Santa Cruz de Mompox

Once the crossroads and highway for people and contraband along the mighty Magdalena River and now a colonial relic languishing in the backwaters of the Colombian Caribbean, Mompox (Mompós) is firmly part of the Garciamarquian heartland, with whitewashed streets and ornate churches that echo with tales of South America's liberator, Simón Bolívar, and the paces of the devout during the city's austere Semana Santa celebrations. Step back in time in a charming destination self-contained on an island, where whole families slumber in rocking chairs in the evening breeze.

Look out for the annual jazz festival that takes place every October. Started in 2011, the festival draws nearly 500 local performers over the three days, and a handful of acts from all over the Americas, including Cuba, Venezuela, and the United States.

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