The Top 10 Things To Do In Monteria, Cordoba in 2017 - Places To Visit & Must Try Activities In Colombia
Monteria is a city of nearly a million residents located in the Sinu Valley in the Department of Cordoba, Colombia. It is one of the most important cities in the Caribbean region that one must definitely visit. Known by different local names such as La Perla del Sinu (The Pearl of Sinu), La Ciudad de las Golondrinas (The City of the Swallows) and La Venecia Colombiana (The Venice of Colombia), Monteria was founded in the late 18th century along the beautiful tropical river of Sinu. There are plenty of things to do in and around the city such as follows:
1. The First Avenue (Ronda del Sinu)
The First Avenue or Ronda del Sinu is an urban park present along the sides of the Sinu river extending linearly upto 2 km in length from Calle 21 - 38 in Montería city. Started in 2005, this park has been attracting locals and tourists alike. It is said that the park is the largest of its kind in entire Latin America. You can find iguanas, monkeys, squirrels, donkeys and other animals welcoming you at the park. It is a good place for pedestrians, joggers, skateboarders or just plain park-goers who would like to chill out on a normal day. The place looks amazingly beautiful and lit-up especially on festival days such as Christmas. You can find cafeterias, juice shops and pizza corners in the park, along with a dock for boats from where you can have a good view of the river.
There are different kinds of boats from jet fueled to 'planchon (a type of Colombian boat to cross a river)' that you can hop on, to capture some amazing views of the city. There are plans to expand this park and to put multiple attractions in it to attract more people. There is no way you can go out on hunger as there are a lot of places to eat selling gourmet food to fast food, and bars nearby. You can also find a lot of banks and shops near the First Avenue.
Besides all the things aforementioned, you can also find a museum dedicated to Zenu (the indigenous people of the region) art known as Museo Zenu, and a statue dedicated to Maria Varilla at the Plaza Cultural del Sinu in the First Avenue.
2. Simon Bolivar Park
Simon Bolivar is known for liberating Colombia and other neighboring countries from colonial Spanish rule. There is a park dedicated to him in the center of the city known as 'Parque Simon Bolivar' or Simon Bolivar Park. There are a lot of government buildings, including the mayor`s office, near the park. There is a beautiful fountain with a bunch of mango trees and benches around for you to relax. The park also contains the famous San Jeronimo Church where locals pray.
3. Catedral de San Jeronimo
Catedral de San Jeronimo (or San Jeronimo Cathedral in English) is a church located in the Simon Bolivar Park in the city center (Calle 27 - 28 Carrera 3 to be exact) . It is one of the biggest cathedrals in Cordoba built in Gothic style. San Jeronimo (or Saint Jerome) is considered as one among the five great Latin Fathers who translated the Bible into Latin. The church, including the Simon Bolivar Park, is crowded most of the time as they are located at the city center. You can spend your evening by feeding pigeons in front of it, after your prayers, if that is your thing.
4. Alamedas del Sinu
Alamedas del Sinu or Centro Commercial Alamedas is a huge shopping mall located in the Villa del Rio area of Monteria. Since its inception in 1996, this shopping center has been attracting people from all around Cordoba. The mall has two floors full of branded shops, a casino and a large cafeteria where many people can sit at the same time. A tip to remember - the food is quite pricey and a normal buffet could cost double than usual. Some of the brands you can find here are Exito, Piccola Italia, Adidas and others. There is also a hotel connected to the shopping center where you can plan your stay in Monteria. The entrance of the mall welcomes you with palm trees and benches where you can relax. You can find giant fans on the ceiling of the ground floor to cool the place that can grab your attention.
5. Centro Commercial Buenavista
Centro Commercial Buenavista is an another mega shopping mall in Monteria with 160 different brands, 5 cinema theaters and nearly 20 places to eat. It is a new mall constructed in 2013 with good car wash and parking facilities too. The supermarket inside this mall is actually Olympica, a famous retail brand such as Exito. It is an extravagant commercial center one must definitely visit in Monteria.
6. Boat Ride
There are many places in Monteria on both sides of the Sinu River where you can take a boat for sightseeing or transportation. Many locals take a planchon, which is actually a wooden carrier that can carry a lot of people at the same time across the river. Planchons do not need any fuel to run, and simply use the flow of the river and a wire-support to move. Usually, they charge 500 pesos to take a person from one side of the river to the other. If you want to take a motorboat, be prepared to shell out more. The best piers to hop on a boat are near First Avenue and Suricentro, a shopping center in the south of Monteria. It is advised to take a boat ride around sunset, as it would be beautiful.
7. Motorcycle Ride
Riding a motorcycle can be difficult in big cities such as Bogota, but it is surely a must-try if you are in Monteria. Motorcycle taxis exist only in a few places in the world due to regulatory concerns. Even in Monteria, they can`t be seen carrying passengers on specific days and in specific places. If you could rent or buy a used motorcycle, you could tour around the city as it is very easy to drive. Many locals prefer motorcycles for commuting as they are cheaper compared to cars.
The weather of Monteria can sometimes be so hot and humid that you may want to jump into a pool right away. There are hotels such as GHL in Monteria that have large outdoor swimming pools where you can relax. However, they tend to be on the pricier side of the bucket list, so why not prefer to spend your day at a farm styled resort! Monteria`s main source of income is agriculture and cattle rearing, and you can see a few big farms turning their place into mini resorts with swimming pools, huts and so on. The famous ones are Tacasuan, Club Campestre, Casarma, Mr. Marrano and Eco Parque. Among them, Eco Parque seems to be a nicer option with a giant swimming pool, lake and plenty of animals.
9. Watching Sports
Monterians are interested in sports especially soccer and baseball. There is a medium-sized stadium where you can watch soccer matches namely Estadio Jaraguay Monteria. There is a baseball stadium too with a capacity of 11000 namely Estadio Dieciocho de Junio. Moreover, there is a Coliseum being rebuilt called Coliseo Miguel 'Happy' Lora named after the famous Monterian bantamweight champion.
There are plenty of bars and discotheques in Monteria where you can spend your evening enjoying food and drinks. However, if you are looking for some serious partying, you may want to visit Zona Rosa aka Pasaje del Sol in La Castellana. It is one of the coolest areas in the city, which is well decorated and exclusive. You can find a lot of restaurants and clubs for a great night out. Calle 41 is also known for its nightlife with plenty of pubs where you can enjoy different kinds of music and meet new people. If you are looking for some street food for your late night haul, there are many small restaurants serving delicious food.
© 2017 Yashwanth Kumar