The perfect Mompox travel guide (Colombia) to plan your stay as you like.

🛑 Imagine arriving in Mompox with all the right information in hand for an optimized, hassle-free adventure that’s perfect for you.

Is it worth the trip to Mompox, a colonial town nestled between two arms of the Magdalena River?

I often asked myself this question before deciding to take the plunge and visit it for 4 days with a local expert. And what a surprise! Santa Cruz de Mompox captivated me, and I’ll tell you why.


Who are we 👋

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.


General Information About Mompox

Here is an overview of Mompox, Colombia

Where is Mompox

Nestled between two arms of the mighty Magdalena River, Mompox, also known as Santa Cruz de Mompox or simply Mompós, is strategically positioned in the Bolívar department in the north of Colombia.

It’s actually an island!

This unique placement, just a 5-hour drive from Cartagena de Indias, has historically established it as a vital inland port. Mompox has served as a crossroads for explorers, traders, and revolutionaries, leveraging its geographical advantage to play a pivotal role in the region’s history and commerce.

Mompox History

Founded on May 3, 1537, by Alonso de Heredia, brother of Pedro de Heredia (Cartagena founder), this city was strategically established as a safe port along the Magdalena River. Quickly rising to prosperity, Santa Cruz de Mompox became a pivotal hub for the upriver transportation of goods, boasting a royal mint and renowned goldsmiths.

For over three centuries, Mompox thrived as a merchant hub and a safe haven for Spanish wealth against pirate threats, highlighted by its vibrant Calle de la Albarrada. Its early success led to its declaration as the first Colombian town to seek independence from Spanish rule (August 6, 1810), earning praise from Simon Bolivar, who recruited 400 Momposinos for his campaign, crediting the town with his glory.

However, by the late 19th century, the silting of the Magdalena River and subsequent trade diversions led to Mompox’s decline into isolation. This downturn was exacerbated by conflicts in the late 20th century, rendering it inaccessible. A turning point came in 1995 with its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, heralding a resurgence of tourism and hope for this colonial jewel.

Best Time to Visit Mompox

To truly enjoy Mompox, timing is everything. December to April sees no rain, making it the ideal period for exploration. The rainiest months are from September to November.

Be wary of the high season during January, Easter, and the Jazz Festival in September (or October). It’s advisable to book accommodations well in advance during these times to avoid disappointments.

Funny fact: During my stay, it rained one morning and it was as if Mompox had turned into a ghost town. Everyone stayed at home and waited for the rain to stop.

Weather in Mompox

Expect temperatures to hover between 80°F and 95°F year-round (27-35C), coupled with high humidity. For a comfortable visit, packing light layers, sunblock, and bug spray is a must to combat the heat and protect against the sun and insects.

Is Mompox Worth Visiting

Absolutely, visiting Mompox feels like stepping into a page from a García Márquez novel. The blend of Cartagena’s vibe with the charm of a colonial village is enchanting. The historic center, restful atmosphere, exquisite colonial houses turned hotels, and engaging local workshops make Mompox a hidden gem deserving of a spot on any travel itinerary.

How Many Days in Mompox

A day could suffice for a whirlwind tour, but Mompox unveils its true beauty to those who linger longer. Spending at least two nights allows for a deeper dive into its secrets.

For me, four days were perfect to immerse fully into the local culture, from making silver jewelry to discovering the unique capa cheese. Every moment was enriching, making my time in Mompox unforgettable.

More than 10,000 travelers have already used our Colombia travel guide

I’ve been exploring Colombia since 2015 and put all my knowledge into one E-book. It’s free and accessible now. 👇

Things to do in Mompox

My favorite experiences to include in your Mompox itinerary.

Visit the Historic Center of Mompox

The historic center of Santa Cruz de Mompox captivates with its Spanish colonial architecture, reflecting its past as a river port.

From the 17th century, the Calle de La Albarrada saw the construction of unique “house-store” buildings, featuring open hallways under a shared roof, enhancing the townscape. These buildings, ranging from three to ten units in a row, and the private homes from the 17th to early 19th centuries, are organized around central or lateral open spaces, showcasing adaptations to the climate and local customs.

The earliest homes, belonging to merchants or Crown servants, centered around a courtyard, often with a secondary service courtyard. Many retain decorated portals, interiors, balconies, and galleries, embodying the area’s singular character.

