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Heading from Pasto eastward, the highway passes through Laguna de la Cocha and then enters the Putumayo and continues to that department’s capital, Mocoa, before turning north toward Pitalito, near San Agustín. The road is a virtual rollercoaster through the mountains until it reaches the Valley of Sibundoy, a largely indigenous area with roots deep in the Nudo de los Pastos (the Knot of the Pastos), which unravel into the Cordillera Oriental and Occidental. From here, multitudes of streams flowing eastward to join the Putumayo and Amazon Rivers are born.

The village existed long before the Spaniards’ first visit in 1534. Inca Huayna Cápac had conquered the local indigenous in 1492 and established a Quechua-speaking settlement here, which were the ancestors of the modern-day Ingas. The population is still largely indigenous and wears long blue and violet ponchos.

Every year in February, the Return of the First People Carnaval (Klestrinyé) is held, which includes traditional music and dance. Sibundoy is renowned for its artisan work, especially mask carving. Rescate Kamentsa (Ca. 18, 12-13, Barrio Oriente. Cel: 310-523-4747, E-mail: is one Kamsá artisan cooperative creating masks, musical instruments, and woven and beaded articles. Sibundoy’s principal park is full of fallen tree trunks carved with symbols and the mythology of the Inga and Kamsá nations.

Several basic hostels provide lodging. Villa Beatriz (Cel: 311-754-0110/460-5903, E-mail: has two eco-tourism inns and camping. La Orquídea (Vereda La Cumbre. Cel: 312-857-2154, E-mail: offers cabañas and camping, as well as tour guide services.

At the beginning of this millennium, people could only travel as far as Sibundoy, 80 kilometers (48 mi) west of Mocoa. Now the entire Pitalito-Pasto circuit can be done safely. The war zone has been pushed deep into the Putumayo jungle.

(Altitude: 2,000 meters / 6,560 feet, Population: 13,540, City Code: 8)


Other places nearby Sibundoy : Mocoa, Puerto López, Villavicencio , Puerto Nariño, Florencia and Leticia .

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

30 Aug 2011

VIVA Colombia
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