A few of the small cities of Colombia are probably the most important traditionally. In the event you’re in search of the most effective locations to go to in Colombia, you need to see the Pueblos Patrimonio de Colombia. The Ministry of Tradition has declared these 17 small heritage cities “Belongings of cultural curiosity”.
Throughout our 6 months in Colombia, we visited 11 of them and would encourage you to see as many as you’ll be able to.
The Heritage Cities of Colombia We Noticed
These historic colonial cities are offered to you within the order we visited them, from the south to the north of Colombia.
We ended our put up, The Small Cities of Colombia’s Espresso Area , with Jardín. Though it’s not technically within the Espresso Area, it was simply too stunning to go away out. It is stuffed with vibrant buildings, adorned with vibrant flowers. There appears to be an unofficial competitors in Colombia for who can squeeze probably the most flower pots on their balcony!
The city was settled by the Spanish within the late 1800s, and it hasn’t modified a lot in over 100years. Apart from the delight of wandering round this small city to see the colonial church buildings and different buildings; or sitting on one of many many colourfully painted chairs in the principle plaza, ingesting a tinto; there are numerous different actions on this city.
It’s well-known for the gallitos de las rocas – the Andean cock-of-the-rock; a stupendous red-plumed chook, which might be seen within the mornings and evenings within the Reserva Pure Gallito de la Roca, on the sting of city. Sadly, the trail into the reserve was only a bit too tough for us to descend, however for youthful and fitter guests it ought to pose no downside.
There are additionally caves and waterfalls and beautiful inexperienced nature surrounding the city, and varied actions like mountaineering, mountain biking, and paragliding can be found. It’s shut sufficient to Medellín to draw many weekend guests from that metropolis.
We handed by way of Honda on our manner from Medellín to Bogotá. It’s located on the River Magdalena, the longest river in Colombia. A number of rivers and streams feed the nice river at Honda, and it is named town of bridges.
Our intention had been to remain not less than an evening, someplace within the previous metropolis. We arrived on the plaza, and parked Berta in a degree spot, beneath the shade of a giant, previous tree. Coming from the mountain heights of Medellín, we couldn’t consider how scorching it was at round 150m in altitude.
The previous city was initially based in 1539. It is rather interesting to wander round in, with the Cathedral of our Girl of the Rosary dominating the plaza, and any variety of slim, cobbled streets full of colourfully painted historic homes. Be sure you take a stroll down Calle de las Trampas.
It reached its ‘heyday’ within the final half of the 19th century as an off-loading level, on the Río Magdalena, for items shipped from the Caribbean coast alongside the river after which by highway to Bogotá.
You might definitely spend a while on this heritage city, however the peak of summer time was not the time for us. We determined to drive on and attempt to discover someplace to sleep that was not less than a number of levels cooler.
The subsequent small city we reached was Guaduas, an essential stopping level traditionally on the highway from Honda to Bogotá. It was based in 1572, deserted, and re-founded in 1644. At 1000m excessive, it was rather more nice than the warmth of Honda.
It’s not one in every of Colombia’s vibrant cities; its buildings are all white, with tiled roofs and brown doorways, balconies, and different trims. It offers a sure cohesiveness to colonial buildings. All the things seems neat and well-preserved.
Structure Plaza is a social place that’s utilized by many locals, significantly within the evenings. Additionally it is dominated by a stupendous church – Catedral de San Miguel Arcángel (Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel). The climate on this a part of Colombia lends itself to group gatherings within the cool of the night. We joined them after dinner and loved a night of watching how the locals spend their time.
Villa de Leyva, Boyacá
After 2 weeks in Bogotá, we have been desirous to re-visit one other of our favorite historic cities of Colombia. We had been to Villa de Leyva twice in 2008.
This heritage city is meant to have excellent climate! It additionally has the biggest primary plaza we now have seen wherever, surrounded by splendid white-washed, tile-roofed colonial buildings. In truth, the entire city follows the white-washed and darkish woodwork, often inexperienced or brown, theme. Even newer buildings maintain to the identical look. It has been designated a Nationwide Monument since 1954.
