1. Cartagena Parking lot
COP 25000 for overnight parking (but they charge by the hour so the sooner you take your vehicle out the cheaper it is)
Possibly the only parking option in town. Gated with security. Good option for all size vehicles.
*no photo taken
2. Beach camp 01 -deserted quiet spot
A quick drive from the highway to the end of the road. There’s a small community with smiley people. We parked up on the beach. It seemed dirty but it was more like wood pieces that the waves washed out. It was very quiet and peaceful.
We stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot days, hot, breezy night, no bugs.
CAMPING SPOT SUGGESTION
Camp site by the beach
CP 40000 (approx $20)
Facilities can be used.
If you are desperate for a spot at the end of the day and don’t want to boondock, this is a gated camp area by the beach. We found it very expensive and as it was the weekend it was crowded too.
3. Beach camp 02 -late night found
Great spot. Parking on a cliff overlooking the sea, peaceful and quiet spot. Felt like we were on a private land in a remote area but the seemingly public road lead us to the end (to the beach) although there was no gate the area was fenced.
Stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot day, breezy night, no bugs.
4. Cabo de la Vela
No facilities though you might be able to use toilets in some of the cafes in town.
Parking on the beach by a palapa hut. We asked permission from the family behind this spot. Despite the town is a few minutes’ walk, this spot was far enough out to have a very quiet and peaceful night.
If you want to have the fun and much faster drive to here, take the turn off at km 103, you won’t regret it.
We stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot days but very windy (it is one of the best kite surfing spot), windy salty, sandy nights -close your windows. No bugs.
5. The North Tip Of South America, Punta Gallinas
Great spot. Parking at the lighthouse. The most northern top of the continent. The 100km distance took us 7 epic hours, you need 4×4 but the drive is very nice.
We stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot days, hot and windy night (salty, sticky air) no bugs.
6. Beach camp by Luz Mila Hostel -Punta Gallinas
We asked permission at the hostel for parking below at the inlet. The hostel has facilities such as toilet, shower (we didn’t use it) a restaurant and a tiny convenient shop. Parking down from the hostel on a salt flat by the water. Quiet, peaceful spot. Don’t park anywhere near the water as although it seems hard land, it’s not. Overnight the land gets even softer. We got stuck and it takes a while digging hard, sticky mud.
We stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot days, warm, breezy night (salty air) no bugs.
7. Roadside restaurant – south of Valledupar
FREE (ate at the restaurant)
Toilet can be used at the restaurant.
Found this spot at the end of the day by a roadside restaurant. Plenty of space. Some trucks park overnight too and it can be noisy as they run their engine for hours.
Stayed here for 1 night in April 2014. Hot day, very beginning of rainy season so it was fresh cooler air and showers in the evenings.
Roadside Restaurant -Sahagun
FREE (ate at the restaurant -very cheap good food and cheap beer)
This was also a last minute found. Parking by a family restaurant, very nice people. Not a huge car park but enough place to park and there ar more truckers coming and going. It was noisy because of the engines running all night. The family runs a little motel with simple rooms with A/C for COP15.000 which probably worth taking.
We stayed here 1 night in April 2014. Very hot days, very hot airless night, biting bugs and noise.
*no photo taken
Roadside restaurant (Santa Rosa de Osos)
It is a truck stop but parking up at the far end of the land and it is surprisingly quiet. There is a truck wash, a truck shop, a petrol station, a small hotel and a cafe with free wifi. Very nice people and a perfect place to sort a few truck issues if needed.
We stayed here 2 nights in April 2014. Cool days, cool nights, rains once a day and very refreshing. No biting bugs but lots of flies in the mornings.
10. Santa Rosa de Cabal -Termales San Miguel (ONE OF OUR FAVOURITES)
COP 20.000/ pers entrance for termales Monday-Wednesday. COP 38.000/pers entrance for the rest of the week.
Parking at the bus parking area. We happened to be there from Monday – Wednesday so got the good deal for tickets in to the hot pools and it was very peaceful and quiet. Weekends can be mad and noisy plus more expensive. They are open till midnight. Good facilities inside. Hot pools, toilet, shower, restaurant, cafe and wifi. Very nice and friendly staff.
