This day trip is available from Popayán or Cali.
Silvia is a traditional village located in the Cauca department just off the Pan-American Highway between Popayán and Cali. A simple and typical village, Silvia has a large church and a main plaza which comes to life on Tuesdays with its famous and authentic market of the Guambiano Indians. The village is also noted for its bakeries and economical restaurants.
The Tuesday market is the most important market of the Guambiano Indians that live in Silvia and its surroundings. The main square fills with traditional Colombian chivas that bring the outlying villagers and their produce to Silvia’s main plaza.
We recommend you arrive early in the morning to Silvia when its bustling market is at its liveliest and provides the most authentic experience for the visitor. The market is by no means geared towards tourists and sells fruits and vegetables alongside hand-spun yarns.
At the weekends, Silvia is a popular getaway destination for the residents of Cali that come to this small town to escape Cali’s heat.
The Guambiano Indians
Approximately 20,000 Guambiano Indians still live in Colombia, most of them live within a short distance from Silvia. The name of the Guambiano Indians comes from a bag called a guambia, a traditional bag used by Guambiano women to carry around weaving supplies. Guambiano women are renowned for their weaving skills and their woven wares are a principal source of income for the community.
Guambianos still live a very traditional life, especially their traditional clothing. Men and women wear finely woven ruanas , a type of Colombian poncho. The females accessorise with chaquiras, necklaces and wristbands made out of small colourful beads.
The Guambianos are self-sufficient and grow all their produce on the local terraced hillsides. The market is a vital trading day for the community as commodities can be sold and traded for other commodities.
We leave Popayán early in the morning to ensure we reach the market when it at its liveliest and most colourful. We spend the first few hours in Silvia to give you the chance to truly experience the only authentic indigenous market in Colombia.
In the afternoon your tour visits Guambia, another typical village of the Guambiano Indians where we can visit the cemetery and the community centre.
This day trip is a unique insight into Guambiano culture and it is imperative that you act with respect at all times. You should not expect the Guambianos to engage in conversations with you and you should not take photographs of them.
The ideal group size is 1 to 4 persons but of course larger groups can be accommodated on request.
- Immerse yourself in the real world of the Guambiano Indians that still live their traditional life in the Colombian South
- The day trip to Silvia takes in some of Colombia’s most beautiful landscapes with deep green valleys, rivers and Andean lakes