On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, I took the metro to the northern bus station in Medellin and with a little hand gesturing and patience, managed to buy an overnight bus ticket to Barranquilla, a large city on the Caribbean coast which plays host to Colombia´s biggest annual Carnaval celebration. The one way ticket cost was about $40. Countless other travelers passing through the hostel had already confirmed for me that the long range buses were safe and comfortable. I booked a return flight on Avianca thanks to a promotional fare of just $53 (about half price).
The bus terminal seemed fine by day, but when I returned Thursday night, it had a more ominous and crowded feel (as bus terminals anywhere in the world often do). I kept my bags close, and after a thirty minute wait, boarded my 9pm bus to Barranquilla. The seats were amongst the most comfortable of my entire trip. The air-conditioning revved up and froze me to a degree reminiscent of my overnight bus in Laos, however I was prepared with long pants and a hooded sweatshirt.
The start of the 13-hour ride was nauseating as we wound up the curving mountain rodes out of the valley. It was dark, and raining, so visibility was limited to within the bus. A DVD of currently popular Spanish music videos began to play at an agreeable level. I managed to get a few hours of sleep during the journey.