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Getting To and Away

Mompós is not easy to reach. However, through a combination of buses, taxis, water transportation and maybe a 4X4, any traveler can make it.

From the Caribbean Coast
The fastest but most expensive way to get to Mompós is to fly into Cartagena or Barranquilla and organize an inter-city taxi to Magangué. Taxis to Magangué from Cartagena take 3-3.5 hours and cost $15-20; they leave when full. From Magangué, you can catch a motorized canoe across the river to Bodega (25 min, $3), then head on to Mompós via shared taxi (1 hr, $3-6.50). Unitransco also provides direct service from Cartagena to Mompós at 7 a.m. from the terminal. The price varies ($30-40), depending on the season.

Direct vans leave from both Santa Marta ($23) and Taganga ($28) for Mompós. Alternatively, you can take an early bus from Santa Marta to Bucaramanga, tranferring in Bosconia, where there are direct buses to Mompós.

Otherwise, Mompós has buses leaving every day to Barranquilla, Cartagena and Sincelejo (connections to Tolu, Coveñas and Medellin). A reputable bus company in Mompós is Copetran (Ca. del Cementerio 3-74. Tel: 685-5768). However, if you are stuck in Mompós and have to leave, the best bet is to get to Magangué and try your luck there since there are more options.

Coming from Colombia’s Interior and Bogotá
Omega and Copetran have direct overnight buses from Bogotá to El Banco, which leave every evening at 5 p.m. (13 hr, $40). Buses also leave from Bucaramanga to El Banco at 3:30 a.m., 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Cotaxi (Tel: 637-2999), Cootramagdalena (Tel: 637-3400) and Coopetran (Tel: 637-6100) collectively provide these services; all charge $28 for the journey. There are also direct buses from Barrancabermeja to El Banco as well (6 hr), leaving at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.

From El Banco, you will need to catch one of the waiting 4x4s that run the arduous two- to three-hour journey over bad roads to Mompós ($11-14).

If you are coming from Medellín, you can either take a direct bus to Magangué (12 hr, $49) or catch a bus to Sincelejo and connect to Magangué from there (8-10 hr, $54). The former only leaves once daily, at 8:45 p.m., and is serviced by Expreso Brasilia (Tel: 230-9871); more frequent departures leave for Sincelejo.

Either way, once you get to Magangué, you will need to cross the river via water transport and continue on to Mompós by taxi.

River Travel
From Barrancabermeja and other points on the Magdalena River, there are infrequent departures to Magangué and El Banco. Small boats leave for El Banco from Barrancabermeja every morning at 6 a.m. Be sure to ask around; the river journey will be far more pleasant than one by road. The Colombian government has stated its intent to make the waterways in this region passable, so there should be more available long-distance river travel options in the future.

By Richard McColl
With over five years travelling and working in Latin America, Richard feels most at home here in the big Continent. From the former Scottish...
10 Feb 2012

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