Colombia Ecuador Border Crossing

We heard border crossings only get easier in South America. We are happy to report this is true. The process seems more dialed in down here. One central building with well marked windows and offices. One official doing one job, no more 15 man teams for one position. From the border, our first stop at Otavalo was an easy drive. We highly recommend these camping areas just outside of the town center:

For a more off the grid (sans wifi) experience – La Luna Hostel

And for the more wifi inclined, make camping reservations at their in town location – El Rincon del Viajero

Our guide for the Ipiales border crossing into Ecuador.  Continue reading

A Beautiful Distraction

Lonely Planet describes the colonial city of Popayan as having more style than Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin combined. Our expectations were high, yet an hour after entering the city limits something just wasn’t right about this place. The ultimate logic behind our decision eluded us as we hit the highway in search of a place outside the city.

We set up camp among the trees of an ecological preserve and marveled at the beauty surrounding us only two kilometers out of town. We read by the lake for the few hours before sunset and later broke bread with the Seventh Day Adventists who ran the place. Unknowingly, we had stumbled into their religious retreat, but they were more than happy   Continue reading

Almost Missed it

With your choice of camper, it’s not a matter of if it will break, but when.

Before leaving,we were additionally warned against mounting the jerrycan on the rear because bandits will shoot at it to blow up the truck. The travel advice rendered from most Americans more closely resembles guidance for surviving an apocalyptic zombie wasteland.

Even in regard to destinations the prevailing theme is avoidance. We were told that if we managed to survive the Mexican border zone, Nicaragua or Colombia would surely be our ultimate demise. We found ourselves half agreeing with the misguided tips and held our breath as we crossed borders and moved deeper into Central America.

Suddenly we are in Colombia, South America. Complete   Continue reading

100 Miles of Struggle

The Darien Gap is a 100 mile stretch of FARC infested swampland dividing Panama and Colombia. The last successful overland vehicle crossing of this road-less wonder was completed in 741 days between 1985 and 1987. Did you catch that? Two years to travel 100 miles. Lacking unlimited time, we opted for a cargo ship which would haul our truck around the gap in just 24 hours.

What we assumed would be a $1000, one week ordeal transformed into a one month non-inclusive ($) course on Latin American Business Practices. The curriculum included Language Clarification (yes means maybe and no mean perhaps), Specialized Accounting for Budget Oversights, and Advanced Time Management with an emphasis in Official Stamp Accumulation.

A detailed rundown   Continue reading

There is no surf in Cartagena

Sunday morning in Cartagena Colombia. We decide an early start is in order as we hope to accomplish something anything of value on what should be (but is not) our last free day in this little city. Having spent more time here than we originally planned, our frustrations over the loss of control in this journey have settled around us like a thick cloak, heavy with negativity. But this is no place for extra layers and we are determined to shake it off and enjoy the benefits of delayed gratification.

We make our way through Getsemani, only a few blocks from the charming colonial streets of Cartagena’s walled city. At first glance, our place of semi-permanent residence appears to be   Continue reading