A region of mysterious megaliths
An hour’s flight to the south west of Bogota to the city of Nieva and then another 4 hour drive on from there is one of Colombia’s up and coming tourist destinations, San Agustin. Where once this area of the country was a risky prospect due to the cartels, it has now become one of the must see destinations on a trip to Colombia for those that are interested in megalithic art and carvings.
Given UNESCO heritage status, the archeological park, which lies a couple of kilometers to the west of the charming town itself, is a collection of megaliths that date back as far as the second century BC it is thought. With its protection and anonymity the site is almost perfectly preserved and there are plenty of theories as to why it exists (along with the other nearby sites near to San Jose de Isnos and Tierradentro) but many theorise that the many carvings, monuments and burial chambers were part of a reincarnation theme that was common in South America throughout the ages.
There is also a theory that it was home to a little known civilization that honoured their dead with 500 monumental stone statues depicting anthropomorphic figures. Some of these are representative of animals, which were obviously important to their creed: frogs, eagles and the jaguar. The highest of these measures 7 meters.
There is little to trace these ancient people as they left no evidence of a written language and they didn’t exist by the time the first Europeans set foot on these hills. The areas surrounding the site are really lovely to explore on horseback especially in dry season from December to February. The road conditions from Popayan can be rough, however so having a good guide on hand is desirable.