The Tatacoa Desert, in the South of Colombia, is in the “top 10 things to do in Colombia” of all travel guides and most travel blogs.
I disagree! In particular, I think that the La Guajira desert offers a much better experience with more variety.
However, I must admit that the most famous part of the Tatacoa desert is beautiful and rather photogenic. In fact, all Instagrammers go there to take the perfect picture. But beware of this type of photos, often modified, they can make disappointed people.
Even if, the landscapes are unusual, I do not find it wise to make a detour only for the desert of Tatacoa.
On the other hand, it is a destination that can fit into your itinerary in Colombia if it is on your way when you move from one city to another. For example, if you travel from Bogotá to San Agustin. In this case, you can even add a stop in Paicol to split your journey in two.
To get to the desert, you must first reach the city of Neiva. There, take a bus to Villavieja. This village is at the gates of the desert. There you will find tuk-tuks and guides who will take you on a tour of this vast plain worthy of a Star Wars setting.
Getting to Tatacoa? (+)
From Neiva to Villavieja:
Many buses from 5 am to 5 pm from the main terminal | Coomotor | 1 h
Few buses at the main terminal. I recommend a night bus. Schedule – Double-check with the bus company. | Flota Magdalena – Departure from the South Terminal) & Coomotor & Expreso Bolivariano | 12 hours
Villavieja is the closest town to the Tatacoa desert. Every day, many tuk-tuks leave from the main square to bring the tourists there. We discovered there are many illegal accommodations in the Tatacoa desert - as it's a reserve, it's forbidden to build anything there. Moreover, these establishments dig swimming pools in Tatacoa. It makes no sense to us. Therefore, we recommend you to avoid picking an hotel/hostel in the desert. Let's protect our environment!
The Tatacoa desert is split into 2 main parts: Cuzco (The red desert) and Hoyos (the Grey desert). The most beautiful part is Cuzco. It's also the closest and the smallest part. 1.5 hours is enough to enjoy it. Then, you have to decide if you want to do the loop and explore the other "less" photogenic areas of Tatacoa.
Where to sleep? What to do? Where to eat? How do you get from one place to another?
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