Overview

The area of southern Colombia leading off from the Cauca valley south of Cali and embracing the cultured city of Popayán and pre-Colombian archaeological sites was lamentably off limits for visitors during the recent era of guerrilla activity. Fortunately nowadays the security situation has improved and many of the highlights of this region of quiescent volcanoes, steep emerald green valleys, pastures, sugar plantations and attractive villages can be safely explored

The Spanish colonial university town Popayán is a delightful stop, its lanes resonating with both salsa and classical music, while the mountain village of Silvia is famous for the striking costumes worn by the friendly Guambiano Indians. The UNESCO-listed archaeological site at San Agustín is the must see of the region, with its remarkable ‘Bosque de las Estatuas’ consisting of a number of enigmatic statues dating from 3,300BC.

Prosperous Cali is the second largest city in Colombia after Bogotá and is famed for being the country’s party capital: salsa really rules the roost here.  It’s a tropical city with a tropical vibe, surrounded by a fertile agricultural land with plantations and cattle.

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Where to go when - our guide to San Agustin, Popayan and Cali

Popayan

The weather in San Agustin, Popayan and Cali is wide and varied

This region of volcanoes, luscious green valleys, sugar plantations and traditional villages is not to be missed. The tropical city of Cali is alive with salsa. Thanks to its location in the sweltering Cauca Valley it is hot and humid throughout the year, though it may rain at any time. At a higher elevation you’ll find the colonial university town of Popayán and also the archaeological gems of San Agustin. The temperature here feels a little cooler, the air a little drier, though you’ll still get warm sunshine.
Rain can fall at any time here which keeps the landscapes verdant, with the wettest months usually April- June. The region can become busy during holidays and cultural events; for incredible salsa dancing and live music head for the Cali Fair in December / January, or see traditional costumes and parades at Popayán’s Festival de los Negros y Blancos in January.

View our San Agustin, Popayan and Cali weather guide

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Lina
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Chris
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

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