The good news is: our little party of four survived this infamous trampolín de la muerte and believe me, we certainly didn’t take this for granted!
We were nervous (to say the least) about taking this road and did consider at some point a detour over Popayan (safe but much much longer). Two travelers we met in San Agustin had just survived it and assured us it would be fun (fun in my world looks slightly different, #justsaying). But hey, there is no adventure without adventure, so trampoline of death, it was! We got up at stupid o’clock to catch the first bus (ahhh how I love those early starts… not) as it would take us a whole day to reach Pasto. If all went well (surviving and all), the trip would take 9 hours but the guy we met the night before just had a (fun) nightmarish 13 1/2-hour trip. Such fun! Once the dirt road started, it was easy to understand why trampoline and death were used to name the dirt road from Mocoa to Pasto.
We were bounced around in the back of our jeep while our driver was trying to avoid large potholes. Trampoline? Check! We crossed unneeded rivers and waterfalls (seriously, what on earth were those doing on our already challenging path?! This was surely not necessary?!), drove way too close to the edge, miraculously avoided land slides but witnessed the damages (while thinking how lucky we were to have missed it) and we had many emergency stops to let oncoming trucks and crazy bike drivers (nutters) pass. The speed was for most parts limited to 20 (max max max 40 km/h) but our driver obviously didn’t get the memo. Death potential? Check! Add to this adrenalin rush, a drop in the temperatures and you have the full picture of our ‘near death’ experience. Luckily, half way through, we had a well deserved break, high up in the foggy mountain where we treated ourselves to a comforting hot Aqua de Panela (basically a raw sugar shot, in hot water to make it look healthier! Yummy!). Warm and cozy, we were ready for the second half of our crazy drive!
2 hours later, we were glad that 1) we arrived safe and sound in Pasto 2) our trip lasted only 9 1/2 hours. It could have taken longer and for this, we were grateful to reach Pasto at a decent time. It was pretty cold when we reached the city and no taxi driver seemed interested in our fare. Say whaaaat? It took some time to find a driver willing to drop the 4 of us off at our hostel but we made it. Finally! We were really looking forward to a good night sleep as another early start was waiting for us the next day. It was indeed time to say bye to Colombia and hello to Ecuador! Next stop: Quito, Ecuador!