Posted by: Googie | June 3, 2010

Ecuador to Colombia border crossing

This post is a series of steps intended to help other travelers who may be doing the same border crossing from Ecuador to Colombia as I did.

Note 1: This applies to the border crossing between Tulcan (Ecuador) & Ipiales (Colombia). The actual border is at a place called Rumichacha.
Note 2: Many nationalities require to have a Colombian visa before hand. As of today, Indian citizens need to have a visa, and I got mine done at the Colombian consulate in Quito.

  1. Check out early from your hostel – I would say 6 am is a good time to start (this means avoid partying late into the previous night, and finish your packing the previous day itself).
  2. Get a Trole bus going north (make sure to get one that goes till “Estacion Y” – some buses stop in stations midway).
  3. Take the Trole bus till its last stop, i.e. Terminal Norte.
  4. Ask someone where you can get a bus to Terminal Carcelen, and take one of these buses.
  5. Ask the guy in the bus to let you know when you reach Terminal Carcelen (most buses will continue ahead).
  6. At Terminal Carcelen, get a bus going to Tulcan (at the time of publishing this post, the fare from Quito to Tulcan was $4.5).
  7. Watch the back-to-back violent movies shown on the bus (its a 5 hour long journey).
  8. At Tulcan, look around for other tourists to share a taxi to the border. $3 for the taxi (not per person) is a good price, but $5 is the maximum you should agree for – once again the price is as of today.
  9. There’s a bridge that separates Ecuador from Colombia and taxis can go across the bridge to the Colombian side. But you need to get your passport stamped, so ask the driver to stop before the bridge.
  10. People might approach you here and offer to help with the process, but politely refuse everyone. Also, refuse offers of exchanging money.
  11. Find the immigrations office and get inside.
  12. If you are leaving Ecuador, you don’t need to fill in the immigrations form. You would already have a copy of the Andean immigration form that you filled when you first landed in South America.
  13. After your passport is stamped, you can eat at the nearby restaurant if you’re hungry. Here is also a good idea to get rid of your dollar coins. There’s a postbox on the wall just outside the immigrations office in case you want to send some postcards to use up all your Ecuadorian stamps.
  14. Walk across the bridge to Colombia. I have heard that it is unwise to click pictures here, but I didn’t see anyone having any issues; so do so at your own risk.
  15. Go to the immigrations office on the Colombian side, and get in line.
  16. Once your passport is stamped, you can stay legally in Colombia for the number of days mentioned on the stamp.
  17. If you don’t have any Colombian pesos, you can exchange a small amount from one of the many guys walking around (they might offer attractive rates, but I prefer to do it from a proper currency exchange place – the choice is yours!).
  18. Congratulations. Enjoy your stay!
And yes, if you found this post useful, let me know how your border crossing experience was!
In case I have missed anything, please point it out so that I can update this post accordingly.
Disclaimer: The above steps are based on my personal experience only and are not intended to be a definitive guide. If you follow these, you are doing so at your own risk.

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