Colombia South America

Taking a Bus from Bogota to Quebrada Las Gachas

Bogota to Quebrada Las Gachas (Guadalupe)

Quebrada Las Gachas, Guadalupe

After arriving in Colombia, one of my friends sent me a Facebook video of Quebrada Las Gachas in Guadalupe. After seeing the video, I had to look into going, and after learning it wasn’t a totally unreasonable trip from Bogota to the town of Guadalupe (some websites said 6 hours), I decided to go. On a map, it’s really not that far, but the drive is mostly on windy roads in the Andes.

Map from the Terminal de Transporte de Bogota to Guadalupe.  By bus, it will take longer than Google Maps lists.

Can I fly there to get there faster?

No, there’s no airport anywhere near Guadalupe you can fly into.

Okay, so how do you get from Bogota to Quebrada Las Gachas?

In Bogota, head to the Terminal de Transporte de Bogota (if you’re staying far in the north, you can also catch a bus from Terminal del Norte.)  You’ll first need to catch a bus to Oiba, most of which have a final destination of Bucaramanga. From Oiba, you can catch a second bus directly to Guadalupe.

Bus ticket office, Bogota
Ticket office to purchase a bus ticket to Oiba

I met up with my friend Joseph and right when we walked into the station, we saw Oiba on the sign for one bus company, and their bus was leaving in 10 minutes. 30,000 pesos (around $10 USD) later, we were ready to head to Oiba. We also learned that there is a direct bus to Guadalupe at 10:30 PM, which I think would be a better option than what we did. However, I’d recommend confirming that separately.

Our bus from Bogota to Quebrada Las Gachas
Our bus from Bogota to Oiba (final destination: Bucaramanga)

We got on the bus for the 7:45 AM departure and it was pretty nice.  The seats are good, it’s spacious (enough), and there are plugs for electronics.  Wifi is advertised, but it didn’t work for us.

The problems started when our bus made a stop at Terminal del Norte in the northern part of Bogota.  There, our bus was stopped for over an hour because our bus got into a minor accident.  We pretty much had to sit and wait for police to come and check it out.

At around 10 AM, our bus finally left Terminal del Norte and headed north.  The early part of the ride is the smoothest and the easiest to sleep during (the roads get windy later on.)

Extra delays

While a straight shot from Bogota to Oiba should be around 5 hours, the bus ride was much longer for us.

Firstly, there’s a lunch break, which makes sense.  Our bus driver definitely took his time (and there’s no announced time of departure, it’s just whenever the driver is ready) – this stop was at least one hour.

Then, when we were getting close to Oiba, the roads were insanely backed up.  There was road construction causing only one lane to operate (and since this is a one lane per direction road, that meant shutting traffic down in one direction each way.)  However, it was really mismanaged and inefficient, and we sat in a standstill for around 2 hours waiting to be allowed to move.

At 5:15 PM, 9.5 hours after leaving the Terminal del Transporte de Bogota, we arrived in Oiba.  However, the bus driver didn’t stop – he just kept going.  Joseph and I had to get up and yell in order to get off the bus.  Good thing we knew it was Oiba from following on Google Maps.

Oiba to Guadalupe

After arriving in Oiba, we asked around to find the bus to Guadalupe, and got pointed in the right direction.  The buses to Guadalupe can be found on the town’s main road, a little bit north of the where the turn is to head to Guadalupe.  It was pretty easy to find.

Our second bus of the day, this one for the bumpy ride from Oiba to Guadalupe

We found the person selling tickets and only had to wait a few minutes for a bus.  They seem to leave every 45-60 minutes, and cost 7,000 pesos (around $2.30 USD.)

We got on a small bus and were on our way to Guadalupe.  The road is really bumpy and windy, with much of it being unpaved.  Even though it’s only around 15 km between Oiba to Guadalupe, it takes an hour because it’s essentially a mountain road going through the Andes.  Beautiful views on the side, though.

At 6:15 PM, we finally arrived in Guadalupe, 10.5 hours after our first bus departure!

The trip back

When we left Guadalupe to head back to Bogota, it took much less time – 7.5 hours in total.  The trip back started by hanging off the back of a pick up for half the ride to Oiba (because the truck was too full.)  Not the safest, but definitely fun!

After that, we got to Oiba and our bus (really, a van) to Bogota had a super fast driver blasting terrible ranchera music giving us headaches.  However, it was definitely nice to save 3 hours!

For the next part of this post, I’ve written about our experience at the main attraction in Guadalupe, Quebrada las Gachas – check it out here.

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