Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see

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Mompox is one of the jewels of colonial architecture in Colombia, inscribed on the World Heritage List!

It’s a somewhat mysterious destination, not so easy to get to, and certainly one of the most fantasized about on a trip to Colombia, thanks to its reputation as a village “frozen in time“.

Many of you will want to include it in your Colombian travel itinerary.

But for lovers of colonial architecture, lost villages and stories and legends, Mompox remains a my(s) thique destination for a trip to Colombia!

In this post, we’re going to make you want to go there by showing you some original ideas (or not) for visiting Mompox and telling you about the little stories that make up its charm.

General information about Mompox

Name: Santa Cruz de Mompox
People: Momposinos
Population: approx. 45.000
Founded: 1540
UNESCO listing: 1995
Region: Caribbean
Department: Bolivar Bolivar
When to go: All year round
Climate: Warm and humid
Average temperatures: 28°c
Dry season: December to March

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

The narrow streets of the historic center

Visit Mompox travel guide

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Mompox historic center

Strolling through the historic center of Mompox is one of the most important things you can do during your stay in the sleeping beauty! In fact, it could be the only thing you do. Wander, nose to the wind, from place to place, and let time flow.

Mompox has an exceptional heritage, and the walls of the old town exude the past of a bygone era. But don’t expect anything too extensive – this isn’t Cartagena. Here, the small historic center stretches from the banks of the Rio Mompox, a tributary of the Magdalena River, over two main streets and 5 or 6 cuadras.

That’s enough for the traveler looking to slow down, the one who knows how to sit at a table and contemplate life as it goes by, the one who lets himself be overwhelmed by the tropical heat that reigns over Mompox.

Contact Flavien, english-speaking guide in Mompox


Mompox has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 for its incredibly well-preserved historic center. Founded in 1540, Mompox was one of Colombia’s economic capitals thanks to its protected geographical location. The gold tax was brought here and then shipped to Spain.

Over time, the accumulation of sediments made river access increasingly complicated and, cut off from the rest of the country, the town eventually lost its lustre. In spite of its “misfortune”, this isolation has allowed the preservation of an exceptional architectural heritage, typical of the river villages of the colonial era.

Mompox cemetery

Best things to do in Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Mompox Cemetery

The Mompox cemetery is one of the city’s most visited sites. It’s a real work of art and a curiosity in its own right.

Crossing the main avenue that marks the end of the historic center, you change territory, onto what was once the countryside. At one time, the cemetery was located on the outskirts of town. Over time, urbanization has come to surround it and eventually include it in the city.

Push open the gate to discover a small, immaculate cemetery. At the far end, a small, simple chapel welcomes visitors who have come to pay their respects. The curiosity: cats. The cemetery and chapel are filled with cats – big ones, babies, old ones, young ones, etc. – like guardians of the “passage”.

A work of art dressed all in white, the cemetery offers a harmony that makes an impact on those who come here to seek a well-deserved eternal rest. There are many stories, myths and legends surrounding the Mompox cemetery, which is why we strongly advise you to take a guided tour of historic Mompox!


In 2001, when Alfredo Serrano, the youngest son of the Serrano family, died of a heart attack, his family decided to bury him in the Mompox cemetery. Alfredo was nicknamed “El gato” for his green eyes: “Gato” means cat in Spanish.

And so began a new legend worthy of the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The momposinos began to see a cat on a daily basis, who had taken up residence on Alfredo’s tombstone. The Serrano family regularly fed and watered her. Then the cat gave birth to kittens and, over time, the number of cats grew steadily until they invaded the cemetery.

People began to spread the rumor that the Serrano family, the familia “Los Gatos”, had made a pact with the devil, and that the proliferation of cats in the cemetery was proof of this..

Tour of the Cienaga de Pijiño

Best Things to do in Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Cienaga de Pijiño

The boat trip on the Cienaga de Pijiño is probably the best-known and most recognized activity if you want to do “something else” in Mompox. On this trip, you’ll discover a tiny part of one of Colombia’s most important lake systems , made up of numerous marshes, the “cienagas “, which surround the immense Rio Magdalena.

We follow the Brazo Mompox, a tributary of the Rio Magdalena, and then small canals that open onto the extensive Cienaga de Pijiño. Along the way, you can see large Iguanas, Basilisks walking on the water and Caimans drying out on the shore… children bathing a little further on… fishermen casting their nets… a whole wild and social life bustling about in this natural and rich semi-aquatic environment.

When you reach the Cienaga, the landscape opens up and you discover the ornithological wealth of the area: numerous species of birds take advantage of the unique ecosystem, including waders, kingfishers, herons, moorhens, lapwings, Jacanas and more.


