johnandmandi Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
La Vaca que Rie

After parking in the lower lot we asked the staff in the restaurant if we could stay overnight. They radioed the manager who came to greet us. Williams is a warm Colombian who loves to talk to Overlanders and made us very welcome. We are dinner at the restaurant and had desert and breakfast as well.

Renew Tip papers

We initially visited when we had two weeks remaining on our van’s TIP but they would not perform the extension earlier than one week, even after explaining we’d be away from any office locations. They also informed us that we had to have an imprint of our VIN (which they later never asked for). We returned a week later and were able to get our extension. It took 2.5 hours. We had to complete a request for extension (available onsite) and provide the driver’s passport and tourist permit extension, vehicle insurance, original TIP, and title/registration. Our van was photographed and they checked the VIN and plate. Friendly staff, patience necessary...as always ; )

Immigration office to extend visa.

We requested our extensions online, picking the Armenia office, and received a confirmation email almost immediately. Later that day we received another email stating we were preapproved and that we could pay online, which we did not do. The following day we visited this office location and completed our payment and received our extensions. It took close to an hour due to 8 people in line ahead of us. Later that evening we received confirmation emails with an attached copy of the extensions, meaning it might have been possible for us to complete it entirely online.

Parking lot Guatapé

We paid 6,000 to park overnight. No facilities and the parking lot attendant left around 7pm.

Hotel Campestre Aguas Vivas

Had a quiet night here for 15,000 per person. We didn’t use the shower or the pool.

Tecni Mecanica Automotriz

There is a small sign high on the office, the address is posted as Transv 29 (Av. Circunvalar) #16-19, look for the large blue garage door. The owner is Henry Patarroyo (tel. 7622212). We were directed here by the owner of a Freightliner/Iveco dealer. This is a busy shop that handles many different vehicles including Ford and Chevy. We had some minor suspension fixes, drive shaft leak repair, and front locking hub adjustment. They moved a few cars around to get us over a pit so they could thoroughly diagnose and inspect our mechanical problems. Spanish only, but very patient and professional.

Los Sauzos

We paid 8,000 per person with use of a bathroom and shower in a cabana. Very friendly family that allowed us to buy fresh eggs and milk from them. Camping is in the parking area, another family parks and walks home from there too, but it was very quiet. It is a working farm so cows and horses can be seen and heard, really wonderful. The onsite water spigot is clean mountain water which we drank without issue. We walked to the thermal pool, roughly 10 minutes down the driveway. The entrance to this site is next to the entrance for the thermal pool. WiFi was fast!

Aqua La Sabana

5,000 to refill our 5 gallon container, also offered to sanitize our container but we declined. Knock at door and someone will come let you in.

Hostal Villa Ines

We paid 15,000 per person. Camping is in a large grassy field with a separate bathhouse, access is from a second driveway and not from the cabana entrance. The owner called someone to fix the hot shower in the camping area but it still didn’t work, he let us use the hot shower located in the main parking area. They offer breakfast for 8,000 per person, the giant tamales were fantastic the day they made them... be sure to ask the day before. We were there during a weekend and it was very quiet but it was low season. Water is potable but chlorinated.

Gas Zipa

Drove by on Thursday at 3pm and Friday at 11am and all gates were closed and locked. We didn't try knocking or honking at the gates.

Parking Lot Salt Cathedral

Paid 10,000 (5,000 per day) to park overnight. It was mostly quiet, a few locals store their vans overnight and there was intermittent motor traffic to overlook the town. It was difficult to level so we just parked in the very back against the curb. The bathrooms up the stairs were open by 7:30am and are nice.

Puente de Boyaca Monument

We asked the police if it was OK to overnight, they checked our documents, took photos of our driver licenses, and told us it would be fine. We had pizza at Pizza Nostra and were not impressed. A decent overnight if it is getting late.

Hacienda La Esperanza

We paid 10,000 pp to park in the parking lot with use of the bathroom and shower. We were directed to park so that buses could turn around in the small lot since this is the end of the road. Sufficient if you want to do the hike.

