"Mompos-swampy, steamy, backwater colonial surprise" Mompós by Kindra

Mompós Travel Guide: 63 reviews and 250 photos

The City

Mompos, also known as Mompox (but pronounced MOM-poss) is a small town on the edge of the Magdalena River deep into Colombia's Bolivar province. It is a sweltering, at times dusty town and the boiling river doesn't offer much of a respite from the heat. Once a major city on the river's highway between the Caribbean Sea and the major Pacific cities of Guayaquil and Lima, Mompos was the heart of colonial life and all of its splendours and squalour - from the highly religious wealthy families, the slavery of Africans and Indigenous people (that have since made a beautiful mix of peoples that inhabit Mompos), prostitution, rum-running and drugs, and the subsequent "recolonization" of the town by the Spanish Catholic church, the city is steeped in history.

The History

The history of the town is part of its charm and intrigue. Richard, the owner of the Casa Amarilla, is one of the best people to talk to while in Mompos to get a better understanding of what makes Mompos what it is, and how it is considered by many the real life "Macondo" as written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his acclaimed, Nobel-prize winning novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Beneath its veneer of religious piety and old wealth, there is a story of deeply divided political tensions. The main road (Calle Real del Medio) splits the town into two sectors where the west is considered the Liberal and the east considered the Conservative- a divide which finds its roots (many years ago) in the civil war that continues to plague Colombia today (though it has long since become a war of poverty, politics, corruption and drugs, among others).

The activities

Aside from strolling through Mompos' charming streets, relaxing in the shade of its river-side trees, enjoying a fresh squeezed orange juice is one of its plazas, the city has other activities which you can enjoy in a relaxed few days. In particular, Easter and the Holy Week present daily activities and festivities including Easter Sunday and the Wednesday before when the town is lit up by candles honouring loved ones that have died.

In addition, you can explore the town's cemetery, enjoy its local night market to eat cheaply with the locals, buy some of its intricate woven silver jewellery or explore the town of Pijino and the sweltering hot cenote that is home to many types of birds, monkey and other jungle animals.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Colonial, beautiful, authentic, non-touristy, historic
  • Cons:Very hot, hard to reach, too peaceful at times
  • In a nutshell:An out of the way almost forgotten colonial town steeped in history
  • Last visit to Mompós: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated Jun 20, 2009
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Reviews (18)

Comments (1)

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Dec 24, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    Very interesting page, Kindra. I hope I can visit Mompos: it's exactly my kind of place. Feliz Navidad.

Kindra

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