It always baffles me that you can cross an imaginary line that is a border between 2 countries and the whole atmosphere, attitude and appearance of the people, and landscape dramatically changes.
This has been our experience of Columbia to date.
Almost immediately when we crossed the border, we found the people to be incredibly friendly and welcoming. We joked that smiling and being happy must be a national law.
There are a lot of police checkpoints and a large military presence in the country. We have been stopped many times, but it has mostly been because the police offices or soldiers wanted to have a chat or check out our vehicles. Others would give us the thumbs up and sometimes a cheer as we drove past.
After the border formalities, and obtaining car insurance we headed for Laguna Cocha, Columbia’s largest lake.
It was dark as we drove in, so we decided to head to a free camp marked on ioverlander. It was not quite what we expected.
The campsite was not a wild camp, but simply a small pullout off the main street, where taxi's and cars parked. There was no privacy, but we there was no other option as the area was surrounded by water and it was late at night. So we created a little privacy by the car positioning, and set up to cook dinner.
The locals made the experience interesting and actually enjoyable. One restaurant owner opened his bathroom to us, and bragged to his friends as they passed that he was talking with people from Holland and Australia. The local children gathered around and asked us multiple questions about our situation and about every item of ours that they saw. They were fascinated.
The following morning we experienced the local life first hand. The boats started early taking people throughout the lake, taxis began ferrying people and school children to the next village. The restaurants and homes were built literally on the water. They were colorful and well kept. We had further discussions with the locals as we ate breakfast.
Seeking a more private location for another night at the lake, we headed to another restaurant further around the lake called El Jardin. It had more privacy, the gardens and views were spectacular and keira had a playground. We got to observe cows being milked the next morning.
We headed into Pasto the nearest big town to use an ATM as we had only a small amont of Columbian currency and to restock our supplies. We were pleasanty surprised at how cheap Columbia is.
The scenery from Laguna Cocha to our next destination San Agustin was really spectacular. We were pleased to see so much untouched wilderness. The roads were again narrow which made for an interesting drive.
It was too far to make San Agustin in one day, so we had to seek out another camp. We found the only flat place next to a school and basketball court. The locals gave approval for us to stay. Keira played ball games with the local kids, and we unanswered the inquisitive questions of the locals.
From there it was on to San Agustin, with another interesting drive.
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.