We had about a 6 hour wait before continuing on the coach to Cali from Ecuador. One hour was spent at the church and the rest, I’ll be honest, was spent bored. 


How to see The Las Lajas Sanctuary of Ipiales. I’d recommend visiting this church if you’re travelling from Colombia to Ecuador or vice versa via coach. My post on How to get to Medellin from Ecuador on the cheap covers that leg. It’s an impressive church for photos but the area itself is not worth coming to if it’s not on your travel radar.

How to see The Las Lajas Sanctuary of Ipiales. The church built into the side of the hill with it's detailed architecture

Best to photograph it in the evening for the light

Seeing it from from Ecuador

  1. Get a coach from the main Quito coach station in the north of the city early in the morning to the Colombian border near a town called Tulcan.
  2. Get a local cab from the border once through to the town of Ipiales, famous for the church pictured below.
  3. You will have about a 6 hour wait before getting the night bus to Cali if that’s your route from here. It’s worth going to see the church at dawn for best light to photograph it, Then grab a meal and some snacks for the long ride north.



  • Stay in Ipiales if you can help it, it’s very very basic

I imagine this journey is very similar but in reverse if coming from the north.

Tips for healthy eats

  • Take them with you, the food on route is not the best. I’d recommend a bag full of nuts, dried fruit, jerky, bananas, apples and boiled eggs (to eat outside at stops). Practically a pack lunch. You’ll have time in Cali to enjoy some nice cuisine if you continue north from here but I even found this limited.
  • When you stop at Ipiales for the church there’s a central village area with a small supermarket, top-up on some goodies and fruits for the second leg to Cali.
  • Take a couple of BCAA and glutamine tablets in your rucksack for the long coach rides

How to get meat for that protein hit

  • When you stop at Ipiales for the church, head into the central village area. There’s a few local restaurants around the outside of the square which suffice for rice and chicken dishes.

Where to exercise

If you know this journey is coming up (if doing the 2-day coach from Ecuador to Colombia to see this) use it as a way to rest your muscles. Train your entire body over a 3 day split 3 days before hand. I have a good 3-day split body workout plan here. Then use the time to rest those aching muscles.

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TRX Traveller

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