Border #9: Colombia to Ecuador @ Rumichaca

Ipiales to Quito

Cost: $0
Started on Colombian side @ 10:45am (15 minutes)
Started on Ecuadorian side @ 11am (1.5 hours)
FINISHED @ 12:34pm

We’re getting pretty comfortable crossing borders but that doesn't mean we can plan out the day or expect a certain experience. This one wasn’t bad, just a little long in Ecuador.

*Note 1: we felt this to be the most modern and organized border crossing since Mexico.

**Note 2: SOAT insurance was not required while we were there. We drove through Ecuador uninsured and had no issues (even when we were pulled over). We just handed the officers our license and car import papers and that sufficed.

Exiting Colombia

We toured Las Lajas in the morning and left for the border at 10:30am, we arrived 15 minutes later.

  1. You’ll see a large DIAN sign first. Keep going and park behind the building.
  2. Walk back up to the DIAN office to turn in your temporary permit. We were directed to a little door around the building behind the two barred windows. You don't need to do anything except give your TIP to the office and leave, no receipt.
  3. Walk back to where your car was parked and up a set of stairs to immigration. Have your passports stamped and drive to Ecuador.

Entering Ecuador

  1. You’ll pass a checkpoint with officers searching cars. We had a nice conversation (in broken Spanish, of course) with the very friendly Ecuadorian police officer… always a nice first impression for a new country. He chose not to search our car at all.
  2. Park at the back of the building. We only saw space for about 8 vehicles so we parallel parked in a way that blocked 3 of the spaces (everyone else was doing it…).
  3. Walk around to the front of the building and enter the incredibly long line. From what we’ve read about other travelers visiting this border, it seems there is ALWAYS a really long line… but maybe you could try early AM or late afternoon? Not sure.
    • We spent a full hour in line to have our passports stamped (no photo or forms and they asked zero questions… seriously he just ate his chocolate while stamping our passports and gabbing another officer). At least that part was quick! And believe it or not, the line was DOUBLE the length when we were walking out at 12pm (score!!).
    • P.S. this was first border that didn't completely shut down during lunch! (Remember when I said it was our most official border yet?)
  4. Go to aduana (its outside as if you’re walking back around the building to your car). You’ll see a vestibule-like, office jutting out off the end of the building with big glass curved windows and one guy at a desk. He must have been feeling a little lazy because he tried to send us away… but we were convinced we were in the right place. So we returned immediately and he reluctantly decided to help us (and ended up being nice enough).
  5. Hand him your title, passport and copies of each. This process took less than 20 minutes. He didn’t check the car, he just typed up our info, left to print our TIP, returned with a copy, and sent us on our way.

That’s it!!

Gas is still $1.50/gallon in Ecuador (yayayaya!!!). Fill up as much as you can and ENJOY it, because it gets a little more expensive in Peru and then it’s OVER $5/gallon in Chile (we literally spent more money on gas in Chile than we did on food and lodging, crazy).

See you down the road!

Meg + Tyler 

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