Sean's Mid-Life Crisis World Tour travel blog

The Ecuador-Colombia border...

...and the view walking into Colombia.

Welcome to COLOMBIA!

My first bed in Colombia - Pasto...

...and the top notch shower...yes, a pipe out of the wall! (Travelling...

Sights around Laguna de la Cocha

Sights around Laguna de la Cocha

The wonderful trout breakfast for £3.00...

...and the breakfast view!

Our little boat to the island.

Views on the journey from Pasto to Popayan.

Views on the journey from Pasto to Popayan.

Views on the journey from Pasto to Popayan.

The room in Popayan.

Andreas, Jonathon and Sean enjoy a beer.

Views around Popayan.

Views around Popayan.

Views around Popayan.

Views around Popayan.

Quality grafiti in Popayan!

All the streets in Popayan were this white.

Views around Popayan.

Views around Popayan.

Moonrise over Popayan.


Arriving in Pasto at 5.30pm on Tuesday 10th June, it was too late to head on to Popayan, so a night in Pasto was on the cards. Pasto is in no way a tourist spot; it is an industrial Colombian town. Fortunately, a fellow traveller also left the bus in Pasto…Andreas from Norway, so we teamed up and found a pretty rough and ready hotel close to the bus station; at least it was relatively cheap!

As I said, Pasto itself is not a place for the tourists so, after a long (30 minute) walk to the centre through some very dodgy looking areas, it was a quick dinner and then back to base for some sleep. Unfortunately, little did we realise that this hotel was also handy as a local knocking shop and so, at around midnight, I acquired some neighbours for whom sleep was not part of the deal. Needless to say, soundproofing is rarely incorporated into South American building design so I could hear far too much of the adjacent activities! To be honest, they spent far too much time talking and not enough doing but, regardless, I didn’t get much sleep.

The only thing to see near Pasto is one of Colombia’s (supposedly) most attractive lagoons, so Andreas and I met early and headed off to find the transport to the lagoon. When there were four of us gathered for the journey, the taxi took off but, during the 30 minute ascent, I wasn’t sure if it would make it…I am sure we were overtaken by at least one cyclist! Anyway, after 45 minutes we arrived in a very wet Laguna de la Cocha as the roads were flooded. Whilst the village I quite colourful and the scenery attractive, if this is one of the best lagoons in Colombia then probably best to the give the rest a miss!. The highlight was the delicious trout breakfast, although the short boat trip to the Isla Corota was fun.

Back in Pasto, we found a bus to take us to the next stop, Popayan, which is a six-hour journey to the north of Pasto. The journey was well worth making during the day as the scenery was, simply, spectacular! We climbed and climbed away from Pasto and were soon high in the central mountains; definitely one of the best bus journeys to date. Arriving in Popayan around 7.30pm on Wednesday 11th June, we joined forces with a Colombian (Jonathon) to share some accommodation and found a reasonably priced triple room adjacent to the bus station.

On the Thursday we had a wander around the town, which is remarkably white! Every building and wall is painted a bright white, which is just what you need in bright, tropical sunshine! The town was almost destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 1983, but the rebuilding was done sympathetically and it is almost impossible to tell the difference between old and new buildings; the easiest telltales are the cracks in the walls of the buildings that survived the earthquake.

One day in Popayan was enough to see the sights, so at 8.00pm I boarded another bus for the 12 hour overnight trip to Medellin.



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