  • Price (2024): $40.000 COP / person ($50.000 COP during the dry season)
  • Booking: Three operators offer this tour. To book, go to the Plaza de la Concepción at the old Market.
  • Bring: camera (zoom for animals) or binoculars, swimsuit.

Visit the Cienaga de Pijiño in english

Flavien Mompox (#60)

To contact Flavien directly, you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let him know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from Flavien within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first, and then don’t hesitate to contact us.

Cycling in Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Cycling is king in Mompox!

If we’re talking about cycling in Mompox, it’s not because it’s a very practical means of transport for visiting the town, but it’s mainly because bicycles are widely used by Mompoxians themselves!

What’s striking at first glance is that the momposino bikes are real collector’s items! We had a great time taking a whole gallery of photos, each one more fun than the last, on the theme of bicycles.

So if you don’t feel like getting on the two wheels yourself, the game at Mompox could also be counting old bikes!

It really is a kind of tradition that reflects the Mompox way of life. It’s a quiet and peaceful way to get around.

Contact Flavien, English-speaking guide in Mompox


Remembering all the bicycles in Mompox clearly inspired us to create one of our illustrated posters of Colombia, which you can find in our shop! “La Bici” is our interpretation of the unique atmosphere of the Caribbean region between Cartagena and Mompox, its colors and its colonial past.

The most beautiful tree in Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Mompox’s hundred-year-old tree

It’s one of the many sights of Mompox, a gigantic Hevea tree enthroned in the middle of a colonial patio… The rubber tree, said to be over 150 years old, is located inside theHostel Doña Manuela, which by the way is only a hostel in name, since it’s a beautiful upmarket hotel.

The hotel is an old colonial house, built in the 17th century and recently renovated with the help of Colombia’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce for its exceptional architectural character, like all the colonial houses in the historic center at the same time!

The tree is lit up in the evening, and you can get married in the heart of its trunk, but above all you can come and admire it for free, just by asking nicely at reception.

For the record, contrary to what you might think, it’s not the oldest tree in Mompox!


This honorary title belongs to the “arbol de Suán”. Legend has it that the Liberator Simón Bolívar, when he arrived in Mompox in 1812, tied his horse to this tree before going to inform the Momposinos of his plans to liberate the nation.

Historical guided tour of Mompox

Best Things to do

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
With our super Guide Alfredo in the Pinillos School

We stayed 3 days in Mompox and will tell you more about our experience in a future post, but we had long planned to take the historical tour offered by Luis Alfredo, the “star” of Mompox guides with whom we regularly exchanged.

Luis Alfredo has always been passionate about history, from his early childhood when he devoured books, and you can sense his passion and desire to share the history of his native village. We can only recommend that you take this tour with Luis Alfredo!

The tour consists of a stroll through the historic center of Mompox to learn all about its history, its main monuments and a few myths and legends! The tour ends with a visit to a filigree workshop.

It’s a visit we really recommend if you want to understand a bit about Mompox! Of course, this is a tour for Spanish-speakers, but Luis Alfredo told us that an English-speaking translator was also available for those who so wished.


Take advantage of our english interpreter Flavien to accompany you on Alfredo’s guided tours.

Flavien Mompox (#60)

To contact Flavien directly, you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let him know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from Flavien within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first, and then don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you speak Spanish, you can contact Alfredo directly for a guided tour of Mompox via Whatsapp at 56 310 351 3606

The churches of Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Inmaculada Conception Church, Mompox

As you may know, during the colonial era, the principle of founding a village was always the same: create a “plaza mayor”, a main square, build a church and then develop the village around it.

Mompox is unique in having seen no less than 3 “founding” plazas and 6 churches built within a perimeter of just a few hundred meters! A visit to Mompox is an opportunity to play church-hunting!

Santa Barbara Church (1613)

This is surely the most unusual church in Mompox, with its bell tower, balcony and three windows. It is said to owe its name and architecture to the Turkish legend of Santa Barbara of Izmir, patron saint of storms, who was murdered in her tower.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Santa Barbara Church (1613)

San Agustin church (1606)

A minor basilica founded by the Augustinians, this church stands out for its Christ on the Cross, which is of historical importance to the faithful and to Colombian culture. It is one of the relics proudly carried in procession during the (very) important Holy Week festivities in Mompox.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
San Agustin church (1606)

Santo Domingo Church (1544)

Built by the Dominicans, this church is decorated in Mompox’s traditional yellow and white, but stands out for its large green doors. It features the altar of the Virgin of the Rosary. It marks the end of Mompox’s historic center.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Santo Domingo Church (1544)

Contact Flavien, English-speaking guide in Mompox

San Francisco de Asis Church (1580)

Founded by the Franciscans, this is the only church not to display the Mompox colors. In fact, it does as it pleases, adorning itself in red! Inside, you’ll find magnificent, perfectly preserved wooden altarpieces. Right next to the river, the plaza features the famous saxophone sculpture in tribute to the Mompox Jazz Festival.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
San Francisco de Asis Church (1580)

Imaculada Concepción Church (1540)

This was the first church built in Mompox. All white with red domes, it stands proudly in the square of the same name, opposite the old market by the river.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Imaculada Concepción Church (1540)

San Juan de Dios Church (1545)

This is perhaps the church that has survived the longest, with its slightly dilapidated yellow-and-white facade. Its altar shows the influence of the Romanesque style, with Doric and Corinthian motifs.

