Road Trip: Archaeological Treasures

Bogotá, Tatacoa, Villavieja, Tierradentro, San Agustín, Silvia, Popayán, Nariño
14 days

  • Road Trip: Discovering Archaeological & Cultural Hidden Treasures of Colombia
  • - Love road trips? This route is perfect for you! The road tour offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the highlights of the country located in the southern part. Learn about our prehispanic descendants in archaeological monuments and know the cultural hidden treasures of beautiful Colombia.

    - Walk through the Tatacoa desert which is considered the second driest area in Colombia and delight yourself at night with a wonderful starry sky.

    - Visit the archaeological capital of Colombia. Many historical and impressive pieces will leave you in awe and many questions!

    - UNESCO-declared “city of gastronomy”, Popayan is a must-visit in Colombia. Enjoy the great flavors of the city while experiencing its rich culture infused into its cuisine.

    - In the southwestern part of Colombia, you will be amazed by the numerous majestic landscapes and nature spots such as lagoons, beaches, mountains, and wildlife.

    - From tragedy to art, the creative talents of Colombian street artists with their graffiti artworks will surely captivate you. They depict the country’s remarkable urban transformation through the magic of art.
  • Day 1

    Welcome to Colombia! | Arrive in Bogotá

    Start time: Not defined

    Duration: 30 minutes - 1 hour

    Overnight: Bogotá

    It is great to have you here in Colombia! We are delighted about your visit and we’ll make sure you will enjoy your stay.

    Bogotá is Colombia’s beating heart. It is an engaging and vibrant capital cradled by chilly Andean peaks and amazing people and sceneries.

    You will be picked up with a welcome sign at El Dorado Airport by a private transportation service that follows all protocols. You will be taken safely and securely to your hotel. We ensure that your 30-60 minute drive will be comfortable and relaxing.

    On the way to your hotel, your English-speaking guide will give you all the recommendations you may like to get the most out of your stay. Feel free to let the guide know your preferences.

    Start time: Not defined

    Duration: 1.5 hours

    Overnight: Bogotá

    Dinner at Leo Restaurant with the Best Female Colombian Chef in the World!

    This evening will be a remarkable experience. You will be picked up at your hotel to enjoy a luscious dinner at the famous Leo Restaurant. This gastronomic gem offers a journey through the biocultural richness of Colombia with its pioneering menu. The restaurant has already received numerous accolades including Leonor Espinosa’s Latin America’s Best Female Chef title in 2017 and Estrella Damm Chef’s Choice Award in 2020.

    The restaurant is made up of two rooms, one for Laura, Leonor’s daughter, and another for Leonor. You also get to enjoy sommelier Laura’s wonderful fermented drinks made from botanical ingredients found in Colombia and get to experience her refined mixology skills on the second floor.

    The dining experience is summed up in “A gastronomic journey through the ethnobotany of the cultures that inhabit the various Colombian biomes”.

    After dinner, you will be taken back to your hotel.

  • Day 2

    Paloquemao Farmer’s Market | Colonial Downtown & Monserrate

    Start time: 8:30 am - 17:00 pm

    Duration: 8 hours

    Overnight: Bogotá

    The first stop will be at Paloquemao Market. Here you can find fresh vegetables and other farm products. Most restaurant owners and locals buy here for weekly supplies. It is one of the biggest markets in Colombia.

    The square has been in operation since 1972. It is located in an old abandoned railroad warehouse with rich color and culture. It is much more than a marketplace but also a popular attraction for locals and foreign visitors.

    Browse Paloquemao market stalls for fruity tropical bounties such as guanábana (soursop), feijoa, pitahaya (dragonfruit), and lulo piled up in perfect pyramids. Paloquemao is where Bogotá’s top chefs go shopping.

    This iconic market is surely a must-try. You sure would want to miss the aroma of steaming almojábana and enjoy some fresh juices. Just like the country’s diversity, you also get to immerse in the delightful and varied flavors of Colombia.

    After that luscious trip to the top market of Bogotá, we are going to the Colonial Downtown of the city. Here you get to see a potpourri of preciously preserved colonial buildings house museums, restaurants, hotels, and bars peppered amid 300-year-old homes, churches, and convents.

    We can also visit the Colón Theater, San Carlos Palace, San Ignacio Church, Nariño Presidential Palace, Bolívar Square, City Hall, and the Cathedral. For a more unforgettable trip to the Colonial downtown, we will bring you to The Museo de Oro (Gold Museum), home to the most extensive collection of pre-Hispanic gold works in the world.

