How to do a roadtrip from Bogotá to Popayan


sugarcane plantation Valle de Cauca

Gigantic sugarcane

#OneChineseInColombia survived a 14-hour road trip from Bogotá to Popayán, crossing the provinces of Cundinamarca, Tolima, Caldas, Risaralda, Valle de Cauca, and Cauca. Saw terrains from coffee farms to sugarcane plantations. Climate from tropical lush forests to paramo. Actually the traffic wasn’t too bad.
Tips?

Set off at 4.30am to avoid traffic on ‘La Ochenta’.

Go through Manizales and Pereira to avoid the infamous ‘La Linea’ (landslide and traffic prone).

After the winding single-lane mountain roads in the coffee region, the sweet Valle de Cauca province is actually really easy with 5 hours of double-lane easy breezy drive through the flat valley.

The only problem may be how unintuitive the road signs are. Once there was a sign saying ‘go straight’ to Cali at a roundabout. Naturally there isn’t anyway to go straight, except then left.

Stick to Waze and you shall arrive eventually. Though it’s important to memorize the main cities on the route because there isn’t always signal so can’t rely completely on the phone.

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