Welcome to Popayán

Founded in 1537 by Sebastián de Belalcázar, Popayán became an important stopping point on the road between Cartagena and Quito. Its mild climate attracted wealthy families from the sugar haciendas of the hot Valle de Cauca region. In the 17th century they began building mansions, schools, churches and monasteries. In March 1983, moments before the much-celebrated Maundy Thursday religious procession was set to depart, a violent earthquake shook the town, caving in the cathedral's roof and killing hundreds.

Popayán is now home to numerous universities, and the streets of its old center are filled with students in the daytime.

Top experiences in Popayán

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Travel guides

Starting at $35.09

Image for

Popayán activities

$229.11 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Green Colombia - 17 days - Travel Itinerary

Travel Package according to the following itinerary: Day 1: Arrival in Bogotá and private transport to your hotel in the old town.  Day 2: Take a flight to Pitalito and start the discovering of San Agustín and surroundingsDay 3: Full day tour to the archaeological parks of San Agustín and IsnosDay 4:  Tour to the archaeological sites of La Chaquira y el Tablón in the morning. In the afternoon, private transport to Popayan.Day 5: Full day tour to the Puracé natural park where you will discover a Paramo ecosystem and see wild condors from very close by.Day 6: Tour to visit the indigenous market of Silvia in the morning. Private transport to Tierrandentro in the afternoon. Day 7: Full-day archaeological tour of the Tierradentro park.Day 8: Private land transport to the Tatacoa DesertDay 9:  Full-day tour to discover the Tatacoa DesertDay 10: Private Transport To The Coffee ZoneDay 11: Full-day tour to discover the towns of Salento, Filandia and The Cocora Valley Day 12: Coffee Tour in the morning & private Transport To Manizales Day 13: Full day tour to the Laguna del Otun in the Parque de lo Nevados Day 14: Bird Watching tour in the morning & flight back to Bogotá in the afternoonDay 15: Immersion tour In Bogotá (full day)Day 16 : Full-day tour to visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the sacred lake of GuatavitaDay 17:  Private transport to the airport of Bogotá so you can catch your flight back home. The quoted price includes:– All local flights– Transport, tours, and accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary– Breakfast in each hotel– 24/7 support from the Lulo Colombia staff– The use of one of Lulo’s mobile phones on your trip– A local SIM card with emergency credit– A travel application with access to all details of your trip The quoted price does not include:– International flight– Travel insurance– Not mentioned services and meals

$360 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Cali to Purace National Natural Park 2-Day Tour with Admission

Parque Natural de Puracé is located in the Andean region of Colombia, southeast of the city of Popayán in the Cordillera Central range.Day 1: (B, L)Depart Cali in the very early morning in order to arrive at the park in time for breakfast. Then visit the Andean condor viewing rock for an opportunity to see the 'king of the sky' above the mountains (generally, there's a 50 percent chance of seeing one). Watching this majestic bird soaring through the air above the cliffs of the Colombian Andes is an experience better than any souvenir from your trip. Afterward, explore the scenery of the park's ecosystem—the 'magical' Puracé Moorland, with its atmospheric mist above the San Rafael lagoon and the landscape of the San Juan hot springs. Next, have lunch and go to the hotel for leisure time. Day 2: (L)On your second day, visit the thermal pools of Coconuco in the morning for a relaxing soak, and then have lunch before returning to Cali to end your tour.

$133 Day Trips & Excursions

Cali to Popayan History and Culture Private Full-Day Trip

We will leave at 5:30am from the hotel in Cali in a comfortable air-conditioned car. We will be arriving to Popayán at 8:30 am where we will have breakfast.During the day we will visit the Colonial Religious Art Museum with its spectacular collection of paintings, silver works, and gorgeous sculptures. Also the Guillermo León Valencia Museum who was the president of Colombia in the middle of the XX century. House full of history and objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.Also the "Pueblo Patojo" a scale model version of Popayán and its most important Architectonic Spaces. Here we will decide which of the Churches and colonial hotpots like the Caldas Park, the Clock Tower, etc, we will visit in the historical downtown. We will have lunch at 12:30 pm in a nice restaurant and we will come back at 3:00 pm. The arrival to Cali will be at 6-7 pm approx.