Significant sights include:

  • The Iglesia de Santa Bárbara (my favorite church. I climbed to the top of the bell tower).
  • The Immaculate Conception Church (on the main square).
  • The tranquil Claustro de San Agustin
  • The Mompox Rosario Cemetery with its white graves and numerous cats.
  • The San Francisco Church and Convent
  • The Santo Domingo Church
  • The Hostal Doña Manuela, with its impressive ficus tree (hundreds of years old)
  • La Casa de la Cultura to learn more about the history of Mompox and the famous poetCandelario Obeso—his most famous work is Cantos Populares de mi Tierra.

Tomplanmytrip note: While you can visit it on your own, I really appreciated my visit with a local guide to link the history of Mompox with its colonial buildings.

Walk Along the Magdalena River

Part of the historic center it may be, but the Magdalena River promenade deserves its own spotlight—Mompox owes its existence to the Magdalena River.

Recently redeveloped, it’s the ideal location to begin or conclude your day.

I savored the views of the river, enjoyed a coffee at Café 1700, grabbed a drink from the terrace of the Crónicas, and indulged in lunch under the trees at El Comedor restaurant.

Make Your Own Silver Jewelry (Filigree Workshop)

Mompox stands out globally for its exquisite filigree art, a testament to its rich tradition of precious metalsmithing. Initially fueled by the abundance of gold, Mompox’s filigree evolved as artisans adapted to silver due to gold’s scarcity, maintaining the art’s popularity.

This craftsmanship, rooted in centuries-old techniques (comes from Andalusia following the occupation of the Ottomans), involves creating delicate jewelry from fine gold or silver threads. Artisans weave these metals into intricate designs, drawing inspiration from nature and geometric shapes, each piece reflecting the creator’s imagination and skill.

I took a 3-hour filigree workshop, transforming fine silver strands into personal jewelry. I loved seeing and doing every step of the filigree process, from melting the silver to making our little heart-shaped jewel. And just getting there took a lot of dexterity and sweat, haha!

Share the Daily Life of Friendly Locals in Mompox

Our local expert introduced us to different locals to learn more about their work and daily life.

I visited a family making queso de capa, a workshop making Caribbean coast rocking chairs (silla Mecedora Momposinas), and even took a public boat across the Magdalena River to have lunch with a local family, who offered me an authentic taste of regional cuisine (delicious fish with coconut rice) and showed me around their garden.

Things to do around Mompox

There aren’t many things to do around Mompox.

Boat tour to la Cienaga de Pijiño

More agencies offer this tour. I’d advise you to enquire about taking a small boat to make it quieter.

Our adventure to the Ciénaga de Pijiño began with a motorized boat ride down the Magdalena River, where our guide introduced us to the vibrant river life.

About 30 minutes into our journey, we reached the entrance of a natural canal that serves as a passageway between the river and the ciénaga. As we navigated down this canal, the serene environment was occasionally broken by the captain turning off the engine to show us the diverse birdlife, including kingfishers, hawks, and cormorants, among others.

The canal also offered a glimpse into the lives of local cattle farmers, with cows leisurely grazing along the banks and gigantic iguanas basking in the sun.

As we progressed, the canal widened, ushering us into the vast expanse of the Ciénaga de Pijiño. This immense shallow lake, peppered with vegetation and local fishermen in their canoes, presented a tranquil setting.

It took us 3 hours in total.

Sunset Boat Tour on the Magdalena River

If you’re not heading to Ciienaga de Pijiño, you can still enjoy the sunset over the Magdalena River from one of the large barges that line the quay, complete with music and drinks.

Can you imagine dancing on the boat as the sun sets over the Magdalena River?

Watching the colonial buildings from afar, bathed in their beautiful illumination, completes a perfect evening.

Tomplanmytrip note: These barges operate only on weekends and during the high season.

Where to stay in Mompox

Mompox’s lodging options range from cozy hostels to luxurious villas, each offering a unique stay. Here’s a closer look at my top picks across different budget ranges.

Hostal Casa La Candelaria — Budget Option

More photos: Hostal Cultural La Candelaria

At Hostal Cultural La Candelaria, they’ve created a serene environment that transcends the typical hostel vibe, making it a hub for culture and good energy. The facility leans heavily on its cultural foundation, offering comfort and cleanliness in its modest yet cozy rooms.

