Colombia 3.

From big city Bogotá down to El Desierto de Tatacoa and up to San Agustín. Then up through a section of the páramo to Popayan for the World Cup final, and down the Panamerican to the Ecuador border. Hit the 1 year milemark for this trip in this section, Colombian cookies and coffees were an apt celebration. Ecuador bound.

imageBogotá, high in the mountains, combination of sunny days, rainy days, everything in between.

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imageColombian artist Botero, whose work depicts everyday life with people larger than life. Museum in Bogotá.

image And from the Gold Museum in Bogotá, featuring extensive exhibits of the history of indigenous gold work found in Colombia.

imageThanks Olga and Alfonso for putting me up for the week!

imageThen down to the lowlands.

imageSearching for that desert.

imageEnd of day makes a good time to arrive.

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imageThe desert shares many similar landscapes with New Mexico, Arizona, but is much smaller in size. Arriving at the end of one day, you pass out of it by midmorning next day. But a nice change in scenery. Colombia has everything you could want, all depends on what altitude you’re at.

imageBack on the main highway to San Agustín.

imagePanela, pure sugar cane sugar, used as a sweetener or the base for many delicious things.

imageA central plaza church.

imageThe three colors you should have been wearing during any World Cup match.

imageStatues from the archaeological park at San Agustín. Home to the largest collection of 1st-8th century sculptures in South America, most found at the site of burial grounds in the area. Assumed religious significance, but meaning lost in time.

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imagePáramo, part one. The páramo is a zone of the highlands northern Andes perpetually caught in clouds and moisture, home to many plants found in no other ecosystem. This is from the 2 day stretch from San Agustín to Popayan. Don’t have many other pictures from here because it never really stopped raining, which combined with the muddy road to make very dirty conditions. If you’re thinking of riding this section, it’s a lot of fun but there are very few options to camp once you enter the actual páramo, since the ground is always either sloping or wet. There’s a Jesus shrine about halfway through where a single person can find a relatively dry flat spot to camp, but not much else. More sections of páramo riding staked out in Ecuador for better pictures.

imageWhen you descend from the páramo to Popayan, the White City, spectacularly restored colonial center after a destructive earthquake a few decades ago, the sunshine and heat is a welcome relief.

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imageThen towards the border, the Panamerican climbing and descending through Andean gorges. Long climbing stretches.

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imageFinal city, Ipiales, 4km from the border.

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