Popayan – The White City

I had initially not planned to spend much time in Popayan, but the timing worked out for me to be there for the Kick-off of Droguerias Alianza’s ERP project and my colleague’s trip, so I ended up staying several days.

The city was one of the main centers of culture, wealth, and economic affluence during the colonial era and today is the capital of the Department of Cauca. This was one of only a few cities where coins were minted during more than 300 years of colonial rule because of the silver and gold mining production.

Today, Popayan is still considered an intellectual center because of the University of Cauca and is absolutely beautiful with all of its white colonial buildings. It´s almost like walking through a living museum. I particularly enjoyed sitting and people watching at Parque Caldas.

One place where I ate several times that was absolutely delicious is Restaurante Italiano on Calle 4, which is one of the main roads that crosses the city center. I was really in the mood for Italian and this trattoria was really, really good. It’s right across from Santo Domingo, a beautiful baroque style church.

On my “work day” in Popayan we delivered the kick-off meeting at a local restaurant called “Quijote” in order to get the directors out of the offices and into a more relaxed setting. It seemed to do the trick. We did the Openbravo demo of the product and laid out the sequencing of activities that we would be performing during the coming days.

We later went back to their offices of the afternoon to learn a bit more about their operations. Although they do have ten pharmacies, much of their business actually comes from wholesale and home delivery business. I found their collection, sorting and distribution system fantastic.

They literally have a “bucket list” – walk around with an order form, fill a bucket in the second or third story levels of the warehouse and then lower it to first floor where they check the contest to the order, pack-it and hand it off for deliver. How cool is this?


If you are near Cali, it’s only a quick two hour drive down to Popayan. I highly recommend you make the effort for a visit. It’s a spectacularly delightful city that is just great to walk around in. I had a few days of rain and even without perfect weather, I had a great time enjoying my time in the parks, sitting in front of the churches and just people watching.