How to drive from Pasto to Popayan

Last updated on January 23rd, 2021 at 02:18 pm

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My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

Driving from Pasto to Popayán

The drive from Pasto to Popayán was cozy and the climate was milder in comparison to the rather cool air in Pasto. When we finally arrived, we headed towards the old town and were very impressed with its historic core. Popayán is in excellent condition, as the buildings are well maintained and pedestrians have plenty of space. Popayán is a nice stop for a few days during your holidays.

Despite making great time, we were not quite there yet. We were stopped at a police checkpoint in the old town. We were told that due to “Pico y Placa”, we are not allowed to drive in the city center with our car number; however, an exception is made for visitors coming from outside the region. The friendly policeman therefore asked for our receipts for the paid road fees, and after 15 minutes, we were able to continue on with the remaining distance of 50m.

More information you will also find in our Popayan tourist information.

We explored the city center and immediately felt very comfortable. The climate was very mild and perfect for wandering around the historic buildings without a jacket. We felt welcome in the city. The next day we inspected the obligatory hotels and visited local tour operators. We also had meetings with the local tourism authorities and the tourism managers. During the talks, our attention was directed to a park about an hour away. We were told that the park was very nice, but there were always conflicts with the local indigenous people. To get a picture ourselves, we wanted to visit the park the next day. Follow the link if you are interested in a custom made trip to Colombia.

Driving to the national Park Purace

After an hour’s drive and breakfast on the way, we met with a young and sympathetic member of one the local indigenous groups. With him, we made a quick visit to the village and the nearby waterfall. We learned that the local indigenous groups live very harmoniously with nature and that they want to share the area in a sustainable way with visitors. Therefore, they restricted access to the area, limiting the number of daily visitors. Conflicts with the local travel agencies arose because they do not respect the limits. For them, the profit is more important than sustainability. With this knowledge in mind, we will coordinate our visits directly with the indigenous community and limit our cooperation with the local travel guides in Popayán.

Visiting the small town of Silvia

Later in the day we continued traveling towards Cali, with a short detour to Silvia. In Silvia we quickly found inhabitants who informed us about the local conditions and a local guide accompanied us to a fish farm just outside the town. Due to the folklore and tradition, the village has many visitors, but the locals are not very happy about it. Apparently, Silvia is visited by busloads of tourists, and within an hour, the visitors seem to snap everything up without asking for permission. Instead of eating in local coffee shops and restaurants or supporting the local shops, the hordes would simply leave as quickly as they came. When we mentioned this to our tour operators, they seemed to now know what we were talking about.

For me, Popayan is a Colombian destination with huge potential and certainly one a nice tourist spot in Colombia that offers a bit of everything. Foreign tourists are seen only sporadically thus far even though the city is comparable to the beauty of Cartagena. You can spend a few days in Popayán enjoying the mild climate. In addition, the region offers nice day trips.

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