Ipiales -> Otavalo -> Mindo
Total Miles Covered So Far: 1120
2/4/17 - 2/8/17
I woke up early in Ipiales because I had my first border crossing on the drive from Ipiales to Otavalo and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After checking out Las Lajas I headed out of Ipiales and was at the border in about 25 Minutes.
The border crossing was super confusing and unorganized, not at all what I had expected. Nothing is clearly labled and the road just keeps going right past the immagration office, so if you didn’t know it was coming, it would probably be pretty easy to accidentally skip immagration all together. I had to leave the bike and luggage unatended while crossing which made me really uncomfortable but it ended up being fine. The Colombia exit stamp took maybe 5 minutes but the line was longer on the Ecuador side and I ended up standing there for half an hour. No one there spoke any English and there was no instructions for anything. I learned later that I needed to get a temporary import permit for my motorcycle which I had no idea about and totally skipped making my bike illegal in Ecuador for my entire Stay.
It was a relaxing 3 hour ride to Otavalo through some really nice mountain passes and a volcano in the distance for the last hour of the trip.
Otavalo was a really interesting town and it felt really different than anything in Colombia. There wasn’t any particular style of dress in Colombia but a vast majority of the people in Otavalo (75% +) were indigenous people who wore traditional taditional ponhcos and bowler hats. Otavalo is famous for having the largest indigenous craft market in South America and it was full of things made out of amazingly soft alpaca fur which I bought way to much of.
I met two French Girls, Sixtine and Eva, at the hostel who invited me to go trekking the next day in the foot hills of the Cayambe Volcano. We want on a 4 hour hike that crossed a couple of really beautiful lakes and ended up finding someone to give us a ride back to the base because we were late for the taxi that was supposed to pick us up and take us back to town
We all went out drinking that night and I stepped in a big heap of dog diarrhea while we were walking to the bar and just felt gross the whole night.
When I was on my way out of Otavalo, my friend Maranda messaged me on facebook and told me she was randomly travelling around Ecuador for a week. She was in Central Ecuador and heading out to the cloudforest called Mindo east of Quito the next day. I drove down to quito, dropped off my stuff and headed straight to mindo.
It was pouring the whole way to Mind and I got soaking wet and then I got lost in Mindo trying to find this hostel out in the jungle and ended up crossing a stream that was a lot deeper then it looked and almost went down.
Miranda finally found my in town and led me back to the hostel. It was a really nice rustic cabin out in the jungle with a pool outside. Mindo is famous for having one of the most diverse bird populations and Maranda went out at 5am to go on a birdwatching tour but there was no way I was waking up at 5 to look at birds. We went hiking later that day and I still got to see quite a few exotic birds though.
The road out of mindo was luckily straight up hill becuase 15 minutes into my return trip I ran out of gas for the first time on my trip (my bike has no fuel guage or tach). I was able to coast 15 minutes down hill with the bike off all the way back into town and fuel up. I also learned that my bike gets 360 km / 2 gallon tank which means I’m getting something like 105 mpg and I could start tracking my fuel usage by setting the trip meter when I got gas.