The villages of Colombia are the heart and history of the country. A journey into the past, a slice of authentic life, a total immersion in the most beautiful that Colombia has to offer. In this article we offer you a selection of our favorite colonial villages of Colombia, the most beautiful but also the most charming and authentic. 

1. Cartagena de Indias

  • The most beautiful colonial city in Latin America.

The historic center of Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a magical place, where the streets are colorful, adorned with gigantic bougainvilleas, colorful walls and carved wooden balconies. A stroll through Cartagena will take you to an open-air museum, right in the heart of the colonial era, where colonists and pirates were at war. The most pleasant thing to do is to stroll along the walls at sunset, or to drink a little rum on the terrace while listening to the many musicians that roam the city. For more information, please visit the following articles:

carthagène bolivar colombie © Tristan Quevilly
Carthagène Bolivar Colombie ©TristanQuevilly

2. Barichara 

Barichara has kept its architecture intact since its creation in 1705. Perched on the top of the canyon of the Suarez River, with a privileged view of the region and an almost perfect climate. Listed as a national heritage site since 1975, it is a unique and original village that is well worth the trip because of its heritage, its stone architecture, its churches and its cemetery. Discover during a walk the workshops of craftsmen who make the fame of Barichara, especially the stone cutters, the work of the fig or the factories of handmade cigars. Barichara will take you back in time. We recommend a stop at the Suarez viewpoint to admire the view of the river of the same name flowing at the bottom of the canyon. You can also take the royal path of colonization that will lead you from Barichara to the small colonial village of Guane. It is a beautiful 9km paved trail that you can walk in about two hours. For more information, please visit the following articles:

Santander Barichara Colombia ©PierreMugliat

3. Villa de Leyva

In Villa de Leyva you will find the largest square in Colombia, the majestic Plaza Mayor with its cobblestone floor and its beautiful church. Villa de Leyva is a romantic city, full of charm, a refuge for weekend bogotanos who come in search of calm. The town has even been declared a national monument, especially for its typical architecture characterized by its lime-walled buildings and its beautiful cobblestone streets. Villa de Leyva is for us the ideal place to stroll through the streets and learn more about Colombia’s colonial past. It is a village full of charm, which gives the impression of being frozen in time, placed at the feet of majestic Andean mountains. You can discover many art galleries, gastronomic restaurants and local handicraft shops. For more information, please visit the following articles:

boyaca villa de leyva colombia ©MathieuPerrotBorhinger USO LIBRE 3 1
Boyaca Villa de Leyva Colombia ©MathieuPerrotBorhinger

4. Guatapé

Guatapé is a really atypical and surprising village. What makes all the charm of this village of the region of Antioquia, it is its colored friezes in high relief on the walls of the houses. It is really a colorful show where we find scenes of the daily life, winks to the Colombian art but also touches of humor. However, most of these friezes refer to the customs and legends of the region. The village is quite touristy, as it is not far from Medellin, and it is located at the feet of the famous Peñol rock, a huge rock 200m high that offers you from its top a simply magnificent view of the dam and the surroundings. Despite everything, strolling through the streets of Guatapé is a pleasant moment, discovering the frescos and the beautiful houses through the cobbled streets. For more information, do not hesitate to visit the following articles:

guatape antioquia colombia © Tristan Quevilly
Guatape Antioquia Colombie ©TristanQuevilly

5. Salento

Salento is a town that you can visit over and over again and still retain the magic and enchantment of your first visit. With colorful colonial houses, musicians on every corner, an incredible diversity of handicrafts and its delicious trout on patacón, this charming village is a must-see on your trip to Colombia. Salento is perched at an altitude of 1,900 meters, it is a village that is becoming touristy but for us it remains typical of the coffee region, surrounded by fincas and coffee plantations, at the gates of the Cocora valley. For more information, do not hesitate to visit the following articles:

w4b2808   ctristanquevilly salento 1
Salento @TristanQuevilly

6. Mompox

Santa Cruz de Mompox is the religious city par excellence, along with Popayan. It is according to us one of the most beautiful jewels of the colonial era, so beautiful that Mompox was classified as a cultural and religious heritage of UNESCO. Mompox is a small treasure hidden in what is called “the savanna of the Caribbean”, on the Magdalena River, where it is good to spend a few days to enjoy the beautiful sunsets over the surrounding Ciénaga de Pijiño. Mompox is surrounded by water, which makes it peaceful, a little unreal and above all very romantic. It is the symbol of all the imagination that surrounds the works of Garcia Marquez, and especially his work Macondo. It was Gabriel Garcia Marquez who said “Mompox does not exist, sometimes we dream of it, but it does not exist.” Take a trip back in time, go by boat from the shores of Mompox to discover the swamps and the great variety of birds that the region has. For more information, please visit the following articles:

mompox bolivar colombia © Tristan Quevilly
Mompox Bolivar Colombia ©TristanQuevilly

