Valledupar, Colombia 🇨🇴 Gringo's Guide
The Atlantic Coast's "best" destination...
When people talk about the Colombian coast, they always mention Cartagena first and foremost.
After that, you will hear about Santa Marta, Barranquilla, or maybe even Palomino way up in La Guajira.
In my mind, this is shameful.
This part of Colombia has a lot of interesting and beautiful places to explore.
And, of these, my absolute favorite is the, not well-known to most foreigners, city of —Valledupar, Colombia 🇨🇴
Valledupar, Colombia 🇨🇴
The city of Valledupar is the capital of the department of César. It's not actually on the coast, although it's considered to be part of the coastal region — the culture is similar all throughout those parts.
Valledupar's main claim to fame is that it is the cradle of Vallenato music.
That's the accordion-heavy stuff you hear blaring from half of Colombia's speakers at any given time. Although, vallenato actually just started out with two guitars and vocals.
Pro-Tip: Mention old-school guitar-based vallenato with friends or on a date to impress the locals, as most Colombians don't even know anything about that subject.
Valledupar surprised me the moment I landed at the airport. It has a beautiful colonial city center, great restaurants and nightlife, and a unique location that makes it a very interesting place to hang out, explore, and, of course, meet new people.
The last census count has the population of the city at 559,462 people.
If you count the surrounding areas, there are 691,266 souls in total living there.
Nearly 700,000 people! That’s pretty big for a city NO gringos know about or go to.
Valledupar is one of the hotter and more humid places you can live. It will always be between 70-104 °F // 21-40 °C in this place.
I'm posting the standard climate data here, but in my own experience, lately it's been significantly hotter than the chart shows:
Depending on the time of year, the humidity in Valledupar will usually be around 60-70 percent, or from 80 percent up — the highest humidity is usually in the middle of the year there.
Most people are going to want a place with AC to be able to sleep comfortably. Of course, your mileage may vary. People who like the climate in South Florida will fit right in here.
Valledupar also gets a fair bit of clouds and rain compared to the cities further up north like Cartagena and Barranquilla, although not nearly as much as, say Bogotá or Manizales, or Colombia's Pacific coast.
A typical day here is partly cloudy, which will help break up the constant sun, which, as anywhere else in Colombia, is very strong.
Why Visit Valledupar, Colombia?
There are plenty of great reasons to visit Valledupar:
The gorgeous city center
The Sierra Nevada mountains - right next door!
The great nightlife and dating scene
The Festival de Vallenato, if in season
The amazing people
The place is very underrated overall — but there’s reasons many gringos don’t go here.
For one, it’s pretty difficult to get to. Plus, it’s super hot and very rainy.