With its grand colonial buildings and lively downtown core, Pasto is a fantastic addition to any Colombian itinerary. As well as soaking up local history it’s also a great destination for nature lovers. Not only is the city surrounded by lush countryside of the Atriz Valley, but it’s also a jumping point to some of Colombia’s sparkling lakes and towering volcanoes.
Things to do in Pasto
One of Colombia’s oldest cities, Pasto is dotted with historic buildings. The gold-encrusted Iglesia de San Juan Bautista church towers over Narino Square and is one of South America’s finest examples of colonial Baroque architecture.
Craving a culture fix? The Museo del Oro showcases a small, but fascinating collection of ancient gold and pottery, while the Museo Taminango de Artes y Tradiciones displays a rare line-up of Colombian antiques.
If you’re looking for adventure, make your way to the mighty Volcán Galeras, just eight kilometres from Pasto’s city centre. It’s one of Colombia's most active volcanoes and you can often see smoke pluming out from its crater.
Sparkling Laguna de la Cocha is a great day trip from Pasto, where you’ll find emerald green waters fed by nearby glaciers. Once you’re there, you can cool off in the lake, work up a sweat on a hiking trail or enjoy a plate of freshly caught trout at one of the many waterfront restaurants.
Getting around Pasto
Pasto’s historic district is compact and walkable, which means the best way to get around is on foot. Local buses and “collective” taxis will get you to places like Volcán Galeras and Laguna de la Cocha. Formore convenient transport, you can also hire a private driver for the day.