The bus trip from Armenia to Popayan first takes you through never ending fields of sugar cane. After Cali, the scenery becomes more diverse, a wild melange of banana, mango and palm trees, giant bamboo, sugar cane and once in a while a random, completely out of place pine tree.
But Cali also is an obvious divide in the ethnic make-up of the population. The fair-skinned local breed in Salento and the neighbouring cities does not miss a chance to brag about their Spanish ancestors. But hey, not some “campesino” from Andalusia, oh no! That region was settled by Conquistadores from the Basque Country, they proudly tell.
Well, Cali is different. There is a large black population and you find every shade of colour in between. Arriving in Popayan, the strong presence of an indigenous population makes you immediately aware that the Andes are very close: from Popayan it is only a daytrip to Ecuador.