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Las Lajas

Searching for a cathedral – Santuario de Las Lajas. (Map this!)

It was Lakshmi who spotted the church first. The picture book showed a grand cathedral with an access bridge dramatically spanning a deep canyon. Gothic churches have always been our favorite and this one, spanning the canyon of the river Guáitara, was made all the more spectacular by its surroundings. Close to Ipiales and the border between Colombia and Ecuador, lies the Santuario de Las Lajas. The Virgin here is known for her miracles making Las Lajas a major pilgrim site in Colombia.

Santuario Las Lajas

For a higher resolution video click here.
To see more pictures of the cathedral, click here.

In an era of ugly condominiums and uninspired model homes, man sometimes creates something that actually adds to the beauty that Nature provides. Las Lajas is one such creation. Although surrounded by ugly concrete housing, it remains breathtaking at first sight.

8 Responses to “Videoblog: Santuario de Las Lajas”

  1. Lakshmi says:

    Glad you guys were able to visit this Church! It is so beautiful. I wish we had a few more days in Colombia. Thank you both for providing the opportunity to visit and your great company.

  2. Geoff Dreyer says:

    Hi Shreesh,

    I am in awe of your fortitude and admiring of your journey. Not to sully your philosophical blog with pedestrian touristrivia, but can you give me any advice on visiting Calakmul in Yucatan? I’m going next week with my 13 and 15 yr old boys. Is it reasonable to go there without our own car? We hope to find a taxi/guide for the day in Xpujil. Thought we’d loop around from Cancun -> Merida -> Campeche -> Xpujil -> Tulum and back, all in about 10 days.

    Geoff (still a programmer)

  3. Shreesh says:


    Nice to hear from you!

    I don’t know much about how you would do Calakmul without a rental car. I think it will be hard – the site is very remote. From the entrance to the park, it is another two hours to the ruins, over a mostly single track road (honk your horn often!)

    How are you getting around otherwise, from Cancun, Merida, Campeche, etc? A rental car might not be a bad idea to get from place to place.

    In the guide book I was using they had nice things to say about these guys:


    We were going to stay there but ran out of time…

    If you make it to Calakmul DO NOT forget to ask the rangers to open access to the frieze. We didn’t know about the frieze so we didn’t ask :(( It is supposed to be better than the famous one in Balamku!

    Take care and have a great trip!

  4. Geoff Dreyer says:

    Thanks for the tip – I’ve sent out a query to riobecdreams. Looks nice (cost permitting… we’re on a budget). I’m hoping to take 2nd class buses/combis all the way. I’ve tossed around the idea of renting a car in Cancun, but I’m leery about parking, police hassles, liability. Also I think we might see more and meet more people while negotiating the buses that all the locals use. What do you think (bus vs renting a car)? I also see on riobecdreams that Calakmul may now be closed to private cars.

    By the way, I was in Ecuador a few years ago and loved Quito, Otavalo, Banos (didn’t see Galapagos, darn it – you should definitely go there.)


  5. fred says:

    from Raleigh NC:

    Loved the vid, especially, “these are the loaves, these are the fishes”. Glad you cleared that up for us. You guys rock. Keep the data flow going.

  6. Shreesh says:

    hehe, you can lead a man to fish, but…

  7. Shreesh says:


    I know that there are trade-offs in bus vs. renting but I am of the opinion that it is much more convenient to have your on car when visiting remote sites. If you are visiting well served destinations then bus can be a great way to get some local color.

  8. Geoff says:

    Hi Shreesh,

    After reading Neena’s account of Bazyli, I’ve decided to definitely not have my own car. Instead, I will hitch hike! Never knew it was so easy! Maybe I can team up with Bazyli. Seriously, I looked into Rio Bec Dreams and that sounds like another nightmare. For instance, check out


    and many others. We’ll just wing it and see what happens.
    Best ‘o luck to you guys.

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