Usually, only backpackers who travel from Colombia to Equador decide to stop in Popayan. Most of them make a mistake to stay just one night before moving to their next destination.

While is it true that there is not so much to do within the white city, you will be surprised to uncover a city steeped in history. Did you know that a significant proportion of Colombian presidents were born in Popayan? 

Although the old colonial city center is charming, this is not the main reason why we like to stay there. Popayan is a strategic point to visit the Silvia Market on Tuesday and organize a 2-day trek in the National Park El Purace for observing the condors in the Paramós.  Don’t forget your hiking gears, the weather can be quite harsh up there. 

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Where to stay in Popayan

All the tourist sights are in the colonial city center. There are tons of students during the day, but the streets are quiet at night. There are some good options for lunch & dinner, and a couple of charming bars. However, you will have to take a short cab ride if you decide to party in the Zona Rosa. Most of the hotels are quite old, with a weird-interesting "religious" decoration.

  • Caracol



    Basic and affordable rooms. Lovely cafe where you can sit and enjoy a tasty breakfast. Great owners.
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  • Arte



    Cheap and affordable rooms, with nice hammock area to hang out. Clean. Welcoming staff.
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  • Arcada Payanesa


    Arcada Payanesa

    Clean and modern rooms. Comfy beds. Twin rooms or triple. Perfect for a quiet night.
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  • La Herreria


    La Herreria

    A lovely colonial house with basic and clean rooms. The staff is welcoming and ready to help.
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  • La Plazuela

    Boutique hotel

    La Plazuela

    Peaceful and beautiful colonial building. Lovely courtyard and old fashioned rooms.
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  • Dann Monasterio


    Dann Monasterio

    "Luxurious" option in Popayan. Old and beautiful convent with a swimming pool. Spacious rooms.
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Things to do in Popayan

Exploring the colonial center of Popayan won't take long, and we don't recommend you travel all the way done there only for visiting the white city. However, it's a stop to add to your Colombia itinerary if you're looking for an easy hike to admire the Paramo in the national park El Purace.

  • Explore Popayan


    Explore Popayan

    Young and energic Colombians organize free walking tours to show you the secrets of the city
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  • El Morro


    El Morro

    Watch the sunset from "El Morro", a small pyramid built by the indigenous to bury their dead.
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  • Bike tour


    Bike tour

    An easy bike tour from the Termales Coconuco. 30 km, mostly downhill. You can't be lost.
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  • Silvia



    Every Tuesday morning, indigenous communities meet in Silvia to sell and exchange goods.
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  • Paramo & Condor

    Day trip

    Paramo & Condor

    Go to the National Park el Purace and explore the paramo, condors, waterfalls, and hot springs.
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  • Volcano Hike

    Day trip

    Volcano Hike

    Hike the Volcano Purace - 4650m high. It can be part of a 2-day trip, with a night in a refuge.
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  • Thermal baths

    Day trip

    Thermal baths

    There are a few hot springs scattered around Popayan: Coconuco, Las Salinas, Pozo Azul
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  • Canyoning

    Day trip


    Go to El Tambo for exploring fantastic canyons. 20 - 40m waterfalls. Spanish only.
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For us, good restaurants and exciting nightlife are important when traveling. We gathered our favorite picks on an interactive Map. Download the APP "Mapstr" and look for "Colombia Insider"!

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