What to do in Valledupar?
In the north of Colombia is Valledupar known as the Capital of Vallenato Music. In this blog, we write about what to do and where to go in the beautiful surroundings of Valledupar.
Where is Valledupar?
It is a city and municipality in northeastern Colombia . Valledupar is the center of vallenato music and is the place to learn all about the traditions of vallenato, the most authentic music in the country. In this beautiful region there are indigenous communities in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía del Perijá. This gives the region a unique cultural richness.
The old colonial buildings date back to the 1600s. The Alfonso López Pumarejo square and the churches of La Concepción and the Rosario Cathedral.
Passing the Hurtadao bridge over the Guatapurí river, you will find La Sirena and the Linear park where Pueblito Vallenato is located and where you can learn about the ancestral customs of the region.
The Valledupar flag is made of blue (symbolizes the waters of the rivers and the sky of the region), white, the perpetual snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, red, the blood that the aborigines shed when defending their race.
La Mina Spa, a natural pool that forms in the Badillo River, 40 km along the road that leads to the Atánquez district. You can drive there with the car and it is about an hour’s drive. The water comes directly from the mountains and it is lovely to swim in the river. The natural rock formations are incredible. Also a pretty town to visit is Pueblo Bello, it is a good drive from Valledupar to this charming town in the mountains.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the city is the Festival of the Vallenato Legend, which is held every year at the end of April in the Parque de la Leyenda Vallenata Consuelo Araújo Noguera. It is important to make your hotel reservation early, because everything will be full in this season.
The Valledupar Livestock Fair takes place in the second half of the year and is held annually and is an open market attended by farmers from the region and musical groups play.
In the surroundings of the city there are indigenous populations of cultural interest such as Nabusímake.
Less than 45 kilometers from the Colombian Caribbean beaches there is a beautiful frozen landscape with growing snow. The two highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are Colón and Bolívar, at 5,775 meters above sea level, some say that the first one is one meter longer than the previous one.
The peak is named after Christopher Columbus.
Christopher Columbus Peak is the fifth highest most prominent mountain in the world and was first climbed in 1939 by W. Wood, A. Bakerwell and E. Praolini .
The adventure begins with the car in the city of Valledupar and continues to San Sebastián, a city with the indigenous population of Arhuaco. From there you can walk along the trails, lakes and glaciers up to 3000 meters above sea level. If the mountain becomes too steep, you need good mountaineering equipment and experience, but it is not easy to travel because it also requires a permit and permission from the local people. The mountain is considered sacred and is not accessible to tourists, but you can visit the Nabusímake mountain village and inquire from there.
Is it safe to visit?
This remote mountain range has been difficult to access for years due to guerrillas, drug traffickers and reclusive Indian tribes, but now conditions have improved and the region is improving economically and is safer and more stable for tourism. The same situation is with the Lost City, years ago it was impossible to visit, but now groups of tourists visit the area daily.
A group of mountaineers went to the mountains in December 2015 to visit Pico Colón and managed to make the first ascent to the highest peak in many years.
What to do in Valledupar?
Where does it snow in Colombia?
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the greatest wonders Colombia has to offer in the Andes area and this is one of the northernmost mountain ranges in South America. The mountain ranges are permanent snow capped, and with permission, experienced climbers may be able to climb and ski these mountains. Snow typically accumulates for about a fifth of winter days and has at least an inch of snow on the ground. Snow accumulates mainly during December and January. On one or two days in January and December, the snow is five or more inches deep. When I left Cartagena and returned to Aruba with Avianca, we passed the Sierra Nevada and I took some good video and photos of the mountains. I knew the area because I was there for two months and now it was lovely to see it from the sky.
Snow on the Caribbean coast
Colombia is full of incredible destinations; ancient ruins in the forest like Cuidad Perdido and jungle covered beaches where humpback whales are leaping out of the ocean and fascinate biomarine life in the Santa Marta area for snorkeling and snorkeling.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a magical destination where the beauty of nature and indigenous people come together. Each step taken in this area is a meeting with the unique beauty of this natural reserve. It is one of the highest mountainous areas in South America.
The region has all climatic conditions, from very hot and dry to eternal snow whose meltwater feeds the streams of lakes and rivers from 3000 meters above sea level downwards. Countless birds, more than 550 different species, and howler monkeys live along the 29 most important rivers in the Sierra, such as the Buritaca, where you can visit the monkeys and go upstream with a boot.
UNESCO declared in 1979 the Sierra a biosphere reserve and a world heritage due to the ecosystems with innumerable forms of life and different indigenous communities. This impressive mountain range is located in the north of Colombia and covers parts of the departments of Cesar, Magadelana and La Guajira.
The indigenous people of the sierra
The Tayrona culture inhabited Sierra Nevada from the beginning and they maintain their traditions and are one with nature.
They are the Kogis, Wiwas, Arhuacos, Kankuamos and Wayúu.
The Kogi community is located in the northern part of the Sierra, between the valleys of the Palomino, Don Diego, San Miguel and Ancho rivers.
The meaning of “Wiwa” is warm and low, the warmest part of the country in the department of Cesar, near La Guajira.
Living south of the Sierra in the highest valleys of the Piedras, San Sebastián, Chichicua, Ariguaní and Guatapurí rivers. The capital is Nabusimake and it is located in the central area. They speak a language that belongs to the Chibcha family. Nabusimake is also the starting point to climb higher into the mountains to see the snow-capped glaciers.
They live on the Sierra Nevada side, in the department of Cesar.
This community is from La Guajira,
O tutu iku en Ika is a popular Colombian artisan bag made by the Arhuaco people of the Sierra Nevada. In recent years, the bags have become a cultural symbol for Colombian identity.
The wealth of the Sierra Nevada provides indigenous peoples with the necessary materials to create objects of beauty, such as the Tayona shoulder bags, which symbolize the creation of life. The indigenous women weave them with cotton, sisal and wool and they have beautiful colours.
Materials such as coconut, tree bark, seeds, wood and tagua. Tagua is a vegetable ivory due to its resemblance to animal ivory. This is a product made from the very hard white endosperm of the seeds of certain palm trees, the Latin name is Phytelephas or elephant plant, which is native to South America.
Bones and shell houses are also used to make earrings, necklaces, bracelets and creative decorations,
Another craft is making sandals and leather belts and the sombrero vueltiao, the typical hat of the Colombian Caribbean.
Decorative accessories made of stone and clay, such as ceramic pots, plates and spoons and the gourd-like fruit, when dried, can be formed into a bowl and used for decoration and for eating and drinking.
A good website where you can order these items and support local people is here:
One of the most iconic trekking experiences is visiting the Lost City or Ciudad Perdida and it takes place within the forest and beautiful valleys. You can read more about this hike when you click on the letters in this text.
I hope you have liked my blog and the images that inspire you to visit and enjoy Valledupar and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in all their mysterious and unique splendor.