Travel Guide to Santa Cruz de Mompox, Mompós or the Land of God
Mompox is one of the most beautiful heritage towns in Colombia and has one of the best-preserved historic centers in Latin America. Santa Cruz de Mompox or Mompós has the typical architecture of the Spanish Colony, with white facades and beautiful windows covered with wrought iron railings.
This architectural beauty, as well as its excel of conservation, led Mompox to be declared a National Monument in 1959 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
When this town was built in 1540 it was an important port. With time it became isolated, and that allowed it to preserve its architectural heritage. It is the magical place that so often inspired our Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez.
It is also known as the first town of the Viceroyalty of the New Kingdom of Granada to give the cry of absolute Independence from Spain.
Santa Cruz de Mompox, the largest river island in Latin America, also holds in its streets a unique cultural treasure in Colombia. The Mompox Jazz Festival launched in 2012, enhanced the tourist vocation of the town, attracting travelers from around the world.
Below you will receive the necessary information you need to make the most of your visit to Santa Cruz de Mompox.
Exploring Santa Cruz de Mompox
Momopox is located in the department of Bolivar, 320 km from Cartagena by land. It is on the list of “Network of Colombian Heritage Towns” a place full of history and culture. Its name comes from the indigenous Malibu language, “Mompoj”, and since the XVIII century it is called Mompox or Mompós in the official documents of the country; it is also known as “La Tierra de Dios” i.e. The Land of God.
It is located in the Department of Bolivar, 248 kilometers from Cartagena, and is bordered by the municipalities of Magangué (Bolivar), Pinillos and San Fernando (Bolivar), Santa Ana, San Zeno, and San Sebastian de Buenavista (Magdalena), with the Magdalena River in between, and with the municipality of Talaigua Nuevo (Bolívar).
The average temperature in Santa Cruz de Mompox is between 23 ºC (73ºF) to 38 ºC (100 ºF) and the best time of the year to visit Mompós is from mid-December to the end of February.
How to get to Santa Cruz de Mompox
You can take a direct flight from El Dorado (BOG) in Bogotá to San Bernardo Airport (MMP) at Santa Cruz de Mompox with a duration of 1,5 – hours.
Other alternatives to get to Mompox are:
- Bogotá – Cartagena – Mompox
Take a 1,5-hours flight from El Dorado (BOG) in Bogotá to Rafael Nuñez International Airport (CTG) at Cartagena city. Once at in Cartagena you take an approximately 5,5-hours ride (273 Km) to Santa Cruz de Mompox
- Bogotá – Sincelejo – Mompox
Take a 1,5-hours flight from El Dorado (BOG) in Bogotá to Las Brujas Airport (CZU) at Sincelejo city. Once in Sincelejo, you take an approximately 3-hours ride (148 Km) to Santa Cruz de Mompox.
Where to stay in Santa Cruz de Mompox
In Mompox you can find several lodging options, among those are hotels that preserve the local architecture, we recommend:
- Hotel Nieto Mompox Riverfront
- Portal de la Marquesa
- Bioma Boutique Hotel
- La Gloria Hotel by BespokeColombia
- Café Mompox – Colonial House
Santa Cruz de Mompox Attractions and Activities
Historical and Cultural Activities in Mompox
In “La Tierra de Dios”, you will be able to appreciate the Andalusian architecture of the XVI century, considered one of the most precious cultural and historical jewels of the Caribbean.
The Culture House
It has civil architecture. It has been in operation since 1962, and keeps, as its director shows us, elements of the historical archive, antiques, works of Candelario Obeso, the black poet, and one of the maximum referents of the momposina culture, homemade swords, elements of tailoring of the time and indigenous crafts, among others.
Te Deum House
Its name comes from the Latin inscription that its owner Don Pedro Martinez de Pinillos placed on its façade: “Té Deum Lauda mus Te Dominum”. Renowned for its gardens and the huge sun tree in the middle of the courtyard, refuge of the howler monkeys, a species that moves around the city and emits a particular sound.
House of the Portals o the Marquesa de Torrehoyos
It is a group of houses (four) that is undoubtedly a permanent attraction in the city, is clearly distinguished by the portals or external gallery that runs along its facade and that prints an architectural character of its own and very different from the homogeneous silhouette of the city.
Mompox Rosario Cemetery
Usually, cemeteries are not tourist places but the cemetery of Mompox, along with that of Barichara, are among the most beautiful in Colombia.
A space full of cultural and historical heritage, besides having beautiful burial constructions and is inhabited by many cats. During the Holy Week season, it becomes the scene of the traditional serenade to the deceased.
San Anselmo Fort
Possibly it was built as a simple warehouse or deposit of merchandise. It is owned by an Austrian who, after sailing around the world in his sailboat, arrived and stayed in Mompox. At the next table, there are four old men, who with a slow coastal accent greet us, while they evoke, in a pleasant gathering, an epic Santa Cruz de Mompox.
Church of Santa Bárbara
It has a balcony that is undoubtedly the most impressive element. It is located in the square of Mompox, and it is also the place of legends among the locals.
Immaculate Conception Church
Built-in 1541 and despite having been rebuilt several times. In the interior you can notice several aspects, among others, the way the central nave was covered, using for it the armor of pair and knuckle.
Santo Domingo Church
It was built as a straw temple by the friars of the Dominican order, the first to preach the gospel in America. Years later its roofs were covered with bricks that remained useful until August 19, 1846, when it collapsed. Ten years later in 1856, the temple was restored.
San Francisco Church and Convent
This beautiful church is a clear example of momposina elegance, its walls are covered in red ochre in contrast with its white lines. A cultural jewel, worthy of knowing and appreciating.
San Juan de Dios Church
Built-in the XVII century. The church officiates on Holy Thursday, the mass for the sick and disabled to participate in the Momposina Holy Week.
Natural Attractions in Mompox
It is a backwater where different species of birds coexist, approximately 20, it is possible to find the white heron, the brown heron, the little brown heron, and also the kingfisher; in addition to the presence of reptiles.
This marsh has an area of approximately 1,350 hectares. Bird watching excursions are part of a program to show the world the richness of Colombia’s biodiversity and are promoted by the National Tourism Fund (Fontur) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
This island is located in the geographical situation called the Momposina depression, bathed by the waters of the Magdalena River, with the arms of Loba, Mompox, and Chicagua; and has an area of 2600 square kilometers.
The island is home to fish species such as barbudo, bocachico, mojarra amarilla and mojarra lora, and amphibians such as babillas, galapagos, turtles and otters. The flora is composed of cantagallo, mangrove, bell pepper, coquillo or cocuelo and campano.
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About the Authors
Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.