The colonial town of Monguí, in central Boyacá, has been certified by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (MinCIT) as a “Sustainable Tourist Destination.” Founded in 1601, Monguí is a landmark of the Spanish colonization of the Andes, graced by a giant central square – one of the largest in South America – and perched at 2,900 meters above sea level.
The town is a popular destination for hikers given its proximity to the high-altitude wetland Páramo de Oceta. Also listed in the ministry’s Network of Heritage Towns, the recent certification was awarded to the municipality for its efforts in preserving its cultural, artistic and sporting traditions, such as the program Escuela de Ciclismo that enrolls youngsters in a cycling school. Monguí has also positioned itself as a global manufacturer of footballs, keeping the tradition going of sewing each leather ball manually and business that started in the 1930s. Since then, more than one hundred families have maintained this artisan technique.
With the award, the municipality must match economic growth with respect for local culture and conservation awareness. It is also a seal of approval in regard to the community’s tourism standards and services it provides visitors. Monguí joins 12 other Colombian towns that have been certified as sustainable tourist destinations, including Cartagena’s historic center, Puerto Nariño in the Amazon, Parque Arvi in Medellín, Buga and Mompox.