Ipiales is more than the last Colombian city on the way to the principle border crossing to Ecuador. It is also an important pilgrimage center for both Colombian and Ecuadorian Catholics. Eight kilometers (4.8 mi) away is the Santuario de Nuestra SeĂ±ora de las Lajas, an impressive church built over a river gorge. From the sanctuary, three kilometers (1.8 mi) along the RĂo GuĂˇitara, are the rock paintings of Piedra de los Monos, reminding us the area was also sacred to the Pasto ancestors of this region.
Numerous indigenous villages speckle the countryside around Ipiales. Visit the weekly market in Cumbal and dine on fresh trout at Laguna de Cumbal. If youâ€™re feeling an urge to do some climbing, VolcĂˇn Cumbal and Chilis are awaiting your steps.