Santa Cruz de Mompox is a remote and hidden town where time has stood still and your senses race. This town that inspires tales of romance and nostalgia is situated on an island of the same name on the western bank of the Magdalena River, roughly 200km southeast from Cartagena.

The Colombian Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez famously wrote in his novel “The General in his Labyrinth” a phrase he attributed to the great Liberator Simon Bolivar, “Mompox does not exist, sometimes we dream of her, but she does not exist”.

It was founded by Alonso de Heredia in May 1537 as Santa Cruz de Mompox after a ferocious confrontation with the Kimbay tribe which resulted in the defeat of the indigenous leader Cacique de Mompoj, from whom the city takes its name. Mompox immediately became a key commercial center for the merchandise that travelled upriver from the interior en route to Cartagena. It was also an important escape for the Aristocracy of Cartagena when that city suffered attacks by English pirates. On August 6th, 1810 Mompox was the first town in Colombia to declare absolute independence from Spain when the Momposino patriots symbolically destroyed the torture devices belonging to the Inquisition.     

During a short stopover in the town, Simón Bolívar uttered the immortal words: “To Caracas I owe my life, but to Mompox I owe my glory”, as he famously raised an army of 400 hundred men here. But this glory and splendour that set Mompox apart fell into decline when, towards the end of the XIX Century, navigation along the Magdalena River was rerouted along another branch of the river. For this reason, the town has remained architecturally and traditionally intact and in 1995 was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

The Central Cemetery is perhaps the most interesting and atmospheric place to visit. Here it becomes clear that the old tales from Mompox are still very much alive. The white tombs are lined up one above the other and form walls of memories around a central chapel. Strolling here in the hours of dusk pass locals seated calmly in front of their homes enjoying the breeze in their rocking chairs.   

A tradition in Mompox, that is passed down from generation to generation and is world famous, is filigree workshops. Local craftsmen make from threads of silver and gold very intricate and delicate jewellery.

Local flora and fauna is possible to be observed in the Cienega de Pijino located about 20 minutes away boating through scenic wetlands. This complex wetland system is rich in bird life. Exotic fauna such as howler monkeys, birds and iguanas might all be seen from a small motorboat inside the Ciénaga.