Over at this forum’s thread about taking the bus From Bogotá to Bucaramanga, a female solo traveler who doesn’t speak Spanish was being advised by posters to fly from B to B instead of riding the bus.
I took my first-ever bus ride between cities in Colombia this weekend and was generally pleased with my decision to take the bus.
Based on that one-way trip from MDE to Pereira, here are my Top-Ten Reasons For Riding an Inter-City Bus in Colombia....
10. Saving money. Although the scheduled travel times terminal-to-terminal were similar -- about five hours on bus or plane -- I paid only about $14 US for the bus. The best rate I could find for air travel between Medellín and Pereira for my travel date a few days earlier was about 10 times as much, plus tax.
9. No need to change planes in Bogotá. No long treks to a connecting flight.... FYI, I did not find any non-stop flights between the two cities at Cheapo Air.
8. No scary air turbulence thousands of feet above terra firma if you take the bus.
7. i believe Expats with little Spanish can ride the bus successfully. See my ensuing post below with some language tips.
6. There was Internet available on the bus for parts of the trip (not sure why it dropped out in the mountains). When I flew into Colombia on Avianca in late June, there was no Internet on the flights.
5. No need to arrive at the bus terminal 1-1/2 hours early. Buses to Pereira were running every hour, so I just showed up at my convenience, waited 12 minutes or so on a line, bought a ticket and went right to the gate where the bus was leaving in a few minutes.
4. No security hassles, such as remove-belt-take-out-all-metallic-items -- nor any frisking or 'wanding.' My bags went through a security detector, but that was nothin’.
3. Enjoy a 30-minute travel break at a Colombian fast-food rest stop. Cost of a large slice of pizza with mushrooms, a small salad and orange juice: $3 US.
2. I was pleased with the Flota Emperador bus’s security for the two bags I had in the hold compartment under the vehicle. The bags were officially checked at Medellín with tickets issued for each. Hardly any other passengers on this bus had checked any bags.
And the #1 reason to take the inter-city bus....
1. Enjoy the Colombian countryside of verdant hills, lively rivers, cute pueblos and animals of many types and sizes.
cccmedia from metro Pereira