Hi, it’s me Marimonda.
After seeing the morning view of the cathedral, which gave me absolute different impression compared to that of night, I had come back to the hotel and had breakfast. Then, I headed to the border to go to Quito.
Fortunately, I got a cab as soon as I arrived at the main road of las lajas. So I could stick to my original plan that finishing the immigration before noon. From las Lajas to Rumichaca where the Colombian immigration office is located, was about 15 mins by car and it cost me 15,000 cop. However, the taxi driver left me on the other side of border (which belongs to Ecuador), thus I had to walk back to Colombian side to do immigration. If you take a cab and you arrive at other country without immigration, don’t hesitate to go back to do it. The officer said that I didn’t need the visa if I travelled to Tulcan (the closest city in Ecuador from the frontier). Since I was travelling to Quito, that wasn’t not my case.
To do the immigration, you should line up to get in to the office. Considering the situation in Latin America, there’s a special queue for Venezuelans. I arrived at the office around 10:30 a.m. and it took me about an hour to finish the immigration in total.
After receiving the stamp from Colombian immigration, I crossed the bridge toward Ecuador. It was very strange experience for me. And at the end of the bridge, there are some soldiers and securities to exam my luggages. They had asked to open the back or carrier to see inside and let people pass or rejected after the examination.
Taking pictures inside the office was forbidden so I don’t have any pictures, but it’s similar to other immigration: asking some questions such as where are you heading to, what’s the purpose of the visit, etc. After the immigration, you can go to Tulcan by cab or collectivo.
A step to Ecuador
Ecuador is a country where the currency is USD. Thus, I used collectivo to save some money. It cost me 1 dollar each to Tulcan Terminal. I took a taxi when I returned to Colombia, and it was 3.5 dollars. So if you’re more than 3, there wouldn’t be a big difference in terms of money but you can save time.
Tulcan to Quito
At Tulcan terminal, I had lunch at a fastfood restaurant. It was about 5 USD for two people. Pretty cheap and good deal. I bought a sim card for $9 with 1.5G Internet. From Tulcan to Quito takes about 6 hours by bus. The bus stops quite often, and some street sellers hop in and hop off in the middle of the journey to sell some snacks. The ticket cost $7 per person.
There are two main bus stations in Quito: Quitumbe(South) and Carcelen(North). It takes about an hour from each other. Quitumbe is much more modern than Carcelen, but you can choose the terminal based on your accommodation or your next itinerary.
In Quito, if you buy a bus ticket they charge you extra $0.2 for issuing the ticket. It seemed to me strange since you need to buy the ticket at the booth anyway. I don’t understand why they don’t include the service fee in the ticket price. Also, it is very common that the clerk charges you more than $0.2. For example, if your ticket cost $1.7, they charge you $2. Every booth says that Don’t pay more than $0.2 for the issuing the ticket, but if you’re a newbie to Ecuador you wouldn’t know the exact price of the ticket, especially if your bus leaves in 5 mins, you don’t have time to argue. I think it’s very unfair and should be fixed and regulated strictly.
For the toilet, usually they charge less for men than women. Average cost for women was $0.25 and $0.10-0.25 for men from my experience.
Also, you should negotiate the price for a taxi. Some taxis use the meter machine to charge based on the travel time and distance. But some of them still reluctant to use it and try to trap tourists, especially at the bus terminal or at the airport where many tourists arrive for the first time in Ecuador. If you have an uber app, use it to check the average price.
Enjoy your travel with Marimonda. See you soon!