Sun & Rain in charming Popayan :)

Popayan Travel Blog

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farms next to the highway in Cauca Valley
How did I end up coming here? Well, when I was doing my research about Cali and surroundings I found a blog about Popayan. The guy who wrote it came to Peru a while ago and despite we couldn't meet in person we were in touch. So, when I asked him about tips, he was more than glad to help me, how sweet!!!

He was so right the place was beautiful. We haven't even arrived to the city and was already happy with all the nice views of the valley. The drive was good, the highway was smooth. Another thing that captured my attention was the lot of security I saw in the whole way. There were security stops and you could see military almost everywhere.
crossing the bridge
While we were getting closer to Popayan, highway started to turn into a nice and big road with lots of traffic. I was thinking that Popayan would be a small little town, but actually it was a city. After crossing a bridge, we were already in the city. The main touristy attraction is downtown, but the city has been growing and there were new buildings outside it.

Popayan's terminal surprised me, in a good way. It was small, but very well organized and with shops and restaurants. There were lot of cabs at the entrance. The taxis don't use taximeters here, but there's a standard fee. Perfect! The drive to the hostel was short, guess only 5min, hahaha. The taxi driver was telling me about the city. He was very proud of Popayan, the white city. All the buildings in downtown are white and kept the old architecture.
complimentary coffee
The hostel was the only hostel in town, so it was really easy to say the driver where I was going, hehehe.

The driver rang the bell and the owner opened the door. At first I thought he was another guest, but he was the owner, hahaha. I made a reservation 2 weeks ago, but he couldn't find it. No problem, there was availability. Before the "tour" in the hostel, I'd go to my room to leave my backpack and get ready to leave. I wanted to start exploring the city as soon as possible. Popayan is a deeply Catholic city and it was Sunday, so I was expecting seeing all the churches open and watch the local people, yay!

After grabbing a cup of the complimentary coffee and one of the maps that were there for all the guests, it was time to start walking. The hostel was very well located, just a couple of blocks away from all the attractions in downtown.
San Francisco Church in the morning
It was right before noon when the tour started and the day was sunny and warm, but not as hot as in Cali, sweet! So walking there wasn't hard, hehe.

First stop would be the Main Square aka Parque Caldas. The whole city is very well maintained. They care a lot about it and try to keep it as clean as possible. They were also working on the roads. Actually there was a sign about that in the hostel, apologizing in advance for any inconvenience, but I didn't hear anything at night.

The taxi driver wasn't exagereting when he said they were very Catholic. Looking at the map, I realized that most of the highlights of the city are churches or chapels, hahaha. It was Sunday, Mass' day! Churches and chapels aren't open everyday the whole day, but it's different on Sunday.
refreshing raspado
So glad, I was able to walk inside many of them. Sweet! I loved the white and charming main square. All the buildings in the historic part have to be white, no signs are allowed. So it looks very pretty.

When I was at the Cathedral, Mass was ending. Right after the end several street vendors approached to the people leaving the church offering food, hahaha. Well, it was so sunny and warm that I was very thirsty. In my list, I was still missing some of the traditional snacks/drinks in Colombia, so there were 2 reasons to grab something to drink :P I got a raspado which is crushed ice with a syrup. It was very sweet, just needed to see the bees flying around the syrup...

Didn't know where to go and decided to go where there were people. It turned to be the commercial area, local market.
Belen Church
But it wasn't that funny, so back to Parque Caldas and a Church that was on top of a hill a few meters away.

Most of the highlights in town are a short walking distance from each other. There's one a bit further away, but still walking distance. This one was the viewpoint "El Morro". After a not so short walk we arrived there. Maybe it wasn't that far away, but it was so sunny, pffff. Ok, now how to reach the top? The road seemed to go in circles, hahaha. You can take a short cut and climb the hill. Well... so embarrassed but I didn't do it, hahaha. I was tired and didn't want to sweat, hahaha. I'd walk along the road, didn't care if it was a bit longer. It was more comfortable and if I walked longer, I'd be able to burn some calories and wouldn't feel guilty for eating, hehehe.
entrance to Pueblo Patojo


In my way I saw a mini Popayan! What was that? I couldn't help to ask a lady who was selling some fruit what it was. She told me it was "Pueblo Patojo" (Patojo Town) and on Sundays there are handi craft and food stalls. Mmm, sounds interesting and the small town looks charming! Ok, I'd stop there in my way back to the hostel.

Ok, I reached the top. It was breezy here, nice! The view was lovely, but I couldn't stay here for long. I like the landscapes, but prefer to hang out with people, hehehe. So after a while, I decided to go down to the small town. It looked so charming... While I was getting closer - had to go down some stairs - I could start listening some Cumbia, party time!

