Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Visit to Guapotá

The view from Marylandia, a Catholic retreat in Guapota.
I first heard about Guapota (pronounced whoa-poh-tah) only a few days before the trip was taking place. A busload of people from Barichara were going to visit the priest who was formerly in Barichara, Fr. Leonardo.
Eglise of Guapota with park below.

According to Fr. Leonardo, Guapota was established about 200 years ago and the church was built about the same time. The front portion of the church needed replacement, so it is not the same age as the rest of it. Built with local stone and brick, what I noticed first is the arches throughout the church and the priest's residence. The church is high on the hill overlooking the village, with a park in front, and some lovely old trees preserved to give dense shade from the hot sun.

The beautiful arches inside the church
 are created with local
stone and brick. Simple but really lovely.
We were blessed with a lovely sunny day, at least until after 5, when the clouds began to look threatening, but it never rained. That was a good thing because the road to Guapota is under construction after serious water damage earlier and more rain would have meant some serious travel challenges for our bus. The workers are installing drainage ditches and eventually the road will be re-paved, but right now it is a mix of paved and unpaved roadway.
Coffee beans are spread out on the sidewalk
to dry and once dried are bagged up (see the
bags behind the metal fence) and sent off
to be roasted. Then shipped worldwide.

This is not just a 'one-horse' town, but this was one of
the several I saw; few mules even though this is Juan
Valdez coffee-raising country.
You can learn more about this village from their website if you want to visit Guapota.  (It is written in Spanish, but if you go on Google you can get it translated.) Located southwest of Socorro just off the road to Oiba (and Bogota) and about half an hour's drive in from that highway, the major industries here are the production of sugar cane, cacao (cocoa for chocolate), and coffee. We saw a lot of coffee beans drying in the sunshine.

As it was also the week before voting for various state and local candidates (voting takes place on Sunday, Oct. 30 in Colombia to avoid losing workers from their tasks, it seems) there was a lot of loud music from each of the candidate's offices or vehicles reverberating off the stone streets and walls.

Some of the research I did about the village shows a population of less than 1,000 people, but I am not sure of that information. There is a new hospital, a home for the grandmothers and grandfathers to be cared for, and there is transportation service between Socorro and Guapota several times during the morning and afternoon. Clearly with only one road in and out of Guapota and a strong police presence, outsiders are noticed immediately. But typical Colombian hospitality is still in evidence and it makes a nice day trip.
Another view toward the Andes in Guapota.


  1. Oh, Sandy..... what a gorgeous area! I DO envy your lifestyle, my friend. That church and surroundings are amazing. I really enjoy your blog, baby!

  2. It is so nice to travel the planet from my laptop. :-)