The most popular day trip from Popayán is Silvia. This small picturesque mountain town 50 kilometers from “the big city”would not likely draw any visitors if it were not for the weekly descending of the Guambiano people. The Guambianos are the most traditional of all Colombian indigenous groups with their own language and most certainly their own traditional dress. In fact, it is their appearance that turns this small village into a bit of a zoo when they come into town for their weekly market. This is one group of stylish people by any standards and it cannot be helped that gringos are increasingly finding them hard to resist.
It takes roughly 90 minutes on hourly buses (around 5000 COP or $2.50) from Popayán. For more details, check out my small but picturesque Silvia page.
Try the thermal spring and mud baths at Coconuco. It's an easy bus ride from Popayan. Aguas Hirviendas is the hotter springs, based in the Hotel de Turismo, 1.5km out of the town. Aguas Tibias is about 3km away. You can get a jeep taxi from the town - obviously it's cheaper if there's a small group of you.
Aguas Tibias in more out in the countryside and has 3 pools (including a water slide) and a mineral mud bath, literally just dug out of the ground!
A great way to relax.
About an hours bus ride to the north-east of Popayan is the small town of Silvia, known mainly for the colourful market held here every thursday.
Check out my Silvia page for more