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Popayan, Colombia - A Photographers Playground, The White City

Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2010 July 2012   » View Photoset (38 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!

The White City / Photo Ideas

I have visited and stayed in Popayan twice now, in 2010 and 2012. Popayan is known as the 'white city', like Arequipa in Peru and Sucre in Bolivia
Colombia Photo - Public walkway in Popayan near the bridge.
Public walkway in Popayan near the bridge.
because of the color of the stone that the buildings are contructed of. It is pleasant to stroll around the streets and take it all in and there are some obvious things to take photos of and also, if you have an artistic eye, some not so obvious things to photograph. The not so obvious photos would be things such as the interesting shapes you see, doorways, windows, street lamps and people wearing colorful cloths against the white backdrop. On the other hand there are cathedrals, bell towers, the plaza and statues. The main plaza is surrounded by whiteness - the clocktower, the cathedral
Colombia Photo - A long street in Popayan.
A long street in Popayan.
(Catedral Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion) and other buildings and shops. In the center of the plaza is a statue of Francisco Jose de Caldas (1768-1816) - a lawyer and geographer. The city has some nice churches - Iglesia de San Jose, Iglesia de la Ermita (the oldest in Popayan) and Iglesia Santo Domingo. There is the arched brick Humillidero bridge and the old El Puente de Custodia bridge.

Walk Up Belen Hill

At the end of a street there are stairs leading up Belen hill to church Iglesia de Belen. It has a shrine beside the stairs set in rock of 2 figures, one at the top and one below looking up towards the other. The stairway up to the church has many statues along the way and there were several groups of young men sitting on the cobblestone pathway
Colombia Photo - Portholes on the side of San Francisco church in Popayan.
Portholes on the side of San Francisco church in Popayan.
having a smoke. The walk up only takes about 5-10 minutes and you get a good view of the city once you have ascended. The church itself has one bell tower with 3 bells of different sizes on the left side and an arched doorway, there is a big cross on the ground on the right side. The church faces the north/west. In the distance towards the left of the front of the church is a hill with a statue of a man on horseback, this is Morro de Tulcan hill and the man is the founder of the city. Popayan is a nice place to visit for a night or 2 and is quite safe. There are some interesting places to visit in the surrounding area like Silvia which has markets on Tuesdays, Purace, San Juan, Tierradentro, Coconuco and San Agustin.

Sit On The Right For The Bus To Cali

From Popayan I travelled by bus 3hrs north to Cali on both occasions. Sit on the right side of the bus for spectacular views down into the valleys!

     

View all photos in the Popayan Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Popayan (Colombia) to:


Map location: Popayan, Colombia. The White City and a photographers playground much like Sucre in Bolivia and Arequipa in Peru - other white cities (cities with white buildings or snowy mountains around them)!
 A : Pasto to Popayan - Colombia 89 kms 89 kms straight distance | 2hrs 40mins 2hrs 40mins by car (127 kms) | 3hrs 12mins 3hrs 12mins by bus (127 kms) (127 kms)
 B : Cali - Colombia 104 kms 104 kms straight distance | 3hrs 12mins 3hrs 12mins by car (149 kms) | 3hrs 50mins 3hrs 50mins by bus (149 kms) (149 kms)
 C : Cali to Armenia - Colombia 187 kms 187 kms straight distance | 3hrs 37mins 3hrs 37mins by car (227 kms) | 4hrs 20mins 4hrs 20mins by bus (227 kms) (227 kms)
 D : Pasto - Colombia 157 kms 157 kms straight distance | 5hrs 17mins 5hrs 17mins by car (253 kms) | 6hrs 20mins 6hrs 20mins by bus (253 kms) (253 kms)
 E : Armenia - Colombia 253 kms 253 kms straight distance | 4hrs 53mins 4hrs 53mins by car (313 kms) | 5hrs 51mins 5hrs 51mins by bus (313 kms) (313 kms)
 F : Salento - Colombia 269 kms 269 kms straight distance | 5hrs 28mins 5hrs 28mins by car (337 kms) | 6hrs 33mins 6hrs 33mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 G : Ipiales from the Colombian Border - Colombia 213 kms 213 kms straight distance | 6hrs 42mins 6hrs 42mins by car (337 kms) | 8hrs 2mins 8hrs 2mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 H : Tulcan - Ecuador 219 kms 219 kms straight distance | 7hrs 2mins 7hrs 2mins by car (350 kms) | 8hrs 26mins 8hrs 26mins by bus (350 kms) (350 kms)
 I : Quito to Tulcan - Ecuador 288 kms 288 kms straight distance | 9hrs 5mins 9hrs 5mins by car (475 kms) | 10hrs 54mins 10hrs 54mins by bus (475 kms) (475 kms)
 J : Otavalo - Ecuador 307 kms 307 kms straight distance | 9hrs 26mins 9hrs 26mins by car (494 kms) | 11hrs 19mins 11hrs 19mins by bus (494 kms) (494 kms)
 K : Cayambe - Ecuador 318 kms 318 kms straight distance | 10hrs 1min 10hrs 1min by car (527 kms) | 12hrs 1min 12hrs 1min by bus (527 kms) (527 kms)
 L : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 340 kms 340 kms straight distance | 10hrs 34mins 10hrs 34mins by car (555 kms) | 12hrs 40mins 12hrs 40mins by bus (555 kms) (555 kms)
 M : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 340 kms 340 kms straight distance | 11hrs 13mins 11hrs 13mins by car (592 kms) | 13hrs 27mins 13hrs 27mins by bus (592 kms) (592 kms)
 N : Quito - Ecuador 348 kms 348 kms straight distance | 11hrs 12mins 11hrs 12mins by car (596 kms) | 13hrs 26mins 13hrs 26mins by bus (596 kms) (596 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Popayan, Colombia:

Hostal Cacique Real, Popayan, Colombia - Large Photo
Hostal Cacique Real, Popayan, Colombia (July 2012 - 1 night) - Room for 2 for a good price down the hill from the historical center a few streets from the bus terminal, nice room, shared bathroom, friendly and helpful staff. Recommended.
Hotel Pass Home, Popayan, Colombia - Large Photo
Hotel Pass Home, Popayan, Colombia (June 2010 - 1 night) - A funny sort of place, small dorms, not many people, no place to hang out apart from the dorm, but I had a great sleep because I was very tired.
Hostel Trail, Popayan, Colombia - Large Photo
Hostel Trail, Popayan, Colombia (June 2010 - 1 night) - Great hostel, lots of information to read on the walls about things to do, big dorms, great area to hang out and a kitchen. In the center of the old city. Recommended.

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