7. Jardín 

Jardin is one of the favorite villages for the Adventure team. Still not very touristy and not far from Medellin, it is a quiet village to spend two days and explore the beautiful surrounding landscapes. Its magnificent main square, classified as a historical monument, is full of flowers and surrounded by white houses with balconies full of flowers, an enchanting sight that can be seen in all the streets of Jardin. It is a warm and authentic village where you can find nearby magnificent sites such as La Cueva del Esplendor and its impressive waterfall. 

8. Jericó

Jericó is the real typical village of the Antioquia region, nestled in the heart of the countryside of this region of green valleys and coffee plantations. Located south of Medellín, Jericó is a little-known village, except for its handicrafts, especially its handmade shoulder bags (the Carrieles). Here, leather is worked with a master’s hand. Moreover, it is a very recognized religious center in Colombia and a pleasant stop for a night in a peaceful village.

alentours de medellin antioquia jerico colombia ©MathieuPerrotBorhinger USO LIBRE
Jerico Colombia ©MathieuPerrotBorhinger

9. Santa fé de Antioquia

It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful colonial villages of the Antioquia region. Santa Fe was the capital of the region until 1826. Its colonial architecture is so beautiful that it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Santa Fe des Antioquia you will walk through many cobblestone streets surrounded by white houses with carved wooden balconies. At only 2 hours from Medellin, we recommend you to spend some time in this charming village.

10. Popayan

It is called the white city because of its extraordinary buildings. Popayan is the city with the highest number of churches per capita, which makes it a true religious center in Colombia. We advise you to visit Popayan for its beauty and its cultural and architectural heritage. At the foot of the Puracé volcano, it is one of the best preserved colonial cities in the country. The center of Popayan is a historical and architectural heritage known worldwide. It has been named City of Gastronomy by UNESCO. It is a must-see city if you visit the south of Colombia, especially during the Holy Week when the religious processions are unforgettable.

popayan cauca colombia © Tristan Quevilly
Popayan Cauca Colombia ©TristanQuevilly

11. Mongui

Mongui is a picturesque and totally authentic colonial village, still spared from mass tourism. The town has a beautiful square and the atmosphere is pleasant. We advise you to have a look at it, especially if you want to go for a walk in the sublime páramo of Oceta which is in the surroundings. You can even hike to the “ciudad de piedra”, a rock formation ideal for rock climbers!

12. La Candelaria à Bogotá

La Candelaria in Bogotá is truly a colorful little village in the bustling Colombian capital. It is the historical and colonial district of the city, a place full of charm with its brightly colored houses, its carved wooden balconies and its flowery patios. Not to be missed: the Chorro de Quevedo square, where many bohemian artists meet. The Chorro is also a symbol of Bogotá’s creation, as it is here that the first houses of the city were built. But La Candelaria has other little treasures: The Fernando Botero museum, the majestic Bolivar square, its churches… For more information, please visit the following articles:

cundinamarca bogota candelaria colombia Bogota Candelaria© camille ayral USO LIBRE 3
Cundinamarca Bogota Candelaria ©Camille_ayral

13. Salamina

The houses made of adobe and clay tiles make Salamina one of the most beautiful villages in the coffee region. It has been classified as a national monument, because the inhabitants have kept the architecture totally intact. We advise you to visit Salamina because it is a village that is not very touristy yet, and a good starting point to see the wax palms, out of the Cocora Valley, in the Samarias Valley. Less tourists but just as beautiful, with great views and a walk of about 1h30. It is in the Salamina region that you will find the largest coffee production in Colombia. Spend a day there during your stay in the region. 

caldas eje cafetero salamina colombia ©SylvainGhirardotto USO LIBRE
Salamina Colombie ©SylvainGhirardotto

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