Colombia was the last country on my South America crossing and since I heard so much good things about the people, the nature and the food, I went into this desaster without any prejudices and a happy mood. And indeed, the tour started promising, but soon I would find out, that this is definitely not an easy going country for hitchhiking. In the end my Colombia crossing was as difficult as hitchhiking through Spain or Brazil, if not worser. Probably much worser, to be honest. There is nothing positive to say about Colombia in case of hitchhiking.
Hitchhiked distance: 943 kilometer
Number of lifts: 17
Average waiting time: 48 minutes 03 seconds
Waiting time total: 13 hours 37 minutes
Log you can find Log Colcombia.
I came through the border near Pasto during the night and had a direct lift towards th city. From there I should have went „only to Bogota“. I did the route, but it took me two days for 900 km and this was the main highway in Colombia.
I got to say, from all the different people in South America I kind of liked the Colobians the most. Very warn hearted, open people, especially the males are, like all South Americans, a little bit macho, but all in all super friendly. In other party of the country I perceived the male population as a bit arrogant and annoying. Colombia is very tranquil in this case. Furthermore I got to say, that the Colombians are definitely the best dressed people on the whole continent. Maybe this also goes along with the stereotype, that Colombians are so beautiful.
For me being in Colombia felt like the people are very close to each other, without being pushy. Already when I passed the border in the night, the fun began. Some took fotos with me, laughing, shaking, super relaxed and comfortable encounters.
I thought Chile had not much keeping area. After Ecuador I thought it would not get worser. But Colombia is a class of its own in this case. Especially along the mountains, in the South as well as through the Cordilleras in direction Medellin. Many steep roads and the people drive like maniacs. Beside the missing keeping area you also encounter sometime a missing side-walk. And fast traffic. Many roads are not hitchable there. Just impossible.
The missing keeping area is encountered in almost all the country. You got very few roundabout traffics, some Toll-Stations (which aren’t very promising as well for hitchhiking), many police controls and some Aduanas, where the trucks have to get in, to get their load checked.
The roads are surprisingly slow, at least till Bogota. It is possible, that you will need 8 hours for 200km, because the road is winding up and down through the mountains and you are confronted with slow Trucks.
I tried a lot. Walking. No advantage. Normal positioning. No one stops. Aggressive communication, humble body language, with thumb, with hand, waving, static. No success. People just don stop. Or lets say, it takes time.
How you get through Colombia the best? Talking. All my longer lifts I found while asking them. If you get in touch with the people, they are often friendly and open. I wouldn’t recommend „normal“ hitchhiking here. But if you want to hitchhike, there is a secret weapon on your side: Police controls. Whenever I was standing behind a police control, I got a ride relatively fast. It is really the best advice I can give. Also in many discussions with locals, while waiting at the side of the road, they recommended me, to wait near police controls. Of course I rated this as senseless advice in the beginning and tried my normal repertoire of hitchhiking strategies. But it really felt like it made the difference.
Beside that positioning might help at places, where the traffic is reaaaaallly slow. Like walking speed. I had the feeling, that through the guerilla conflicts and the violent history of the country the people are very protective, if they see someone standing at the side of the road. I never waited as long as in Colombia. In no other country. Even if you should take my statistics with cautious, but there is a reason why Colombia took the leading position in the average waiting time. With a lot of space to the second placed country.
The landscape of Colombia is fantastic. A dream. I really can recommend this country to travel in, if you are not planning to hitchhike, of course. The south has beautiful mountains, fields and a lot of fruits. Colombia is a very rich country in case of agriculture and has a lot of good food (although the typical Rice and Beans and Meat and Salad-dish get a little boring after a while). I ate the best papaya of my life there.
Don leave the official roads without caution, because they have some landmines here and there and in general the surrounding nature is taken by the Guerilla. This conflict is usually not affecting the tourist and through the actual peace agreement, which hopeful comes up, the situation will change completely. And the landmines will disappear. Hopefully.
Coffee. Yes, they have coffee. Real coffee. After I encountered in the rest of the continent mostly brown water. They are a world-class coffee producer and you should make use of this, while you are there. In the morning, midday and evening!
Beside the actual Miss-South-America Colombia also the female BMX-World-Champion as well as some really good cyclists among their folks. Cycling is a big thing in Colombia. If you cross the country on a bike, you get welcomed everywhere. I crossed Colombia for 800 km on a bike. The mountains are horrible. But it was a good experience. With pleasure and torture!