After walking around the square, stores, buying a magnet and getting a snack.
cool art
I was chatting with the food vendors, souvenir vendors, even a policeman, hahaha. A while later I was ready to go. Shawn met me when I was in my way out. Where to go? I was thinking I had to go back to the hostel, but then I realized I didn't have to do it, hehehe. Where to go? I was tired to be the guide, now I wanted to follow directions, hahaha. Next stop: Humilladero Bridge. This is a lovely bridge over the Cauca river. It was in the way to the hostel, cool!

I was getting closer to the bridge when felt a drop on my nose... what was that? Didn't pay attention nor reacted until I saw the locals started to run. What's going on? It started to rain. And it really rains here, hahaha. By us the rain is merely a mist, hahaha. Everybody including us run to the closes bank.
San Francisco Church after the rain
The idea was to wait here until the rain was over. Ok, but after 5 min I started to get impatient, what a surprise :P

Rain lasted about 1/2 hour, but it seemed way longer to me, hahaha. Fortunately I met a couple and we started to chat. The guy was from Cali and was here just for a visit and his girlfriend was from Popayan. They both wanted to know about Lima and I was more than pleased to talk about it, actually just to talk, hehehe. Ok, no more rain, finally. Time to go back to the hostel.

Streets were so empty... people were just starting to go outside again, hehehe. Arrived to the hostel just thinking about taking a hot shower. Now I know how to operate the electric showers, hahaha. OMG! There was a good pressure of hot water here. Who would have thought I'd have a better shower in a small town than in a big city? hahaha.
San Francisco Church at night
  There wasn't much to do in Popayan, the only thing missing - according to the suggestions - was to walk along the charming buildings at night! Well, there was still too early. So better hang out in the common area. The atmosphere in this hostel is so friendly and cozy. There's free coffee, but if you want a beer or soda, you can grab one from the fridge, but do not forget to write your name down.

It was 7pm when I started to feel hungry, again... so let's go to look for something for dinner. Popayan is still a small town, so don't expect to find many places open on Sunday night... Most of the recommended restaurants were closed, buuuu. I wanted to see the buildings at night, so taking a walk while looking for a restaurant wasn't a bad idea after all, hehehe.
Parque Caldas at night - very nice!


Murat was so right, Popayan at night looks so beautiful, maybe more beautiful than during the day. The lights reflect great on the white walls, sweet! But the difference could also be noticed on the temperature. It was a bit cool and windy, so good I had my jacket, hehehe. I was complaining about it in Cali, but was so handy here. Started to walk through the same places I've been earlier that day. I was enjoying the walk, but was getting hungrier :S Time to eat, please!!! The girl at the hostel recommended an Italian place. It looked very nice, but having an Italian meal... well, this would be the contingency plan.

I was hopping there would be any restaurant open near Parque Caldas, but the only one open were closing in 5 min. Grrrr, they had tasty omelettes and desserts.
God bless you. Thanks for your visit!
.. buuuu. I was forgetting about the places recommended in my list. I had 2-3 recommended, but just one was open. It was a big restaurant, but didn't look that appealing. In fact we came back because it was the only choice besides the Italian place, hahaha. Nevermind, it was good. Place wasn't crowded, but it didn't surprise me, since the whole town was really quiet. And better not to keep on looking for a restaurant or we would end without anything...

Food was good though. I ordered a salad and it was huge! I was missing my veggies so much that I felt it really really delicious, hahaha. What to drink? Just a Coke, pls. Wow those glass bottles were different than the ones I've seen before. They were chubbier, hehehe. We were eating and suddenly no electricity! So good there were candles, hahaha.
halls were empty at the hostel
This wasn't happening in the whole town, just in the restaurant, hehehe. After a while electricity was back, yay!

It was almost 10pm when we arrived back to the hostel. The plan for tomorrow was leaving Popayan early, so before going to bed it was a good idea to do check out, just in case leaving early. I reorganized my back pack and left everything ready to go. Ok, now it was time to sleep and bed was softer than the last ones, yay!!!

