An easy day trip from Popayán is to the small town of Silvia, nestled beautifully in the mountains. Silvia is famous for its Tuesday market, which is run by the indigenous Guambiano people who live in nearby villages.
We came on a Saturday by bus from Popayán. It took just over an hour at a cost of COP$7,000 per person. Buses and colectivos leave every 20 to 30 minutes and drop you off in the main plaza.
When we arrived, a man offering tours to the Guambiano villages stopped us and gave us a small slip of paper with the tour information. He said if we’re interested we can meet him at 2pm at the same spot. We showed up for the tour but he was nowhere in sight. It would’ve cost COP$20,000 each.
The plaza is a pleasant open space with tall trees and plenty of spots to sit and relax. A church sits on one side while there are some shops, restaurants, and the Silvia town hall surrounding the other sides.
There were lots of Guambianos in the plaza sitting and having a chat. Marisol asked to have a picture with one of them. Typically, they’re not too keen on photos but if you ask nicely they might allow you to take one.
La Colina de Belén
A 10 minute walk from the plaza on the road to the left of the church is a small hill with another church on top. This is La Colina de Belén.
From there, you can get breathtaking 360 degree views of the town and countryside with just about every shade of green imaginable.
Lago El Chimán
Downhill from the town is a small river with a path next to it. If you follow the path to the right there’s a bridge with a road that leads to a small lake, Lago El Chimán. Locals were fishing and walking around the lake, some with horses. It wasn’t clean but the backdrop was gorgeous.
Lunch at El Balcón
For lunch, we ate at El Balcón on the corner of the plaza. They serve traditional Colombian food. Our fixed menu meals cost only COP$5,000 each and were somewhere between disgusting and horrible.
I would have enjoyed coming on a Tuesday to see the market, but it didn’t work out that way. In any case, the trip to Silvia was a nice getaway for a few hours. If you go there and manage to take the tour with the disappearing guide, let me know how it goes.