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Transport: Getting to and from Mompox August 3, 2009

 

Mompox is perhaps one of the last places in Colombia where you have to plan your travel given the combination of unpaved roads and rivers to cross and perhaps it is for this reason that it is often mistakenly written up as being “difficult” to reach. 

Off the beaten track, maybe, but difficult to reach, hardly.

One of the most common fallacies is that you will always need to catch a ferry to get here…WRONG! There is a ferry and there are river crossings but these are not always essential depending on which way you are arriving.

Here is a list of transport options to get to Mompos.

From Cartagena

Magangue ferry to Mompos

The Unitransco bus leaves the Cartagena terminal around 6am every morning. Arrive early to avoid disappointment especially in high season. Cost 35,000, arriving around 3pm.

You can also decide to leave later and catch the Brasilia bus to Magangue. While the Unitransco bus takes the ferry from Magangue (very folkloric and interesting) those travelers that have chosen to travel by Brasilia will have to find their way the two blocks to the riverfront and hop onto a chalupa (motorised canoe). The chalupa costs 6000 pesos per person and takes 20 minutes. Dropping you in the town of Bodega there are a good number of collectivo taxis waiting to get you to Mompos for 7000/8000 pesos per person.  

Collectivos from Cartagena

At the petrol station near to the bus terminal in Cartagena is a collectivo company, Cotransabana. Once a car is filled these leave for Magangue and cost in the region of 40,000 per person and take 3.5 to 4 hours.

Door to Door taxi service

The most expensive but in turn the most comfortable and convenient way to reach Mompos is by a direct taxi. La Casa Amarilla (lacasaamarillamompos@gmail.com) can help organise this for you. This journey takes 5 to 6 hours and costs 55,000 per person and involves no changing.

Driving from Cartagena

Head on the highway passing San Jacinto to Magangue (3.5 hours). The ferry to Bodega (on the island of Mompos) leaves from Yati about 1km outside Magangue. We recommend you get here an hour before the ferry is due to leave, timetables are below. The cost is between 15,000 and 18,000 per car, 2000 – 4000 pesos per motorbike and free on foot.

 

Magangué-Bodega

Bodega-Magangué

Monday to Saturday

Monday to Saturday

7:00 a.m.

7:50 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

1:50 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

4:50 p.m.

Sundays and Holidays

Sundays and Holidays

8:30 a.m.

9:20 a.m.

2:00 p.m

2:50 p.m.

 

From Barranquilla

The route is very much the same as if coming from Cartagena. There is a daily Unitransco bus leaving the terminal in the AM and there is also the option of a Brasilia bus to Magangue (see above for details how to get to Mompos from Magangue).

From Santa Marta

The most expensive yet quite convenient manner in getting to Mompos from Santa Marta requires booking your spaces in a collectivo van. This is a door to door service. You can organise this from La Casa de Felipe in Taganga.

If you are more keen on a cheaper more flexible alternative, then catch an 8am Brasilia bus heading to Bucaramanga but only as far as the crossroads at Bosconia 15,000 pesos, 2.5 hours. Here you will be mobbed by touts looking to get you on their particular ride. Stand back (in the shade!) and be wary. At around midday one of the La Veloz buses from Valledupar heading to Mompos should be heading through and you can hop on this for 25,000 all the way, 3 hours.

Should you miss the La Veloz bus, then do not dispair (do not head all the way to El Banco Magdalena – this is a longer and more arduous journey). You can wait for any bus heading in the direction of Sincelejo or Carmen de Bolivar. Catch this bus as far as La Gloria, 5000 pesos, 1 hour. Alight here and you will see transport waiting for Santa Ana/Taliagua Nueva and Mompos, 2 hours 20,000 pesos.

From Bucaramanga and Bogota

Leaving at around 5pm from the Terminal de Transportes in Bogota you can catch either the Copetrans or Omega bus all the way to El Banco Magdalena, 70,000 pesos 10-11 hours. Upon arrival in El Banco you will approached by touts offering to secure you a place in a 4×4 to Mompos. Look for white 4x4s since these are newer and more reliable. With air con the cost is 25,000 pp and without 20,000. If you arrive after midday then you may require hiring a motorcycle…this costs in the region of 28,000 per person and takes just under 2 hours.   

From Bucaramanga you can choose from Copetrans, Cotaxi and Cotransmagdalena to get to El Banco Magdalena. The cost is around 45,000 pesos and we recommend that you catch an overnight bus so as to arrive early in El Banco and be in Mompos before lunchtime. If you arrive after midday, getting to Mompos becomes more complicated as cars are less frequent.

From Medellin

Rapido Ochoa and Brasilia both have evening buses to Magangue. There is no longer any security risk on this route and you are advised to wrap up warm since the drivers are known to be over zealous with the air con on this overnight route. With stops the bus gets you into Magangue in the early morning. From here you need to make the Chalupa/ collectivo combination as described above to get the rest of the way to Mompos.

