This is a day trip available from Pasto. It is also available as a stopover for transfers from Rumichaca to Pasto for those entering Colombia from Ecuador
Las Lajas church is almost certainly the most famous church in Colombia and arguably the most spectacular church in the whole of Latin America. Known not only for its decadently kitsch neo-gothic styling, but also its incredible location wedged in the Guáitara Valley.
The church is normally reached via the border town of Ipiales approximately 10 minutes away by road. The landscapes surrounding the church are the deep lush green meadows and fields so typical of the Andean region close to the Ecuador border.
Las Lajas was constructed upon the site of an 18th Century miracle, legend has it that in 1754 an Amerindian woman called María Mueses was walking through the valley of the Guáitara river with her deaf-mute daughter Rosa. They became caught in a sudden torrential downpour and sought shelter between two slabs of lajas, the large shale rocks found in the area.
As lightning illuminated the canyon the daughter exclaimed “The mestiza is calling me!” and pointed to one of the slabs of shale where a silhouette of the virgin Mary could be seen. The site’s fame grew and there are many accounts of healings in the valley which became a popular destination for pilgrims.
The present day church was constructed between 1916 and 1949. The church designed by Ecuadorian engineer Gualberto Pérez and Lucindo Espinosa from Pastaza stands 100 metres above the Guáitara river with the bridge standing 50 metres over the waters flowing below.
Our Las Lajas tours are based around flexible transport options that fit into a number of itineraries, including those that include neighbouring Ecuador.
- Pasto – Las Lajas – Pasto For those already in Pasto we offer a day excursion in private transport to Las Lajas.
- Rumichaca – Las Lajas – Pasto Perfect for multi-country itineraries and those travelling through South America by road. We are able to pick you up in Rumichaca on the Ecuador border, take you to Las Lajas and have you in Pasto in good time to take an onward bus to either Popayán or Cali.
Groups and private tours
The ideal group size is 2 to 8 persons but individuals and larger groups can be accommodated on request.
- A unique church and one of the must-see sights in the South of Colombia, the spectacular Las Lajas church in its green valley setting makes for the perfect photo opportunity.
- Save time and travel in comfort on this leg of your Colombian itinerary by booking a transfer that includes Las Lajas with The Colombian Way.