Mompox – A window to the past
Mompox (officially Santa Cruz de Mompox) in the Caribbean Inland of Colombia is certainly one of the most beautiful villages in the country. Some even dare to say it is the most beautiful village in entire Colombia. If you`d like to find a place slightly off the beaten track and you are interested in history this is definitely a place for you.
Mompox is a very quiet little town on the river “Rio Magdalena”. The brown and greenish river moves slowly past the Caribbean town and its white painted colonial buildings. But this is not the only thing that moves slowly. Life in general seems to be moving with a very slow pace and noticeably quiet without any hints of stress and hectic. For Travelers this is the perfect place to relax and at the same time to see Colombia from its most romantic and authentic side. It seems about right when the Lonely Planet compares Mompox with „Macondo“ from „Cien años de soledad“ of Gabriel García Márquez.
The history of the city with its 30.000 inhabitants is very interesting. Some of the churches originate from the 16th century and Colombia’s liberator Simon Bolivar declared at the time “If I owe my life to Caracas I owe my glory to Mompox” The place on the Rio Magdalena was that the first one to declare independence from the Spanish crown. Here was the start of the milestone of Colombia’s supremacy and many men fighting for the freedom of the country came from this region.
Now the once so important town became a rather quiet place that Travelers often seem to overlook on their way to the Caribbean coast. But to stop here and breathe some real Colombia is definitely worth it. Additionally Mompox has to offer another trifle. if you don’t want to stroll through the bright alleys anymore and the sprawling colonial building cannot impress you, then you might want to go out on Cienaga, a lake – swamp – area. For 30.000 Pesos you can go with an experienced guide on partly small steal boats motorbikes that are usually used for loading things. The bilious green water full of cormorants and other animals is particularly beautiful in the evening sun and if you are brave enough you can even go for a swim.
It is definitely worth to make this trip. Although you can never really tell what’s next. In our case for instance we were supposed to stop a hotel in order to refresh at their swimming pool, but that never happened but therefore we went to a farm. The owners created their own little Zoo. Additionally to the farm animals there were, parrots, turtles and a little monkey that apparently always comes for a visit from the nearby forest who you can even give your hand to say hello.
For travelers that are travelling for a little longer Mompox is highly recommended break before you jump in the colorful buzzing life of the Caribbean coast.
How to get to Mompox?
- From Valledupar or Maicao there are busses that leave early in the morning at 5 o`clock from Mompox (duration: 5 hours from Valledupar, 50,000 COP).
- From Medellin you have to go to Magangué via Sincelejo. Then you take a Chalupa that gets you to cross the river and then a taxi to Mompox. To Magangué the trip will set you back 106,000 COP, additionally you will have to pay 8,000 COP for the boat and 13,000 COP for the taxi.
- From Cartagena you can take the Unitransco Bus directly to Mompox where even the fairy is included in the price or you can take a bus later from Magangué and then keep going with the Chalup/taxi combination. The Unitransco Bus leaves at 6 o`clock and costs 50.000 COP. But you should confirm one day before if the bus is really going. There are also Colectivos (shared caps) for the price of 70,000 COP which will collect you from the hotel.
- From Bogotá and Bucaramanga you can drive for 50,000 COP to El Banco and from there you take a 4×4 for 30,000COP to Mompox.
- From Santa Marta or Taganga there are daily “puerta-a-puerta” (door to door) Shuttle services, which depart at 3 AM or 1PM in Taganga and leaves due in Santa Marta 30 minutes later. The duration of the trip is between 5 and 8 hours depending on weather, traffic and how many people need to be collected. In Taganga, you can book the cap at Casa Felipe or Hostel Moramar. Price: 80,000 COP (From Santa Marta) – 80,000 COP (From Taganga).
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and an iPod docking station. The highlight is the Jacuzzi on the rooftop with a view over the Rio Magdalena. Book here
The hotel that includes a swimming pool and garden is located just 300 meters from the historical city center. Book here
The hotel rooms are equipped with air condition, TV and private bathroom. Additionally the hotel has a shared kitchen for backpackers, budget travellers and people that like to cook themselves Book here