popayan City Guide
OVERVIEW: Popayan is the capital of the Colombian department of Cauca, located in Southwestern Colombia. Due to an abundance of white colonial houses dating back to when Colombia was under Spanish rule, Popayan is known within Colombia as the "white city."Aside from its picturesque downtown (considered one of the most beautiful and well preserved in Latin America), Popoyan is known for its reputable universities and its educated population.
WEATHER: Humid but mild tropical climate (15-30 °C). Driest months are June-September.
SAFETY: Although safer than other Colombian cities like Cali and Pereira, you still need to watch your back in Popayan. Generally, the area around the central square (Parque Caldas) is safe at all hours, but some of the surrounding areas are not. I don't recommending venturing south from the central square, particularly at night. Also, don't hang around areas close to the airport.
MUST DO: Check out the Iglesia de San Francisco, a short walk from Parque Caldas.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN POPAYAN: $650.00. There aren't too many apartment rental services around town. I'd recommend using Encuentra24 to search for apartment listings because you'll pay about half as much as you would on Airbnb in Popayan.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT: $10.
NIGHTLIFE IN POPAYAN: 6/10
As a small city, Popayan simply doesn't the selection that Bogota, Medellin or Cali do. That being said, there are a few chain nightclubs that operate throughout Colombia that have a presence here. Also, this being Colombia, the girls don't disappoint.
I recommend: I didn't have time to discover any hidden gems, but Land Disco had a pretty good crowd.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.75
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN POPAYAN: 6.5/10
Ok. This is for people intending on staying longterm in Popayan. Here's the thing with staying in smaller Colombian cities: Everyone will know who you are within a few weeks. You might not know that they know who you are, but they will. Trust me. A Colombian city of 300,00 people feels like an American city of 30,000 people. Basically what this means is that if you go around trailblazing trying to slay pussy night in and night out, or you're serial dating girls you met on Tinder, word is going to get out and you'll quickly be labelled a pseudo sex-tourist, which will not play well for you. In the longterm.
If you're just passing through for a few days, you won't have to worry about this.
The trouble with trying to hook-up in Popayan is that most girls here live with their parents until they get married, and their parents usually keep a tight leash on the until then so it's a bit of a struggle to get these gals to stay the night.
The best game if you want to have sex in Popayan is to hit online dating (girls on these sites will usually be up for a bit of naughtiness) and only meet up with the ones that agree to meet for evening drinks. If you're smooth and speak a bit of Spanish, I expect that you'll have a bit of luck.
***If you want to meet girls in Colombia the easy way and set up dates before you arrive in the country, I highly recommend checking out Colombian Cupid.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN POPAYAN?: 7.25/10.
I was impressed. But then again, I'm always impressed by girls in Colombia. There's hardly a city in the entire country you can't go and see scores of beautiful women. Although the women might not have the level of T & A that you'll see in Medellin or the style that you'll see in Bogota, girls in Popayan are genuinely sweet and pretty in a girl next door kind of way. Perhaps the biggest difference I noticed about women in Popayan compared to other Colombian cities is that they are intelligent. Whereas the intelligence level of girls in other Colombian cities seems to be limited to manipulation and deceit, girls in Popayan seem genuinely interested in life and issues outside of their hometown. Huge +1 for me there.
If I ever wanted a Colombian wife (could do worse...), I'd likely begin my search in Popayan. That should tell you something.
If you want to make the most of your time in Colombia, you will need to speak some Spanish. Synergy Spanish is the best resource for learning Spanish quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.20 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: In Popayan you may be able to teach English at one of the universities with a CELTA or equivalent certification.
TAXI: $3. You can walk the entire city in 30 minutes or less.
NOTES: Overall, I would say Popayan is worth a visit. If you're hanging out in Cali and thinking about popping down for a visit, I'd encourage it - it's one of the more underrated cities in Colombia. I wouldn't, however, recommend Popayan for a longterm stay. There simply isn't enough see or do in the city itself or in the surrounding areas. If you are looking to a month or more somewhere in Colombia and prefer a smaller city vibe, I'd recommend the Coffee Triangle instead.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
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