Tuluá, Colombia


Tuluá, Colombia, has a population of about 220,000. The town sits in the center of the Valle del Cauca department between the Central and Western ranges of the Andes Mountains. The name Tuluá came from the Tulué indigenous people who spoke the Pijao language. The Pijao language went extinct in the 18th century, so nobody knows the meaning of the word Tuluá. So, because the Pijao people referred to the land as "easy to navigate" the city adopted that as the meaning of the word Tuluá. Also, due to its geographical location in the center of the department Valle del Cauca, Tuluá is also known as the Heart of the Valley.

This part of the valley has been settled by various indigenous groups since the 1300s, but Tuluá was first settled in August of 1635. It was first set up as an encampment for food for the conquerors. Shortly thereafter, roads to adjoining areas were built thus opening it to new settlers. The town never received any kind of official founding from the Spanish government nor the local government. Typical towns in South America grew around a central park or plaza with a church on one side. Tuluá didn't. The town finally became an official municipality in 1910.

The economy of Tuluá is based mostly on agriculture, and that is mostly sugar cane and corn. There is some coffee, many fruits, and vegetables in the region as well. There is some tourism but most of that is outside the town in the mountains. In the town itself, the only real tourism comes from religious tourism.

Tuluá's economy is supported by coffee, plantains, bananas, sugar cane, and citrus fruits, with agriculture and coffee being the biggest parts of its economy. There is some mining activity for gold, copper, mercury, salt, and something called kaolin.

Tuluá has a tropical climate. The average daytime high of 30° C (86° F), and the nightly average low of 19° C (66° F). The city at around 966 meters (3169 feet). The average yearly rainfall amounts to 1302 mm (51 inches) of rain. The humidity is high, always between 75%-81%.

So, my impressions: Tuluá is a pleasant big town. There are several very nice neighborhoods, a lively city center, and a nice riverside park that spans almost the entire length of the city. The streets are generally clean, but there is, as always, a lot of noisy traffic. They have a large park at one end of the town that is very nice, it's loaded with bamboo woods, a natural stream and pond, and a not-natural waterfall. It's a nice place to stop for a bite to eat, but for visiting as a tourist, there's not much more to see.