Valledupar is a laid-back city set on the Guatapuri River and framed by the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains. Stroll along streets shaded by leafy mango trees, listen to live music in sunny plazas and soak in the Caribbean charm. Venture outside the city to swim in natural pools and visit traditional Colombian villages.
Things to do in Valledupar
Valledupar is an official UNESCO City of Music and the birthplace of a genre called vallenato. The style captures the vibrancy of Colombian culture and combines Caribbean rhythms with elements of European, African and indigenous styles. You can hear vallenato played everywhere, from public parks and plazas to live music venues.
Sun-drenched Plaza Alfonso López is the beating heart of the city. The plaza is dotted with flowering trees and features a large stage where you can enjoy live music and cultural performances. Street vendors pop up in the square and sell Colombian favourites like cheese-stuffed empanadas, “lechon” slow-cooked suckling pig and green mango drizzled with chilli syrup.
Visit the nearby town of Atanquez and learn about the legacy of the indigenous Kankuamo people. The village is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and offers a glimpse of life in the mountains. Support the local community and purchase woven bags, colourful textiles and other handmade souvenirs.
Swim, sunbathe and enjoy a picnic at Balneario Hurtado. The natural swimming pool is set on a calm section of the Guatapurí River and is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Bring your own picnic supplies or purchase “sancocho” spicy soup and “bocachico” grilled fish. Local musicians arrive to entertain the crowds and add to the lively atmosphere. For a quieter atmosphere escape to La Mina, a beautiful swimming spot surrounded by enormous white boulders.
Getting around Valledupar
Valledupar is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Taxis are a fast and affordable way to cover longer distances. The city is in the Caesar Department, a seven-hour drive from Barranquilla. Alfonso Lopez Airport is a 15-minute drive from the city centre.