Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Machachi, Ecuador to Pasto, Colombia - March 28

We had an early start with intentions of crossing the frontier into Colombia today.  Breakfast was at 7am and we left the Estacion before 8am to get a jump on Quito traffic.

We by-passed the main part of Quito to make good time northbound, and stopped for a quick lunch in the tiny town of Bolivar, about 55km south of Tulcan.  Just outside of Quito we crossed the equator.

Tulcan is the border town on the Ecuadorian side of the border.  We arrived there about 2:30pm, and were checked out of migraciones and aduana and into Colombia by 4pm - welcome to country number 6!
The ride north to Pasto was up and through the Colombian Andes - steep and green, with deep canyons and sheer cliffs coated in some type of Spanish Moss.
This part of Ecuador and Colombia can be very dangerous off the main routes.  There are drug issues on both sides of the border, and FARC can still be active on the Colombian side.  As a result, there is a significant policia and military presence, especially in Colombia.  We rode past dozens of heavily armed soldiers with a smile and wave, and were ushered through three military checkpoints on the 80km ride north to Pasto.

Tomorrow we head for Cali.

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