Colombia Archaeology Tour | San Agustin and Tierradentro | Uncover Colombia
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San Agustin Archaeological Park Tour

Breathtaking Landscapes and History!

This short trip in Colombia will take you to visit two magnificent UNESCO World Heritage sites in the central Andes of Colombia; San Agustin and Tierradentro archaeological parks. San Agustin Archaeological Park is home to the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America while Tierradentro holds the largest concentration of pre-Columbian monumental shaft tombs with side chambers-known as hypogea. 

This will be a great opportunity to learn about the ancient Pre-Columbian cultures that inhabited this area of Colombia while enjoying the spectacular landscape of mountains, valleys and canyons of this region of Colombia. You will also learn about the coffee making process and admire the unique landscape of Tatacoa desert. 
 


EXPERIENCE TYPE History and Archaeology

Tatacoa Desert Colombia Tour
Tour Highlights
What to Expect

Detailed Itinerary

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DAY 1 Travel to San Agustin

Today, you will take a flight from Bogota to Pitalito, a small town only 45 min driving from San Agustin. As there is only one flight per day and the departure time varies depending on the day of the week, you may have sometime in the morning to explore a bit more of Bogota, and then at the relevant time we will transfer you to the airport in Bogota.

Upon arrival in Pitalito, we will pick you up from the airport to transfer you to the hotel in San Agustin.

Overnight: San Agustin
Meal Plan: -

DAY 2 Archaeological Park of San Agustin

We will spend the morning at the main Archaeological park site. The park is an open-air exhibition of about 16 reconstructed funerary mound and hundreds of megalithic sculptures. We can also see related archaeological materials at the site´s museum.

The sculptures and monuments in the park have been traced back to the mythology of pre-Hispanic people that inhabited the area hundreds of years ago, and who were forced out of the area and into the Amazon and Orinoco regions of Colombia around 1400. The group practically disappeared at this time. The dates of the statues are uncertain, but they are believed to have been carved between 5–400 AD.

At the park, we will visit various sites including: Bosque de las Estatuas (The statues forest), the Mesita A, Mesita B, Mesita C, Alto de Lavapatas and Fuente de Lavapatas, a complex maze of pools and water channels hewn from bedrock carved with figures of animals and humans. It was used for religious ceremonies and bathing. 

After visiting the park, we will have time for lunch before going to El Tablon and La Chaquira. At El Tablon we will see other anthropomorphic statues. Then, we will hike to La Chaquira one of the most impressive sites, with deities carved into the sheer rock above the beautiful Río Magdalena gorge. 

Overnight: San Agustin
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 3 The Magdalena River strait and coffee plantation

The Magdalena river is the most important river of Colombia and the fifth-largest river basin in South America. It stretches from the Central and Easter Andes in the south of the country to the Caribbean Sea in the north. It runs up for nearly 949 miles (1,528 kilometres) and is home to many diverse ecosystems including forest, mountains, valleys and wetlands. As the source of the Magdalena River is not far from San Agustin, today, we will be able to visit the Magdalena Strait, where the river squeezes through a narrow canyon just under 3m (9.84 ft) in width. 

This region of Colombia, apart from being famous due to the archaeologic sites, it is also quite important for the   high-quality coffee. Therefore, after visiting the Magdalena Strait, we will go to a coffee farm to learn everything about harvesting and making coffee, from planting the coffee beans to the picking and roasting process. We will learn how to select and pick only the ripe coffee cherries and also how to taste and evaluate the coffee's quality, just like a coffee expert. 

Overnight: San Agustin
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 4 Archaeological Park of Tierradentro

Early in the morning, we will start a journey of approximately 4.5 hours towards the municipality of Inzá, where the archaeological park of Tierradentro is located. This spectacular archaeological park holds the largest concentration of pre-Columbian monumental shaft tombs with side chambers--known as hypogea—which were carved in the volcanic tuff below hilltops and mountain ridges. 

In the afternoon, we will visit the most interesting tombs in the Alto de Segovia. Some of these Tierradentro tombs are around 12 meters wide and buried up to 7 meters deep. They were carved directly into volcanic rock. Sadly, many tombs have been deteriorated over time due to grave-robbers looting in the past, but some still have visible red and black design motifs inside, which are thought to reproduce the internal decoration of houses from that time. They reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes. Sadly, the pre-Hispanic society that built these wonders has disappeared, but these tombs leave an important trace of their everyday life.

