How to get from Mocoa (Colombia) to Ecuador | Colombia Ecuador border crossing
Are you asking yourself how to get from Mocoa to Ecuador and don’t know how to deal with this Colombia Ecuador border crossing? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Crossing from Colombia to Ecuador is actually very easy.
We did our research before on the internet and the Lonely Planet, where they don’t advise to cross the border there. They say that it can be dangerous because of guerilla activities. We didn’t get very disturbed by that but we still asked the locals for advice. Everyone told us that it is not dangerous at all, so we followed our instincts and went for it.
Why we ended crosing the border in Mocoa?
We planned to cross the border in Ipiales, this is the most visited and most safe border crossing between Colombia and Ecuador. The problem started in Cali, we had no idea about it. We woke up early, wanted to go South, first to Popayan and then towards the border, via Panamericana (the road stretching across American continents).
When we reached the bus station we found out that it is not possible to go to Popayan, and that is not possible to go south of Popayan as well. They told us that Panamericana South of Cali is closed cause the indigenous people are protesting.
They blocked all the roads and it is not possible nor safe to travel in this direction. Also, travel to Ecuador wasn’t possible. We asked why are they protesting? The reason is that the government doesn’t care a lot about them and their demands, so they are becoming angrier and more extreme. They want to be heard.
We were in a situation where we didn’t know what to do. Do we go back to Bogota and take an expensive flight to Quito? Do we try to find another way by land? We drank a cup of coffee next to the station and tried to figure out our new strategy. With a little help from the locals, we found out that there is another way to reach Ecuador by road, but it is more dangerous, it goes through the jungle.
We decided to go for it – our new plan: Cali-Tatacoa desert-San Agustin-Mocoa-Ecuador.
Now, when I look back, this disaster wasn’t a disaster at all. We did pitstops in places which we haven’t plan to visit, and saw some really amazing sites.
How to get from Mocoa to Ecuador
In Mocoa, go to the bus station and tell them you want to go to Ecuador – ask to get off at Puente international. It will cost you 36.000 COP (10,1€;11,4$). The ride takes between 4 to 5 hours and it’s a nice one. They will drop you 3 minutes away from the bridge, just walk over the bridge, and there you will see people offering a ride to the immigration office.
We paid 3.000 COP (0,84€;0,95$) each, with the discount. In the beginning, they wanted 5.000 COP. It is very close, not even 5 minutes ride so you can also do it by walk.
Due to Venezuela’s political situation, the border was packed with people from Venezuela, there were also families with babies waiting there. It was a very disturbing moment.
You will see the immigration office on the right side. We waited for a long time, for more than 2 hours.
First, you will need an exit stamp from Colombia and then and then you will need an entry stamp for Ecuador. They will give you a paper to fill, with the address and phone number of the hotel in Ecuador, your personal data, and so on.
They didn’t check our bags everything went smoothly, except for the waiting. You get the entry stamp, you leave the office and go outside, and wait next to the road for the bus to the closest town.
It cost us 1$ each to get to Nueva Loja, it is around one hour’s drive away from the border. Now it depends on you what you want to do. If you planning on going to the Amazonas, as we did – Nueva Loja is a starting point to go there.
If that is not on your bucket list, get off the bus on the terminal and catch a bus to Quito, the ride will cost you 12$ and it will take from 7 – 8 hours.
Give Mocoa at least one night if not two
Before you leave Colombia and continue to Ecuador, I really recommend that you give Mocoa a day or two. It is a beautiful place with lots to explore. We were staying in a tent in a really nice hostel, Samay hostal, which is about 7 km away from the city. They have a kitchen, where you can prepare your own meals. We came prepared – full of veggies and pasta 🙂
From there you have beautiful jungle walks, a beautiful river, that continues to the Amazonas. We also visited a shelter for exotic animals, and some waterfalls. Mocoa is also perfect if you want to minimize your budget for a couple of days. With cooking and staying in a tent, each of us spent less than 10€ (11,2$) per day.