Unlock Ipiales in 24 Hours Your Essential Adventure Blueprint
Immerse 24 hours into the cultural tapestry of Ipiales, a natural and spiritual territory on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border. From the inspiring architecture of Las Lajas Sanctuary, the savory delights of Casa Verde restaurant, to the garden of Tulcan cemetery and marvel at its sculpted bushes. With a blend of tradition, history, and natural beauty, Ipiales invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey.

Unlock Ipiales in 24 Hours: Your Essential Adventure Blueprint!

Ipiales, nestled in the southwestern frontier where Colombia and Ecuador converge, is a vibrant tapestry of cultural fusion. This enchanting borderland serves as a gateway to the sprawling expanse of the Latin American Andean Mountain Range, an inspirational destiny where you can be surprised by nature, traditions, and lovely people.

The view of Ipiales - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
The view of Ipiales - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño

At an elevation exceeding 2,900 meters above sea level, Ipiales boasts a brisk climate, with temperatures averaging between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius (46°F).  As you embark on your adventure, be sure to bundle up against the chill.

Ipiales Pano - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
Ipiales Pano - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
El Charcho neighborhood _ Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
El Charcho neighborhood _ Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño

Here’s a curated selection of activities to make the most of your day in Ipiales:

Exploring Las Lajas Sanctuary: one of the most beautiful churches in the world

Immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of Las Lajas Sanctuary, an architectural marvel ensconced within the verdant embrace of the Guáitara River canyon. This Gothic masterpiece, located a mere 7 kilometers from Ipiales, beckons pilgrims and travelers alike with its soaring spires and sublime grandeur.

Yearly, it receives thousands of visitors as Catholic believers, devotees of the Virgin Mary, and curious tourists who arrive to see its impressive structure constructed more than three hundred feet above the river.

Las Lajas - A wonderful sanctuary in Ipiales
Las Lajas - A wonderful sanctuary in Ipiales

Las Lajas Sanctuary received canonical coronation from the Vatican in 1951, and the sanctuary was declared a basilica in 1954. Watch this MG post for more details.

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Eating Cuy at Casa Verde restaurant

Indulge your palate at Casa Verde, a culinary haven nestled in the heart of El Charco neighborhood. Here, within a symphony of flavors, savor beloved Colombian delicacies such as Sancocho de Gallina (Colombian Hen Soup) and the delicious roasted guinea pig, known locally as “Cuy asado.” Also, a perfect complement to these dishes is the Cigarra soda, a popular sweet soda produced in the department.

You have to TASTE

Roasted Guinea Pig (Cuy)

Guinea pig, locally known as "cuy," is the principal dish in the culinary traditions of Ipiales and is considered a delicacy. Roasted to crispy perfection, it is often served at important celebrations, symbolizing abundance and prosperity. Its price could range from 20 to 25 USD. This meal is also consumed in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Cigarra Soda Local Drink

It has been in existence for 80 years and has gone through many difficult situations over time. Even so, the citizens of Nariño have always supported the brand and embraced it as a symbol of the region. It was founded by Isaac Zamora on August 27, 1944 and to this day, it remains strong and is distributed in many parts of Colombia.

Where you can eat

Guinea Puig Restaurant - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
Guinea Puig Restaurant - Credits to SITUR Government of Nariño
Green House restaurant
Green House restaurant
  • Los Chilcos neighborhood

    A 500-meter zone where you will find locally roasted familiar businesses. The Tropical restaurant is a very good option that you have to try.

  • July 20th Ice Cream Shop

    A parlor with a 50-year history. It's a city landmark, offering a wide variety of organic ice cream flavors.

  • Las Cruces

    Served by the indigenous community, offering typical dishes such as Hornado and Chicha.

  • 22nd Street (San Vicente neighborhood)

    Visited by the locals until after midnight. It's a fast-food option specializing in roasted chicken. For traditional options visit El Tortillazo Picantería.

  • Puenes neighborhood

    Popular on weekends for its roasted rabbits, guinea pigs, and traditional dessert specialties. La Cima restaurant is an interesting alternative.

Exploring the Enchanted Gardens of Tulcan Cemetery

Do you remember Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands movie?  The José María Azael Franco Municipal Cemetery probably transports you into some scenes where Johnny Depp made terrific sculptures from bushes.

Located just 12 kilometers from Ipiales in the Ecuadorian city of Tulcán, this enchanting necropolis boasts sprawling gardens adorned with towering cypresses meticulously sculpted into captivating forms arranged in the shape of animals, totems, angels, and abstract objects. Throughout the place, you walk through labyrinths of bushes and silent gardens.

Tulcán Cemetery in Ipiales
Tulcán Cemetery in Ipiales

Established in 1878, the cemetery serves as the final resting place for numerous esteemed figures from the region. Its immaculately maintained gravestones bear silent witness to a rich tapestry of history, art, and faith.

This cultural and tourist landmark offers visitors a transcendent journey where every twist and turn reveals new wonders to behold. Tulcán Cemetery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of its inhabitants, a place where past and present converge in a timeless embrace of beauty and tranquility.

Tips and recommendations to visit ipiales

Where is Tulcán Cemetery Located?
Sucre Street – August 10th, Tulcán, Carchi, Ecuador.
How far is from Ipiales?
20 minutes away from Ipiales
When can I visit Tulcán Cemetery?
Free Access all days (08:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.)
What rules I must follow?
Be quiet and respectfully
Can I Take Pictures?
Don´t take very invasive photographs

How to arrive at Ipiales from Pasto?

Like its counterpart, the capital city of the Nariño department, Ipiales, lacks its own airport.

From the Airport to Ipiales

The San Luis airport, situated in Aldana town just 12 kilometers from Ipiales, serves as the nearest air terminal for southern Colombia.

From Pasto to Ipiales

Most travelers opt to fly into Pasto first, a journey of approximately 80 kilometers by land to reach Ipiales after visiting Pasto.

These are the most common options of transportation:

Public transportation

t´s the cheapest one. You should buy a bus ticket at the Pasto’s terminal (3-5 USD).  The journey takes at least two hours until Ipiales.

Common Taxis or Apps

A faster and more comfortable option. You can pay for a private service (40 USD) from downtown that brings you in one and a half hours.

From Chachagui´s airport

If you don't want to stay in Pasto, purchase a service and ask for a trip to Ipiales. The drivers could take you for approximately 60 USD.

Particular car

If you have the facilities to access personal transportation, go through Panamericana´s highway and arrive at a time similar to that of a taxi.

Enjoy more content from our blogs

The Botton Line: Unlock Ipiales in 24 Hours: Your Essential Adventure Blueprint!

Ipiales radiates cultural richness from Colombia and Ecuador. Begin your 24-hour trip with a visit to Las Lajas Sanctuary, a breathtaking one of the most beautiful churches in the world built into the Guáitara River canyon. Taste traditional cuisine at Casa Verde, enjoying roasted guinea pig (Cuy) with a Cigarra soda. Then, venture to Ecuadorian Tulcán cemetery, a surreal garden reminiscent of a Tim Burton’s movie. Ipiales awaits, promising a day brimming with wonder and discovery!

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