The main entrance of the park is surrounded by the small indigenous resguardo of San Andrés de Pisimbalá, where you will spend the night. This resguardo has only one main street, a small church and a few houses. 

Overnight: Tierradentro
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 5 Tatacoa desert adventure. End of the tour

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Tatacoa Desert, the second largest arid zone in Colombia after the Guajira Peninsula. The total journey from Tierradentro is approximately 4.5 hours. We will stop on the way to admire the landscape and drink something.

Tatacoa Desert is located in Villavieja, a small town 45 min driving from Neiva, the capital city of the department of Huila. During our visit to Tatacoa Desert we will see the stunning landscapes of the red desert (Cusco sector), as well as the surreal, moon-like terrain of the grey desert (Los Hoyos sector). 

The landscape of the red desert is adorned by the amazing labyrinths carved by water and erosion, the red colour also indicates the rock’s richness in iron. In this area, you can also visit the three of wishes (El árbol de los deseos).  The local believe says that the person who finds a heart-shaped folded leaf and unfolds it without damaging it, will be allowed to ask for a wish. 

When visiting the grey desert with its ashy coloured stones interrupted by some green specks of vegetation, you will feel as if you were on the moon. In this sector, you will visit the valley of ghosts, name given to the area where the stones there have a strange similarity to supernatural entities raising from the soil.

At the end of the tour, we will take you to the airport in Neiva.

Overnight: -
Meal Plan: Breakfast

Accommodation
Essential Information

What's Included

  • ​​​​​​Airport pick up and drop off in Pitalito and Neiva
  • 4 nights' accommodation (double occupancy) 
  • Private ground transport
  • Meals as defined in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking tour guides
  • Entry tickets to all tourist attractions mentioned in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Tips and other discretionary expenses
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Early / late check in on the first / last day of the tour
  • Travel Insurance

How to Book

If you wish to book this tour, please click on the yellow "Book Now" button, select the date, number of people, complete the details and go through a secured online payment platform.

If you have any question or whish to change something, please do not hesitate to contact us

 

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– Mates, July 2024

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Uncover Colombia did a wonderful job of providing me with a itinerary covering some of the best of Colombia's many highlights covering cities and villages, mountains and beaches, and more, and accommodating my own wishes and preferences. Every day was a different experience and a chance to see something completely different from my own life, not a moment was wasted and I never felt rushed.

–  Robert McTaggart, March 2024

Amazing tour with Uncover Colombia - San Agustin, Tierradentro and Tatacoa

My mother and I did a 5-day trip to San Agustin, Tierradentro and the Tatacoa dry forest/desert with Uncover Colombia. It was absolutely brilliant. The communication was great and Nidia helped us to ensure that the trip was tailored to our needs and wishes. Our driver, Jesus, and guide, Jorge, were very friendly and Jorge was very knowledgable. I can highly recommend using Uncover Colombia for your trip!

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I'm the Italian President of CIGV (Club Internazionale Grandi Viaggiatori) and I decided to organize the trip to Colombia for 14 club members selecting Uncover Colombia agency. The program they made has been fantastic, touching the most interesting sites of this country but also their, guides, drivers and hotel selection I found simply perfect. Not a mistake, never a delay. I would recommend this agency to everyone...

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Great tour of Salt Cathedral

Myself and my wife did a private tour with Juan Carlos to the Salt Cathedral. The tour and Juan Carlos were both great. He had an intimate knowledge of the Salt Cathedral having worked there previously, and also knew a lot about the nearby town and local area. It's a really fascinating structure, and would definitely recommend visiting it if you're in Bogota.

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We had an amazing two weeks tour arranged by Uncover Colombia for our honeymoon. Nidia suggested great hotels and activities and made adjustments based on our feedback. All our tour guides were friendly, knowledgeable and professional with excellent English. Great activities in a beautiful country. They've got a UK-base so are ATOL protected - reassuring given uncertainty with travel at the moment. 

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7 extra days in Colombia

We needed a tailored tour to follow a wedding we were attending and wanted to make the most of our travels. Nidia was helpful, responsive and excellent in organising our trip from Periera to Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota. Everything worked like clockwork. Our 3 guides (one for each place) were also perfect, Andreas, Roberto & Camilo. They knew their stuff, were responsive and very personable.

– Daniel, August 2022

 

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They Organized activities in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena for the two of us. They modified the activities to our needs of seeing wilderness as well as a local culture. Been around the word a few times, we were a little demanding as well. They came thru on everything at a very reasonable price.. Pays to have local organizers like them who truly know Columbia and the needs of the Clients...

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