A visit to Mompox wouldn’t be complete without spending some time exploring the Rio Magdalena, the river that made Mompox rich and famous and, later, reduced it to a sleepy backwater. Luckily, finding a small motor boat and a willing captain isn’t too difficult in a town this size. We also found some other tourists wanting to do the trip which meant the price was very reasonable.
As you set off from the bank of the river you get excellent views of the waterfront in Mompox before motoring slowly down the river spotting birds and iguanas as you go. If you had the inclination and time, it would be possible to float all the way down the Rio Magdalena to the Caribbean. You’d finally emerge somewhere near the industrial city of Barranquilla on the coast.
This section of the river seems to flow very slowly, at times is doesn’t seem to move at all. An optical illusion that lends weight to the timeless nature of the river and the communities that lie along its banks. Much of the surrounding countryside is farmland so the chances of seeing a lot of wildlife aren’t great, but the landscapes and waterscapes are really beautiful.
After motoring up the main river we forked off down a smaller tributary towards a couple of huge inland lakes that form part of the vast waterway system of this region. Eventually we stopped at a small village on one of the lakes and had a walk around the streets much to the amusement of the many small children living there. Gringos are still a rare commodity here.
As we made our way back to the boat the sun started to set and the combination of vast sky and still water created magnificent, luminous reflections. It was truly beautiful, especially viewed from the boat in the middle of the lake. We motored back towards Mompox and rejoined the Rio Magdalena in time to enjoy a spectacular river sunset.
Arriving back in Mompox after dark we were greeted by a town vividly illuminated and reflected in the sleepy river – truly beautiful.