Pasto Travel Guide

  • a simple red brick facade
    a simple red brick facade
    by richiecdisc
  • Iglesia de San Felipe Neri's impressive facade
    Iglesia de San Felipe Neri's impressive...
    by richiecdisc
  • relatively unassuming exterior of La Merced
    relatively unassuming exterior of La...
    by richiecdisc

Pasto Things to Do

  • Iglesia San Juan Bautista

    Iglesia San Juan Bautista is Pasto's most stunning piece of colonial architecture. Though renovated a few times due to various devastations, the current structure was completed in 1667 and the site on which it stands has an even longer history as a religious site of approximately another 340 years. Severe earthquakes reduced the original church to...

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  • The Cathedral

    Compared to some of Pasto's “other” churches, The Cathedral is a little lackluster in appearance though not so with regard to history with the original Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi having been desecrated during the lootings of 1822. It fell into disrepair and just before the end of the 19th century was demolished with plans to build anew. It was...

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  • Iglesia del Cristo Rey

    Iglesia del Cristo Rey remains a bit of an enigma to me as I never got within its impressive walls. It always was closed when I was in the vicinity. That said, its twin octagonal towers fringed with angelic statues always captured my attention even from afar when I spotted them. Though the original structure that dated back to the 1500s withstood...

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  • Iglesia de la Merced

    Iglesia de la Merced is another fine church of Pasto that could easily be overlooked from its relatively unimpressive exterior though considering its long history of devastation from earthquakes it's a wonder a church stands in this place at all! The original structure dates back to the 1500s and was completed in 1609 and though elaborate, work...

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  • Iglesia de San Sebastián

    Pasto has an array of very different churches and one of the most unusual is Iglesia de San Sebastián. The original San Sebastián was built in the Gothic style and completed in 1790 but city planning and the ever present threat of earthquakes led to a newer version being constructed in 1936. Still in the Gothic style, it retains also some Moorish...

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  • Visit the lake

    The ‘Laguna de la Cocha’ a place to visit. ‘La Cocha is a lovely lake situated in the district of ‘El Encano’, if you don’t have a car, you can go by taxi –colectivo or by bus. The colectivo is a Taxi that sells places in the car and ones all the places are full the car leave and take you to a common destination. A nice, cheap and save way to...

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  • Places to visit

    Pasto has a great number of beautiful churches; I will recommend having a look at San Juan Bautista in the middle of town, also visit the Cristo Rey Church no far from Plaza de Nariño, and Santiago at the top of the city.Pasto also have a couple of small museos worth a visit; ‘El Museo de Oro located in the Banco de la Republica, El Museo del...

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  • CATHEDRALS AND CHURCHES

    There are several pretty churches around Pasto.The Main Cathedral on Calle 17 and Carrera 26 is worth a look. In front, there are toy cars for children to play in.Attractive churches that I remember more distinctly are Iglesia de San Felipe Neri and Capilla de Nuestra Senora de Lourdes. Both are located near to Carrera 27 beyond Calle 13.

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  • PARQUE INFANTIL

    Well, I was here on a Sunday and as most shops are closed, I made my way there and was pleasantly surprised by the simple charm of Parque Infantil (Children's Park).Many locals bring their children there to play on the swings and slides. There are also several joggers and dog-owners exercising with their dogs. A few elderly men feed pigeons. And...

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  • PLAZA DE NARINO

    Plaza de Narino is a lovely plaza. Really quite pretty. It is the main plaza of Pasto but interestingly, the main Cathedral of Pasto is not located there.In the evenings, there are many snack stalls, like ice-cream or chicharrons, etc...Next to the plaza is Iglesia de San Juan Bautista. Behind this church is a pretty pedestrian walkway with...

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  • POPAYAN TO PASTO

    The guidebook had advised to travel by day for this part of the journey through South Colombia for safety reasons. Well, why not? I definitely recommend it doing this trip in the day-time coz the view from Popayan to Pasto is exceptionally gorgeous. In fact, try to sit on the right side when you board the minibus. I did just that.The journey...

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  • Cocha Lake

    Cocha Lake is about 30 minutes from Pasto, and is said to be one of the best places to get to see an evergreen cloud forest from up close. This is especially tru on La Corota island, which is a nature presierve. There is a path which you can walk along across the island to a lookout point on the other side.Next to the docks where the boates land,...

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Pasto Hotels

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Pasto Restaurants

  • on a mission for ice

    Pasto is noted as a cold town and one thing I had read about was a local ice cream called helado de paíla. This was evidently prepared in a copper tub with ice beneath it, all by hand. Many years earlier we had another such frozen treat called queso helado in Arequipa in Peru. That was one of our all time favorite deserts and was a bit like a...

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  • a very nice last meal in Pasto

    It was time for our last meal in Pasto and one of the last in Colombia. Though we had a couple of nights in Bogota on our way home, we had spent the first days of our Colombian adventure there and figured to be retreading familiar culinary ground when there. We were thinking Sanchacho or Ajiaco, some type of typical traditional Colombian soup or...

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  • the real quimbolito experience

    Though it hadn't been much more than 40 minutes since we had enjoyed an espresso at Cafe Veracruz we were hankering for something sweet and walked by an unpretentious local bakery on Calle 20. We walked in to see a wide selection of Colombian baked treats and one sweet we noticed was a quimbilito. This steamed pastry made of cornmeal and raisins is...

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  • a nice espresso in Pasto

    Though the coffee scene in Colombia had started slowly for us, we soon discovered that if you were willing to pay a bit more and frequent more upscale places, good coffee did exist in the land of Juan Valdez. Forget the tinto, you have to look for espresso. Of course, most locals drink the former and the latter can be more than breakfast in a local...