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
San Juan de Dios church (1545)

Now it’s your turn to find each of these churches! Not all of them are always open, but if you can, don’t hesitate to respectfully enter and explore the interiors.

Most of them continue to be lively places of worship, with daily masses.

Contact Flavien, English-speaking guide in Mompox

Making queso de capa

Best things to do in Mompox

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
With Lucho in his Queso de Capa workshop

Thanks to our guide Luis Alfredo, we were lucky enough to meet Lucho. And meeting Lucho was something we won’t soon forget! We’ll tell you all about it soon.

Lucho is a producer and seller of “Queso de Capa”, another of Mompox’s pride and joys. This “cheese in a layer” is one of Mompox’s traditional products. We could also mention “Vino de Corozo”, which we tasted in a store.

There’s nothing exceptional about this cheese in itself, but the moment of sharing it is exceptional! As always when we “go to the other side”, when we meet producers and artisans and they share their daily lives and know-how with us. It’s always so enriching to learn about the local culture from someone like Lucho, and to value local traditions. It’s also a great way to support their work and their families by buying their products.

As you can see, for us, this is an unmissable experience at Mompox! And in general, as with the watermark, we strongly advise you to discover the trades, skills and crafts of those who make them every day!

Contact Flavien, english-speaking guide at Mompox

Filigree workshops

Visit Mompox travel guide

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Filigrana, Mompox craftsmanship

Filigrana is the craft that continues to make Mompox the country’s goldsmith capital. And here’s another story typical of Colombia and its skilful blend of origins.

Mompox filigree is the result of a fusion of two goldsmithing heritages : the indigenous tradition (check out Bogotá’s gold museum!) and the Arab tradition brought by the Andalusian Spaniards.

Often described as “the art of patience” , you have to go into a workshop and watch the goldsmiths at work to fully understand its meaning. The basis of every piece is a simple silver wire, shaped by hand to produce unique pieces of breathtaking lightness.

Mompox filigree is an art recognized across the country and around the world. We love the finesse of these jewels, and to tell the truth, we couldn’t help but make (ourselves) a few gifts!

There are plenty of stores selling filigree jewelry, but try to find a real workshop where you can exchange ideas and learn a little about the manufacturing process. Otherwise, the ideal solution is to take a guided tour that takes you right up close to the goldsmiths, so you can ask them all your questions.

Contact Flavien, English-speaking guide at Mompox


Mompox is often referred to as the “Macondo” that inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez to write One Hundred Years of Solitude. But this is also said of Cienaga, Aracataca and many other Caribbean villages..

What is certain, however, is that Gabo never set foot in Mompox!

His wife Mercedes, on the other hand, was originally from Magangué and studied at San Francisco College in Mompox. Legend has it that Mercedes’ family were goldsmiths who made little golden fish… those who have read One Hundred Years of Solitude will understand the reference.

In the end, the legend tells us that Gabo never came to Mompox, but that through his wife Mercedes, a whole Mompoxian mythology shines through in the Macondo of his river-novel!

Mompox Jazz Festival

A national event

Visit Mompox travel guide: Best things to do and see
Mompox Jazz Festival

Along with Holy Week, this is THE highlight of the year in Mompox. An event that brings thousands of people to town and has made it one of Colombia’s most important jazz festivals in recent years.

The festival offers a varied program, from Colombian jazzmen to young international talents, with always one or two headliners not to be missed, and other musical genres represented too.

During the festival, the whole city is abuzz with free concerts, parades and traditional music – in short, it’s a party! And the icing on the cake: all concerts are free!

The Mompox Jazz Festival takes place every year in early September. So it’s a date to consider if it coincides with your itinerary.

Either you’re interested, and this is your chance to take part in one of Mompox’s major events, or you’re not, and we’d advise you to avoid going to Mompox during this period, as the town and hotels are full!

English-speaking guide in Mompox

Flavien Mompox (#60)

To contact Flavien directly, you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let him know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from Flavien within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first, and then don’t hesitate to contact us.

Where to stay in Mompox

We spent 3 days in Mompox in a very nice hotel in the heart of the city center, which we recommend: the Bioma Hotel. If you’re not sure, you can go there with your eyes closed, it’s perfect.

