After the Central American border crossings we expect the next few crossings here in South America to be fairly easy. The Ecuadorian border is supposed to be the only crossing where you actually need a copy of your passport, license, and vehicle title/registration. We decided to cross at Ipiales - Tulcan, as the area where the other crossing is, Puerto Asis - Lago Agrio, has a bad reputation for FARC and smuggling. So, Ipiales to Tulcan was our first South American border (not counting the shipping circus), and it was easy. But still, it took us almost an hour and a half to get four people and two vehicles through. Most of this time was spent waiting in line in front of the Ecuadorian Migracion to get an entry stamp in our passports. There was only one customs officer in this office, and if a bus shows up full of people, you are screwed...
So! How to cross from Colombia to Ecuador, here we go!
Leaving Colombia was done in about 10 minutes. The road splits and you go right (of course…). The building in the pic is the DIAN (Aduana).
Driving up to the border offices there is a small parking lot on the right hand side, just in front of the DIAN (Aduana) building (pic is taken from the parking). We walked over to the Migracion, the next building down the road (about 30 meters/100 ft), and got exit stamps in our passports.
Then we went to hand in the original vehicle permit to the guys at DIAN, and that was it! Got back in the cars, dove on across the border, and parked the cars in front of a building saying Aduana on the Ecuadorian side.
Take a right turn here, and drive through a gate (we drove up to the gate and said we needed to “check in”, and they waved us through and told us to park on the side of the road just after the gate).
First stop is as always Migracion to get you passport stamped (as there was a long line, we actually tried to process the vehicles first, but with no luck). You can see the “Migracion” sign over the door in the middle of the pic. As Norwegians (and Swiss) we did not need to fill in any forms or tourist cards. We handed in the passport and got an entry stamp. This was where we had to wait for quite some time. With the passport stamped we went on to the Aduana office to get the vehicles in. This office, is not where you should think it is (see pic above). There is a guy sitting in an office at the far end of the building (to the right in the pic above). I don’t think there was a sign on his door.
Fortunately, this was just where we had parked our cars. We brought the copies over, and he came with us out to check the VIN numbers. Punching all the necessary info into the computer took some time, and you HAVE to check if this is typed in correctly. We both found several mistakes, and we corrected them ourselves on his computer (in the Land Rover papers Switzerland was entered as Swaziland…). Eventually, everything was correct, and the vehicle permits were printed out. Done!