    These city treasures are the main attractions you can’t miss in Bogotá. After that, you get to enjoy a fantastic view of the whole city on a cable car ride to Monserrate Hill. Ready your cameras for the magical bird’s eye view scenery of the cityscape.

  • Day 3

    Flight from Bogotá to Neiva. Private Transfer from Neiva to Villavieja.

    Flight from Bogotá to Neiva. Private Transfer from Neiva to Villavieja.

    You will be pick up in your hotel and be transferred to El Dorado airport for your flight to Neiva. Your English-speaking guide will be with you during the transfer.

    Welcome to Neiva! You will be picked up with a welcome sign at Benito Salas Vargas Airport by a private transportation service and be transported safely to your hotel in Villa Vieja for 1.5 hrs. You can relax during your approximately 60-70 minutes drive to your hotel. On the way to your hotel, your English-speaking guide can give you all the recommendations you may like to get the most of your stay.

  • Day 4

    Tatacoa Desert: Discover the Second Driest Zone in Colombia & Enjoy a Wonderful Astronomy Workshop

    Start time: 8:00 am

    Duration: 8 hours

    Overnight: Villavieja

    On this day, we will start with a historical tour of Villavieja, the gateway to the desert, where you will visit the Paleontological Museum. Here, you will find an exciting exhibition of hundreds of fossils found in this area, a fertile prehistoric ecosystem in the Miocene epoch.

    Then, we will go through the eroded cracks caused by the effects of wind and water many years ago, and walk the trails of “El Cuzco,” a place of remarkable beauty.

    We will make a quick stop at the point view “El Mirador de Miguel,” and from there continue to El Cardón.

    You will also get to visit “El Cuzco,” the red desert, a tropical dry forest.

    During the night, there will be an astronomy presentation.

    The Tatacoa Desert is a privileged place to observe the celestial vault. There is excellent visibility on clear nights due to the absence of artificial light and its location close to the equator. You will enjoy an astronomy workshop held with planetary observation and celestial phenomena through the modern telescopes of the Astronomical Observatory and with the guidance of a professional astronomer.

    The visit to the Observatory is an excellent opportunity to learn about astronomy while enjoying a night under the stars.

  • Day 5

    Transfer from Villavieja to Tierradentro. Visit the Mysterious Prehispanic Inza Pyramids

    Today, you will travel north toward Tierradentro - a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though it is not as popular with tourists as San Agustin, this hidden gem is a peaceful archaeological park that is noted for its elaborate, underground tombs. A private driver will take you on the 5-hour drive from Villavieja to Tierradentro.

    Located near Inza, the site of the Pyramid offers a stunning panorama of the Tierradentro region. It is easy to access and the beauty of the landscape is worth the short walk.

    Then, you'll depart from Tierradentro toward the village of Inza.

    A few miles before reaching Inza, you will start walking for about 15 minutes to get to the Pyramid.

    Ready your cameras and yourselves to witness a spectacular view of the entire valley and venture into one of the tunnels dug under this pyramid-shaped mountain.

  • Day 6

    Know the History & Significance of the Archaeological Park of Tierradentro

    Start time: 9:00 am <br>

    Duration: 7-8 hours

    Overnight: Tierradentro

    Tierradentro houses several monumental statues of human figures. They can be seen at the park and these hypogea date back from the 6th to the 10th century. These massive underground tombs (some chambers reaching up to 12 meters wide) are decorated with motifs that display the interior decor of homes during the said period.

    These tombs reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes.

    Four areas, dispersed over a few square kilometers, make up the archaeological park. These include Alto de San Andrés, Alto de Segovia, Alto del Duende, and El Tablón. The park contains all known huge shaft and chamber tombs of Tierradentro culture, the largest and most elaborate tombs of their kind.

    Today, you'll have an opportunity to explore the Tierradentro Archeological Park.

    As a UNESCO World Heritage site, these subterranean tombs were created around 700 A.D. and rediscovered and excavated between 1930 and 1995.

    Located off the beaten track through some rough dirt roads, you'll discover a peaceful place with friendly locals. Archaeologists have found about 100 unusual funeral temples, the only examples of their kind in the Americas. Wear your walking shoes for a more comfortable touring. You also get to witness the gorgeous mountain scenery surrounding the area.

    Accompanied by your local guide, you will also visit the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum.

    You will then climb to reach the Alto de Segovia and Alto del Duende and their many subterranean tombs. Your adventure will continue to the site of Tablon, adorned with statues of the human form.

