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Southern Colombia

 

Stretching from the southern edge of the Valle de Cauca to the border with Ecuador, the Southern Colombian region contains everything your imagination can conjure: high-altitude páramo plains and snowy volcanoes, flanked by mangrove-filigreed coastline to the west and sultry jungle to the east.

 

 

Popayán is a beautiful colonial city, renowned for its Semana Santa processions. Stroll through the narrow streets, stopping in the numerous churches and several museums. Popayán serves as the gateway to some of Colombia's premier archaeological sites, both of unknown cultures: Tierradentro, brilliantly painted, human-carved burial caves; and San Agustín, many sites of incredible statuary. The surrounding countryside of both provides great hiking opportunities.

 

 

Between the two lies Parque Nacional Puracé. After trekking around the Cadena Volcánica de Coconuco or scaling Volcán Puracé, you can soak your strained muscles in several local hot springs.

 

 

Further south on the Pan-American Highway, you arrive at Pasto. This city, overlooked by smoldering Galeras volcano, also has pleasant colonial-era architecture and plazas, as well as a Gold Museum (Museo de Oro).

 

Accessible from Pasto, you can visit the country's second-largest lake, Laguna La Cocha. On its shores a many eco-farms that welcome guests. Santuario de Flora y Fauna Isla La Carota is on a small island in the lagoon.

 

 

Just north of the Rumichaca border with Ecuador is Ipiales. Eight kilometers (5 mi) away is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Lajas, a neo-Gothic church spanning a river gorge. Also near Ipiales is the indigenous village Cumbal, shadowed by two icy volcanoes.

 

 

The entire region has experienced guerrilla and paramilitary activity in recent years. Please read the Southern Colombia Safety section.

 









23 Sep 2011

VIVA Colombia

Top Hotels in the South

Hotel Belmonte

114091Doña Olga proudly states, \"This is not a luxurious place. It\'s basic, secure, clean and cheap\"-- and that\'s precisely what the Hotel Belmonte is. The rooms are simply appointed with classic, ...
Hotel
Ipiales, Colombia

Hotel Capital

If you can afford to spend a dollar more, Hotel Capital is a comfortable choice for budget travelers. All rooms have common baths, but here there is deliciously hot water. The back courtyard garden ...
Hotel
Popayán, Colombia

Hospedaje y Restaurante Los Lagos

For those preferring to stay in San Andrés Pisimbalá itself, Hospedaje y Restaurante Los Lagos is one of several options. Located at the end of the village’s main road to the right, this ...
Hotel
Tierradentro, Colombia

Hospedaje Lucerna

Austere on the outside, with only small lettering announcing its presence, Hospedaje Lucerna is big on service. Inside, the rooms are grouped around the flower-filled garden. All share the common ...
Hotel
Tierradentro, Colombia

Hospedaje Pisimbalá

Hospedaje Pisimbalá is another old stand-by for journeyers to Tierradentro. Also a small, family-run inn, this inn offers three rooms sharing a bathroom and three rooms with private bath. Only one ...
Hotel
Tierradentro, Colombia

Hospedaje Cambi

Just a half-block from Parque BolĂ­var, Magola PĂ©rez welcomes San AgustĂ­n visitors to these inexpensive, simple, clean rooms in an old colonial building. Nearly all the rooms have TV and private ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Hotel Los ĂŤdolos

Hotel Los ĂŤdolos is definitely the cheapest place to stay in San AgustĂ­n if you have a traveling partner. Be warned, however, that the rooms are claustophically small and stuffy, with only a small ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Hotel Colonial

On the main street of San AgustĂ­n, right where the collective taxis and pick-ups arrive, is Hotel Colonial. Set in another classic, aged building, this inn tenders ample, tidy rooms with private or ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Hotel Central

This other colonial-era-building-cum-hotel is tranquil, despite being on San Agustín’s main street. With a family atmosphere, Hotel Central is the preferred choice of some travelers, thanks to its ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Hotel Yalconia

120792 Hotel Yalconia is San Agustín’s oldest luxury-class hotel. Of modern architecture, this two-story building provides all of the comforts one would want while enjoying the wonders of this region. ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Hostal Alto de los Andaquies

