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San Agustin & Neiva
Travel Guide


Plan for San Agustin & Neiva with Local Expertise

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San Agustin & Neiva at a glance

The town of San Agustin and the city of Neiva are located in the Huila department of Colombia, an area of important geographical and historical significance full of pre-Columbian sites, artefacts and archaeology. Situated in the Magdalena River valley, locally termed the Estrecho del Magdalena, in the central south of the country, this region became a strategic point on the colonial trade route between Peru and Venezuela. History and anthropology buffs will delight in the many sites of national interest that proliferate in the region, especially the San Agustin Archaeological Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. A particular blend of nature and mysticism abounds in this area, and anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary will be more than satisfied with this unique region of Colombia.

San Agustin & Neiva Bucket List - What not to miss!

  • Explore Pre-Colombian megalithic sculptures the Nat'l Park
  • Visit the archaeological and natural sites of El Tablon
  • Redicover El Estrecho, Obando, Alto de los Idolos & Piedras
  • Colombia's hidden secret in the Tatacoa Desert

Experiences around San Agustin & Neiva

What not to miss

San Agustin Archaeological Park is located near the town of San Agustin, and is perhaps the most important site in Latin America when it comes to megalithic sculpture and structures dating back to pre-Columbian times. The area covered by the park is approximately 50km squared, and an array of curious and fascinating ancient sculptures carved from stone are scattered throughout the vicinity. These elements are relics of a forgotten civilization which lay undiscovered for centuries, and as well as being home to more than 500 statues, the park is also the world’s largest necropolis, owing to the concentration of burial sites in the area. Neiva is one of the most important cities in southern Colombia, and performs many of the region’s administrative and economic functions. Visitors to Neiva can enjoy the natural attractions that are borne out of the Magdalena River valley, or visit the otherworldly terrain of the Tatacoa desert, an arid area that is strangely surreal, with its ochre undulations drawing visitors from all over Colombia and beyond to marvel at this lunar-like landscape. If you get the chance, go at night to stargaze and marvel at the expanse of sky that is littered with glittering stars. The park is equipped with its very own astronomical observatory in the middle of the red desert where you can peer through large telescopes at the cosmos up above.

San Agustín Archeological Park

After breakfast, your local guide and transfer will pick you up for your half day trip to the Parque Arqueológico de San Agustín, one of Colombia’s most important archaeological sites. A magical place where over 500 stone statues and tombs are surrounded by verdant nature and the stunning landscapes of the Magdalena river gorge. Shrouded in mystery and silence from an ancient culture that disappeared long ago, the carved stone idols and burial sites are thought to date back as far as 5000 years ago. The adventure of discovery does not stop with the mystery of these statues, as winding paths thread their way through the deep folds of the hills and tropical forest, hiding the secrets of this sacred site.

El Purutal, La Pelota and El Tablon

You will visit the archaeological and natural sites of El Tablon, where you will find five sculptures and the Ethnographic Museum then you will go to the Chaquira viewpoint where you will see sculptures carved in situ in the middle of the landscape of the Colombian mountain chain, a special place for meditation and connection with nature. Finally, you will arrive at the Purutal site where the only preserved color sculptures can be found.

El Estrecho, Obando, Alto de los Idolos and Piedras

On this day you will travel along the tourist ring of the South of Colombia, where you will visit natural and archaeological sites such as: Salto de Bordones considered the second highest waterfall in Colombia, Alto de los Idolos y Las Piedras Archaeological Park, also declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1995, Strait of the Magdalena River where the most important river of Colombia is reduced to 2.20 m in the middle of a canyon of amazing beauty, and last but not least the archaeological museum of Obando where you will appreciate fabrics made of banana fiber and panela products.

Tatacoa Desert

The Tatacoa Desert is somewhat of a hidden secret in Colombia and is filled with adventures from searching for fossils that are scattered throughout the desert to exploring the labyrinth of red and orange hillocks that strut out of the arid land around you. This is without a doubt one of Colombia’s best and most unique natural playgrounds!

Fast Facts on San Agustin & Neiva

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to San Agustin & Neiva.

When to go

Neiva benefits from moderately high temperatures throughout the year, which range from about (20°C) and 86°F (30°C). Neiva is hottest in September and coldest in November/December, so you might want to take this into consideration when planning your trip, although it is pleasant to visit Neiva all year round. If you want to take part in some local celebrations head to Neiva in June and July, when you can experience the Folk Festival and the El Bambuco beauty pageant. A two week street party will allow you to indulge in some true Colombian festivities, complete with parades and live music.

How to get there

Neiva’s small Aeropuerto Benito Salas Vargas receives regular flights from Bogota. The best way to get around the city is by bus, and numerous routes operate throughout the city and its surroundings. In San Agustin, the best way to get around is by taxi, but make sure to fix an amount before getting in the car. There are also regular shuttle buses to the archaeological park every 15 minutes, or alternatively we can organise a private transfer for you, just speak to one of our travel advisors. Visiting the Tatacoa Desert is slightly more challenging if you want to do it independently, but we can arrange hassle-free transport for you if you wish to make the trip smoother.

Infrastructure

While San Agustin has a number of cheaper lodging options in the center of town, it is a better idea to stay at one of the more charming, rustic properties outside the town centre itself for a more authentic experience. Neiva is a developed city and there is plenty of choice when it comes to places to stay, just ask one of our travel experts and they can book a hotel for you. As the Tatacoa Desert’s popularity has risen in recent years with a growing influx of tourists, there is a good network of hotels to suit all tastes.

Tour Packages to San Agustin & Neiva

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