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The white city of poets, painters & past presidents

Popayan named ‘the white city’ is one of the most historic and beautiful gems in Colombia.

Strong followers of tradition and culture, Popayan is the proud place where 15 of Colombia’s presidents were born as well as home to poets, artists and writers, this romantic and enriching dwelling is positioned within a beautiful valley high on the river Cauca.

Popayan is filled with enchanting churches, mansions, bridges, bell towers and monasteries. Strolling around the streets is nothing short of inspirational and romantic, admiring the incredible architecture such as its many churches, Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Iglesia de San Jose, Iglesia de San Agustin, and the oldest church here Iglesia La Ermita.

Art on every corner

With a lot of pride for its past poets, artists and presidents you can find a number of museums to see 18th century art, homes and memorabilia from these very people.

Some of these museums are the Museo Guillermo Valencia dedicated to a local poet and his son (an ex president in the 60’s) or the 18th century home to a four time Colombian president in the Casa Museo Mosquera.

There are also the Museum of religious art (Museo De Arte Religioso), Iberoamericano Museum of Modern Art (Museo Iberoamericano De Arte Moderno) and the Museum of Natural History (Museo De Historia Natural) that are well worth a visit.

Discover the city on foot

Pass over one of the few bridges there are within the town such as Puente de Humilladero and Puente Chiquito, and continue walking through the magnificent streets to appreciate the white Andalusia- style buildings, head east of the town to go up a hill towards a chapel Capilla de Belen, where you can have lovely views of Popayan below.

For some shade on a sunny day, relax in the Parque Caldas, a leafy and shady park where you can watch different musicians or entertainers playing to passersby’s.

Breathtaking day trips

For a trip outside of the city head 40 km from Popayan to the thermal Purace National Park, here you can take walks or hikes to see waterfalls, the four rivers Magdalena, Cauca, Patia and the Caqueta and the active Purace Volcano (Volcan Purace).

Walk along the bubbling thermal streams of Termales San Juan to see the colorful thermal plant life and interesting pools.

There is plenty for nature lovers to enjoy with wildlife and flora and fauna in this large beautiful park. (One must take a guide, or walk along guided pathways in this park).

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Travel Tips

Dress code

Popayan has fairly mild temperatures so pack a sweater or jacket and comfortable walking shoes.

How to get there

By plane - Avianca and Satena airlines both have flights from Bogota to Popayan.

By land within the city - Popayan is easy to walk around and you can see all the historical sites by foot however taxis are available too, just be sure to ask about the fare before you get in as prices may vary.

Dining – Don’t miss eating Popayan’s infamous Empanadas De Pipian, stuffed empanadas with peanut and potato. They are a cheap and delicious meal.

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