HOTEL NIETO MOMPOX — Mid-Range Option

More photos: Hotel Nieto Mompox

Hotel Nieto Mompox captivated me with its impeccable customer service and prime location—in front of the Magdalena River. Close to restaurants and local shops, it stands out for its traditional cuisine and welcoming atmosphere suitable for families or solo travelers. The hotel ensures a peaceful stay with tastefully decorated rooms. What truly sets it apart is the hacienda-style interior terrace, complete with hammocks for a leisurely nap or reading, making it a peaceful retreat in the heart of Mompox.

Bioma Boutique Hotel — Upscale Option

More photos: Bioma Boutique Hotel

I loved Bioma Boutique Hotel. Set in a typical Momposian house, its blend of modern amenities with historical charm was enchanting. Despite the rooms’ windowless setup (on the first floor), their comforts, alongside the inviting pool and the hotel’s central location, made for a fantastic stay. The staff’s extreme kindness and attentive service elevated the experience. While the room decorations could be enhanced, the overall ambiance and hospitality were unparalleled.

Tomplanmytrip note: Pick a room on the 2nd floor.

San Rafael Hotel — Upscale Option

More photos: San Rafael Hotel

San Rafael Hotel impressed me with its excellent amenities, attentive staff, and prime location—in front of the Magdalena River. Its newly restored colonial architecture and comfortable accommodation promise a stylish stay. What you’ll make your mornings here memorable are the fantastic breakfasts and excellent coffee. Although the pool area required some shade, the second-floor rooms offered comfort and exceptional views.

Legado de la Marquesa — Luxury Villa

More photos: Legado del la Marquesa

Dubbed the finest house in Mompox, Legado del la Marquesa captivated me with its perfect blend of historical elegance and modern comforts. The attentive hosts, delicious cuisine, and beautifully maintained spaces confirmed its status. Although Wi-Fi was limited to areas near the router, every other aspect, from the luxurious pool to the spacious rooms, ensured a stay that felt both luxurious and intimate. It’s a gem for those seeking opulence and a warm, homelike atmosphere.

Where To Eat and Drink in Mompox

Exploring Mompox, Colombia, isn’t just about delving into its rich history and culture; it’s also about indulging in the flavors that make this town unique. Here’s my personal roundup of places that shouldn’t be missed when it comes to satisfying your appetite.

El Comedor Costeño is a fantastic place for lunch in Mompox. I had a wonderful time eating there, especially enjoying the duck dish. What makes it even better is its location right by the river, which means you get to enjoy lovely views while you eat.

Coffee lovers should make a beeline for Café 1700. Nestled in a majestic building by the river, the café offers an elevated spot by the huge windows for patrons to people-watch while savoring a well-prepared sandwich or a glass of natural juice. The vintage decor adds to the café’s charm, making it a must-visit for anyone searching for a serene spot.

Dinner in Mompox brings two fantastic options: Santa Coa and Ambrosia. Santa Coa, with its lovely patio, offers a blend of international and local dishes. Ambrosia, known for its Lomo Momposino, stands out not just for the food but also for its varied atmospheres and exceptional service. Though a tad pricier, the experience justifies the cost.

For those craving something different, khalilieh Parrilla-Bar is an excellent choice for Arabic/Lebanese cuisine. The mixed platter, ample for two and reasonably priced, and the dining option by the river provides an unforgettable dining experience.

And for an artisanal treat, Crepes D’la Villa‘s COROZO Yogurt Ice Cream is an absolute must-try. It’s the perfect way to cool down while exploring Mompox.

For a drink, don’t forget to visit the Crónicas bar-restaurant. I haven’t tried the cocktails there, but the view over the main square, facing the church, is top-notch. Especially when seated in Mompox’s famous rocking chairs!

How to get to Mompox

Plane to Inirida Guainia for Cerros de Mavecure

There are now bridges leading directly to Mompox by land. However, it’s not close to any major city.

From Barranquilla, Cartagena, Sincelejo, Monteria, or Medellín by land

Firstly, you can hop on a bus that takes you directly to Magangué. This journey introduces you to a 12 km stretch of road that includes three highways and two bridges, one being the Roncador, which is the longest bridge in Colombia. Following this scenic route, you land on an asphalt road leading straight to Mompox.

