Colombia. Sadly, our last country in South America

Officials at the border were once again efficient and helpful. They suggested where we could buy our SOAT in the nearby town. (The third party insurance which is required in each country).
Amazingly it was available from a supermarket! So we did our shopping at the same time, we had already exchanged our dollars for some COP. In each new country it is necessary for us to learn the exchange rate all over again so we can be aware of our expenditure.
After the experience of having our foods confiscated at borders we’ve made sure that we don’t have anything left over when we leave. As Murphy would have it, we could have brought whatever we wanted this time!


Each new country has its quirks to get accustomed to. Especially the taxi and bus driving styles. Our driving last year in Nairobi, helped immeasurably. But the people never seem to change. You’ll be surprised how much a smile on your face opens hearts.
Within a few hours of arriving in Colombia we knew that we were going to have a great time!
We felt so at home. We’ve never been approached by so many people wanting to know more about us and our trip. I think that we are much more relaxed and people find us more approachable.

We continued through the mountains; high, with steep canyon sides, who needs the Grand Canyon when you have this…. We had a set menu lunch for R80 each. Nothing special unfortunately. We were looking forward to sampling the meals that locals have each day. That night we slept high in the mountains at a Mirador with a stunning view.


Took the route via Cali – so called capital of Salsa. We weren’t wanting to dance but hoping to find a supermarket!
Lots of traffic, roadworks and supermarkets always on the otherside of the dual carriage highway! It was the largest town in the region so there had to be one.
Carried on hoping to find one somewhere more convenient. Next thing we were leaving town! So got ice and drinking water at a garage. More expensive, but at least convenient.

You might wonder why we are always searching for ice when we have a fridge. Unfortunately the fridge can’t make ice – which we need to keep it cold while driving. And for drinks in the evening too! The fridge only works well on gas which is shut off for safety while driving.
There are many normal day to day things that need adapting for this lifestyle. It all makes for easier living once you get into the routine.
We shop more often than when at home because of our limited storage space. Also fun exploring supermarket shelves in new places, especially while trying to translate the labels!

I must add that our vehicle attracts lots of attention from locals and travellers wherever we go. In Cartaga, a Belgian man in his forties, approached us in the street to find out more about us. We exchanged our stories in Afrikaans! Hy was Flaams gewees!
He had been spending three months a year in Colombia every European winter for a few years. A month in each of : Cartagena, Cartaga and Medellin. The reason he kept returning was he had friends in each of the cities and found the people the friendliest he’d ever met. We’d started to find that out for ourselves too.


The ultimate Porta Potti and note the shovel too!

We had a another mission in Colombia!

Before we could relax we had to make plans to ship the vehicle to Panama. We’d heard so many conflicting reports of huge expenses and delays we had to get that behind us as soon as possible. By all accounts we’d have plenty of time later while waiting for the ferry.

En Route to Cartagena, still a few days away, we stopped to camp at Tolu. Our first sighting of the Atlantic again since we’d left home. We just had to camp at the beach. We stopped right on the beachfront in front of the police station to enquire from them where we could camp. The police said there were no campsites but we could camp right where we were if we wished. We would be safe!


Garmin was correct for a change!


We had a wonderful time chatting with the locals. A family group was celebrating…..


Cartegena was not to far. When we arrived we were blown away by the mix of luxury and history.


The walled city was something we just had to explore. We had the address of a campsite on the beach north of the city. Dreadful!!!

On the way we’d passed windsurfers on a beach and returned to have a look.


Decided to wild camp there. Beach police arrived just after dark and warned us it wasn’t safe there and to move 2kms down the beach to where the Las Americas 5 star hotel was. We could camp there safely.
That night the police on motorcycles passed by a few times and we slept safely…..

Author: Ian & Solveig's Overland Adventures

Although we never achieved our original goal of reaching Norway overland through Africa, our experience was so unexpectedly rewarding that we've not been able to settled down again! So we added new destinations to our lust for adventure. We hope that you will join us in sharing new exciting places and encounters with the amazing people we meet along the way.

9 thoughts on “Colombia. Sadly, our last country in South America”

  1. Great stuff Ian, following your blog with interest. Photos as expected are great. Mike sends his regards. Cheers peter

  2. Hello to both of you

    I thought you had been kidnapped by FARC or something. There must be something wrong with WordPress as my e-mail notification of your Columbia post arrived on 22 March, but says you posted on 21 Feb. Heaven knows where you are now, but I just wanted to say that we look forward to your posts.

    Pam and Joe

  3. Same here. Received this today 22/03. But it was worth waiting for! So interesting and such beautiful pictures! Still look forward to hearing from you. xx

  4. Really enjoying your adventure , it takes me out JHB and puts me done is such wonderful places , well and beautifully written Solveig plus the best pics ever Ian . Wonderful thanks for sharing .

  5. Hi there Ian and Solveig.
    Good to hear that all is going well as you head steadily North.
    Liv and I have just left Gordon’s Bay and are now back in Norway for springtime and a summer wedding of our son.
    We are excited and will be busy with all the planning.
    Take care with your travels – hope to see you nxt time we are in GB.

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