Make no mistake, Villa de Leyva is a vacationer city. Each Colombian and Worldwide vacationers flock there. We arrived simply earlier than Christmas and stayed till virtually New Yr – there have been all the time individuals, all over the place. We in contrast it to the Easter holidays we had spent there in 2008 and are certain the vacationer numbers have risen significantly.
In the event you ever get bored with wandering the streets of the colonial city that’s usually claimed as being probably the most stunning in Colombia, there are two different locations within the surrounding areas that we visited which may appeal to your curiosity:
- Museo el Fósil: a museum that’s constructed across the skeleton of a kronosaurus. It’s the biggest fossil that has been found on this area.
- Convento Ecce-Homo: though it’s not a functioning monastery, it’s open to the general public as a museum. It has probably the most stunning courtyard backyard and its stone flooring are filled with fossils.
This space is wealthy in fossils. Have an in depth take a look at any stonework as you wander by way of the city and you will note lots of them; even within the cobblestones that pave the streets. However, as I wrote the final time once we visited Villa de Leyva in 2008 :
It’s straightforward to spend time wandering the streets of this stunning city, however the novelty of strolling on cobblestones wears off sooner than the curiosity within the structure.
This small heritage city appears to be ‘in the midst of nowhere’, however is legendary for two issues: being a heritage city and making footballs!
Monguí is extra of a village than a city, nevertheless it has a big plaza with a church – Minor Basilica of Our Girl of Monguí – and the Convent of the Franciscans taking over one aspect of it. The Municipal Corridor can also be a formidable constructing, with its floor flooring sloping downhill. It and the church are the one unpainted buildings across the plaza. The remaining are white-washed and tile-roofed with an uncommon trim color – predominantly darkish inexperienced on the woodwork, however with detailed brushwork in pink and gold. Monguí seems prefer it celebrates Christmas all 12 months spherical!
Even the ‘soccer factories’ have been housed in historic buildings with the identical color scheme – slightly incongruous maybe, nevertheless it appears to work.
We spent lower than 2 hours strolling across the city, nevertheless it did impress us.
El Socorro, Santander
Traditionally, Socorro is legendary because the birthplace of the Comunero Revolt or Commoners’ Rebel , towards the oppression of Spanish rule, in 1781. It was additionally the capital of the division of Santander between 1862 and 1886.
As we speak it’s a small, historic city which you could stroll round in an hour or two. There are a few statues, across the Plaza de la Independencia, of people that died on account of the revolt: José Antonio Galán, a mestizo farmer, and María Antonia Santos Plata, a peasant, who have been executed by the Spanish for the components they performed as leaders of the revolution.
The colonial options of El Socorro have been what us, and it took us solely a few hours to stroll round and see them. They’ve some very previous and spectacular buildings. However to vacationers, who love journey sports activities, they provide rappelling (abseiling), paragliding, canyoning, bungee leaping and paint ball.
After spending simply a few hours on this pleasant colonial city in 2008, this time we stayed 5 days. Barichara might even be our favorite heritage city of Colombia – of these we’ve seen.
The distinctive yellow sandstone, mixed with white-washed, tile-roofed homes, and varied colored woodwork, makes it an actual feast for the eyes. Be careful for the delicately carved sandstone surrounds of a number of the beautiful picket doorways. It’s constructed on the aspect of a hill, which makes it a little bit of a exercise generally, but additionally rewards you with some spectacular views over the rooftops to the mountains within the distance.
In addition to wandering and having fun with the colonial structure, we might suggest the next issues to do in Barichara:
- Go to one of many miradors overlooking the Suarez River canyon. This was additionally the view from our tenting place.
- Take a stroll alongside a bit of the Camino Actual, down by way of the canyon to the small city of Guane. You’ll be able to return simply by bus.
