Popoyan is a town famous for its white colonial buildings in the city centre. Popoyan is a great place to stop for a few nights if you are on your way to or from Ecuador. While there is not a whole lot to do in the town itself & you could see all the attractions in one day, one could easily spend several days here to soak up the atmosphere. Here is our list of the top things to do and see in Popoyan.
What to see?
There is not that much to see in the town of Popayan itself. However, there is definitely enough to fill a full day without getting bored.
Visit Torre del Reloj
In the very centre of Popayan, there is a gorgeous historic white church. Adjacent to the church is Parque Caldas.
Walk through Parque Caldas
After visiting Torre del Reloj, take a stroll through Parque Caldas. This park is particularly popular with locals and street vendors. BYO an umbrella as there are a lot of pigeons flying overhead.
Take a stroll over Puente del Humilladero
This bridge is significant in the city due to its historical link to slavery. In the past, this site was a place where slaves could be bought and sold.
Check out the gorgeous Iglesia de San Fransisco
Another beautiful church to check out in town is the Iglesia de San Fransisco. What you will notice about this church is it just may be one of the only things in the city that isn’t white!
What to Eat & Drink
As Popayan was the first town that we visited in Columbia, we wondered what all the fuss about Columbia was about. We soon realised that Columbia is a foodies paradise. We found the food to be much tastier than their South American neighbours. It also helped that the prices were very affordable! Here are our favourite food & drink finds:
Pignick, near Exito Supermarket and Terminal Popayan
The shredded pork meal we had near Exito Supermarket and Terminal Popayan was absolutely mouthwatering and a total bargain at 7000 pesos. Highly recommended!
Solado Smoothies & Coffee
We can highly recommend the coffee & ice creams from Solado Smoothies & Coffee. The ice-cream is not only delicious but a total bargain at 2000 pesos per scoop or on Tuesday and Thursday you get 2 for 1!
We spent a few hours in Ricoleta Cafe before taking a night bus to Cali then onward to Armenia to visit the coffee region of Salento. The coffee was good and only cost around 3500 pesos for a latte. The wifi was also strong which was a big plus!
Mango ice drink from Terminal Popayan
If you are heading to the terminal for any reason, be sure to pick up a delicious frozen mango drink from the vendor inside. A medium sized beverage costs only 2000 pesos.
Where to Stay?
We stayed at Hostal Marruecos. It’s a newly opened backpackers paradise but also currently a work in progress as they are still performing renovations. The wi-fi was mostly solid. However, you are only able to get an in-room connection in the ground floor rooms. Beers cost only 2000 pesos at the hostel. The Hostel also had friendly and accommodating staff who held our bags and allowed us to stay until 11pm before our night bus. Overall, a good budget option.
How to reach Popayan?
There are easy bus connections from Cali to Popayan (3 hour journey). We paid 12,000 pesos to reach Cali, where you can travel onward through Armenia to reach the coffee town of Salento.
If you are coming from Quito, a detailed account on how to reach Popayan can be found here.