Traveling to the Tatacoa Desert in the Colombian Massif can lead to treasures only wanderers can find. Discover the map here and live your own road movie.

Begin your journey to the Tatacoa Desert

Day 1

You’re in Colombia and your next destination is the Tatacoa Desert, you can’t wait! But first, a good recommendation born out of ancestral wisdom: give serenity to your eagerness.

An expert traveler knows that the most important thing is not the destination but the journey. And to reach the Tatacoa Desert, the treasure to be discovered in this story, there is a path covered in beauty waiting for you.

This Road Movie begins in Huila, a Colombian department defined by contrasts. Dry lands and fertile landscapes with lush flora, an exuberant contrast.

After that, your first stop will be the city of Popayan.

Popayan: begin your tour of the Tatacoa Desert

On a table, a map opens while a hand points to a circle drawn over Cauca, Huila and Nariño, departments in Colombia that belong to the Colombian Massif. A red dot guides you to Popayan, the White City.

A wooden window frame is opened, next to Parque Caldas, the town square of Popayan and one of the most enchanting sites in this small and charming city. The best way to begin your journey to the Tatacoa Desert is here.

To wander through its colonial streets, through its historic quarters, feels like traveling back in time. Seeking the Bridge of the Humilladero, living history in the present. The watch tower, the church La Ermita, all possible settings for a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story, for a movie full of magic, and a trip you will never forget.

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Purace Natural Park: welcome to the mountain of fire

Indigenous guide next to a tourist in front of a waterfall.

Day 2

Volcanoes, lush vegetation, natural springs, Indigenous trails. It’s not the journey to the center of the earth, it’s the next step towards the Tatacoa desert.

In Quechua, Purace means “Fire Mountain”, and the good news is that this is a part of your destination. Two hours from Popayan you’ll find this park where the Magdalena, Cauca, Caqueta, and Patia rivers are born.

You’ll feel like a discoverer in this adventure. Clear lagoons that guide you towards a volcanic complex. In this road movie you can’t miss out the Pan de Azucar and Purace volcanoes. Many treasures on the way to the Tatacoa.

San Agustin: the solved mystery of pre-Columbian civilizations

Archeological monument in San Agustin in the middle of the jungle.

Colombia and the legend of its treasures: a trip full of revelations

We’ve lost track of the days. In this journey it doesn’t matter. The most valuable thing is still the road ahead. It’s time to discover where the enchantment of Colombia comes from, its history, past, and present. Before you we present San Agustin.

You are 202 miles from Neiva. Getting closer to your destination. But the journey has been so lovely that you wish the miles to stretch through time. You are in the archeological capital of Colombia.

Archeological remains and monoliths that could date from the period between 3000 and 1000 BC. How could you not get excited about history? How could you not feel like you’re in a time traveling movie? Through nature trails, you can experience this story. Take your time because you might feel a hurry since you are near Tatacoa Desert.

Neiva in the map

Myths and legends of Colombia: a live experience

In every movie there is a moment of reflection, and Neiva will be your stop to slow down, meditate, and take in everything you’ve experienced.

In a quiet city, with warm weather, while you learn about some myths, such as the “Mohan”, you could look back and feel fulfillment. This trip has been worthwhile. Try some of the delicious dishes the city offers and get some rest. Tomorrow you’ll reach the desert.

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Tatacoa Desert

What you must know about the Tatacoa Desert

The screech of an eagle is heard through the skies, up high. Through a road anticipating your destiny, you advance towards Villavieja, the last step before the desert.

What to do in the Tatacoa Desert? Relax, you are getting closer. Remember what you learned in San Agustin and Purace: calm and serenity. The first thing to know is that the Tatacoa Desert is divided in:

  • The red part: known as El Cusco
  • The grey part: known as Los Hoyos

Like a story taking place in the shire, in times of fantasy, the end can be anticipated (or another beginning) for this adventure. To reach the Red Part or the Grey Part you have three options.

  1. Walk
  2. Take a motorbike or taxi ride
  3. Hire a tour

There is no right or wrong choice, just the one that suits you best. After making a decision, you’ve done it! You’ve conquered the road and found the treasure. Now… what to do in the Tatacoa Desert?

First, you can camp out in Villavieja finding accommodation. Or seek out lodging options in the Red Part or the Grey Part.

Then, as the lead of your destiny, take the path to Cusco, to Los Hoyos, discover the Valley of Xilopos, the Valley of Desires, and obviously take an astronomical tour to see how the beauty of the skies takes shape in the desert at night.

Have you enjoyed the experience? We are sure you have. This is why you’ll get sequels with different destinations, just as exciting and breathtaking.

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