If you are travelling in the south of the country, we recommend a stop in San Juan de Pasto and Nariño. Pasto, this Andean city whose historical and architectural wealth amazes travellers and adventurers. It is the city of a valorous people. A city that surprises by its beauty, its numerous churches marked by history, placed at the foot of the imposing Galeras Volcano.

Take advantage of our expert advice to find out everything there is to know about Pasto and the beautiful and wild region of Nariño. Between natural landscapes, lakes and volcanoes, world-famous festivals, history and extreme sports, San Juan de Pasto and Nariño will undoubtedly provide you with an extraordinary experience, far from the traditional tourist circuits. 

What to see in San Juan de Pasto and Nariño?

Church of San Juan Bautista

In the heart of the city, in the Plaza Nariño, you will find this beautiful church. It is surely the first thing you will see on your trip to Pasto. This square is full of life and is a perfect starting point for a day of sightseeing. 

Did you know that? San Juan Bautista was built in 1568 and restored in 1669. It is a perfect example of colonial baroque architecture and a must-see during your stay in Pasto…

Pasto Cathedral

You will find this neoclassical cathedral just a cuadra from Plaza Nariño. It is another little gem of the city of Pasto, but very different.

Pasto Cathedral is a red brick building with 3 large naves. Quite modern, it was consecrated in 1920!

Don’t miss it: Take the time to enter the Cathedral of Pasto, because inside you can admire a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, framed by 4 Corinthian columns on each side!

Cathédrale de Pasto @juangm5

The Taminango Museum of Arts and Traditions

If you like museums, don’t miss the Museum of Arts and Traditions of the region during your walking tour. 

This is the perfect opportunity to walk around this 17th century house, one of the oldest in the village of Pasto, which is even classified as a national monument!

  • Closed on Sundays.

Want more? There is also the Pasto Gold Museum, which offers a superb collection of pre-Columbian relics found in the region.

  • Open from Tuesday to Saturday.

The Galeras volcano

You can’t miss it! It overlooks the city magnificently, with its 4,267m of altitude. The Galeras Volcano is still active, and you can reach it by foot or by car. 

Good to know : Are you a fan of extreme sports? The Galeras volcano is a great place for sports activities such as mountain biking or paragliding!

Volcan Galeras @narino_diferente

Laguna de la Cocha

This is one of the must-see places during your stay in the region! Together with the Cathedral of Ipiales, it is one of the most visited places in the region, for its breathtaking natural beauty.

The lagoon is surrounded by beautiful green hills and mountainous landscapes with the island of La Corota at its centre, which you can reach by boat.

Some more information! You will find the spectacular lagoon of La Cocha only 20 km from Pasto and at an altitude of over 2,800 metres. By the way, if you didn’t know, Cocha means “lagoon” in Quechua!

The Azufral volcano

For hiking enthusiasts, there is another volcano in the area that is worth a visit. 

During a hike of about 6 hours, you will be able to admire the laguna verde (a beautiful emerald green) that rests in the crater of the volcano, but also the lakes Negra and Barrosa. This mountain walk will also allow you to see the 72 streams that rise from the hills of the volcano.

To know : Located 72 km from Pasto, at an altitude of 3,800m the Azufral volcano is a semi-active volcano.


The Basilica Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de las Lajas is one of the most beautiful religious monuments in the country! It is for us a must-see during your trip to the south of the country.

Why? For its impressive architecture. This neo-Gothic sanctuary is perched on a slab of stone above the Gúaitara River, surrounded by hills just 2 km from the border with Ecuador. It’s an absolutely breathtaking sight that you won’t find anywhere else.

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lajas @Fabiomartinezfoto

What to do in San Juan de Pasto and Nariño Activities Adventure Colombia

Walking tour, the cathedral in the air, lagoons and volcanoes … discover our list of must-see places during your stay in Nariño! Contact Adventure Colombia for more information ([email protected])

Walking tour Pasto

This walking tour in the city of Pasto will be the ideal excursion to discover all the little secrets of the city, while visiting the main sites of interest. Pasto is above all the city known as “the surprise city“, the cradle of artists and craftsmen specialised in woodcarving. Take advantage of this walking tour to learn all about this beautiful and surprising city, accompanied by a local guide.

Laguna La Cocha – Corota Sanctuary

This trip to the lagoon of La Cocha and Corota is perfect if you want to spend a half-day in breathtaking nature. The sanctuary of Corota, is still unknown, and yet you will be able to observe a great variety of animal species in the heart of a lush vegetation. 

As for the La Cocha lagoon, this tour will allow you to admire it during a boat ride that will take you to the beautiful Corota Island, in the centre of the lake. For lunch, you will taste the delicious wild trout!

Ipiales and the Sanctuary

This 6 hour excursion to Ipiales starts in the town of Pasto. On the way, you will cross beautiful Andean landscapes, to finally end at the foot of the Sanctuary “Nuestra Señora de las Lajas”, an architectural feat, a jewel that is worth the trip! 

You will be accompanied by a local guide who will take you on a tour of the roads of southern Colombia, visiting the Sanctuary and the town of Ipiales. 

Cumbal Lagoon and Volcano

This excursion to Lake Cumbal and Volcano is ideal for hikers and nature lovers. At an altitude of 3,638m, Lake Cumbal serves as a mirror to the volcano. It is the perfect place for a walk and for contemplation. 

During this excursion, prepare yourself for a short trip on the lake in a traditional boat to admire the volcano. If you wish, you can also climb the volcano.

Be careful! It takes about 5 hours to reach the summit where magnificent views of the entire Andean region await you, at an altitude of over 4,765m. It is the highest volcano in the region!

Volcan Cumbal @darielr17 @artenarino


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