We left Ecuador a week ago and entered Colombia. We quickly realised that no one had asked for our passports, turned around and drove back! The border seems to be open and we had to drive back and volunteer ourselves to the customs people. (Otherwise we might have problems at the end, especially with the van).
It turns out that the favorable excahange rate between the US Dollar and the Colombian Peso means that so many Ecuadorians are shopping over the border that the customs have just given up!
Diesel and beer are more expensive here, but everything else is probably cheaper than Ecuador. Fruit is cheap and amazing, and big meals can be less than £2. There is a massive military/police presence on the roads in the South, but all very friendly, the young soldiers all give thumbs up to passing motorists.
Our first stop was the beautiful Santuario de Las Lajas, where an impressive cathedral acts as a bridge over a river in a steep canyon.
The scenery in the South is incredible. We’ve driven so many amazing roads, but this one still took our breath away, huge green valleys, interspersed with occasional lively villages full of fruit and loud music and Afro-Carribean people.
We then drove up to the small colonial Popayan, where we met with our friends Juan and Lucy who are hitching a ride on our road trip. We headed to Lago Calima, apparently one of the windiest lakes in the world, were George was able to kite until he was too tired to kite anymore! It is always a strange experience to kite in new surroundings, and this lake had some good views and some really strong wind!
We continued our way North, stopping to hike in the stunning Cocora valley, famous for its tall, thin palm trees, one of the symbols of Colombia.
Next, taking advantage of our local hitchhiker/guide, we went to stay with Juan’s Godfather in Andes. Rafael owns a coffee Finca of over 100 hectares and is the president of the local co-operative there. His passion for coffee was rivalled only by his family’s amazing hospitality. We were given a tour of the farm and the process that beans undergo to become coffee. We stayed in the farm and were treated to some massive meals as well as helping ourselves to all kinds of tasty fruit that grew everywhere.
Now we are in Medellin, sorting out a few things before hitting the road again up to the coast, to spent our last weeks of this trip relaxing at the Caribbean beaches. On the way we might do some white water rafting, before hopefully getting a balance between coconuts, some good waves for surfing and some strong wind for kiting.