The town of San Agustín was founded between the years 1608 and 1612 and from the moment of arrival, there is a deep feeling of historical atmosphere, thanks in part to the colonial structures and edifices. The environment will fill you with a unique energy, as it is a place with a sacred connotation.
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San Agustin’s ancient ruins and stunning natural beauty can’t be missed, you can explore this magical destination with our 4 Days Tatacoa And Archeology module or our 14 Day Historical Colombia package, both of which are completely customizable to your preferences.
San Agustín, with cobbled streets and numerous green and white balconies, marks the entrance to the Archaeological Park of San Agustín, where those from all over the world come seeking the enigmas hidden by the monoliths, the funeral places, and the different sites considered sacred to be found here. The origin of the Augustinian culture dates from the year 3,300 bc, a discovery established by studies carried out with carbon dating and organic remains found in the park.
Located in the foothills of the Andes, the Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. These structures have been traced back to the mythology of pre-Hispanic people who inhabited the area.
More than five hundred statues with prehistoric engravings have been discovered in the depths of the earth, the final resting places of those who are believed to be the first civilizations that inhabited this region thousands of years ago. However, as its specific origin is still unknown it challenges the imagination of visitors.
San Agustín preserves the relics of this pre-Colombian culture that thrived in the area for more than seven centuries. These people used the juncture of the two rivers that are found here to worship, to live as well as bid farewell to their dead.
Little is known about the communities who built the mythical monuments in San Agustin.
What is known is that the oldest remains of the culture stem from 3,300 bc. Over the years their society developed to such an extent that they were able to construct the statues that are its most remarkable relics.
The cultural development that took place between the eighth and first-century bc is what has given us the most iconic remains. During this period, the so-called Agustín culture, characterized by monumental lithic art, dominated the area. Other findings have revealed they were able to sustain very high standards in agriculture, ceramics and gold manufacture.
However, who these people were, where they came from, and what the exact purpose of the gigantic sculptures was, remains mostly unknown.
Nothing was ever written, everything was carved. The monoliths open a door for investigation and imagination with the connections they represent between man and nature. There is a mysticism that makes one want to immerse oneself in the mystery deeper and deeper.
The little that is known about this culture is thanks to archaeologists who began their investigations in 1756 and continue to this day. These hand-carved statues are representations of deities, creatures and mythological gods ranging from the intangible to the realistic. Here is found the largest collection of religious monuments and statues carved in stone. These sculptures are tributes to the funeral rites of the ancient inhabitants of the region, who deeply believed in life after death and worshipped numerous gods, including some animals and the elements of nature. It seems that an extensive necropolis was built for their spiritual and secular leaders. Thus, there are many statues, and images of shamans, gods and important people.
But San Agustín offers much more than just stone sculptures thousands of years old.
In this region, you can find the foundation of two of the most important Colombian rivers, which produce enormous canyons and a unique land topography. The Magdalena River, the most important river in Colombia, is born in these mountains. With great scenic beauty the Strait of Magdalena, about 10km/6m from town, the width of the river is reduced to 1.70m/5.6´ by enormous rocks that have created a narrow channel.
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Talking about indigenous culture in Colombia is impossible without mentioning San Agustín.
Legend has it that this territory was occupied more than five thousand years ago by two indigenous cultures, separated by terrain full of mountains and rivers. San Agustín remains, at least for the moment one of the most mysterious historical sites in Colombia. The magnificent carvings are all that remain of an aesthetically advanced civilization that lived and disappeared in mystery one thousand five hundred years ago. Many of the tombstones dwell on the duality of life, the sun and moon, death and birth.
The emergence of these sculptures in the first-millennium bc points to social and ideological transformations that caused a change in the funerary traditions of the San Agustín culture. The scale of these impressive sculptures and elaborate tombs reflected not only a growing complexity within this society but also points to social stratification.
San Agustín is known for numerous historical relics notable for their impressive statues from a pre-Columbian civilization, that is still unknown. These statues with human or animal faces were sculpted by hand, but as yet no one knows by whom.
This area of the country was a sacred site for the indigenous communities and it is believed that people from all over the land came to San Agustín to bury their dead and offer them to the gods.
Located at an elevation of 570m/1,870´ above sea level, Huila has a Tropical Rainforest Climate.
The climate in San Agustín is most agreeable and fairly overcast, with temperatures typically from 58f/15c to 73f/23c and rarely below 56f/13c or more than 78f/26c.
Rain falls throughout the year in San Agustín with the most rain in November, with an average rainfall of 137ml/5.4¨.
