Monday, February 3, 2014

Bus travel Pasto - Cali - Darien (Lago Calima) - Armenia - Salento

Pasto to Cali
Wow I made a mistake.  From Pasto to Cali on a normal bus should take about 8-9 hours. I normally go to a few counters to ask but it was 5 am and I tried to stay awake most of the night so I could sleep on the bus so I went and asked how much the vans were and they were around 40-50,000COP and said would take about 8 hours.  So I went to ask at the bus companies and the first one COOTRANAR said it was 30,000 and would take about 8-9 hours. So I thought perfect that leaves me an hour or two to catch my next bus.  Wow was I wrong. The bus I was on made a stop every 5 meters to let people on and off so we arrived 11 hours after we started.  Ugghh!  Pay the extra money and go with another bus company, I heard Boliviarano is much faster and only maybe 5,000 COP more. I did have some funny companions in the seat next to me.  One guy starts talking to me and was talking about something then just adds in you are so beautiful you could be a model, then keeps talking.  Wow, I thought these guys are really skilled at lies, I am sitting on a bus with worn dirty wrinkled clothing, my hair in a bun and my face profusely sweating, and he is telling me I am beautiful and fit to be a model!

Cali to Darien (Lake Calima)
There is only one company TransCalima located on the third floor near door 12
Cost 13,600 COP (~$7) Duration: 2 Hours.  From Darien buses leave to Cali hourly from 5am to 6pm

Darien
I went to Darien to take a Kitesurfing class but was a bit disappointed in Calimakitesurfing company as they were not very helpful in helping me find them. They dont have any signs so when I got there I would need to call them but I dont have a cell phone.  I sent them an email asking how we can meet but they only said to call them and directed me to go to one of the shops to use a payphone.  I find it much easier to just arrange a place and time to meet over email than to walk to a shop but they just would not give me any information over email and after wasting a perfectly nice day without a response from them I decided to move on. 

Cali to Armeia 
OK I made another mistake with companies.  After my experience with the bus I decided to take a collectivo taxi service to Armenia with Coooperative Integral de Taxis Belacazar.  The ticket collector said it was only 2 hour direct with no stops.  I asked again cause I said its going to be dark though and I dont like to arrive late, so he said no it wont be more than 2 hours ride.  So I bought the ticket for 20,000 COP thinking I would arrive by 7pm then.  Well we arrived at 9pm so the bus ride took over 4 hours!  We did make a few stops to let on passengers and the engine was overheating so we had to ride with the cover to the engine ope to the bus and door open to let out the hot air coming in.  When I arrived in Armenia I asked what is the fasted a bus from Cali would arrive in Armenia and they told me 3 hours.  Expect a 3 hour journey even if they say 2!  So since I missed the last bus to Armenia I had to stay the night in Armenia at a very sad hotel for 18,000 COP.

Armenia - Salento
The next morning vans to Salento start running around 5:30AM so I got up to take the van at 6am.  It was 3,800 COP (~$2) and took less than an hour to arrive in Salento.  I got off at the fire station at the entrance to town so I could stay at Plantation House which is 19,000COP for a dorm room depending on which dorm the prices change a bit.  While its nice I think I would probably try Tralala Hostel if I were to stay at least 2 nights, as their dorm for 1 night is 22,000 COP and 20,000COP a night if you stay at least 2 nights.  Its newly renovated and located right by the square.

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