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  • finally found the pig

    We had been traveling around Colombia for nearly two months without seeing lechona or roast pig. This was a staple for us in Ecuador and even Peru years earlier. It seemed odd that it would not be popular here too. Now that we were no so far from Ecuador once again, we started to see some of the staples from there popping up like quimbolitos and in...

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  • betcha can't eat just one

    While Pasto was not the street vendor paradise of say Cali or Bogotá, it did have some scattered ones selling some tasty cheap treats. One thing not to be missed for those who like potato chips are the people making homemade ones. We are not huge potato chip fans but when they are made like this, they are hard to resist. You see them in big...

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Pasto Transportation

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    by richiecdisc Updated Jan 15, 2011

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    Getting to Pasto is easy from many cities around Colombia. You can even go directly to Bogotá in 22 hours if that strikes your fancy! We arrived from Popayán on a bus that took around six hours of spectacular scenery. This is one trip still considered safest during the day and with views like you will get why do it at night anyway? We paid 28,000 COP ($14) each for the journey.

    We also took a small and somewhat cramped bus to Ipiales which took about 90 minutes and cost 7000 COP ($3.50) each. On our return to Pasto, we paid 9000 COP ($4.50) for a much larger Fronteras bus which was a lot more comfortable and worth the $1 each splurge!

    Heading home, we flew on Avianca back to Bogotá. This internal flight was included in our round trip flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Bogotá which cost us $430 each. It saved us a lot of time backtracking but did kind of pin us in on going all the way down to Pasto which seemed a good idea in the planning stage but later not so desirable. That said, we're glad we did it as we saw Popayán as a result and actually quite enjoyed Pasto as well.

    some more stunning stained glass at San Sebasti��n
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Pasto Shopping

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  • don't touch these babies

    Though Plaza de Bomboná is not the traditional produce market we might have hoped for and it's not the photogenic South American classic you might be looking for, it is none-the-less a great example of a local market and very interesting in that respect. We went mostly in search of lechona or roast pig but it was fun walking around and checking out...

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  • HANDICRAFTS

    This huge market is located in a warehouse like building.In one section, there are cheap eateries. What drew my attention were the roast pigs smoking above barbecues. I am sure they are delicious.In another section, you can find various Colombian handicrafts, woollies, wooden furniture, etc...

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Pasto Warnings and Dangers

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    by richiecdisc Written Jan 15, 2011

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    Colombia, like most South American countries, is not super geared to the vegetarian. Sure, if you eat fish and cheese you can get by but there are many things that you not only will miss out on but will be confronted with on a constant basis. Going to the markets in particular is not for the squeamish or animal rights activist. Different cultures certainly have varying ideas of what is right and wrong, and what is appetizing and not. I love the markets and must admit love seeing the head of a pig in a restaurant's window. It means lechon to me, roast pork.

    sickening to some, roast pork to me
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Pasto What to Pack

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    by richiecdisc Written Jan 15, 2011

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    Luggage and bags: While a backpack is not necessary in Pasto, if you are doing small overnight trips, you might want to have one. Better yet, a pack would be perfect for trips like this where you are often traveling in small vehicles or sharing rides with others.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dressing in layers will serve you best in Pasto where it can get quite chilly suddenly. This is a high altitude city and when the sun goes in, which it often does, the temperatures drop.

    Photo Equipment: A wide angle is necessary for capturing the stunning interiors of Pasto's many beautiful churches. A zoom can come in handy too for taking shots of the altars from afar, making yourself less conspicuous as well as giving your shots a better angle. Get one with image stabilization as you will be working in low light situations in the church where pulling out a tripod is not really an option!.

    Miscellaneous: Thanks to D for being the perfect partner to snack around. :)

    the wide angle comes in handy altar from afar the very WIDE angle the big ceiling is captured D captures an espresso reward :)
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Pasto Off The Beaten Path

  • Santurio de Las Lajas

    If you are in the need of a miracle, look no further. Spanning one gorgeous gorge sits the neo-Gothic Santurio de Las Lajas, an other-worldly sight especially at night. Though the original church in this spectacular location was built in 1803, this lovely incarnation dates back to the early mid-1900s and took nearly 20 years to complete. Certainly,...

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  • Laguna de la Cocha

    Laguna de la Cocha is perhaps the top sight of Pasto. It's not exactly in Pasto, being a 45 minute taxi ride away but it certainly considered a must see by all Colombians visiting the city, and for good reason. With a backdrop of rolling green hills, this miss-enshrouded gem features an idyllic island perfect for boat excursions. The town is very...

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  • Iglesia Felipe Neri and Iglesia de San...

    Two other churches seen only passingly en route to the Plaza de Bomboná market were Iglesia Felipe Neri and Iglesia de San Andrés. Neither was open when we passed so I cannot on the interiors. The latter was a simple brick church largely in the Romanesque style though there are other influences as is typical of the churches of Pasto. A church has...

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Pasto Favorites

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  • the secret sauce of Pasto

    Six hours on a bus south we were in Pasto none-the-less, the victims of high cost flight changes and our own stubbornness. We arrived to find a cuter town than expected and set off to find new culinary delights to keep us busy till Las Lajas became the finale we hoped for. There turned out to be a great local institution type place right on the...

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  • on finding Pasto not so bad after all

    Though initially we were not happy to have pre-booked our flight from Pasto, we found the town had many charms. Food was one of them but certainly it had its share of fine churches too. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista was particularly stunning, especially its interior. Pasto was truly just a means to an end. The end was a visit to Las Lajas, the...

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  • Best coffee and cake

    You have to visit Cafe 'La Catedral' and old house converted in coffee shop, great gardens where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and cake or home made biscutes, nice to see how the 'Pastusos' (people from Pasto) spend their free time, having coffee and chating for hours.

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