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Getting to Pasto is easy from many cities around Colombia. You can even go directly to Bogotá in 22 hours if that strikes your fancy! We arrived from Popayán on a bus that took around six hours of spectacular scenery. This is one trip still considered safest during the day and with views like you will get why do it at night anyway? We paid 28,000 COP ($14) each for the journey.
We also took a small and somewhat cramped bus to Ipiales which took about 90 minutes and cost 7000 COP ($3.50) each. On our return to Pasto, we paid 9000 COP ($4.50) for a much larger Fronteras bus which was a lot more comfortable and worth the $1 each splurge!
Heading home, we flew on Avianca back to Bogotá. This internal flight was included in our round trip flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Bogotá which cost us $430 each. It saved us a lot of time backtracking but did kind of pin us in on going all the way down to Pasto which seemed a good idea in the planning stage but later not so desirable. That said, we're glad we did it as we saw Popayán as a result and actually quite enjoyed Pasto as well.
Updated Jan 15, 2011
Colombia, like most South American countries, is not super geared to the vegetarian. Sure, if you eat fish and cheese you can get by but there are many things that you not only will miss out on but will be confronted with on a constant basis. Going to the markets in particular is not for the squeamish or animal rights activist. Different cultures certainly have varying ideas of what is right and wrong, and what is appetizing and not. I love the markets and must admit love seeing the head of a pig in a restaurant's window. It means lechon to me, roast pork.
Written Jan 15, 2011
Luggage and bags: While a backpack is not necessary in Pasto, if you are doing small overnight trips, you might want to have one. Better yet, a pack would be perfect for trips like this where you are often traveling in small vehicles or sharing rides with others.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dressing in layers will serve you best in Pasto where it can get quite chilly suddenly. This is a high altitude city and when the sun goes in, which it often does, the temperatures drop.
Photo Equipment: A wide angle is necessary for capturing the stunning interiors of Pasto's many beautiful churches. A zoom can come in handy too for taking shots of the altars from afar, making yourself less conspicuous as well as giving your shots a better angle. Get one with image stabilization as you will be working in low light situations in the church where pulling out a tripod is not really an option!.
Miscellaneous: Thanks to D for being the perfect partner to snack around. :)
Written Jan 15, 2011