The heavily militarized highway heading south from Bogotá leads to Villavicencio – 'La Puerta al Llano,' the gateway to the plain – 75km southeast. It's a bustling though not particularly interesting city with a serious penchant for nightlife and grilled meat. The city is a good base for exploring the plains, and though it's no longer a requisite jumping-off point for trips to Caño Cristales, it does offer the most thrilling ride there: in an ancient and creaky, white-knuckle-inducing 1940s-era DC-3!