  • Day 7

    Transfer from Tierradentro to San Agustin

    On this day, you will start with a leisurely and delicious breakfast in Tierradentro. You’ll depart from your hotel with your local guide to visit the famed San Agustin Archaeological Park on a 5-hour transfer.

    You will visit La Pirámide hill with only about an hour of travel time from Inzá. It offers a spectacular view of the park’s landscape.

  • Day 8

    San Agustin Archaeological Park - UNESCO World Heritage Centre & The Estrecho del Magdalena River

    Start time: 9:00 am

    Duration: 8 hours

    Overnight: San Agustin - Akawanka hotel

    Want to know more about the Andean culture? On this day, you get to explore San Agustin, the archaeological capital of Colombia.

    Its namesake park offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to discover impressive statues set in the heart of lush nature.

    Talk about serenity, the most significant religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America stand in a wild, spectacular landscape.

    These sculptures including gods and mythical animals were represented in different artistic approaches such as abstract and realist.

    The Andean culture flourished from the 1st to the 8th century.

    We will start with a visit to the archaeological museum and a walk in the park to discover gigantic statues and sacred tombs amidst forest and tropical flowers. Visit Mesitas A, B, and C, along with Alto del Lavapatas and Bosque de las estatuas.

    At a later part, we will go to the countryside to visit the Estrecho del Magdalena (Magdalena Strait).

    This is the narrowest point that the main river of Colombia crosses on its way to the sea, surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape of the Andean forest. Just a few kilometers from there is the little town of Obando, where we will see some tombs similar to those in the Tierradentro Archaeological Park in Cauca and a small museum that exhibits items even older than those found in San Agustín.

    The most famous of them is perhaps the goldsmith's piece "Winged Fish," a replica that has been preserved in this museum since the original was transferred to the Gold Museum in Bogotá.

    Finally, you will get to visit a Panelero Trapiche (sugar cane producer). Try fresh panela and learn a little more about the production of this food obtained from the juice of the sugar cane.

    Like coffee, panela is one of the most beloved and iconic products of our society and is present in the kitchens of all Colombian homes. Make sure to try it so you won’t miss out on the rich flavor of this popular local food.

  • Day 9

    Popayán "The White City" & The Corn Route
    Transfer San Agustin to Popayan in a private Transportation Service.

    Start time: TBD

    Duration: 3 hours

    Popayan is a charming city in the Cauca department of Colombia. It is also known as “The White City” because of the many chalk-white facades of architectural structures that were built in its “Centro” area during the colonial era.

    Today, you will continue onwards to the university hub of Popayan. This is a 3-hour drive through mountain scenery where you can stop along the way at a couple of small villages to get some food.

  • Day 10

    Explore the Silvia Eco-Trail

    Start time: 9:00 am

    Duration: 5 hours

    Overnight: Popayan - Hotel Dann Monasterio

    On this day, you will visit Silvia in Cauca.

    Get to explore the ancestral traditions of the millenary culture where soil and water coexist as sacred elements of the Misak, also known as the Guambianos.

    The Misak inhabit an environment of unique nature which forms the basis of their economy and wisdom as represented in the colors of their clothing.

    With their agricultural products, they enrich the traditional farmers' market, turning it into an exotic and colorful experience.

    You will get to enjoy the Silvia eco-trail and the Misak ethnicity. We will learn a lot about this indigenous region, its culture, and its land.

    Their language is related to the Chibcha family, although they also speak Spanish. Every Tuesday, the Guambiano indigenous community that lives in the surroundings meets to exchange products in the colorful market of the town. The Guambianos are children of the indigenous peoples of Colombia who still preserve their ancestral inheritances.

  • Day 11

    Transfer Popayan to Pasto, the “Surprise city”

    Start time: TBD

    Duration: 5.5 hours

    The magical and majestic views do not end here. You still get to experience and see amazing and beautifully diverse landscapes while your driver takes you from Popayan to Pasto. It is about a 5.5-hour drive.
    Your new guide from Nariño will be ready to welcome you to this authentic region of Colombia.

    Start time: 2:00 pm

    Duration: 4 hours

    Overnight: Pasto - Hotel Cuellar

    Discover Architectonical Treasures at our Surprise City

    Discover San Juan de Pasto, the "Colombia’s "Surprise City.” Start your day by visiting the downtown templates recognized for their Republican architecture, colonial time images, woodcarvings, and Quito art paintings. Your guide will walk you through the stories that give Pasto the recognition of a cultural city.

    To get to know the historical and cultural part of the city, we will visit the Nariño main square and, of course, the carnival museum, where you will appreciate why this department breathes art.

