Going home to County Colombia!
Trip Start Jan 20, 2009
120Trip End Jan 19, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
3 & ½ months in to our trip and we have found ourselves with ten days or so left to spare due to a cancelled jungle trip & leaving Peru a week earlier than planned - this meant we had extra time to explore somewhere we hadn't planned.
Colombia has a reputation for being an extremely dangerous place - there have been problems with guerrillas and the FARC movement, well documented connections to the cocaine trade and the worrying statistic that Bogota was once the kidnap capital of the world. However in recent years Colombia has become a much safer place and is now firmly on the tourist map. Its reputation means many backpackers don't venture this far north in South America however there is a wealth of places to see and things to do.
We decided to make our first stop in San Agustin. After one of the smoothest border crossings of the journey so far we jumped on the bus at the border town of Ipiales and headed for San Agustin. We did this in 2 legs - 9 hours to Popayon and then 7 hours to San Agustin. When we looked on the map we couldn't work out how our first leg took 9 hours and our second leg took 7 when it was only ¼ of the distance. We soon found out as 30 minutes in to our second leg we turned a corner and smooth tarmac became potholed dirt road. We could see the bus driver's speedometer from our seats - the road was so bad that for the next 7 hours it never got above 30KPH (20MPH)! It was the most bone jarring trip of the journey so far but one of the most beautiful - for an hour of the journey I could have sworn I was in the West of Ireland (If I ignored the occasional palm tree!) . Rolling hills, raging rivers, gorgeous valleys and lush jungle - the landscape constantly changes and Colombia has it all!
After our 2 day bus journey and a good nights sleep we headed out to explore San Agustin. San Agustin is not an especially memorable town however it has some fantastic archaeological treasures in the surrounding hills. Up in the hills there are a wide variety of stone sculptures carved between AD 100 and 1200 that guard the graves of a forgotten civilisation. There are an amazing array of separate stone sculptures, in the shapes of animals and warriors and human faces, some mythical, some realistic differing in size from 1 to 7 meters. The statues were fascinating and we spent 2 days visiting to the various sites to see these beautifully carved creations.
Here are the pictures...
Next stop the beautifully painted 1500 year old tombs of Tierredentro.