Popayán Travel Guide

  • in center of popayan
    in center of popayan
    by hanspeter_W.
  • central plaza in popayan
    central plaza in popayan
    by hanspeter_W.
  • some yellow adds the right spice
    some yellow adds the right spice
    by richiecdisc

Popayán Things to Do

  • the Clock Tower

    Francisco Jose de Caldas , a famous naturalist and Geologist, who also worked as an engineer, designed the Clock Tower (Torre de Reloj) himself, which is on one side of the square Parque de Caldas. The Tower was constructed in England and then was shipped to Popayan between 1675and 1682. The clock was constructed by an English company and installed...

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  • Iglesia San Francisco

    The San Francisco church was destroyed in an earthquake in 1736. Then it was reconstructed between 1775 and 1795. It was designed by a Spanish architect Antonio Garcia. The facade is a perfect example of baroque architecture. The main portal was designed by Miguel Aguilon. It is flanked by two Corinthian columns and two smaller portal on each side....

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  • La casona del Virrey

    La casona del Virrey is a stylish hotel in a colonial house with a lovely patio. It is not cheap but it is very clean and beautiful and the stuff is efficient. Rooms are large and finely furnished and come with attached bath and Cable TV. It has a restaurant and bar, laundry service, internet, Travel information, hot water, room service and a...

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  • Oficina de Tourismo

    Oficina de Tourismo is directed by a wonderful lady, Carmen Leonor Acosta. She has founded the Tourist Office herself and is doing her best to promote her treasured city. Not only does she work without being paid but she also helps poor and invalid people ! Funds are scarce and most of the times she pays for the expenses herself! We had a long...

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  • La Ciudad Blanca or White City

    Popayán is renowned as La Ciudad Blanca or White City for good reason with a plethora of well-preserved colonial gems, most of which with chalk-white facades. Only Cartagena supercedes it in size and scope as colonial settlement in Colombia. Founded in 1537 by Sebastián Belalcázar it grew to become a natural and key stop on the important trade...

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  • El Morro de Tulcán

    For impressive views of the city, head west to the edge of the city center and climb El Morro de Tulcán. Also at the top is a graffiti-ridden statue of Popayán's founder, Sebastián Belalcázar, atop a horse. The true entrance is at the rear where there are steps leading to the hill's top but many clamber up the front as evidenced by a lot of erosion...

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Popayán Restaurants

  • Los Quingos de Belén in Popayan - Avoid

    This place had a good reputation, which is why my wife and I had lunch here again after coming here several times over the years. Too bad that the restaurant has taken advantage of that previously good reputation to now serve overpriced, and at least in our case, inedible food. We have lived in Colombia for eight years now, and have eaten in...

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  • a great place to try regional...

    Los Quingos de Belén was a perfect way to begin what would be a great culinary experience in Popayán. This upscale but still very authentic restaurant just on the edge of town specializes in regional dishes and while not cheap, they serve huge portions in a very charming atmospheric setting. There is a large outdoor seating area but we preferred to...

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  • THE place for empanadas de pipián

    Hosteltrail turned out to be a great hostel, but not just because it was a nice place to stay but because the young couple that own it are foodies. They turned us onto a few good places but mostly what I would like to thank them for is telling me about La Fresca. I asked where I could find the best empanadas de pipián and without hesitation they...

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  • great place to try arepa de choclo con...

    This is the kind of place you only find by walking by it. It's a real no-namer but we came upon it when walking from the hostel to Piko Riko on Calle 4 and smelled the tasty looking arepas cooking in a small oven right in the small eatery's open doorway. It took us a few days to get around to it but since we had a relatively small breakfast that...

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  • another great bakery for breakfast

    Though our breakfast the day prior at Pan Tolima was quite good, we stumbled across Tapipan while taking photos in the morning and decided to drop in as they had almojabanas as well as full breakfasts. It was very small and obviously very local from the steady stream of people popping in for baked goods to go or a quick bite to eat. The waitress...

