We took a taxi to the North busterminal in Quito and got immediately on a bus to Tulcan, the last town in Ecuador before the Colombian border. The bus journey from Quito to Tulcan was about 5 hours, Though we were told by the busdriver it's a direct bus, the bus stopped in Ibarra forever. So we got off, asked part of our fare back and changed to another bus to Tulcon which was another 2.5 hours from Ibarra. We wanted to cross into Colombia today, by daylight and not waste time at Ibarra bus terminal. The country side was as stunning towards the north as it was all over Ecuador! We reached Tulcan by 3pm and I saw 2 backpackers at the bus station who I questioned about the border crossing procedure. We took a taxi for 3.5 USD from Tulcan to the Ecuadorian border, which is about 22 km away. At the border we walked to the immigration offce, got our stamps, then walked over to the Colombian border which is a 3 minutes' walk away
. Got our stamps there and we both got 60days! I was happy about that because a guy from England and all Israelis only got 30 days and said the only country where they wanted more than 30 days was Colombia, but that was the only country where they only got 30 days. All other countries in South America usually give you 90 days. So we got our stamps and changed some money at the border. There is no money change office, it's only the guys on the street who change. The rate was good, 1,840pesos for 1 USD, so we changed a bit to get a taxi to Ipiales, the first town in Colombia after the border. We didn't want to take the bus to Popayan, our next destination, as the nightbus ride from Ipiales to Popayan is not entirely safe. There are still some armed robberies that occure from local guerilla groups, so we wanted to spend the night in Ipiales and then take the daybus to Popayan the next day.The taxi driver, a young man of hardly 30 years, recommended a hotel and dropped us there. The hotel was in the center and safe. A bit expensive, but he told us the cheaper once outside the center are dodgy and lots of prostitution is going on there. We weren't sure how safe Ipiales is, nothing is mentioned about it in my Lonely Planet and it's a border town which are usually a bit dodgy. But we were pleasantly surprised: the central plaza had a beautiful church and it seemed quite quiet. Some casinos around the main square, but nothing like expected.