Discover two of the most important pre-Columbian excavation sites in Colombia as well as the moon-like landscape of the Tatacoa Desert.
Day 1 Tierradentro
You visit the archaeological park of Tierradentro. There is not much is known about the pre-Colombian civilization who created the burial chambers – only that the tombs were created around 700 A.D. and were rediscovered and excavated between 1930 and 1995. This UNESCO world cultural heritage is one of the largest pre-Colombian gravesites and contains underground shaft graves with black and red wall paintings. The Spanish conquerors called the region Tierradentro for the mountain knots and deep canyons of its topography that generated the sensation of being closed in by mountains, being ‘inside the earth’. You have the whole day to discover the surroundings of Tierradentro.
Day 2 Tierradentro – San Agustín
On the way from Tierradentro to San Agustín you cross the central mountain range of the Andes and drive through „Páramo“ the characteristic high moor landscape. Take the chance to make a quick stop and glance at the frailejón plants that can have a height of up to 3m. You may only find them in the high altitudes of Ecuador or Colombia. The drive goes on until you reach San Agustín a further archaeological center of Colombia.
Day 3 San Agustín
The region around San Agustín is the most important archaeological site in Colombia as well as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.It is the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. It was only in the 18th century Spanish missionaries reported the mysterious statues in the forests around San Agustín. The modern archaeology has not found out much about the culture, with its peaks from the 6th to the 8th century. Mountainous terrain and the lack of written records make it difficult to research. The Archaeological Park of San Agustín is the place where on a relatively small space a good cross-section is given by the legacy of the culture of San Agustín. The “Ceremonial Fountain” and the “Forest of Statues” are the highlights of this archaeological collection. At each of the mysterious statues you can spend a long time wondering if it’s a human or an animal and whether it‘s threatening or reassuring.
After an easy hike or horseride you will reach “La Chaquira”, an astronomical site of the San Agustín culture. A few steps lead down to the rock representation of the deity images. The platform is situated high above the Rio Magdalena. Enjoy the beautiful view and feel the energies of this mystical place. This excursion can optionally be made on horseback.
Day 4 San Agustín – Neiva
You will drive to Neiva. Pass through the narrow valley of the Magdalena River, which opens up more and more until it resembles to a valley. During a coffee break in Gigante you can marvel at a huge Ceiba in the village’s main square. This tree gave the village its name.
The Tatacoa Desert, an area of about 20 km in diameter, is located a few kilometers north of Neiva and characterized by a dry microclimate. Visit the small desert on your way from San Agustín to Neiva. Experience the contrast to the lush San Agustín and marvel at the bizarre formations and numerous cacti during a hike. Enjoy a nice sunset in the desert with its impressive colors.
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