That said, there are plenty of other good options, so here’s our advice on where to stay in Mompox

Please note: If you plan to visit Mompox during Holy Week or the Jazz Festival, make sure you book well in advance!

Mompox, the best hotels

Casa Amarilla


Casa Amarilla

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

Located just a stone’s throw from the Santa Barbara church, Casa Amarilla is a well-known Mompox hotel. With relatively affordable prices, the hotel offers excellent facilities. The staff’s warm welcome is particularly noteworthy!

Mompox, the best hotels

La casa del viajero hostal


La casa del viajero hostal

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

A welcoming and comfortable hostal in Mompox to get the most out of the city at a low price. Dormitory beds are very affordable, and the hostal also offers double rooms.

Mompox, the best hotels

Hotel Bioma


Hotel Bioma

Double room : $250.000 to $300.000 COP

This is where we stayed during our stay in Mompox. Hotel Bioma is perfect for those who want to treat themselves. With its blend of colonial and modern decor, swimming pool on the patio and roof-top overlooking the rooftops of Mompox, it offers top-notch services. To top it all off, the Arepa de Huevo breakfast is delicious!

how to get to mompox

Por Mompox no se pasa, a Mompox se llega”! If Mompox was once considered a kind of river island, inaccessible by road, today it’s a different story. It can be reached from the north or south, and since 2020 and the opening of a new bridge, it is now possible to reach Mompox by road from Cartagena or Sincelejo without having to take the ferry.

From Cartagena

Some may miss the days when it was only possible to reach Mompox from Cartagena by boat. Today, buses make the journey direct, and the new bridge makes it even easier.

BUS | Cartagena <>Mompox (6h)
Fare: approx. $86.000 COP
Company: Unitransco
Departures: 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Cartagena/6 a.m. from Mompox

CAR | Cartagena <> Mompox (6h)
Take direction Magangue, then the new bridge to Mompox

From Sincelejo

Sincelejo is the closest airport to Mompox, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to come to Mompox from a distant Colombian town.

BUS | Sincelejo <>Mompox (3h)
Fare: approx. $80.000 COP
Companies: Torcoroma
Departures: to be arranged locally

CAR | Sincelejo <> Mompox (3h)
Head towards El Bongo, then turn off towards Magangue, then over the new bridge towards Mompox

From Barranquilla

From Barranquilla, there are direct busesto Mompox. By car, you can choose between two different routes.

BUS | Barranquilla <>Mompox (8h)
Fare: approx. $100.000 COP
Company: Unitransco
Departures: 7.30 am and 10.30 am from Barranquilla / 6 am and 11 am from Mompox

CAR | Barranquilla <> Mompox (6h)
Two options for reaching Mompox by car from Barranquilla:
– either head towards Magangue, then take the new bridge towards Mompox
– or take Cienaga, Bosconia and then Mompox

From Santa Marta

There doesn’t seem to be a direct bus service to Mompox from Santa Marta. The easiest option would seem to be to take a bus to Barranquilla and from there take the direct bus to Mompox.

BUS | Santa Marta <> Barranquilla (2h)
Fare : between $25.000 and $30.000 COP
Companies: Copetran, Unitransco

BUS | Barranquilla <> Mompox (8h)
Fare: around $100.000 COP
Companies: Unitransco
Departures: 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. from Cartagena / 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. from Mompox

CAR | Santa Marta <> Mompox (6h)
Head towards Bosconia, then turn off towards Mompox

From Bucaramanga

If you want to get to Mompox directly from Bucaramanga, it’s possible – just be aware that it’s a long way.

BUS | Bucaramanga <> Mompox (8h)
Fare: approx. $80.000 COP
Company: Copetran
Departures : 6:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 9:45 p.m. (night bus)

CAR | Bucaramanga <> Mompox (8h)
This is the route we took. Everything’s OK up to El Banco, then we turn off towards Mompox and the road turns into a track in poor condition. It’s best to leave early to avoid arriving at night on this part of the route.

The 100 sphalt road would be to climb to Bosconia and then descend to Mompox. Longer, but more comfortable.

Useful addresses in Mompox

Practical guide to Mompox

The gastronomic offer in Mompox is increasingly important with the rise in tourism. You’ll find restaurants to suit all budgets, offering street food, local gastronomy or more European dishes.

Here are our recommended restaurants in Mompox:

El Comedor Costeño

On Mompox’s malecon, by the river, you’ll find a number of restaurants serving dishes typical of the region’s popular cuisine. For us, it was El Comedor Costeño, and it was good.

El Fuerte

If you’re not in the mood for local food at all and want a change, then you can go for a good pizza or grilled sausages at el Austriaco (the Austrian). It’s a nice place and the food is good.

Plaza Santo Domingo

If the square is empty during the day, Plaza Santo Domingo has a completely different atmosphere in the evening. Street food and a popular atmosphere.

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Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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