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  • one insanely big schnitzel

    I had read about a great sounding restaurant called La Cosecha which specialized in grilled meats but it was on the outskirts of town, closer to the bus terminal than I wanted to venture. Its sister eatery was much closer to the hostel and with the same menu albeit perhaps some of the ambiance, we decided to go there instead. Lonchería La Viña...

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Popayán Nightlife

  • not a bad town for night photography

    Popayn may not be the most lit up town in the world but it was one of the better ones in Colombia. The main square could use some more but they did a nice job with the churches up high. Both Iglesia La Ermita and Capilla de Belén were well lit and quite colorfully at that.One thing about night photography is you'll need a tripod to get good shots...

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  • like stepping into a Quentin Tarantino...

    We had a good experience in a local pool hall dive bar in Salento so on reading about El Sotareño in Popayán we decided to give it another go despite its foreboding exterior. The bar in Salento had been big and open, with two wide doors welcoming you in and offering a quick exit as well. El Sotareño was minuscule in comparison and the one tiny door...

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  • Nighttime Spots

    Popayán doesn't have especially wild nightlife though the friendly locals like to meet in the towns excellent cafés or salsa clubs to spend a sociable evening. If you like to dance salsa or reggaeton, or just chill with a drink listening to latin jazz and bossa nova, you will find a place to sit and relax after a day of sightseeing. Many nightclubs...

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Popayán Transportation

  • Popayan to San Agustin

    San Agustin to Popayan takes about 6 hours by bus, by private vehicle it would be about an hour less. Most of the road is un paved in poor condition and a normal car would not be able to make it. Anthing with higher ground clearance such as a SUV or Pick Up could do it without much difficulty. Inquire about road conditions before heading out as...

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  • it's no problem getting to Popayán

    Getting to Popayán from Cali was no problem at all. That was part of our reason to stop in Cali in the first place with frequent buses between the two and a relatively short three hour travel time. Since we had reserved a room at Horsetrail Hostel in Popayán we had a leisurely breakfast in Cali and grabbed a late morning bus. We paid 20,000 COP...

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  • From Popayán to Salento

    There is a regular bus service from Popayán to Cali and numerous bus companies are available, such as Expreso Palmira, Expreso Bolivariano and Velotax. Minibuses also serve the route. Though the bus terminal is only 10 minutes walk from HostelTrail, I took a taxi as I left quite early in the morning. At the information desk I asked about the bus to...

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Popayán Shopping

  • make your own luladas

    Though Popayán did not disappoint overall with regard to local dishes and we were very happy to enjoy their delectable empanada de papián in particular, one thing it let us down on is the lulada. This scrumptious drink make with the lulo fruit, only found in this area, was reportedly available in Cali in Popayán. We had found it in Cali a few days...

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  • Plaza Colonial Commercial Center

    Plaza Colonial is a brand new super modern commercial center. It has a very nice patio and two cafeterias for a very pleasant cup of coffee... You can find a lot of clothes, artesanias and items of every day use. Prices are affordable.

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  • Popayán Hotels

    0 Hotels in Popayán

Popayán Local Customs

  • Chontaduro - Palm Fruit Native to...

    Chontaduro is a species of palm fruit well known by the native population where it is grown, the tropical forest of South and Central America. It has a high contents of vitamin A and C and has been used as a food source for centuries. Several locals in Popayán offer this fruit on their little stands on wheels. I saw it here for the first time, and...

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  • UNESCO City of Gastronomy

    Popayán has a centuries long gastronomic tradition which has been passed from generation to generation. Traditional culinary practices are protected and encouraged and there is a strong respect for traditional cuisine in Popayán especially during Holy Week and Christmas when certain foods are prepared exclusively for these holidays. In 2005,...

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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Popayán Warnings and Dangers

  • Disco from hell

    Popayan is a lovely city, but. . . . Unless you intend to join the disco itself, stay away from a bed anywhere near Parque Caldas, the central square, on Thusday through Saturday nights (and Sundays if Monday is a holiday -- of which there are many.) To coin an advertising slogan, 'the only risk' is sleep deprivation. There's a full-on,...