To the Coast from Mompos:

CARTAGENA: The Unitransco Bus leaves from the park outside La Casa Amarilla at 6am most days. Cost 40,000 pesos, 6-7 hours. There are also private collectivos that run every day leaving early in the AM (ask at reception), these take less time and offer a door to door service to your accommodation in Cartagena. Cost 60,000 pesos, 5 – 5 and a half hours. Otherwise, catch any transport to Magangue and from there find buses and collectivos that run directly to Cartagena.

BARRANQUILLA: The Unitransco Bus leaves at 6am most mornings. Cost 40,000 pesos, 5 hours. Collectivos and buses also leave from Magangue every morning to Barranquilla. This is also a good route to get to Santa Marta.

SANTA MARTA: There is a direct van that leaves every day twice a day, one departure at 5am and the next at roughly 10am. This costs 60,000 pesos to get to Santa Marta and a little more to Taganga. To cut costs you can also catch the AM Unitransco bus to Barranquilla and then a van from the terminal there for 1 hour and a further 10,000 pesos to Santa Marta.

TOLU AND COVENAS: Make your way to Magangue via collectivo and chalupa and there should be various buses, vans and collectivos heading to Sincelejo. Cost variable, 2 hours. In Sincelejo you are under 30 minutes from both Tolu and Covenas.

VALLEDUPAR AND LA GUAJIRA: There is a direct collectivo that leaves every morning to Valledupar (ask at reception). Cost 50,000, 5 hours door to door. You can also catch a 5am bus all the way with La Veloz – they will pick you up at La Casa Amarilla if desired Cost 40,000, 5 hours. From Valledupar you can easily find transport heading up to Riohacha to get to La Guajira. 

To the Interior from Mompos:

BUCARAMANGA: La Casa Amarilla can organise a comfortable 4×4 with a reliable driver to get you to the town of El Banco Magdalena. Cost 20,000 without air con in the back, 25,000 with air con inside, 2 hours. To catch the earlier bus (recommended) from here to Bucaramanga with either Omega, Cotaxi, Cotransmagdalena or Copetrans you will need to leave Mompos around 6am. Buses leave El Banco at 9am cost in the region of 45,000 pesos and get you to Bucaramanga around 5pm.    

SAN GIL: Follow the above instructions to El Banco Magdalena and Bucaramanga and then once you have arrived at the terminal catch any one of a number of buses that continue on to San Gil. This is a long day of travel but it is possible.  

MEDELLIN: To get to Medellin requires making the journey to Magangue via collectivo and chalupa. In Magangue head to the offices of Rapido Ochoa or Brasilia (around the corner from the docks). Each company has two options a day, at 7am and at 7pm. We recommend the overnight bus allowing you to sleep your way to Medellin arriving in the early morning. 

BOGOTA: All buses to Bogota leave around 4pm from El Banco Magdalena. In low season both Omega and Copetrans set their prices at 70,000 pesos. In high season this climbs to 100,000 pesos. We can organize your transport from Mompos to El Banco Magdalena in a 4×4 costing 20,000-25,000 pesos. You should arrive at the Terminal in Bogota around 6am the following morning.

RIVER TRAVELRiver travel on the Magdalena

In a perfect world we would all be travelling to and from Mompos on the river, but, given petrol prices and the silting issues in this stretch of the Magdalena river, travel all the way to Mompos is only achieved in periods of flooding when the roads are washed out.

However with Cotransfluviales from Magangue (Bolivar) and El Banco (Magdalena) it is possible to catch river transport along the Magdalena River to the interior. From El Banco Magdalena to Barrancabermeja (connections to Bucaramanga) costs in the region of 50,000 pesos leaves at 6am and takes 5 hours. From Magangue to Barrancabermeja costs 90,000 pesos and takes 8 hours.

 

3 Responses to “Transport: Getting to and from Mompox”

  1. Helena Says:

    I am looking for information about the route Bucaramanga Sincelejo,
    Distance in kms, and road conditions to go by car.
    Do I need to ride ferri to cross?
    I am kind of lost here,
    the only information I found is traveling from Medellin to Sincelejo or Cartagena to Sincelejo,

    any info.?

    Thanks

    • emp99 Says:

      hi Helena,
      we have a new website with better information at http://www.mompox.org but I will help you out here.

      Coming from Bucaramanga does not require passing through Sincelejo to get to Mompos. You should take the road as if you were heading to Santa Marta and about 40 minutes after the town of Aguachica there is a small turn off at El Burro. Bucaramanga to El Burro takes maybe 5 hours

      You have unpaved roads from here to El Banco Magdalena, if it is dry this should take 1.5 hours. The roads are not good but if you have a 4×4 then this will not be a problem.

      Then from El banco you need to travel a further 1.5 – 2 hours on to Mompos. The roads on the Magdalena side (ie half the journey) are unpaved and bad. Then you cross the Magdalena river at Boton de Leyva and most of the way through Bolivar it is now paved to mompos.

      If you have any further questions please email me at lacasaamarillamompos@gmail.com

      Oh yes, there is no need for a ferry on this route.

      regards

      richard

  2. Fernando Yaacov Pena Says:

    Gracias por la informacion… EXCELENTE…
    Manana salimos para Mompox desde B/quilla.


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