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Top Colombia

The Lower Magdalena River Valley

scribe the vast stretches of flood plain comprising the Lower Magdalena River Valley. This area, originally a strategic main route from the coast to the interior of Colombia, now prospers with some of the nation鈥檚 largest cattle ranches.

Spend any time here and you鈥檒l see that cattle farming is the dominant industry. Enormous ranches extend out of the towns along the river, and any journey you make will undoubtedly be delayed by a passing cattle train ambling along a major byway.

As ranching is life to the people here, town festivals often resemble rodeos, with bull riding and drinking that evoke scenes reminiscent of a long disappeared American West. In the spirit of Colombian regionalism, most people in this area are referred to by other Colombians as coste帽os (from the coast) despite the fact that towns like Momp贸s, Puerto Berr铆o and Barrancabermeja are located several hundred kilometers from the nearest shore. However, this relative misnomer is justified when you learn that residents of these towns are defined by the freshwater of the Magdalena River.

From the smokestacks and nodding donkeys in Barrancabermeja to the silversmiths and Nazarenes on procession in the austere Semana Santa of Momp贸s, the Lower Magdalena River Valley is an area you will not want to miss. The Garc铆a M谩rquez-like idiosyncrasies and welcoming inhabitants will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.

10 Feb 2012

VIVA Colombia

Top Places in the Lower Magdalena


To visitors and locals alike, Momp贸s represents an older, forgotten colonial Colombia. It is a city of tradition, family ties, and a mix of Garc铆a-M谩rquian myth and religious piety. The culture ...
Momp贸s, Colombia


Barrancabermeja is first and foremost an oil town. This detail is not lost on the visitor as a massive refinery looms large over this sweltering settlement on the Magdalena River. Temperatures rarely ...
Barrancabermeja, Colombia

Puerto Berr铆o

The first thing you notice upon arriving in Puerto Berr铆o is the staggering heat and humidity. Temperatures average above 30潞C (87潞F). Once you have become accustomed to the dank humidity that ...
Puerto Berr铆o , Colombia

Things to See and Do in the Lower Magdalena

Cienaga San Silvestre

Likened to a freshwater 鈥渙cean,鈥 the Ci茅naga San Silvestre spans out from Barrancabermeja to as far as Puerto Wilches, making it a vast body of water measuring nine square kilometers (3.5 sq ...
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Barrancabermeja, Colombia

The River Train

鈥淧eto, peto,鈥 Do帽a Sorelly calls. She opens her milk can, steam from the corn drink escaping into this slightly cool morning. The toot of the autoferro鈥檚 horn warns of our imminent passage. We ...
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Barrancabermeja, Colombia
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