yadilitta says:
Yes, it's a nice small city. Really charming!
Posted on: Nov 10, 2009
Aopaq says:
Popayan was definitely one of my most favorite places in Columbia! Thanks for letting me "see" it again!
Posted on: Nov 10, 2009
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farms next to the highway in Cauca…
farms next to the highway in Cauc…
crossing the bridge
crossing the bridge
complimentary coffee
complimentary coffee
San Francisco Church in the morning
San Francisco Church in the morning
refreshing raspado
refreshing raspado
Belen Church
Belen Church
entrance to Pueblo Patojo
entrance to Pueblo Patojo
cool art
cool art
San Francisco Church after the rain
San Francisco Church after the rain
San Francisco Church at night
San Francisco Church at night
Parque Caldas at night - very nice!
Parque Caldas at night - very nice!
God bless you. Thanks for your vis…
God bless you. Thanks for your vi…
halls were empty at the hostel
halls were empty at the hostel
Cauca Valley
Cauca Valley
entrance to an hacienda
entrance to an hacienda
nice highway
nice highway
trees next to the highway
trees next to the highway
all what I need was some music to …
all what I need was some music to…
love this song!
love this song!
in our way to Popayan
in our way to Popayan
brand new cars for Popayan?
brand new cars for Popayan?
arriving to Popayan
arriving to Popayan
an institute arriving to Popayan
an institute arriving to Popayan
at the entrance of Popayan
at the entrance of Popayan
more policemen
more policemen
Cauca River
Cauca River
firefighter station
firefighter station
lots of bikes here too
lots of bikes here too
traveling Minigunther!
traveling Minigunther!
the bedroom
the bedroom
traffic in Popayan
traffic in Popayan
best hotel in town - was really ex…
best hotel in town - was really e…
San Francisco square
San Francisco square
Public Registers - they were worki…
Public Registers - they were work…
Entrance to Popayans Club
Entrance to Popayan's Club
Public Building
Public Building
Bank Av. Villas
Bank Av. Villas
Parque Caldas
Parque Caldas
tall trees in Parque Caldas - also…
tall trees in Parque Caldas - als…
a tradition! Juan Valdez Coffee
a tradition! Juan Valdez Coffee
nice buildings at Parque Caldas
nice buildings at Parque Caldas
Cathedral
Cathedral
another view of the Cathedral
another view of the Cathedral
Cathedral again
Cathedral again
inside the Cathedral
inside the Cathedral
inside the Cathedral - the altar
inside the Cathedral - the altar
Fruit Salad with condensed milk...…
Fruit Salad with condensed milk..…
Raspado Machine
Raspado Machine
syrups for raspado
syrups for raspado
Preparing the raspado
Preparing the raspado
nice hotel
nice hotel
inside Encarnacion Church
inside Encarnacion Church
inside Encarnacion Church
inside Encarnacion Church
Inside Encarnacion Church
Inside Encarnacion Church
missing something at Encarnacion C…
missing something at Encarnacion …
altar at Encarnacion Church
altar at Encarnacion Church
inside Encarnacion Church
inside Encarnacion Church
Christmas and Halloween Decoration…
Christmas and Halloween Decoratio…
modern building in town
"modern" building in town
Casa de la Cultura (Cultures hous…
Casa de la Cultura (Culture's hou…
La Ermita Church
La Ermita Church
Houses at La Ermita Square
Houses at La Ermita Square
lovely streets
lovely streets
Business area
Business area
San Agustin Church
San Agustin Church
behind San Agustin Church
behind San Agustin Church
Calle 5
Calle 5
all white and a church tower
all white and a church tower
Occidente Bank - white too
Occidente Bank - white too
white drugstore
white drugstore
cute kiosk - all the kiosks in tow…
cute kiosk - all the kiosks in to…
nice white house
nice white house
down carrera 2
down carrera 2
lovely narrow streets
lovely narrow streets
El Morro de Tulcan - Tulcan hill -…
El Morro de Tulcan - Tulcan hill …
The Morro pointview
The Morro pointview
sign asking to protect the nature
sign asking to protect the nature
nice hotel near the pointview
nice hotel near the pointview
Pueblo Patojo - Patojo Town
Pueblo Patojo - Patojo Town
another view of Popayan
another view of Popayan
view of Popayan
view of Popayan
view of the Belen Church
view of the Belen Church
Sculpture at Tulcan Pointview
Sculpture at Tulcan Pointview
Pueblo Patojo - Patojo Town
Pueblo Patojo - Patojo Town
this was the old city hall of the …
this was the old city hall of the…
Preparing the empanadas
Preparing the empanadas
pastry for Empanadas
pastry for Empanadas
mini Empanadas de Pepian - pastry …
mini Empanadas de Pepian - pastry…
the Empanada de Pepian
the Empanada de Pepian
a small chapel at Pueblo Patojo
a small chapel at Pueblo Patojo
inside the chapel
inside the chapel
Popayan downtown
Popayan downtown
arriving to Puente el Humilladero
arriving to Puente el Humilladero
Puente Humilladero aka Humilladero…
Puente Humilladero aka Humillader…
Empty Parque Caldas after the rain
Empty Parque Caldas after the rain
Not even Nov, but already Christma…
Not even Nov, but already Christm…
Cathedral at night
Cathedral at night
outside the restaurant
outside the restaurant
a bit strange bottle
a bit strange bottle
first time I saw a glass coke zero…
first time I saw a glass coke zer…
tasty salad for dinner
tasty salad for dinner
yummy patacones!
yummy patacones!
Popayan Hostels review
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Popayan Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
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Popayan Sights & Attractions review
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Popayan Sights & Attractions review
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Popayan Sights & Attractions review
Charming little town inside a bigger one - Pueblo Patojo
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Popayan
photo by: AndySD