Quito - Medellin & popped in Pablo Escobar's house
Trip Start May 10, 2011
162Trip End Apr 15, 2012
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Where I stayed
Quito - Tulcan
We jump in a taxi to the bus station and luck was on our side, Marc shouted at me from the other side of the ticket stall "RUN THERE IS A BUS LEAVING NOW" as I ran with my backpack trying to get it off at the same time and I literally threw it in the luggage compartment as the guy was just closing it and ran and climbed the stairs to the bus as it was moving away !!! That's one thing about buses in South America they don's wait for you - if your in the toilet too long or in the shop and driver wants to go....the bus just goes !!
Anyway 5-6 hours later we arrive in a town called Tulcan its the closest town to the border crossing into Columbia - by now it was dark and we decided best to stay here and just leave early in the morning so we got a cheap empty hotel just 2 secs from the bus - it had wifi but that was it - we didn't even unpack (stinkers I know) but there was no hot water so to hell with a cold shower, it was late & we were shattered, although I ended up sitting up uploading the Galapagos pics which was hundreds to go though for the blog, by now it was utterly freezing I had my head under all the blankets but I couldn't sleep.... we had 2 single beds and it was so bad I had to disturb the sleeping beast and somehow managed to shuffle him along and get into Marcs single bed to get heat - Marc is always roasting hehehe so with my extra covers and Marc I finally got some sleep.
Tulcan - Ipiales - the terrible border crossing ?????
So we got up at 7am to get to the Columbian border, we had heard not only from the Lonely Planet but the traveller rumours that its a dangerous border for robberies etc. Well our maid in the hotel called her husband for a taxi for us within 10 mins we were at the border, changed our money with the random guys wandering around with HUGE wads of cash in their hands and promptly stamped out of Ecuador
There is a short walk over to the Columbian side where the taxi's change from yellow to white and obviously the money changes, we got to the desk and for once in South America there was no queue - we were stamped into Columbia - no dramas and in a record time border crossing of about 25 mins in total. There were police everywhere couldn't have felt safer - I can understand doing this in the dark might not quite be the same!!
We jumped in a taxi to the closest town of Ipiales and with much luck we managed to get a direct bus leaving to Medellin in the next hour - woo hoo this was all going too smoothly.
Cup of tea and some food, found some internet to book a hostel in Medellin and we were off on our 21 hour journey. This was the only bus we took that actually arrived early, a lovely time of 5am instead of 7am - not ideal ! We get to our hostel which thankfully had a great comfy TV area where we sorted some stuff & chilled out till we could check into our room.
A visit to Pablo Escobar's house ....
So since 2010 they have started to do a tour relating to Pablo Escobar who of course is the famous Columbian drug lord whos life ended here in Medellin on 2 Dec 1993 - this guy ran the city, the football teams and the people. He was responsible for many hundreds of deaths in the city but he was also adored by the poor, he used to build housing estates for them, fund money to build football courts and many other things from his own money to help these poor people in society.
If you want to read more
Anyway on this tour you go to his grave, shown one of his blown up houses but best of all you get to go to one of his many many houses he owned in Medellin where you get to meet his brother Roberto Escobar - he is partially blind due to a letter bomb he opened is happy to show you around the home which still has the original furniture and many bullet holes - that came from just last year when people tried to kidnap Roberto but instead these people found the police there instead so they were arrested. We got a photo of Pablo signed by Roberto with his fingerprint on it too !!
It was a great tour showing some of his cars n stuff and was totally weird to be in the house where all these things had happened and such a famous man had carried out god knows what in there haha.
Bus from Ipiales to Medellin - £35 per person no food included
Cost of private ensuite room with wifi no breakfast - £22 per night
Cost of a small beer - £1
Pablo Escobar tour - £20 each
Signed picture of Pablo by Roberto.....priceless haha - £3.50