Colombia 1: Las Lajas, Laguna la Cotcha and Trampolin de Muerte

Following a 2 hour border crossing, during which a rainstorm started, we drove to the Las Lajas church of pilgrimage and from there proceeded to Laguna la Cotcha. Little did we know that for the next 7 weeks there would only be 2 precipitation free days. Colombia is known for high rainfalls (up to 8000mm pa in some areas!)

Unser Grenzübertritt verlief ohne nennenswerten Probleme und vor Einbruch der Dämmerung standen wir an der Teleferico (Seilbahn) und campten, und fuhren dann am Morgen mit der Seilbahn zur Wallfahrtskirche. Der Regensturm hatte dafür gesorgt, dass der uns zugewiesene Platz recht matschig war – es wurde eine kalte Nacht.

An der Laguna la Cotcha gab es keinen Campingplatz und so standen wir mitten im Dorf und durften die Toiletten benutzen. Jedoch beim Nachtgang wurde uns klar, dass am späten Abend die Toiletten geschlossen wurden und wir mussten dunkle Ecken aufsuchen. Wegen des Regens konnten wir am nächsten Morgen keine Bootsfahrt machen und begaben uns entlang der berüchtigten Strasse genannt Trampolin des eTodes. Die Fahrt war wunderschön, sorgte aber für ein paar spannende Momente.

The church Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Las Lajas is a destination to which many pilgrims wander and in many cases it is purported to have been instrumental in miracle healings -many plaques testify to this effect and the church was built after such an event.

Architecturally it is a beautiful construction arching across a river in which some pilgrims washed themselves hoping for healing.

We returned again via the teleferico to a much drier camping spot and the mud had dried up. The road took us through Pasto (2850m), where we were happy to find a replacement gas cooker for our lost Cadac gas bottle.

Laguna la Cotcha was our next destination and we reached the picturesque town Puerto towards late afternoon.

Nobody seemed to worry that we parked our vehicles next to the boat embarkation where we found open public toilets.

Little did we expect that they get closed at eight o’clock in the evening and presented a challenge during the rainy night. The weather prevented us next morning to go onto the lake by boat, especially to visit the island  “Isla de la Corota” with its forests and birdlife.

Early in the day we departed along the “Trampolin de Muerte”(Death Road), a narrow road cut through the mountain and forest with steep drop-offs -exciting especially with oncoming traffic of trucks and buses.

The road was lined with ferns, palms and a variety of trees as well as frailjoles plants. During a short lunch stop we counted 7 different species of butterflies within a short period.

The day ended at Mocoa where we took a refreshing dip in the river next to our camping site in the backyard of hostal Casa del Rio. At 600m above sealevel we enjoyed a balmy night.

Unfortunately the night was cut short by heavy truck traffic on the road nearby and we proceeded to San Agostin after watching some Tucans and other birds in the morning.

This post covers the period 13th-16th September 2016

Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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