$2170.79 Multi-day & Extended Tours

8 Day City Trips South Colombia

Day 1 (B):FUSAGASUGA, MAGDALENA RIVER, VILLAVIEJA, TATACOAOn your fist day, you will have a transfer from Botogá, to Hacienda Coloma in Fusagasuga. You will learn about the process of growing and producing Colombian coffee. Then you will have an exciting boat trip to cross the Magdalena River to the town of Villavieja. Here you will have free time to explore this town, and then you will continue to the desert of Tatacoa. If the sky is clear enough, you have the possibility to go to an observatory to see the stars. Day 2 (B):TATACOA, TIERRADENTROOn this day, you will visit the desert of Tatacoa with a guide, who will show you around. This place, surrounded by mountains everywhere, is the result of an ecosystem like no where else in Colombia. There are scorpions, weasels, fruit-bearing cacti and a lot of bird species. Then you will have a transport toTierradentro. Day 3 (B):TIERRADENTROThis whole day you will have a tour in Tierradentro. You will hike to different archeological places to watch the underground burial sites of the historical local indigenous culture. Also the area has beautiful sceneries, which you can see and you can visit the local museum. Day 4 (B):TRANSPORTATION TO SAN AUGUSTÍNOn this day, you will have a private transport to San Augustín. This will take about 6 hours. Day 5 (B):SAN AUGUSTÍN ARCHEOLOGICAL PARKIn the morning, you will have a guided tour through San Augustín Archeological Park to see the mythological stone statues. During the rest of the day, you are free to relax or do additional activities in the area. Day 6 (B):POPAYAN, PÁRAMOIn the morning, you will leave by private transport to Popayan (about 5 hour drive), passing by a pure páramo ecosystem. In the afternoon you will have a guided tour in the city of Popayan, the white city. Discover the colonial jewels of this city. Day 7 (B):CALIYou will start the day with a transfer to Cali (about 3-4 hours). Here you will have a guided tour. In the evening, you have an optional visit to a salsa show, the city is well known for its salsa, or you have some free time. Day 8 (B):OPTIONAL VISIT SUGARCANE FARMToday you have a transfer to the airport. On the way, you can have an optional visit to the sugarcane farm, if there is enough time.

$124 Day Trips & Excursions

Cali to Popayan Private Full-Day Trip with Traditional Lunch

After hotel pickup in Cali, travel with your private guide for about 2.5 hours to Popayán, located in the foothills of southwestern Colombia. You’ll stop at the halfway point in Pescador to stretch your legs and munch on a provided snack of pandebono, traditional Colombian cheese bread, along with water or soda. Back in the car, discuss what's in store for the day with your guide; since this is a private tour, you can decide how much time you stay at each site.Popayán, founded in 1537 by Sebastián de Belalcázar, boasts an array of blanched buildings. It’s hard to believe the White City nearly crumbled during a 1983 earthquake as you walk past restored 18th-century neoclassical homes that now serve as museums. At Archdiocesan Museum of Religious Art, wander through exhibits of Christian iconography dating back to the 16th century, including paintings, furnishings and a collection of 14 monstrances. Continue on to colonnaded Guillermo Leon Valencia House Museum, named after the former president who lived here, to browse a collection of period furniture, photographs and documents relating to Valencia's family and presidency. Outside, capture a lovely view of the historic Humilladero Bridge.Check out a miniature version of Popayán at Rincón Payanés, also called 'Pueblito Patojo,' in a popular local park. Your guide will point out the replica of La Ermita Church, representing the city’s oldest church, and where to shop for souvenirs along the cobblestone streets.In palm tree–shaded Caldas Park, pass shoe shiners and elders playing dominoes en route to see the 18th-century clock tower known as Torre del Reloj, and learn about what the lead inside the clock has been used for. Also in this square, admire the clean Roman architectural lines of Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the city cathedral.Other eye-catching sites include baroque San Francisco Church and its 3-ton bell, and the yellow façade of Jesuit San Jose Church, which breaks the all-white city line. For panoramas of Popayán, huff and puff on your way up stone steps to reach charming Belén Chapel, and then head up El Morro de Tulcán, where you’ll discover a statue of city founder Belalcázar.When your stomach starts to rumble, just let your guide know. Depending on where you are in the city, your guide will lead you to one of two thoughtfully selected local restaurants featuring sumptuous Valle del Cauca cuisine. When you’re ready to leave the architectural jewels of Popayán behind, enjoy transport back to Cali for an evening drop-off at your hotel.

$2079.20 18-to-Thirtysomethings

Cartagena to Quito on a Shoestring

Colombia is an underrated country for travellers, but with our safe, social, and budget-friendly group trips, we want to change that. After all, there’s so much culture and beauty to this region that it would be a shame to let it go unexplored – plus you can say you got here before everyone else. Over three weeks, you’ll go from Colombia to Ecuador, hiking to the Lost City of Teyuna, relaxing on warm beaches, camping under the stars in the Tatacoa Desert and visiting UNESCO World Heritage designated ruins. You’re sure to find something you love in these countries.