If you’re heading from Salento, Colombia to Quito, Ecuador there are a couple of ways to get there. Here’s my step by step guide.

Step 1. Get to Pereira. The bus leaves from Salento 4 times a day. The bus from Pereira leaves at 5pm. It was under 10000 COP ($5) to get to Pereira. The chicken bus is not too cold. 

Then go to the Bolivariano bus ticket station and buy a ticket. Remember this bus is cold. Bring a blanket. Or wear all your clothes. I’m from Edmonton, Alberta so I can tell you I know cold. I wore 2 tank tops, 2 shirts, 2 pair of socks, a jacket, a vest and two pairs of pants AND used my towel as a blanket. The ticket is $920000 ($46 CDN). I had two huge 30kg bags with no extra charge. The ride is 14 hours. You will stop for food at a little roadside dinner. There you can get food for 2000-4000 COP ($2-$4 CDN). The bus ride is comfortable, but remember while they say they have wifi, it didn’t work. Preload all your entertainment. Safety tip. Never leave the bag that has all your valuables alone. Don’t store it in the overhead bin and fall asleep.

After arriving in Ipiales you’ll follow the crowd to a Collectivo (white mini bus) and pay the drive 4000 COP. The words you are looking for are Rumicha, la frontera. I don’t speak any Spanish (well according to Duolingo I’m 4% fluent) but had no problems.

As they drop you off, head to Migracian Colombia to get your exit stamp. This is to your left. If you see a sign that says Ecuador you’re going the wrong way.

After getting your stamp, exit and walk across the bridge to the Ecuador side. There you may or may not be searched by the police (this happened to me) and then go get your entry stamp to Ecuador. Canadians get a T3 stamp for 90 days no charge.

After that take a taxi to Tulcan. Don’t worry. As soon as you get out of the Ecuador stamp office, cab drivers will be yelling “Tulcan” at you. $3.50 USD (Did you notice I just changed to USD? Ecuador uses USD! Get your money BEFORE getting here).

The taxi drops you off right at the bus terminal, so no worries there. 

Buses will be yelling Quito. The ride was $6 USD. Then it’s another 5 hour ride.

All in all it was 27 hours for me to get from Salento to Quito. As a journey it was long. But kind of fun. 

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)