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  • try some Caucano if you eat too much

    The food in Popayán was so good that on a few occasions, I at least ate a bit too much. This is typical in a place like Germany, where foods can be fatty and rich, so it's not unusual to have a schnaps like a kräuter liquor to ease the pressure on the old tummy. Ironically enough, D ordered a chuleta de cerdo (pork cutlet) one night and out came...

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Popayán What to Pack

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    by richiecdisc Updated Jan 4, 2011

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Since the bus terminal is close to town, a backpack will be easiest to lug if you want to avoid taking a taxi. Also, if staying in Hosteltrail, you'll have some stairs to climb and that's easiest with a backpack too.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dressing layers is best in Popayán where the weather can be changeable. Generally speaking though it is a very nice climate and a sweater should suffice on most evenings.

    Photo Equipment: A wide angle is great for bringing the foreground into your photos which makes the more interesting. Also, on narrow streets it will help get the whole church in your frame. A zoom is great for sneaky people shots. A tripod is best used for night photography unless you have a VERY steady hand.

    Miscellaneous: Thanks to D for being the perfect travel partner once again in Popayán.

    wide angle comes in handy for church shots great photographic opportunities in Popay��n break out the tripod the WIDE angle D enjoys her coffee AFTER taking picture
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Backpacking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Popayán Off The Beaten Path

  • Silvia on market day

    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...

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  • Hot Springs at Coconuco

    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...

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  • Silvia

    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

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Popayán Favorites

  • on breaking the journey

    Though Popayán is known as La Ciudad Blanca or the White City, our favorite building was Teato Guillermo Valenica. There was something about the style and color, and especially its magical statues that captured our imaginations. It was best late afternoon when the sun hit the statues just right.... This was the tail end of the trip, that much was...

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  • the magic Pipián

    The empanada in question was an empanada de pipián, which smallish ones served with a chili-infused peanut sauce noted for the area. Not only did they lead me to some but in a place so very local it positively breathed it, further emphasized by the preponderance of locals frequenting the little hole-in-the-wall. I was unfortunately alone, my wife...

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  • on listening to the non-local locals

    So, we went methodologically to Cali to break up our journey from the Zona Cafetera and now to Popayán to do the same en route to Las Lajas. Cali brought us the lulada and more of the same was reportedly on our horizon in Popayán but we had traveled enough to know such things were never certain. Lulada or no lulada there were still many...

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Explore Deeper into Popayán
A tale of to bridges
Things to Do
Panteón de los Próceres
Things to Do
Teatro Guillermo Valenicia
Things to Do
Iglesia de Belén
Things to Do
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
Things to Do
Iglesia de Sán José
Things to Do
Tower of Reloj
Things to Do
Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Things to Do
Iglesia La Ermita
Things to Do
Iglesia de San Francisco
Things to Do
another nice spot for java
Restaurants
first taste of the pipián
Restaurants
a taste of the Caribbean Sea
Restaurants
a nice place for breakfast right on the square
Restaurants
rotisserie chicken in Colombia is the real deal
Restaurants
need a pick-me-up?
Restaurants
Pleasant Place for a Nice Cup of Coffee
Restaurants
Restaurante Vegetariano
Restaurants
Variety of Local Foods
Restaurants
Strolling the Streets of Historic Centre
Things to Do
Old Bridges
Things to Do
Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia
Things to Do
Capilla de Belén
Things to Do
Iglesia La Ermita
Things to Do
Iglesia de San Jose
Things to Do
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
Things to Do
Iglesia de San Francisco
Things to Do
Parque Caldas - the Main Square
Things to Do
Museo Guillermo Valencia
Things to Do
Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower)
Things to Do
Catedral de Popayán
Things to Do
From San Agustín to Popayán
Transportation
Money Situation in Popoyan
Favorites
Bridges
Things to Do
Teatro Municipal Guillermo Valencia
Things to Do
El Morro de Tulcán
Things to Do
The Cathedral
Things to Do
Casa Museo Mosquera
Things to Do
Museo de Historia Natural
Things to Do
Iglesia La Ermita
Things to Do
Map of Popayán

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