Border - Colombia 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 4hrs 1min 4hrs 1min by car (210 kms) | 4hrs 49mins 4hrs 49mins by bus (210 kms) (210 kms)
 D : Tulcan - Ecuador 132 kms 132 kms straight distance | 4hrs 22mins 4hrs 22mins by car (223 kms) | 5hrs 14mins 5hrs 14mins by bus (223 kms) (223 kms)
 E : Cali - Colombia 178 kms 178 kms straight distance | 5hrs 44mins 5hrs 44mins by car (270 kms) | 6hrs 52mins 6hrs 52mins by bus (270 kms) (270 kms)
 F : Cali to Armenia - Colombia 268 kms 268 kms straight distance | 6hrs 9mins 6hrs 9mins by car (348 kms) | 7hrs 22mins 7hrs 22mins by bus (348 kms) (348 kms)
 G : Quito to Tulcan - Ecuador 200 kms 200 kms straight distance | 6hrs 25mins 6hrs 25mins by car (348 kms) | 7hrs 42mins 7hrs 42mins by bus (348 kms) (348 kms)
 H : Otavalo - Ecuador 218 kms 218 kms straight distance | 6hrs 46mins 6hrs 46mins by car (367 kms) | 8hrs 7mins 8hrs 7mins by bus (367 kms) (367 kms)
 I : Cayambe - Ecuador 231 kms 231 kms straight distance | 7hrs 21mins 7hrs 21mins by car (400 kms) | 8hrs 49mins 8hrs 49mins by bus (400 kms) (400 kms)
 J : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 252 kms 252 kms straight distance | 7hrs 53mins 7hrs 53mins by car (428 kms) | 9hrs 27mins 9hrs 27mins by bus (428 kms) (428 kms)
 K : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 251 kms 251 kms straight distance | 8hrs 32mins 8hrs 32mins by car (465 kms) | 10hrs 14mins 10hrs 14mins by bus (465 kms) (465 kms)
 L : Quito - Ecuador 261 kms 261 kms straight distance | 8hrs 31mins 8hrs 31mins by car (469 kms) | 10hrs 13mins 10hrs 13mins by bus (469 kms) (469 kms)
 M : Machachi - Ecuador 307 kms 307 kms straight distance | 9hrs 8mins 9hrs 8mins by car (509 kms) | 10hrs 57mins 10hrs 57mins by bus (509 kms) (509 kms)
 N : Mindo - Ecuador 277 kms 277 kms straight distance | 9hrs 47mins 9hrs 47mins by car (536 kms) | 11hrs 44mins 11hrs 44mins by bus (536 kms) (536 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.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Pasto to Popayan, Colombia:

Hostal Carolina, Mojarres, Colombia - Large Photo
Hostal Carolina, Mojarres, Colombia (July 2011 - 1 night) - The road between Pasto and Popayan is not a good one for my stomach. I stopped for a night in the middle in Mojarres to recover and continue. The room was big and had a bathroom and tv, a restaurant is outside.

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