If you are going to cross the Colombian border into Ecuador, you may be going on the Popayan to Ipiales bus
Getting the bus from Popayan to Ipiales is easy. There are several bus operators going to Ipiales from Popayan. Just ask at each window and find the bus that suits you.
Popayan bus station is approximately 15 minutes by taxi from the historic area. My taxi cost 5,000 pesos.
The bus company I used was Transipiales. The cost was 40,000 pesos which were 10.50 Euro at the time.
The bus I used was the 0400 bus. It arrived at 0520. More than likely the bus you will get will have originated in Cali or further away. It is quite normal for buses in Colombia to be hours late on stops along their route.
There is a snack bar in the departure area. It was open when I arrived at 0340.
The bus stopped once along the route for a break. I would not advise ordering a big meal as the break was just twenty minutes.
The journey is one of the more scenic in Colombia throughout the mountains.
It took about five and a half hours to get to the city of Pesto. At Pesto, anyone going to Ipiales was asked to transfer to a smaller bus.
I would advise taking your seat quickly as other people join the journey here. At least two people had to sit on the floor the day I was travelling.
There is currently a lot of construction work on the road from Pesto to Ipiales. It looked as it is in its early stages. The bus had to stop many times as we made our way to Ipiales.
Eight hours after I left Popayan, I arrived at Ipiales bus station. There are a few places near the entrance where you can get something to eat or drink.
If you are in Ipiales, you probably are going to the border with Ecuador. Opposite the bus station, you can get Colectivo taxis. They leave once they have enough people. Cost 2,000 pesos.
Crossing the border was quite easy. Exiting Colombia took about ten minutes.
You then need to walk across a bridge for about five minutes.
Entering Ecuador was also smooth. Another ten minutes at passport control.
There are also taxis to take you to the nearest town of Tuclan 5km away. You can get a bus from Tulcan to other parts of Ecuador.
I don’t know the price of a taxi. I arrived the day of a national transport strike and had to walk the 5km to Tulcan, but that is a whole other story.
Ipiales is a pretty dreary-looking town. There is one major reason to spend at least a few hours here. Las Lajas Sanctuary.
The church is built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River. Construction started in 1916 and took 33 years to build.
The Las Lajas Sanctuary is well worth a visit before you cross the border. I took a Colectivo taxi for the 15-minute journey with two other people. Cost 5,000 pesos. I took a Colectivo taxi on my own for the return. Cost 10,000 pesos.
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