The Splendidly Spectacular Las Lajas Sanctuary – Ipiales, Colombia

Honestly. This church was breathtaking. We’d seen a picture of it on Discover South America’s Instagram feed and decided that yes! We’re going there.

So instead of flying to Ecuador from Colombia, we spent about a billion hours on buses over a few days so we could go to Las Lajas Sanctuary before we crossed into Ecuador.

And man oh man, was it worth it.

It’s simply stunning.  

I’m not even religious but I wish that everyone could go see this church at least once in their lifetime.

  
I don’t know if you can tell in the picture above, but the altar is actually the canyon’s rock. The church is literally built into it. 

 
To get to El Santuario de Las Lajas, you need to get yourself to Ipiales, Colombia. From the Terminal (bus station), hop in a collectivo for about 2.500 COP per person (we paid 8.000 COP for two to go right away) and the driver will take you to where you begin a descent to the church. You can leave you bags at terminal for a small fee. 

  
The walk down was interesting, what with all the vendors selling trinkets and plastic containers (why…we have no idea) and pretty plaques along the wall. 

  
And it was endearing. We received many big beautiful smiles and holas from locals. Plus I couldn’t get enough of the garbage cans. They were the cutest things I’ve ever seen!

the garbage can has buttons!
 
There was a museum there as well but we didn’t go. We were overwhelmed by the church itself!

To any tourist who complains that “there are too many locals”, give your head a shake! I’m so sick of reading those kinds of arrogant comments on Trip Advisor. You’re a jerk and a visitor and this was not built for your amusement. This church has been a pilgrimage destination since the 18th century.

I’d really like to tell you all about the church’s history, but all I know is what I just read on Wikipedia. I suggest you mosey on over and check it out! It’s history includes miracles – obviously. 
— Cyn

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