Crossing the Colombia-Ecuador Border at San Miguel/ Lago Agrio


From Macoa, Colombia you go by bus.  Go to the bus station during the day to buy a ticket.  Many people will say there is not bus but just keep at it.  Do not go to the bus station at night as the locals say it is too dangerous. I tried and local men stopped me.


The bus left promptly at 8. I dined on empanadas and Nescafe. We were a few hours in the minivan/bus driving decent jungle roads.  We came to a village and I asked if it was the frontera. The driver gestured and said “directo”.  OK, so I know it’s that way. A man in a covered pick up gestured for me to get in.  I asked how much “cuanto sale”? but he waived his hand.  I guess its part of the ride.  We rallied down the dirt road. If you make it here, hold on tight or you will bash your head one time like I did and this lesson was not enjoyable. After 30 minutes I was put on a motorcycle with my pack.  This was pretty fun.  We sped towards the shady border where the aduana did not smile.


Crossing the Colombia/Ecuador border at San Miguel/Lago Agrio is pretty easy but immigration on the Ecuador side is only open from 8am-12pm and 3pm-6pm M-F and 10am-12pm on Sat/Sun. Prepare to stand in line for a while.  Ecuador immigration is 15 miles from the border but there are plenty of buses, collectivos, and taxis to run you over (cuidadoooo!).  I had no tourist prices offered either, everyone was straight forward. I have read that this crossing is dangerous but no one indicated anything like that to me. I admit Lago Agrio is a shady border town but the locals don’t seem concerned with guerillas and traffickers as some travel guides warn. My hotel is across the street from the police station and other than me this hotel has only police in it at the moment.  I did not plan it that way. Why do cops still make me nervous even when I have done nothing wrong in years?

Anyway, you can write me here if you have any questions or post them on Facebook (please like us, please)DSC01312

Click on a share button below for your friends traveling in this area.  It’s not scary like people think, travel in Colombia is relatively safe compared to life in Detroit.

9 thoughts on “Crossing the Colombia-Ecuador Border at San Miguel/ Lago Agrio

  1. Interesting crossing! The many modes of transportation in any part of the Americas south of the US are always a fun part of the adventure. I like your comment at the end about safety. Every time I come to Mexico people ask me if it’s safe. One friend here said his answer to that is, “everything is safe until it’s not. ”
    I’m enjoying all your posts!


    • Its all about perceived threat. I never felt uncomfortable in Colombia, wait, until the men in Macoa physically blocked me from going to the bus station that night. I just went back to my room like they told me to. I did a bike tour in Michoacan, forgive if I have mentioned it before to you, without doing any research. We had a wonderful month long ride covering 800 miles of brutal desert an magic coast without a single problem. When we go thome someone said “you went where?”. I googled it and realized we were in a major hot spot for carteleros. For the most part they dont bother tourists. Bla bla bla. Nice to hear from you again!


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