- Try all of the church buildings of Barichara, constructed from sandstone. Capilla de Jesús, subsequent to the cemetery; Capilla de Santa Bárbara on Plaza de Santa Bárbara; Capilla de San Antonio; and naturally, the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción on the Plaza.
- Go to the cemetery, the place the yellow sandstone can also be in abundance, marking the graves.
- Spend a while sitting within the shady central plaza and watch the world go by.
- Go to the Jorge Delgado Sierra Parque para las Artes – a stupendous backyard, filled with sculptures by native artists. It’s subsequent to the Plaza de Santa Bárbara, and from the highest of the backyard you get an incredible view of the Suarez River canyon in a single path and the mountains within the different.
As in most locations in Colombia, Barichara additionally presents the chance to contain your self in excessive sports activities, if that’s your curiosity.
San Juan Girón, Santander
The municipality of Girón is definitely a part of the Metropolitan space of Bucaramanga, however the place to go to is the previous city, filled with well-preserved white colonial homes. It’s nestled in a bend of the Río de Oro, with a feeder creek operating by way of it. This provides rise to the various bridges that it is usually well-known for.
We had additionally visited in 2008, however have been eager to return. You solely want an hour to stroll slowly across the previous city, however there are locations to take a seat, museums to go to – though often solely open on weekends and public holidays – eating places and vacationer retailers.
It’s straightforward to see why it’s included on this tourism community, and is unquestionably well worth the quick detour in case you are passing by Bucaramanga in your manner by way of Colombia.
La Playa de Belén, Norte de Santander
There may be extra to La Playa de Belén (actually Bethlehem Seashore) than stunning white buildings adorned with vibrant terracotta flower pots, tiled roofs, and brown painted woodwork. Additionally it is set in a fairly outstanding panorama of weathered rock formations.
The city is in a comparatively degree valley, nevertheless it’s potential to climb to varied viewpoints round it to see the settlement from above, and the encompassing panorama. We selected to climb the stair to the cemetery. It’s 150m above the city, and the stair is the one entry. So the lifeless are carried as much as their ultimate resting place.
It’s additionally potential to see the principle sights of this village in a short while – it solely has about 10 blocks! However we selected to remain 2 days. The primary motive is that it is a long way from the principle highway, which fits to Cúcuta on the border with Venezuela. However we additionally stayed as a result of the individuals have been very pleasant and useful, particularly when Berta acquired a flat tyre proper in entrance of the church on the principle plaza.
Santa Cruz de Mompox, Bolívar
The highway into Mompox (or Mompós) is likely one of the worst we drove in Colombia. We’d been advised the highway was unhealthy – it was. We’d been advised it was actually scorching there – it was. However this distinctive place is basically well worth the effort to go there. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Website (since 1995), in addition to being a nationwide patrimonial website of Colombia (since 1959).
Repeatedly, we got here again to the mighty Magdalena River in Colombia. And Mompox is constructed proper on the riverbank. This helps slightly within the warmth of the day, as a result of it’s often potential to discover a shady spot with some breeze coming throughout the massive expanse of water.
Mompox is just gorgeous. It’s like strolling by way of a museum with so many attention-grabbing, intricate particulars that they’re uncountable. Church buildings, courtyards in previous mansions, plazas filled with flowers and folks, tree-lined streets, safety doorways and screens that appear like wrought iron lacework, and even road artwork in applicable locations. The record goes on.
Mompox is up there with Barichara as our favourites of those small heritage cities of Colombia. We don’t need to inform you what to see – simply go and look. However don’t miss the cemetery!
Santa Cruz de Lorica, Córdoba
Lorica was the one one of many heritage cities that we may have fortunately skipped. It doesn’t have the historic cohesiveness of the others. True, there are some fairly spectacular colonial buildings, however they’re so overwhelmed by the 20th Century, that generally you actually must search for them.
Probably the most spectacular a part of this small city is alongside the river – it will in all probability be value taking a ship experience to see it from that side. Its historic growth was straight associated to its place subsequent to the Río Sinú, which was an essential transportation path to the coast and the port metropolis of Cartagena.