Uzaque

Recreation area with camping in the grassy parking lot next to the basketball court. Large, very nice swimming pool (separate cost for using the pool), small tienda, restaurant, cold showers, flush toilets. We were told the water is potable but what came out of the outside spigot was brown and silty. 12,000 pesos per person. The parking is close to the highway but there was very little traffic and we didn't here any loud truck brakes. We ate dinner at the restaurant and it was pretty good, prices between 15,000-19,000 for meat (good portion), small salad, and two starches. Tipico breakfast is 7,000.

Café de Mi Tierra

We had delicious cappuccinos here for 3,000 each. We also walked to Las Gachas from here, about halfway down he trail there is a house that requires you to pay 1,000 per person to pass.

Pandemono

Panaderia and restaurant serving breakfast (9,800 for eggs, bread, butter, marmalade, coffee or chocolate) and lunch (a couple sandwiches). Restaurant seating is in the garden. Fresh baked bread normally includes Loaves of French and Rye bread and Yuca rolls. Breakfast was delicious as was all the bread.

Biomax gaz station

We stopped here to get water, the attendant confirmed that it is potable, but it was very silty and brown so we didn't use it.

Large Flat Gravel Lot behind Capilla Santa Barbara

We camped here one night with two other rigs, we felt more comfortable setting up and cooking outside at this location than in front of the Capilla. All was quiet until 4:30am when a group of ladies came to walk around the park for exercise.

Parking lot infront of Capilla Santa Barbara

We spent three nights here. We didn't feel comfortable setting up an outside kitchen so we mostly ate dinner out except when we moved up to the spot behind the Capilla.

Pacha Hostel & Camping

We spent one night here on the way to Barichara, the facilities were just ok, we didn't shower. We had breakfast for 8,000 each, the eggs were cold and the arepas were like cardboard. Works in a pinch.

Lava Autos

We had our van cleaned for $10, hand wash on the van, pressure wash underneath and on the tires.

Lago Bayano, Darien

We stopped by and found a locked gate with a do not enter sign. We spoke to the groundskeeper and asked if we could camp for the night. He was unsure why we were asking but offered to call his boss if we wanted. We decided to drive back to Shawalas since it is on the same route as this place. It looks like they run tours here so maybe they were just closed for the season. It's possible we didn't find the right place but it matched the coordinates for this entry.

Shawalas

Outdoor bar with large grassy parking area. $5 per rig, flush toilets, water spigot on side of bar but we did not inquire about it. From here, we drove to and from Yaviza in one day, approximately 8 hrs. Our first night was a Tuesday and a few locals were here until 9:30 w/ loud music but during our second night it was very quiet. Might be busy on the weekend.

Hotel Valle Verde

We were charged $20 per night for the two of us. Very beautiful place with nice facilities and potable water. The swimming pool was completed and really nice. Onsite restaurant was pricey and OK. Very quiet at night.

DIAN

While we did see many Seguros nearby we couldn't find the DIAN office. We were directed by the Tramite office to a location a couple kilometers away but couldn't find it there either.

Aduana

Directly on the side of the highway, parking is next to the merge lane. Very friendly and efficient staff. No fees or copies needed, took 15 minutes to extend our TIP, make sure they also stamp the new TIP. We had already purchased an additional month of insurance in Santiago, could be done in Chitre. We found this office much easier to use than driving in Chitre trying to locate the office there.

Pipas restaurant & camping

We ate at the restaurant, very delicious Pollo Bomba ($11 per plate), and spoke with an employee regarding camping. At that time there were 7 vans, a car, and a bus, about 25 people in total practically living there. It was becoming a problem, overwhelming the onsite facilities, and they were trying to figure out how to handle it and didn't want additional campers. We suggested they start charging a camping fee or put a daily minimum for eating at the restaurant rather than disallowing camping. It is a beautiful location but sadly being overused due to it being free. The parking area is large, weekends are very busy.

Seguros Sura

We were unable to extend our insurance policy so we bought an additional month of insurance here for $15.16.

Sugar & Spice Bakery

Full breakfast including coffee and one refill totaled $12 for two of us. We had the breakfast bacon burrito and a ham & cheese omelette, both were large and delicious.

Los Quetzales Ecolodge

We were charged $15 total per night for 2 people and our rig. It was slow season so we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. Restaurant was closed, reopening for season sometime in November. There is a creek behind the 'Spa'. Parking is in the gravel lot away from the road beside the grassy yard. Water is potable. Very quiet and cool at night, serene.


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