We stayed here 2 nights in April 2014. Warm/cool days, cool nights, no bugs.
Parque Nacional Los Navados -Hotel Termales del Ruiz
COP 10.000/ pers for the pool if you want to warm up (normally COP 28.000/pers but negotiated the price) + COP 4000 to the night guard.
Parking at their dirt parking lot. Good place to acclimatize (3400 meters) if you are heading to the park further up. When we got here after closing time (6PM) and negotiated with the caretaker to use the pool for a fair price. (also use toilet, shower) The pool is super hot 40C and very “rich” and very nice. The air temperature is chilly, around 6-8C. They extending the building so the facade looks a bit of a tip but the actual hotel behind it is nice. The people were very friendly to us, though woke up at 7AM to a huge argument between the builders.
From Manizales take the Panamericana to La Esperanza then towards the Park. We took the “scenic” route and it was very challenging, super narrow and very slow. Turned out it wasn’t as scenic and a wider vehicle then our won’t make it -there’s no place to turn around.
We stayed here 1 night in April-May 2014. Cool days and very chilly nights, no bugs.
Family restaurant (Juanito) near Villeta
FREE (but had a couple of drinks at the bar)
There’s girls and boys toilet. No wifi. A nice looking family run restaurant with other facilities such as pool, ziplining etc. Very friendly people. They insisted to park up inside next to the little palapa but there’s plenty of place on a grassy area outside the fence. Monday and Thursday are closed. We were here on Thursday on their day-off and offered to cook for us dinner but we didn’t want to bother them so only had a few beers. They offered to use the pool too if we fancied it. It is by the road but the noise quiets down overnight.
We stayed here 1 night in May 2014. Warm day, perfect temp night, no bugs. Talking birds wake you in the morning. That was spooky but funny
13. Bogotá, 24h car park at Portal 80 Shopping Mall
COP 10.000/ 12h
No facilities but toilet can be used in the shopping mall so can the wifi. Parking in a fenced and secured parking lot a minute from the mall entrance. There’s one side of the lot where they let large vehicles park (also buses and small trucks) It is an ideal spot if interested spending a day or two in the city. Somewhat un-noisy overnight.
We stayed here 2 nights in May 2014. Warm days, chilly nights, no bugs.
SUGGESTION FOR NORTH BOGOTÁ
Bogotá, 24hrs car park at another shopping mall -North
COP 15.000/ night +COP 3000/day
Didn’t stay here so can’t comment on that but asked for overnight stay and it seemed OK if you want to stay North part of the city.
14. Villa de Leyva, Renacer Guesthouse/ Hostel (ONE OF OUR FAVOURITES)
COP 14.000/pers/ night
All facilities including electricity hook-up, water, toilet, shower, wifi, gratis coffee&tea. Worth the money if you are after a relaxed few days in a well run hostel/campground. There’s also a large well equipped kitchen with traditional clay pizza oven, a snug-room with fireplace and tv, a beer& cold drinks fridge. Super friendly and helpful staff who give you a full description with map of the tours and surroundings in the area. You can also rent bikes here. Parking in the gorgeous garden, very quiet and peaceful.
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15. Barichara street stop
No facilities. Parking at the edge of town -5 mins walk to main plaza. Charming small town with an Italian Tuscan feel. It was very peaceful and quiet over night. (Also plenty of overnight parking opportunities on the way to town from San Gil)
We stayed here 1 night in May 2014. Hot day, warm night. Mozzies.
Peaje stop on the way to Cúcuta -rescue camp
Toilet can be used next to the peaje booths . Parking on a dirt lot on the right before you reach the pay booths. There are couple of restaurants over the road. Pretty noisy but good for the 8PM park up. Slow, difficult road up to here from Bucaramanga but from this peaje the road eases out.
We stayed here 1 night in May 2014. Cool day, very chilly night, no bugs.
*no photo taken
17. Roadside restaurant
FREE (We had a few beers here)
Toilet can be used at restaurant. Basically it is a truck stop. Parking on a large dirt lot. When we arrived between 5-6PM it was empty but filled up overnight. It is still a bit far from the border, also a slow road to the border in the morning. There are more overnight opportunities along the way.
We stayed here 1 night in May 2014. Warm day, cool night, no bugs.
* no photo taken