Get all the information you need to start planning your trip to this magnificent destination, check the weather and climate facts of San Agustín and Tatacoa here!
The glorious pueblo of San Agustín is an increasingly popular travel destination. People from around the world are drawn to San Agustin for its world-class coffee, UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites, and beautiful Andean landscapes. There are many interesting things to do and enjoy!
San Agustin Archaeological Park
The principal reason for visiting San Agustín is to visit its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Archaeological Park. This impressive park contains hundreds of examples of the mysterious pre-Columbian statues and burial mounds which have made San Agustin famous worldwide.
Alto de Las Piedras and Alto de Los Idolos
Two other sites that are closer to the small pueblo of Isnos, Alto de Las Piedras and Alto de Los Idolos are important stops for those with an interest in ancient cultures. The statues here are newer and more detailed, showing an interesting disparity from those at the main archaeological park.
Magdalena Strait (Estrecho del Magdalena)
The source of the mighty Magdalena River is located south of San Agustín. Here also is the narrowest point of Colombia’s most important river. The burgeoning river is squeezed through a narrow canyon less 3m/10´ in width and the surrounding landscape allied with the rushing river makes for a stunning spectacle.
This mysterious archaeological site is only a short distance outside San Agustín and is best reached on horseback. A narrow ridge winds its way along the spectacular valley to reach a precipitous viewpoint over the Magdalena River far below. Carved on the boulders are a series of mysterious faces and strange figures, remnants of a culture about which virtually nothing is known.
Salto de Bordones
The highest single-drop waterfall in the country with a fall of 490m/1,607´. Near Isnos, the falls cascade down onto an almighty jungle-covered canyon. While there is no direct access to the base of the falls, the viewpoint affords a stunning view across the valley.
The source of the Magdalena River
The Laguna del Magdalena is the legendary source of the most important river in Colombia. Only accessible by a grueling trek through the Paramo de Las Papas, a murky, isolated trajectory south of San Agustín. Likely to take as many as three days to reach the sacred lake, and horses can be used part of the way.
Visiting a coffee finca near San Agustín is a wonderful and worthwhile experience as the department of Huila has become a leading coffee-producing area in Colombia.
A chance to visit a producing farm where the whole process is explained to you while you can enjoy a freshly made cup of superb coffee.
Rafting on the Magdalena River
An 11km/7m rafting trip down the Magdalena River is totally spectacular. Traversing a deep canyon, the spectacle is absolutely stirring. Fans of extreme sports in unbelievable settings, this expedition is for you! You will appreciate the challenge as well as the wild beauty of the backdrop
.Join our carefully designed shared group tour for those over the ’50s, which includes San Agustin’s rich culture, along with other top cultural destinations in Colombia. For more information, check out our Comfort 10-day History of Colombia tour
As this region is one of the most favored tourist destinations, there are a large number of hotels, hostels, and camping areas in the town and also near the Archaeological Park.
Something different is spending the night under the stars in a comfortable camping area.
There are accommodations to suit all budgets and with plenty of options, prices are competitive.
As in almost all of Latin America, the cuisine of Colombia is the result of combining local ingredients with those brought by the Spanish Conquistadors. Thanks to this fusion of elements, the resulting dishes have become representative of the country.
San Agustín, being in Huila, gastronomy is based on the agricultural produce of the department. Traditional dishes like asado huilense de marrano, fried mojarra, cocido huilense and the famous achiras huilenses with masato. Corn is very important in Colombian culture, it is a sacred food for the indigenous communities and so Colombia produces a lot of corn!
This is the signature dish of the San Pedro festivities in Huila.
This traditional meal is pork, which must be marinated in beer, orange juice, spices, and herbs. Then the pork is covered with banana leaves and placed in a clay oven. This dish is usually accompanied by banana wraps, vegetables, and plain rice.
Suckling pig is one of Colombia’s most iconic dishes. A fulfilling meal that combines numerous different flavors in one dish. An entire pig is stuffed with seasoned rice and peas, and cooked in a brick oven for twelve hours or until the skin is crispy. Lechona is served with a side of corn flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon served in a plantain leaf.
Mojarra, similar to sea bream, is the best-loved Colombian fish. It is unusually, found in salt and fresh water and is fried until golden brown. Salted, drizzled with lemon, and served whole, usually with coconut rice, salad, and patacones. It has a light flavor with plenty of meat, making it so popular.
A corn-based dough stuffed with pork, chicken, and vegetables wrapped in a plantain leaf. This is the Colombian definition of a tamal. There are different kinds of tamales all over Latin America and within Colombia too, but the most famous ones come from Tolima.
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