Neiva to Mocoa

by lwsaville

In the interest of getting the blog back on track someday I’ll be brief. These are photos with captions from the section between Neiva and the town of Mocoa in Colombia also passing through San Augustín (a popular tourist stop off for some ruins). The route (another from Cass Gilbert) took us away from the main roads and into a sting of little towns that one might never see in a smash and grab Colombian experience. Kudos to Heidi for gritting out some tough bits right at the start of her cycling trip!


Grouchy looking bird.


The pretty and gothic style church in Yaguará.




An interesting geologic spine


Heidi cruising along contentedly.


This little guy was fluffed up and outrageously red.


A local economic prospect drying in the sun, no importa if the rain starts spitting.


Heidi looking sceptically at me from my perched advantage.


Heading around the edge of the spine


Like a lot of Colombia, looking lush and a few blooming trees added a bit of flair to the numerous shades of green.


Heidi tearing up the dirt road.


Another economic prospect before it goes through processing and ends up in chocolate bars.


Heidi’s super cheap, but excellent, front rack comes equipped with a spring loaded gear grabber. It’s handy for lots of things, from watermelons and honey dews to this dirty rag (El Shukito).


Another church seen from the side of the road as it wraps around leaving La Plata.


Some plants out to dry and later off to market to be bought and used as natural scrubbers, principally for a dirty backside in the shower.


The seemingly antiquated wooden machine that is used to squeeze juice our of freshly cut sugar cane yielding a sweet drink, in these parts called Guarapo.


The goods are in the cup and mixed with fresh limon juice. Guarapo is really tasty and I feel like we discovered the drink a bit late in the game.


Passing on a motorbike after work this guy offered to give us some oranges. Further down on the road we received a huge bag of oranges and an offer to stay at his house in La Argentina. Dragging ourselves into the town after dark was a potentially unpleasant experienced tempered by the hospitality of him and his family.


The friendly, girl heavy, family.


“Pa’que es?” (What’s it for?) was repeated over and over while this big eyed young girl touched or pointed out various bits of our gear.



Heidi hanging with the girls while they eat some apples we had brought.


The area, abundant with productive land, also grows Pitahaya, a strange tropical fruit difficult to for me to describe but really delicious.


A local woman offers to give Heidi a shove on an extra steep stretch.


The earth speckled with heavily ripe Guayaba. You certainly wouldn’t starve through these parts. With Guayaba Colombians made a hardened sort of jelly (Bocadillo) that they cut in pieces and wrap in leaves. I loved unwrapping a chunk and tossing the “wrapper” on the side of the road.


Rain threatening as we push on, trees lining the country lane.


One more brightly colored bird sighted along the way.


The canopy of a large tree that I liked the look of.


The sun falling with the light beginning to change color, making things progressively more dynamic and beautiful.


Diminishing light gets cut into pieces by passing clouds and highlights a big grassy plain that I had passed earlier but was shrinking as I climbed away.


Heidi and I playing on the teeter-toter in the yard of a wooden shack we called home for the night.


In addition to movement up and down it spun around on its fulcrum. Heidi powerless to do anything (short legs)!


Clouds creep in over the hills as dusk falls.


The various levels and types of cloud showing off on the horizon.


Nothing beats fresh papaya in the morning.


Nor the view off into the valley where we been the previous day.


The shack.


On a descent we passed by some windswept grazing land that was perfect for a number of beautiful spiders along the fence line.



A dog taking a nap.


Climbing out of the valley towards Pitalito on decent pavement.


In Guacacallo hanging around the square waiting for people to head home so we could camp somebody had called somebody and gotten the keys for a community market building. Heidi’s pulling out bedding gear.


Little coffee plants carefully nursed from sprouts on upwards to a size acceptable for planting.


We ran into an Argentinian called Federico a few km outside of San Augustín and rode together for a second.


A horse parked on the street in San Augustín.


Empanadas we discovered at a bakery.


Fighting cocks tethered at a distance from one another.


A side of the road fruit stand sporting principly granadilla and its purple cousin whose name I don’t remember.


I passed a cycle tourist further down who appeared to be waiting for someone, the someone was this fellow who had flatted and was trying to fill a leaky tire. I had an excess of tires from the downhill Heidi nightmare and helped to get him on his way. They had entertained in the street enough in a city to buy some bikes.


Some other fellows rucked up during the flat-fix also heading the other way.


Up further on the pass between Pitalito and Mocoa, it gets really wet and jungly.


San Juan de Villalobos is basically just a handful of businesses and homes scattered along the roadside.


Power lines and wispy clouds over forest.


Looking down the valley we were descending.




Heidi rolling by some clouds.


A parrot in a tree next to a roadside eatery where we snacked some empandas and tintico (little coffee).


The area still has a lot of military presence. I think I looked up an incident in which several soldiers were killed in San Juan de Villalobos just the year before by the FARC.


An exciting Toucan sighting.


A race or organized ride striking out into the climb while we cruise down.


The hostel with camping in Mocoa also has a gang of semi-tame monkeys that come around for food.







And the rare photo of yours truly giving one a bit of banana.