    Don’t forget the Pasto varnish mopa-mopa workshops which include three traditional trades such as harvesting, woodworking, and decorative varnishing. The unique artisanship and technique are declared one of the most valued cultural heritage of Colombia.

    Go deeper into the culture of beautiful Colombia and go to a gastronomic experience where you get to participate in the elaboration of Artisanal ice cream called the famous “paila ice cream”. The city tour will be capped off with a coffee cupping activity that will be spearheaded by an expert barista.

  • Day 12

    Las Lajas Shrine & Its Majestic Route

    Start time: 8:30 am

    Duration: 10 hours

    Overnight: Pasto - Hotel Cuellar

    On this day, you will discover the stunning beauty and calming Las Lajas Sanctuary. It is a gorgeous basilica church built in the early 1900s with imitation gothic architecture.

    This church is located in the Guáitara river canyon which is one of the seven wonders of Colombia. The British newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ considered the church as one of the most beautiful churches in the world among its list of 23 churches. It is because this church’s location and architecture are perfect.

    After breakfast, you will take a trip of about two hours from Pasto to the city of Ipiales. On the way, you will learn different aspects of the history, culture, and geography of the people from Nariño.

    Once you arrive, you will visit the commercial area to see some lovely handicrafts. Then, we will take you to descend to the Sanctuary, where the image of the mestizo or Lady of the Lajas is located.

    You can make a spiritual encounter with yourself, pray, attend the celebration of the Eucharist, and delight in the impressive architecture of the Sanctuary. The pace is up to you when we get here.

    Also, you will have the opportunity to visit the museum and its low levels. You can enjoy some short walks that fill you with energy and help you release more happy hormones.

    Get your cameras ready!

    The marvelous landscape where the Sanctuary is located is mesmerizing and we are sure that this will become your favorite place in the city. You will be accompanied by your expert guide who will also detail the history of the image and the sanctuary.

    We will cap off the visit to the Sanctuary by taking a cable car tour where you can see the imposing Guaitara Canyon that crosses the entire department of Nariño from South to North.

    We will continue the trip to the Republic of Ecuador and cross the border, visit the old custom houses, and arrive at the Tulcán cemetery to find its famous unique pieces carved on the trees of Cyprus.

    End the day touring the local market and return to the city of Pasto.

  • Day 13

    The Charming and Mysterious Cocha Lagoon

    Overnight: Pasto - Hotel Cuellar <br>

    Duration: 8 hours

    Overnight: Pasto - Hotel Cuellar

    Today, you will visit La Cocha Lagoon. It is a volcanic crater lake where the island of La Corota is located. You also get to see the second largest lake in Colombia - Laguna de la Cocha - along the road to the Putumayo department.

    La Cocha Lagoon is located 40 minutes from Pasto in a place full of charm, magic, great vibes, high energy, and natural beauty.

    The most fun part of visiting this mysterious lagoon is the experience along the way where you get to enjoy a lovely walk where Instagramable houses surround you. They are mostly made of Swiss-influenced wood adorned with beautiful flowers all over their balconies that embellish the landscape in a magical way.

    This perfect scenery is an eye-candy, especially for photographers.

    We will visit a typical country house full of human warmth. Have a tour through a reservation of self-sustaining civil society, where we find water births, organic crops, a home garden, guinea pig farms, and farm animals.

    These lovely families will offer us a typical snack of the area prepared by them with products from the same reserve. All food is organic and cultivated by the farmers where tourism is their very source of income. It also allows them to preserve the environment by keeping everything fresh and clean.

    If you want to know more about Colombia, you should experience the warmth of its people. They will welcome you with big smiles and you will surely feel at home.

    After the visit, we will sail by boat through the Lagoon until we reach the smallest natural park in Colombia - La Corota Island. Marvel in the incomparable beauty of its path where you can explore its ecosystems, flora, and fauna.

    At the end of the road, you will learn a beautiful myth about the creation and formation of the Lagoon.

    A truly magical experience you can share with your loved ones!.

  • Day 14

    Departure - From Pasto to Antonio Nariño Airport

    Start time: TBD

    Duration: 1 hour

    Today is your last day in Pasto. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, and based on the time of your departure flight, you will be taken from the city of Pasto to the Antonio Nariño Airport by a private transportation service.

    Thank you so much for visiting Colombia. It is a great honor to tour you in our country. We hope you had a great time and we hope to see you again.

    Have a safe flight back home!

Information & Documents


  • Private Itinerary.
  • We can customize the itinerary according to your travel preferences and budgets.
  • Accommodations can be arranged based on your preferences: Comfort, Luxury, Boutique, Eco-lodges.