Visiting the Southwest of Colombia
The Southwest of Colombia is a unique region, boasting spectacular natural destinations, cultural landmarks and fun things to do. San Agustin Archaeological is a UNESCO World Heritage site while Popayan was declared a first city of gastronomy by UNESCO. The Southwest of Colombia can be reached by flying to Cali, Neiva, Popayan or Pasto from Bogota.
Cali is the biggest city in the Colombian Southwest. Cali is known as the “Salsa Capital of the World” and also features a historic area, warm people and destinations for birding outside the city.
Top Places to Visit in the Southwest
San Agustin Archaeological Park – Located in the foothills of the Andes, San Agustin Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. The sculptures and monuments have been traced back to the mythology of pre-Hispanic people.
Popayan – This beautiful city, known as the white city of Colombia for its chalk white buildings, makes visitors feel like they are in a different era. UNESCO also declared Popayan the first city of gastronomy. Popayan can be reached via direct flight from Bogota.
Cali – With its fertile soils and steamy climate, Cali is Colombia’s third-largest city and a destination not to miss. The area is known for growing sugarcane as well as being the salsa capital of the world. This is the perfect city to practice some salsa.
Silvia – This picturesque mountain town is known as the centre of the Guambiano region. The Guambainos are considered one of the most traditional indigenous groups in Colombia. They travel to Silvia every Tuesday to sell their produce, textiles and other products, providing a very traditional market experience.
Top Things to Do in the Southwest
Popayan During Holy Week – Popayan is famous for its Holy Week celebrations. These celebrations are the second-largest in the world (after Seville, Spain) and UNESCO declared them a masterpiece of the oral and intangible patrimony of humanity.
Horseback Riding to La Chaquira – While visiting the Southwest of Colombia, be sure to go horseback riding to La Chaquira. It’s a rocky perch overhanging the plunging Magadalena Canyon, where the boulders at the precipice are etched with petroglyphs. The ride also includes great views of the Magadalena River.
Visit a Coffee Farm – Take a coffee farm tour in Pitalito and learn about an authentic, functioning coffee farm. Visitors will see the whole coffee production process – from planting, picking, drying and roasting. Afterwards, taste various samples and learn about the coffee’s quality.
Salsa Class – Put on your dancing shoes in Cali and learn how to dance salsa in the city known as the “Salsa Capital of the World.” Learn some moves in a salsa dancing class or go dancing at one of the authentic salsa clubs in the city.
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