Paisa Tours: Guide to Medellin and Colombia


Southern Colombia Travel:
San Cipriano
San Agustin


Popayan is a beautiful, peaceful, white washed colonial town in Southern Colombia. It's a tranquil place to spend a night or two on your way south to either Equador or to the nearby archaeological attractions at San Agustin and Tierradentro. As a university town, Popayan has a youthful feel to it, and there are many plazas and churches to explore. Most of the sites can be seen in a half day walking tour. Popayan really comes alive during Semana Santa (Easter week), and sees the largest Semana Santa celebrations in Colombia.

A tour from Popayan that one should consider is to visit the picturesque mountain town of Silvia, some 60km northeast of Popayan. This small town is best known for it's Tuesday market, which is also full of Otavalo and Guambiano Indians who come from their nearby villages (some as far away as Ecuador) on market days. The colourful indigenous market is best early in the morning. Always ask before taking photos here. There's various hotels in Silvia. Small indigenous villages such as La Campana can be visited on beautiful walks, and horseback riding is another possibility around Silvia.

Purace National Park

There are plenty of other travel attractions not far from Popayan, such as the very large San Francisco waterfall, which is nearby the Parque Nacional Purace. Day excursions can be made from Popayan, or you can travel independently by bus to the Park. At Parque Nacional Purace one finds various beautiful hot water sulphur baths in addition to Volcan Purace, and the spectacularly scenic area is excellent for hiking and birdwatching. Both Pilimbala and Purace can be used as bases to explore this National Park. 

The adventurous might consider climbing Volcan Purace - this tough but rewarding trek takes 7 hours from Pilimbala (avoid the fumes from this active volcano, and don't stray off the main path as there's plenty of mines). Around Purace there are also the hot springs at Termales de San Juan and the cathedral town of Garzon.  From June to August the weather is too poor to make this trek - the best time to do so is during December and January, when the weather is normally fine. 

All these travel attractions are en route to the highlight of the area, San Agustin.

Popayan Hotels

Popayan has a range of excellent hotels, many of them housed in very old colonial buildings. The best hotel in Popayan is the Dann Carlton Monasterio Hotel - an old monastery with lovely grounds and a swimming pool. Other good hotels in Popayan include Campobello Hostal, La Plazuela and Los Balcones Hotel. Backpackers should head for either Parklife Hostel, Hostel Caracol or Casa Familiar Turistica.

Popayan, Colombia:
Popayan, Colombia
Popayan at night.

Colonial Popayan
Colombia's colonial town of Popayan.

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