We spend the last few days of Colombia soaking up the mountainous scenery and trying to enjoy the country as much as we can before we head to Ecuador – so we make a quick stop at Campground La Bonanza. Kika opened this campground after Overlanding with her family of 5 for three years. We share her Morrocan hospitality of warm mint tea, fresh croissants, and endless advice on our journey south.
We spend a couple of nights at Campground La Bonanza and meet up with the swiss overlander couple. Since the southern region of Colombia has some safety issues (think Guerrillas), we decide to travel together until we cross into Ecuador. We travel to a park for the night and hang out in their comfy van for the evening sharing drinks and stories. Then we drive to Ipiales to spend the night near the border so we can get an early start for the border crossing the next day.
They’ve done all of Central America and for us – this is our first border crossing so we are happy for their expertise. Plus, spending 4 nights together sharing drinks was really an unexpected pleasant surprise.
Our method to the madness
How do we travel? Well, first we find places that would be interesting to visit. While we have good intentions on doing all the must-dos of the country, many times South America’s ever-changing landscape forces us to pivot. Many times, we meet people on the road who tells us of places we haven’t even read about, so we make another pivot – and more often than not, it’s worth the pivot.
We start planning up to 2-3 days in advance on where we will eat, sleep and what we plan on doing. It might stress other people out not knowing where they will be, but we’ve always traveled this way and having the flexibility really helps with the sanity aspect. Even though you might have planned really well, maybe the entire highway comes to a halt because of a rock slide and now we have to wait 4 hours (it hasn’t happened to us, but wouldn’t be surprised if it did).
Final Thoughts on Colombia
Colombia was warned as dangerous, filled with kidnappings, and surely we are going to have to keep looking over our shoulders. Instead, it was filled with friendly and helpful people who are proud of their country, and breathtaking landscape changing by the hour. Sure it was really slow traveling through the roads and the driving methods are questionable, but overall it really was amazing. It was the perfect country to start our South American journey and we are so so glad we took the time to really drive the country.