Founded in 1540, Santa Cruz de Mompox (alternatively Mompos) served as a key river port during the Spanish colonial period. Situated on an island in the Magdalena River, Mompox allowed trade to move deep inland from coastal Cartagena. Shipping brought prosperity, which led to the construction of elegant residences and six grand churches.
In the early 19th century, Mompox was the first town to declare its independence from the Viceroyalty of New Granada, earning the admiration and gratitude of Simon Bolivar. The following decades brought civil war and a gradual change in the course of the river, both of which led to a decline in the town's economic importance.
The ensuing lack of development helped to preserve the town's cultural treasures. Today, a very high percentage of Mompox's religious and domestic architecture is still used as originally intended. In honor of the city's "remarkable level of intactness" UNESCO declared Mompox a World Heritage Site in 1995.
Tortoise-like, Mompox seems to have extended its youth by lowering its metabolism; this city still seems to exist in an earlier era. Days roll by slowly, matching the flow of the Rio Magdalena. The river even shapes the city's layout; the main road curves organically, shrugging off the square civic plans of most colonial towns.
What will you do with your time in Mompox? Climb the water tower. Pay your respects at the atmospheric central cemetery. Admire the traditionally crafted filigree jewelry. Hire a lancha for a private day-trip of fishing and swimming. Mompox inspires visitors to stop, listen, smile, and relax.
The overland journey to Mompox is not as complicated as you may have heard. By private transfer, the trip from Santa Marta takes about six hours. If you're coming from Cartagena, the travel time is approximately 5.5 hours. These scenic road trips can be therapeutic, helping travelers decompress and settle in to the easy Mompox rhythm. If your time in Colombia is more limited, private charter flights can be arranged.
The climate in Mompox is tropical; high noon is hammock and rocking chair time. Peak temperatures reach 95ºF in most months, with overnight lows near 60ºF. Precipitation is light throughout the year, although humidity is high.
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