We have been grateful we had detoured to go to Lorica, solely due to its proximity to the coast. It’s simply 30Km to Puerto Cispatá, the place we spent a number of days earlier than driving on to Cartagena.
The Heritage Cities of Colombia We Didn’t See
Once we have been leaving Villa de Leyva, we couldn’t determine whether or not we must always go from there to Monguí, or straight north to San Gil and Barichara. It appeared that the roads within the space weren’t good, however satisfactory. So we did some web analysis and located the next info.
The Nationwide Tourism Fund, which promotes tourism all through the nation, developed the Tourism Community of Heritage Cities of Colombia – La Pink Turística de Pueblos Patrimonio de Colombia .
Their web site may be very well-organised, with a lot of details about every city, and a map exhibiting the principal sights. We found that there have been 17 cities within the community, and by then we had visited four of them. So we determined to go to Monguí, and any others we may get to throughout the the rest of our time in Colombia.
These are the heritage cities we didn’t see, largely as a result of we have been unaware of them after they have been close to our route.
Guadalajara de Buga, Valle del Cauca
We missed Buga by lower than 10Km, on our manner from Cali to Armenia and Colombia’s Espresso Area. It’s most well-known for its Basilica, which homes the ‘Lord of Miracles’ or the ‘black Christ’ that draws greater than three million pilgrims a 12 months.
Once we have been in Colombia’s Espresso Area, we made loads of detours to go to many small cities. Had we identified about this record of heritage cities, we might in all probability have made a number of extra. Aguadas is a kind of we missed. It’s well-known for the Aguadeño hat, that’s been a practice for not less than 150 years.
Salamina is round 50Km from Aguadas. Each cities are a part of the Espresso Cultural Panorama of Colombia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage website. This vibrant city, so typical of the espresso area, is legendary all through Colombia for its poets, artists, and artisans. It’s additionally an alternate location (to Salento) to seek out the endemic wax palms.
One other of Colombia’s vibrant cities. However Jericó is extra well-known for being the delivery place of Colombia’s saint: Santa Madre Laura Montoya.
Had we skipped visiting Jardín, we may have visited all three of those small cities on our manner out of the espresso area to Medellín. However, we wouldn’t have wished to overlook Jardín. Travelling is stuffed with decisions like these.
Santa Fe de Antioquia, Antioquia
Generally referred to as ‘the Mom Metropolis’, Santa Fe de Antioquia was the primary capital of the state of Antioquia, earlier than it was moved to Medellín. It is likely one of the oldest colonial cities and it has the oldest suspension bridge in Colombia.
Located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, subsequent to Santa Marta, Ciénaga is a well-preserved colonial metropolis that has skilled battle: within the early 19th century between loyalists and people looking for independence; and within the early 20th century, the dispute between employees and the United Fruit Firm, referred to as the Banana Bloodbath.
Of the small heritage cities of Colombia that we noticed, some have been smaller and took solely a few hours to go to. Others have been bigger and we devoted days to completely expertise them. Some have been straightforward to achieve, others took us over unpaved, tough roads. They’re all identified for his or her colonial structure, however some have maintained that extra totally than others. And all have their very own particular person histories which have impacted on Colombia’s historical past.
Right here we now have given our experiences of the colonial cities we did see, and your expertise could also be fairly completely different. However, you’ll by no means know, in case you don’t go.
Advisable Web site (in Spanish) To Use:
The Nationwide Tourism Fund developed the Tourism Community of Heritage Cities of Colombia – La Pink Turística de Pueblos Patrimonio de Colombia . In the event you click on the person city names a sub-page for this cities opens, the place a Google map exhibits the situation of all historic and attention-grabbing sights on this city, so that you received’t miss a factor. In the event you use the Chrome browser with computerized translation it’s very straightforward to navigate. [Please notice: additional up within the textual content we linked to the English model of the identical web page! We discover that the Spanish web page with computerized browser translation is less complicated to understand.]
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