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Colombia-Ecuador Border Crossing: Rumichaca

Rumichaca, on the Pan-AmericanHighway just south of Ipiales, is the principal border crossing between Colombia and Ecuador. From Ipiales, catch a combi from the bus terminal ($0.80) or a taxi from Calle 14 and from Parque La Pola ($3). You will be dropped off at DAS, or Colombian immigration. The complex also houses the offices for those crossing in their own vehicles, a casa de cambio and bathrooms. Colombian migración has one line for entry stamps and another for exit. The process is usually quick. If entering Colombia, you will probably receive only 60 days—though you may get lucky if you ask for 90.


Money changers work in the parking lots on either side of the bridge. If you use their services, check all calculations and bills, and count your money carefully. As you cross the modern bridge, to the west you will see the natural rock bridge Rumichaca is named for. For centuries travelers used this stone to cross the Río Carchi—even Simón Bolívar and his minions.


On the other side of the river is Ecuador’s migración. Again, usually 60 days are given upon entering, but go ahead and ask for 90. From the parking lot across the road leave mini-buses ($0.75) and taxis (collective, $0.85; private, $3). The mini-buses and collective taxis will drop you off at Parque Ayora or the bus terminal in Tulcán (Ca. Venezuela and Av. Coral). From Parque Ayora to the bus station, take a city bus ($0.10) or walk the ten blocks. A private taxi from the border will take you directly to the station.


Immigration for both countries is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Transportation fares on either side can be paid in dollars or pesos.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

26 Sep 2011

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