Through other travelers I learn that a landslide destroyed the Panamericana in southern Colombia. There are few alternatives to this artery of traffic. Because of this, it makes little sense for us to take the planned border crossing in the north of Quito.
From there you can only get through the jungle via very adventurous slopes. And we would have to share these slopes with all the heavy goods traffic, getting back on the Panamericana via detours. We then immediately take the road across the Andes to the east and cross the Papallacta Pass at 4063 meters.
This lies between the Andes and the Amazon region and connects the regions of Quito and Tena. The road over the pass is an important transport route and runs through breathtaking scenery with majestic mountains, crystal clear rivers and lush vegetation.
One of the main attractions of the Papallacta Pass is the thermal baths, which are located in close proximity to the pass. The hot springs of the thermal baths are known for their health-promoting properties due to their high mineral content and are visited by visitors from all over the world.
In addition to the thermal baths, the Papallacta Pass also offers numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. The pass is also of interest to bird lovers, as a variety of bird species can be found here, including hummingbirds, tanagers and woodpeckers.
Signs warn of bears. We keep our eyes open, but unfortunately we don’t see anyone. That would have been something – an encounter with a bear would have been very unexpected in South America. But unfortunately we didn’t see a Jaguar either. Only heard.
On the other side, it goes steadily back down while at the same time becoming ever greener and more tropical.
At first we only notice more forest, but then the trees adorn themselves with lianas, ferns and colorful birds. It’s getting warm and muggy. We see many waterfalls cascading into the ground in gaps between the trees.
Once again we must change course. Also on this side of the Andes the direct road to the border is closed due to a landslide and we drive the E20 instead of the E45.
We drive through the sun and through thunderstorms. The weather changes every few minutes. This is how I imagined the jungle. And here we are now.