Colombia: The Road to Ecuador

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Colombia’s colonial towns preoccupied much of our time.  As we made our way south on the Pan-American highway we strayed off a few times to visit some non colonial places and relax our senses in the countryside.

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Town of Jardin
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Each place was branded by a different pattern of chairs and tables
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Camping out at the trout farm near Jardin

From there we took the scenic route across the mountains. At a max speed of 20 km/hr it took a few hours to cross the mountains. No one but us seemed to take the same or opposite path and we wondered if there is a memo we missed about this particular route. Especially as we started coming across past landslides and I was given a new job of watching out for falling rock.

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The start of the mountain path
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On the other side, signs of human life start to show

Once over the mountains we drove until Salento, where we pulled up to a place that was housing four other overlanders. We were pumped as in Central America it was quite rare to meet other overlanders.  So we parted with our evening plans of movie watching provided by free wifi and opted for a more social night.  This lead to new friends from which we did not part until two days later when we headed south and they north.

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Taking a hike with Katie and Chad
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At the end of the Valle de Cocora hike
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Grooming time back at camp
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Feeding stop

As we headed further south towards Ecuador across the Cordillera mountain range the terrain once again dried up, the roads got progressively worse and the police quadrupled the weapons and protective gear they wore.

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Each bridge crossing was controlled by army on both ends giving a thumbs up as we passed by.  We happily returned the gesture thinking how strangely American this seemed, but after a bit of research we learned that we have entered the FARC lands of Cauca region and the thumbs up was a signal for safe crossing. We were warned by Columbians to keep the doors locked, windows up and not stop for anyone. However with all the delicious street munchies, protest and construction, that proved next to imposible.

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None the less, we made it to the little town of Chachagui before heading to our next border crossing the following day. To end a few shots from the road.

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Las Lajas Church

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2 Comments

  • Dad

    March 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm Reply

    We looked for you as our plane passed overhead but couldn’t spot the van.

    Love
    Dad

    • bpainter

      March 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm Reply

      We are up at 4000m in the Andes and waving to you, must have been the clouds!

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