The department of Cesar. A sacred, musical and folkloric territory


Credit: Andres1207 / Shutterstock 

The department of Cesar is a place rich in oral, musical and ancestral culture that are reflected in its people, songs, crafts and monuments. It is also the land of sacred areas and natural landscapes that have been a source of inspiration for minstrels.

The department of Cesar is part of the Greater Colombian Caribbean. A region of contrasts, full of interculturality thanks to the indigenous, Raizales, Arabs and Afro-descendants who inhabit the territory. It is also the area of incomparable natural landscapes ranging from perpetual snow to dunes in the desert; where the jungle embraces the sea  and culture is robust in all its departments.

Geography e hydrography

El Cesar is a department with a large water tributary, formed by the Magdalena and Cesar rivers. At the same time, the territory is divided into six natural regions: Sierra Nevada, Serranía del Perijá, Zapatosa muddy complex (Momposina Depression), Cesar River Valley, Ariguaní River Valley and Magdalena Valley.

Featured quote: The name of the department comes from the Cesar River, in turn, this is derived from the word zesari that in the Chimila language means 'cold water'.


In Cesar there is an important tourist offer in which it is worth highlighting destinations such as the spa La Mina, the sacred land Nabusimake, the Sierra Nevada (the part of cesar), the Accordion Museum in Valledupar and the Guatapurí River.

Also, in the department there are natural places such as the eco-park Los Besotes, Eneal nature reserve and Bosque del Agüil.


Credit: Daniel Escobar Fotógrafo // Shutterstock

Photo captter: The Guatapurí River has become a regular resort for the natives.

Culture and history

The culture of Cesar comes from the interculturality of indigenous, Afro-Colombian and European communities.  Each with an important contribution to the department.

Indigenous people such as the Arhuacos, Koguis, Kankuamos and Yukpa  have contributed their sacred and ancestral knowledge to preserve the nature of the territory, so much so that there are sacred areas with restricted access to most people.

For their part, Afro-descendants  are a community characterized by being synonymous with struggle and resistance that have also contributed to the development of folklore and music in the  department.

Featured: Learn about the ancestral culture and much more in the magazine of the department of La Guajira.


The cuisine of Cesar comes from a fusion of the cultures that settled in the department, and this is a land in which livestock, fishing and agriculture stand out. So traditional dishes such as pangas meat, roast goat, cayeye, fried fish, vallenato sancocho, fish widow and three-phase sancocho are derived.


Credit: Oscar Garces // Shutterstock

Capt: Livestock is one of the most important activities in the department of Cesar.


One of the greatest characteristics of the department is its interculturality that is reflected in festivities such as the Festival of the Vallenata Legend, Festival of Tamboras in Tamalameque, National Festival of Dances and Tambora of Chimichagua.

Music and lyrics

El Cesar is one of the most important musical departments of the Greater Colombian Caribbean. It was one of the territories that saw the birth of vallenato. From the above, musical airs such as the  puya vallenata were derived, it is the oldest and has no singing, it is only interpreted by aboriginal bagpipes. Likewise, the  son vallenato  is an air played especially by the accordion and that serves as a backdrop to tell stories of the region.

Finally, the department of Cesar is a land of ecological zones and water resources that are part of the identity of vallenato.  As well as it is the territory where minstrels, folklore, music and nature invite every stranger to meet himself.

Listen to the stories of this region

Learn more about the vallenata culture in Cesar in its podcast and magazine. Find in the toolkit, the best recommendations to boost tourism in this department successfully


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Download, get inspired and promote

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