San Agustín is a small town in the department of Huila in Colombia that is famous for its pre-Colombian statues.
San Agustín is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Bogotá you can take a bus (9 hours), the way is safe and there are beautiful sights on the way, like the Magdalena River, the most important of Colombia.
There are several direct buses from Popayan to San Agustín, it's a long 7 hours bus trip on unpaved road.
If you go to Tierradentro take a bus to Pitalito. From there you have to take a bus to La Plata either at 6 a.m. or 10 a.m. From there you can make connections to Tierradentro.
There different archaeological sites are scattered over a large area. If you have the time walking is the best option, the scenery on the way is amazing and some of the local transportation can help you on your way. It is also possible to rent horses. Several agents run jeep tours to some of the more remote sites.
- Parque Arqueologico (open 8AM-4PM everyday, entrance COP$6.000) is San Agustin's main attraction. It features several ancient burial sites, a lot of statues and a small museum. It's 3 kM west of San Agustin and can be reached by frequent minibusses.
- Alto de los Idoles (open 8AM-4PM everyday, entrance COP$4.000) if far less visited, a bit smaller, but equally impressive as the archaeological park. The views from the park amazing. There is no transportation to and from San Agustin, only to San Jose de Isnos.
- Within easy walking distance are the four small sites El Tablon', with several statues; Chaquira, dramatically set overlooking the valley of the Rio Magdalena; La Pelota, with some coloured statues in excellent state and El Prutal. These can easily visited in one day walking.
- Far north of San Agustin is Obando a small sites with some underground tombs and a tine museum with some pottery. There are carros going to and from San Agustin to Obando.
- Other archaeological sites are Alto de Las Piedras, Alto de las Guacas, Alto del Mortiño o del Tigre, Granada, El Jabón, Lavaderos o Naranjos and La Parada.
Besides the archaeological sites there is some beautiful nature to visit.
- El Estrecho is the place where the Rio Magdalena is at its narrowest.
- Salto de Bordones and Salto del Mortiño are two waterfalls.
- Take a carro to Obando and walk the beautiful way back to San Agustín and visit El Estrecho on the way. It's about five hours walking.
- Walk to Alto de los Idolos and back. Leave early because it is a long walk. You can visit Granada on the way and if you have some energy left take the detour to Alto de las Guacas and Alto del Moriño o del Tigre.
- Riding. Many of the hostels can arrange riding trips to the archaeological sites and the surrounding countryside. Around 25 000 COP for 5 hour trip.
There are ATMs in San Agustín, buy they are not very reliable. To get money you may have to go to Pitalito. Bring your passport or you might end up in the DAS office in Pitalito.
The only ATM in town does give cash advance on VISA credit cards.
This region is rich in coffee, drink very common in the rural community, as well as drinks and chicha guarapo alcoholic beverages that are used by the aboriginals ansestros and even today are consumed by local residents.
- Finca El Maco. Run by an extremely friendly Swiss (Rene) and his wife (Paloma), Finca el Maco is a little piece of paradise located about 1 km out of the town of San Agustin on the way to the archaeological site. Dorm beds and private rooms are available from 14,000 Pesos and there is also a restaurant and bar which serves incredible meals.
- La Casa de Francois, (Beautifully set in the countryside, a short walk from downtown), . Beautiful views, exquisite breakfasts and dinners prepared by request. Both dorm and private rooms available. Excellent backpacker hangout with all of the amenities. Dorm : 15,000 COP / Double : 35,000 COP.
- Finca El Cielo, . Very beautiful farm at 3 km of San Agustin near to fascinating archeological sites. Owned by a Swiss (Dominique) and run by a friendly Colombian family. Beautiful views over the Magdalena canyon. Ample and very comfortable rooms with modern bathrooms. Swimming pond. Camping. Tours.
- Hostal Alto de los Andaquíes, . Rustic coffee farm, with the best viewpoint of the village and its surroundings, comfortable rooms with private bathroom, hot water, television, restaurant, surrounded by beautiful gardens and nature.
- Hotel Cambi, Cra 13 No. 3-36 (5 min walk from center of town), ☎ 8373357, . None of the hotels in town even approach mid-range quality, but this is a friendly, basic, clean place that is also very inexpensive.
Most guidebooks may tell you this area is guerrilla territory, but this is no longer the case.
Some of the agents organizing jeep tours are more interested in your personal belongings. Set up tours at your hostel.
- Bogotá Coomotor has three daily buses (12h), one in the morning and two in the evening, to the capital of Colombia.