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Nestled on a hot flat plain flanked by mountains, Valledupar is not well known amongst travellers but is quickly gaining a name for itself as a vibrant city of culture. The spiritual home of Vallenato music and with one of the most picturesque historic centres in all of Colombia, it is surrounded with beautiful countryside and is only a short drive away from the heartland of the Arhuacos indigenous tribespeople. An ideal city to start soaking in the cultural waters of Colombia, our collection of the best places to stay in Valledupar will ensure your stay exceeds your expectations.
Valledupar's beautiful natural setting is as diverse as it is lovely. Perched on a long, wide plain, it is surrounded with great snow-capped mountains snaking with rivers that are popular destinations for heat-oppressed locals who go and bathe there on the weekend. To the north is cattle-rearing pasture and the home of Vallenato music, which translates roughly as "born in the valley", while further afield is the La Guajira desert. This sublime natural landscape is ideal for exploring, either by bike or on foot and buses regularly go from the city-centre to these places. The mountains are home to the Arhuacos people, the local indigenous community, and their capital is Nabusimake, which is about 4 hours from the city along a treacherous dirt path.
The historic centre of the city is just as beautiful. With old whitewashed houses, grand colonial plazas full of local musicians, ornate churches, muraled walls and statues, it is a treat to simply take a stroll around the streets. The Plaza Alfonso Lopez, a large plaza with a monument dedicated to the Revolution and shaded by flowering trees, is a popular place for locals and has a truly laid-back atmosphere. In terms of restaurants, the city has two revered local institutions: Compare Chipuco, that serves traditional local fare, and El Joe, which cooks excellent meat dishes that are the envy of this part of the world.
The city blossoms every April with the onset of the Vallenato Legend Festival: a celebration of Vallenato music - accordion-led music that fuses Spanish and West-African styles - the streets and plazas are taken over by throngs of local people, young and old, toting cups of Old Parr whiskey, wearing sombreros and eating the alleged aphrodisiac: grilled ants. Stadiums are mobbed with spectators and musicians competing to be crowned King: the best accordionist in the city. Every decade, the winners of each year compete against each other to be crowned King of Kings.
What not to miss:
- Vallenato Legend Festival: if you're lucky to go during April, this festival is the annual highlight of the city. Drink whiskey, wear a sombrero and eat grilled ants with the locals, as you eagerly watch immensely talented accordionists and bongo-players compete to be crowned King of Valledupar.
- Nabusimake: the capital of the Arhuacos people in Sierra Nevada, a 4 hour drive from the city. The drive isn’t the easiest as it is along a rough dirt track, but it’s well worth the trip.
- Atanquez: another indigenous rural village. Accessible by car, go to see the traditional architecture and pick up a gift from one of the three bag shops.
- Balneario Hurtado: relax by the river with drinks and a bite to eat, and if you get too hot why not jump in. A great escape from the midday heat. It is popular with locals, musicians play by the banks and rum and whiskey tend to be drank here.
Valledupar is an animated city surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. A great place for music, food, relaxation and soaking in culture, our pick of the best places to stay in Valledupar provide a great base for you to explore this wonderful area.
The best places to stay in Valledupar
For a central location
Casa Rosalia is a chic boutique hotel located in the heart of the city. It’s hard to tell you’re in a city at all though as the beautiful leafy garden gives the hotel a rural feel. There’s also a great outdoor pool to cool off in after a day roaming around the city! A romantic spot ideal for couples.
For an apartment or villa
- Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of apartments and villas in the area.
- Valledupar’s Airport is called Alfonso López Pumarejo Airport, and is conveniently located about five minutes drive from the centre of town. If you can’t find a suitable flight then there are several other local airports worth considering, including Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena.
- Valledupar is probably best visited between December and March. Temperatures are hot all year round - 30°C+ every day, but there’s less rain during these months and it’s less humid.
- If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
Best Hotels in Valledupar
Casa Rosalia 5 rooms from £6610 -10 Valledupar
A boutique hotel set in tranquil leafy gardens in the lively city of Valledupar. Chic white washed rooms feature exposed beams, plenty of light and some even have hammocks strung up. A stunning outdoor pool is the ideal for soaking up some sun. A serene spot to explore the region from.Local exploring - Well located with easy access to both the city's sights and activities in the surrounding countryside.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool.Romantic - Good for couples.Traditional