For those setting out from Barranquilla or Cartagena, the journey is made even simpler with direct buses provided by Caribe Express, part of Expreso Brasilia. Similarly, Torcoroma offers services from Montería and Sincelejo to Mompox and back.

An alternative that appeals to many is the door-to-door service offered by Barranquilla or Cartagena. This convenient option involves vans picking you up and dropping you off right at your doorstep.

From Santa Marta, Riohacha, or Valledupar by land

For travelers in Santa Marta, Riohacha, or Valledupar, the door-to-door van service is an ideal choice. It promises a hassle-free start and end to your journey by picking you up and dropping you off right at your accommodation in Mompox.

How to Arrive by Air to Mompox

Direct flights to Mompox are off the table unless you opt for a charter service. However, the cities of Valledupar and Corozal stand out as the nearest airports. Flying from Bogotá or Medellin to Corozal is touted as the best option due to its closer proximity to Mompox, about a 2-hour drive. From Corozal, travelers can take a taxi to Magangué and then reach Mompox.

Valledupar offers another feasible route with a travel time of approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to Mompox. Availing a door-to-door van service could be beneficial, especially given their direct route to Mompox.

How To Get Around Mompox

Once I arrived in Mompox, I quickly realized that the charm of this historical gem is best experienced on foot. The historic center of Mompox is compact, making it unnecessary to rely heavily on transportation for moving around. With its narrow cobbled streets lined with colonial buildings, every corner tells a story waiting to be discovered by inquisitive explorers like myself.

For those rare occasions when I might need to cover longer distances or simply want to rest my feet, I find that tuk-tuks are readily available—around 2000 COP per person.

Some unique experiences in Mompox necessitate the use of boats. The river that gently flows beside the town is not just a picturesque backdrop but also a pathway to further adventures.

Is Mompox Safe

During the day, Mompox feels like stepping into a bygone era, with its historical charm and serene atmosphere. The local people are incredibly friendly, and I never experienced any issues walking through the streets, even in the evening. The town embraces visitors with open arms, creating a feeling of safety and welcome.

However, as with any destination, there’s a different vibe just outside the historical heart of the town. It’s clear that public funding does not stretch as far in these areas, with less pristine streets and dimmer street lighting.

While I didn’t encounter any problems personally, it’s evident that taking standard safety precautions is advisable when venturing after dark.

Frequently Asked Questions

To get quick answers.

What are the best ways to explore Mompox?

The best way to explore Mompox is on foot to truly appreciate the charm of its cobbled streets and colonial architecture. For longer distances, tuk-tuks are available, and boat trips along the river offer unique views of the town and access to remote areas.

Is Mompox safe for tourists?

Mompox is generally safe for tourists, especially within the historic center during the daytime, thanks to the welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals. However, it’s advisable to exercise standard precautions after dark, especially outside the tourist-friendly historical center.

What notable historical events took place in Mompox?

Mompox played a significant role in Colombia’s independence, being the first town in the New Kingdom of Granada to declare full independence from Spain on August 6, 1810. Simon Bolivar also received significant support from Mompox in December 1812, which contributed to the success of his Lower Magdalena Campaign and, eventually, the Admirable Campaign.

What are the nearest towns to Mompox?

Near Mompox, you can find several towns, including those in the Cantón de Mompós: Mompós, Barranco de Loba, Hatillo de Loba, San Martín de Loba, Margarita, San Fernando, and Talaigua. In the Cantón de Magangué: Magangué, Guazo, Retiro, San Sebastián de Madrid, Tacasaluma, and Yatí.

Bottom Line: Mompox

Exploring Mompox has been an unforgettable journey for me.

Walking through its cobbled streets and immersing myself in the rich history embedded in every corner has truly been a highlight. The charm of the tuk-tuks and the unique perspectives offered by boat trips along the river have added layers to my experience that I couldn’t have imagined.

I’ve felt safe and welcomed by the locals, making my exploration during the day incredibly pleasant.

For anyone looking to dive into Colombia’s history and experience a town that feels like stepping back in time, Mompox is a destination that shouldn’t be missed.

Where To Travel After Mompox

Here are cool destinations nearby:

INFORMATION: PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME LINKS ARE AFFILIATE S AND AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, I EARN A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A BOOKING. IT’S A NICE GESTURE TO THANK US FOR THE MANY HOURS WE DEDICATE TO TOMPLANMYTRIP 🙂