Colombia is famous for its gold, and Marmato is where a lot of it is found. Marmato is a small mining town that lies south of Medellin, above the Cauca River Valley and the Pan American Highway. If you're traveling by road between Medellin, Manizales or Cali, stop there for crafts, photographs and a better understanding of the everyday life of the Colombian people outside the cities.

Marmato's mines are old: Pre-Columbian miners probably worked the exposed veins, and the Spaniards definitely drove tunnels shortly after the conquest. Following independence, British companies extended the workings. Today the town sits on a small mountain that has literally been honeycombed with family-sized mines by local families of miners.

Colombian mining towns are usually rather hostile to visitors, but Marmato is very friendly. You'll find very nice accommodations and excellent food at the resort hotels along the Cauca River between the towns of La Pintada and Supia.

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