Midways between the village and the archaeological park is Hostal Alto de los Andaquies. This family farm has been turned into a comfortable hotel surrounded by gardens with spectacular views over ...
Hotel
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Top Places to Visit

Popayán

113623 The Pan-American Highway twists and turns for 248 kilometers (149 miles) north from Pasto, arriving at Popayán in the Valle de Pubenza. To the south, east and north of this city are verdant plains ...
City
Popayán, Colombia

Tierradentro

113659Deep within the heart of the hilly countryside around Tierradentro lies one of Colombia's great archaeological gems: mysterious subterranean tombs painted in white-black-red-ochre geometrical ...
City
Tierradentro, Colombia

San AgustĂ­n

113732Like silent sentinels guarding the green mountains of southern Colombia, the pre-Columbian statues of San AgustĂ­n have long beckoned travelers to wander off the beaten track. The journey can be ...
City
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Ipiales

113492A Sunday morning stroll around Ipiales belies the reality of this city. These now-quiet streets will soon bustle with travelers and merchants crossing the border, and Ecuadorian and Colombian ...
City
Ipiales, Colombia

Pasto

Altitude: 2527 m/8,213 ft, Population: approximately 400,000, City Code: 2 Located atop a plateau surrounded by verdant hills to the east and Volcán Galeras to the west, Pasto is 88 kilometers (54 ...
City
Pasto, Colombia

Parque Nacional Puracé

A road heads east from Popayán towards Parque Nacional Natural Puracé. After 18 kilometers (11 miles) it forks: one branch goes to La Plata and Garzón, the other to Pitalito. The largely unpaved ...
National Park, City
Colombia

Things to See and Do

Semana Santa

Easily the most important holiday in Popayán, and one that has been celebrated annually for more than 450 years, Semana Santa transforms Popayán into a colorful procession of Catholic tradition, ...
Other Activity
Popayán, Colombia

Cumbal

114102 In this small indigenous village on the altiplano, the Sunday market trading is still going strong. Stalls display fruits from highlands and low, or ponchos from local workshops. Doña Yolanda ...
Other Activity
Near Ipiales, Ipiales, Colombia

Shamanic and Ecological Association of Colombia

143730 Gain fascinating insight into rural community life, alternative agricultural systems, and medicinal and tropical plants on this farm, home to the Shamanic and Ecological Association of Colombia. ...
Other Activity
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

La Chaza

115053Sundays, men of all ages partake in Chaza de Bombo, a ball game where four-to eight-man teams hit a tennis ball with a bombo, an 80-centimeter (32-in) -long, wooden racket with a 22-centimeter (9-in) ...
Other Activity
Pasto, Colombia

Piscina Municipal Las Moyas

120655Once the sun begins to shine in San AgustĂ­n, it gets down right hot. The perfect way to cool down after visiting the Parque ArqueolĂłgico or doing the El TablĂłn-to-El Purutal circuit is to swing by ...
Other Activity
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Reservas Naturales de la Cocha

Since being declared a Ramsar protected area, local indigenous and campesino communities around Laguna de la Cocha have been taking an active role in conservation and the development of eco-tourism. ...
Other Activity
Colombia

Tejo

After going through the stands of the market on a lazy Sunday, you might find yourself staring at a sign that reads “Cancha de Tejo El Recreo.” Through the courtyard of the rough, tin-roofed ...
Other Activity
San AgustĂ­n, Colombia

Ritual de Refrescamiento y Limpieza

After months of being on the road, you may need to have a Ritual de Refrescamiento y Limpieza done. The Refresh and Cleansing Ritual is an ancient custom of the indigenous peoples here that is yet ...
Other Activity
Tierradentro, Colombia

Trout Fishing

Your fly makes a soft plop as it lands in the crystalline water of Río Aguasilencio—Silent Water River—or one of its tributaries flowing near Coconuco and Paletará. A subtle breeze passes ...
Other Activity
Colombia

The Cultural Centers Of Ipiales

If you find yourself stuck in Ipiales for a few days, don’t sweat. There are places where you can while away a few hours. The Banco de la República has a cultural center that hosts art ...
Other Activity
Ipiales, Colombia
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