According to the travel advisories, the safest place to cross the Ecuador-Colombia border is at Ipiales. This made the border fairly hectic, certainly in comparison to the relatively sedate Peru-Bolivia crossing at Lake Titicaca. Once you get your head around the exchange rate of the Colombian peso, currently about 3,600 to one post-Brexit pound, you realise that the rate offered at the border bureau de changes wasn’t great. A no-commission, no-fee bank account would get you about 5% more at the ATM.

The scenery in Colombia was much a continuation of northern Ecuador, with a green, rolling landscape. It was more akin to what you’d expect in Wales or Scotland than South America. We stopped off at the Santurario de las Lajas, a church built at the bottom of a huge gorge. Both the architecture and natural setting of the church were impressive. Even if you ignore story of how it came about, due to some sort of alleged miracle, it was still a nice place to visit.

We stayed in Ipiales itself which was nothing particularly special as a city. There were a couple of OK plazas but I’d imagine that most people come here to visit the church on the outskirts. At tea we were still getting accustomed to the local currency. Psychologically 3,500 pesos for a beer and 18,000 pesos for a meal sounded expensive. It wasn’t though, equivalent to about £1 and £5 respectively.

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The Ecuador-Colombia border
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The Santurario de la Lajas from a distance
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And close up
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One of Ipaiales’ squares
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