Popayan‘s Most Popular Neighborhood is the historic center, also known as “El Centro.” This charming neighborhood is the heart of the city and is home to some of Popayan’s most important landmarks, including the Cathedral, the Iglesia de la Merced, and the Universidad del Cauca. Visitors can stroll through the narrow streets, admire the colonial-style architecture, and experience the local culture and traditions.

Getting There

The historic center is easily accessible by bus or taxi from any part of the city. Visitors can also opt to walk from their accommodations, as many of the popular hotels and hostels are located within the neighborhood.


A typical day in the historic center begins with a visit to the Cathedral, the most iconic and recognizable building in the neighborhood. The Cathedral, built in the 18th century, is a beautiful example of baroque architecture and is a must-see for any visitor to Popayan.

Next, visitors can head to the Iglesia de la Merced, another important religious site in the neighborhood. The church, which dates back to the 16th century, is known for its ornate decoration and intricate carvings.


After exploring the religious sites, visitors can head to the Universidad del Cauca, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Colombia. The university is located in a beautiful colonial-style building and is open to visitors. Visitors can take a tour of the campus and see the impressive library, which is home to over 400,000 books.

After visiting the university, visitors can grab a bite to eat at one of the many traditional restaurants in the historic center. Visitors can try local specialties such as ajiaco (a traditional soup made with chicken and potatoes), or bandeja paisa (a hearty dish consisting of rice, beans, meat, avocado, and plantain).


In the evening, visitors can take a stroll through the narrow streets of the historic center and admire the colorful colonial-style houses. Many of the houses have been beautifully restored and are now home to small shops and cafes. Visitors can also visit the many art galleries and cultural centers in the neighborhood.

Finally, visitors can end their day with a visit to the Teatro Municipal, one of the oldest and most important theaters in Colombia. The theater, built in the 19th century, is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture and is home to the city’s symphony orchestra. Visitors can catch a performance of classical music, opera, or ballet.


Popayan’s Most Popular Neighborhood, the historic center, is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Visitors can explore the many important landmarks, experience the local culture and traditions, and enjoy the charming colonial-style architecture. With so much to see and do, the historic center is the perfect place to start a visit to Popayan.