INTO ECUADOR!! Yes I’ve finally left Colombia.
This is a summary of my final three days of my 180 day Colombian visa and includes my climb up Volcano Azufral (4070metres), a visit to Las Lajas in Ipiales and the famous cementary in Tulcán. Under a bit of time pressure and after a couple of weeks of late night dancing in Cali (previous post) it felt quite hard!
Route Thoughts for other cyclists:
My back route out of Pasto was a climb and I passed some poor areas at slow speed; people said it was safe and I had no issues. It’s possible to stay off the Panamericana until Tangua at which point I found no alternative but to take it for a few kms. From Pedregal to Tuquerres there was fair bit of climbing on a paved road and fell short of Tuquerres that day by about half an hour although definitely do-able if you don’t mess around (like I did). The traffic was a little bit grim on the Pedregal to Tuquerres highway but then I’m used to very quiet roads. After a short paved section out of Tuquerres it’s dirt all the way to the top of Azufral.
It’s possible to cycle to the summit, I left my bicycle with the park officials since I wanted to hike to the crater and not leave my bicycle unattended. However, I reckon it would have been ok to hide it in the paramo at the top since there was no one around on that day. Perhaps on a busy day it would be different. Taking a different exit down I headed to Cumbal. I had planned to climb Volcano Cumbal as well but with only a day left on my visa I decided not to do to it to avoid a hideous last day rush (plus it was cloudy), I got a taxi to the lake instead which was of some interest. Then followed the dirt to Ipiales and checked out Lajas with the remaining few hours I had left in Colombia, eating an unfortunate guinea pig in the process. I crossed the border in the dark and cycled slowly up the hill (15 mins) and then on to Tulcan; which felt fine security-wise even at night (but who knows). San Francisk was a cheap hotel ($6) near to Ahorra parque and the cementary was closeby and worth a quick visit…