Located 5-6 hours from Popayan, in the South of Colombia, the village of San Agustin is famous for its vast collection of stone statues. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
San Agustin and its surroundings are considered one of the largest necropolises in the world. Even today, these sculptures still hold many mysteries.
More than 500 statues of various sizes and shapes are scattered in different archaeological sites: Parque Arqueologico, Alto de Los Idoles, El Tablon, La Chaquira, La Pelota, El Purutal, Alto de Las Piedras.
However, after more than 10 days in the area, we discovered that San Agustin has even more to offer than a ” mere ” fabulous archaeological site.
Indeed, the mountainous nature of the area offers great options for outdoor enthusiasts. Add enough days to your Colombian itinerary to suit your desires:
- Visit the different archaeological sites
- Horseback riding, half a day, full day or several days
- Walk to the hidden waterfall of Los 3 Churros.
- Visit a coffee farm
- Rafting down the rapids of the Magdalena River
- Go bird-watching
- Plan a multi-day hike in the paramos of “Las Papas”. Wild nature and breathtaking landscapes on the menu. Difficult level of difficulty due to very changing weather conditions.
The weather is quite unpredictable in San Agustin. Always remember to bring a sweater and a raincoat when you go out.
Getting to San Agustin?
- Bus at the terminal. There is maybe one change in Pitalito. | Cootrans Laboyana | 8h
- Flight from Cali airport to Pitalito, then 1h bus to San Agustin | Satena | 1h
- Bus at the terminal | Cootranshuila & Cootrans Laboyana | 5 hours
- A few buses leave in the evening from the Salitre terminal – schedule – Double-check with the bus company | Cootranshuila & Coomotor & Lineas Verdes | 12 hours
- Flight from Bogota airport to Pitalito, then 1h bus to San Agustin | Satena | 1h
From Neiva to Pitalito then San Agustin:
- Bus Neiva to Pitalito | Coomotor, Cootranshuila, Cootrans Laboyana | 4h30
- Many cars and buses all day long Pitalito – San Agustin| Cootranshuila & Cootrans Laboyana | 1 hour
Where's the terminal?
In San Agustin, there is no bus terminal as such. There, you’ll have to find “los 4 vientos”. It is a crossroads of the village where most of the transport agencies and shuttles to Pitalito are located.
Subtlety on the routes
You’ll often hear about “Cruse de Isnos”. If you open the google map link, you will see an intersection with the main road (in yellow) that connects Popayan to Pitalito and a secondary road (in white) that starts from the main road in the direction of San Agustin.
This intersection is important there because most of the big buses go from Popayan to Pitalito without going up to San Agustin. That’s why some transports will leave you at this intersection, on the side of the road, but don’t panic.
- Route Popayan – San Agustin
- Case 1: you have a direct bus (they are rare) Popayan – San Agustin
- Case 2: You don’t have a direct bus. So you’ll do: Popayan – Cruse de Isnos – San Agustin.
The bus will drop you at the intersection “Cruse de Isnos” but will normally have a shuttle bus to take you from Cruse de Isnos to San Agustin. Ask for it when you pick up your ticket.
Note: in any case, there are many jeeps and shuttles that make the trip. You can also stop one of them by waving.
- San Agustin – Popayan Route
- Case 1: you have a direct bus (they are rare) San Agustin – Popayan
- Case 2: You don’t have a direct bus. So you’ll go to San Agustin – Cruse de Isnos – Popayan.
The bus will drop you at the intersection “Cruse de Isnos” and you will wait for your main bus to go to Cruse de Isnos – San Agustin. Check this with the company you choose to make the trip.
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Where to stay in San Agustin
Although San Agustin is a "small" town, there are more than 300 hotels scattered all around. All the touristic sights are outside the city so you don't need to stay in the center of San Agustin. We recommend you to pick a hotel with a lovely garden as there is not much to do in town.
Hostel - $$
Casa FrancoisPeaceful place with a gorgeous garden. 15 min away from town. Delicious restaurant.Get the best price
Hostel - $$
Masaya10 min away by taxi. Romantic cabins with an astonishing view of the canyon Magdalena.Get the best price
Hotel - $$
Casa TarzanAn intriguing house made of bamboo. It's also a bar-restaurant. Only a few bedrooms.Get the best price
Hotel - $$
El MacoA lovely Finca outside of town. Excellent tours and outdoors. Friendly staff. Great food.Get the best price
Upscale - $$$
AkawankaA lovely hotel made of bamboo and wood. Friendly staff and pleasant outdoors. Quiet.Get the best price
Luxury - $$$
MonasterioBest hotel in town, located near archeological sites. Excellent services & great outdoors.Get the best price
Things to do in San Agustin
Although the archeological sites are the main touristic sights in the area, it would be silly not to enjoy the other attractions than San Agustin as to offer. Find out what are they!
4 - 6 hours | $
P. ArcheologicoIt's the main Archeological site, where you can find the majority of the information and statues.Learn more
4 hours | $$
Horse ridingExplore el Tablon, El Purutal, La Pelota and La Chaquira while horse riding with a guide.Learn more
7 - 8 hours | $
Jeep exp.Book a Jeep tour to admire high waterfalls and visit archeological sites. All-day.Learn more
4 hours | $
RaftingGo down the Magdalena River on a raft (2h). It's easy and fun. Class II & III rapids.We recommend
Full day | $$
Horse ridingGet a horse and a guide and go to explore the surroundings of San Agustin. Epic adventure.Learn more
1 - 2 days | $$
Adrenalina Ex.Take your day back and cross the Magdalena Canyon on a 200m zip line to arrive in paradise.Contact
3 - 4 days | $$$
Las PapasHike for 3 or 4 days through the Paramo Las Papas to reach Magdalena's birthplace.We recommend
6 - 8 hours | $$
3 chorrosA hidden and spectacular waterfall. It's a bit tricky to get there. Better to take a guide.Learn more
4 hours | $$
BirdwatchingObserve the birds on a coffee farm and eat breakfast with the Colombian family.
Where to sleep? What to do? Where to eat? How do you get from one place to another?
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