We left Otavalo pretty early in the morning as the boys wanted to make it all the way to San Agustin in one go. We also heard that the stretch of road just after the border crossing was a bit dodgy and to try to avoid being on it at night. We ran into Sophie and Ryan (the coolest couple that we had met at vibes) at the border crossing and talked them into heading to San Agustin with us. We were now a group of 6 and off towards the infamous town with its “special tour”
It was all smooth sailing on the bus with no hold ups or robberies and we were making good time to Popayan. Then all of a sudden the bus came to a stop and a police man with a machine gun came onto the bus, said a bunch of stuff in Spanish, got everyone mad and then got off the bus. We had no idea what was happening. After a lot of miming and broken Spanish we worked out that the bridge was under construction and we had to sleep there for the night. We were in the middle of no where and there wasn’t really anywhere to stay. We decided that the only thing there was to do was try to get as drunk as possible! We headed to this little road side bar and drank them out of beer. I don’t think they had ever had so many people there before. We then went down the road to another bar/brothel. Ok it wasn’t really a brothel, I don’t think, but there were young scantily clad girls working there that were all over these older men that were driving the trucks and really didn’t seem to appreciate us being there. We drank a few more beers here and then decided we should try to get some sleep. We were rudely woken up at 3am when the bridge had been re-opened and our driver decided to take off like a lunatic and make up for lost time. When the locals are screaming at the driver for his driving you know it is bad. He slowed down a little bit but was still really scary. Thankfully we made it to Popayan and jumped onto another shitty bus to head to San Agustin.
After the longest bus journey ever we arrived in San Augustine. There was a guy waiting at the bus stop for us to take us into town. He let us know that he could book tours for us and find us some good accommodation. We took him up on his offer as we didn’t have anywhere to stay and Radick was quick to ask him about the “special tour”. He said he could organise it for us and would let us know once we were at the hostel. We stayed at a place called Hotel Bambu. It was an awesome hostel with comfy beds, nice staff and a kitchen. The best part was they didn’t have too many rules. A lot of hostels were really strict about bringing in drinks and things like that but they were happy for us to bring as much booze as we wanted and even partied with us all night.
The next day we were off on our tour. We were going horse ridding through the Archeological park to see some stone carvings and sculptures. They were pretty cool but to be honest we just wanted to ride the horses and act like cowboys. Radick truly thought he was a cowboy and even insisted on getting a hat. Ryan on the other hand looked sooooo awkward and uncomfortable I couldn’t stop laughing. He was the tallest out of all of us and was on the smallest horse and his feet were almost touching the ground. It was a really fun day and thankfully wasn’t as painful as ridding the horses in Banos.
That night we were off for our “special tour”. I have to admit we were all pretty nervous. We had a bit of a rundown of what was going to happen as some of the guys staying at our hostel had been on it the day before. Our nerves weren’t settled when the tour started. The boys said they had just walked a few blocks down the road so that is what we were expecting. We were told to get into a car and then proceeded to drive a good 15 mins out of town. Our driver suddenly stopped the car and then told us to get out and walk down this pitch black road. I was truly scared at this point! I think the others were too but were trying to put on a brave face. After walking for 5 mins we arrived at this house where there were heaps of dogs going crazy. We waited at the gate till we got the all clear to come in. I still don’t know how the dogs knew it was ok for us to come in but thankfully they didn’t attack us. We were all still on edge until our “guide” rocked up. He was a chubby, jolly looking guy wearing a Bahamas t-shirt. Not really the person I had pictured was going to be our guide but he was so jovial and friendly that he put us all at ease. It was a really interesting tour and we learnt a lot! We spent the next few days partying and recovering.