This place is a little out of the way from the typical beach resorts where most who vacation in Colombia go. But if you head to the southwest of Colombia there are incredible treasures in store. San Augustín’s stunning landscapes and Archeological parks were among the most memorable stops along my two month Colombian adventure.
If you love traveling to lesser-known off-the-beaten-path places and have an affinity for history and ancient mysteries, then San Augstín should definitely be on your list of adventures.
San Augustín is primarily known for its ancient burial grounds made famous by hundreds of stone carved statues. Much like a headstone, each person was gifted a special guardian to protect them in their final resting place. Each figurine is unique in character with its own personality.
Even today, local people still believe that the ancient sites hold great mystical power. If you take a moment to look at my latest video, you will see how modern people use dowsing rods to seek cosmic energies at these ancient sites.
Where to Stay
During your visit to San Augustin, Colombia 🇨🇴 don’t stay in town! The town itself isn’t super exciting, so it’s a great excuse to soak in the countryside. A ten minute taxi ride from the town’s center can take you to any number of beautiful fincas that function as guesthouses. Staying in one of San Augustin’s charming farmhouses will give you an opportunity to get to know local people and experience the authentic Colombian countryside culture.
We could not have been more pleased by our stay at Finca El Recreo. Although it was a bit farther outside of town (15 minutes by taxi), it was only a 10 minute walking distance from the main archeological park. Our finca was set on a hilltop overlooking beautiful mountains and valleys of the region. When we arrived, Finca El Recreo was fairly new to tourism and we had the whole place to ourselves. We had a fully equipped kitchen to cook our meals. But what made El Recreo truly special was the local staff. We were greeted warmly by the groundskeeper who gave us a tour of their farm and helped us set up our horse-back riding retreat at a much discounted price. We were fast friends.
My main recommendation if you stay at any of the Finca’s which surround the town of San Augustín is to ask for the business card of your taxi drivers. From the city center, taxi’s are easy to find, but if you need to go to town from a guesthouse for any reason you will have to call for a taxi.
For anyone interested, I am including a link to the booking.com listing of Finca El Recreo, where we stayed: Finca El Recreo
These sacred statues were carved by ancient pre-Colombian people 2000 years ago. This ancient culture pulled inspiration from what they knew best: nature. Representations of serpents, eagles, frogs, alligators, rainbows, and the moon are present throughout these ancient figures. Try imagining how these must have looked when they were still covered with colorful paint!
San Augustín, Colombia 🇨🇴 may be most famous for its ancient burial sites and pre-Colombian statues. But the surrounding landscapes ain’t too shabby either. Mountains, rivers and waterfalls are sure to keep your lust for nature satisfied.
Outside the Archeological Park
Sacred sites are scattered throughout San Augustín’s lush mountainous landscape.
- You can visit sites La Pelota and El Purutal for a chance to see the only figures in the area that still have their original coating of paint and get a sense of what they really looked like in ancient times.
- La Chaquira is another of these interesting mystical places carved into tumbled rocks. She overlooks a steep valley with a series of cascading waterfalls. On her neighboring mountain peak is another carving looking back at her. Why do you suppose these ancient pre-Colombians carved this curious pair to watch over each other for eternity? For historians, it’s still a mystery!
There are a number of ways to visit these outer sites. You can hike to some, hire a private car for an afternoon to various sites, join a tour bus, or take a guided horse-back ride (which I did and absolutely recommend).