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Tatacoa Desert: A weekend beneath the stars

4.84(116 reviews)Bogotá, D.C. - Villavieja - Bogotá, D.C.

The best place in Colombia to learn astronomy and sleep beneath the stars

roadtrip:info.availableIn English, Spanish

Cultural, Ecotourismroadtrip:info.difficultyLevel Medio Bajo departuresFrom Bogotá, D.C. 2 roadtrip:info.days

The Tatacoa Desert, located in Huila, is that outstanding location you have been looking for to take the most amazing photos both by day and night, there we can appreciate the different landscapes which Nature has created over the course of millions of years, and if what you’re looking for is the one place furthest away from the noise and the lights of the city, then in Tatacoa you have come to the right place.

Its privileged position on the line of the Equator enables us to appreciate the absolute best of the night sky, Tatacoa is the ideal place to enjoy the best views of the stars adorning the night, which is why this is the location of the Astrosur observatory, where scores of us we will literally lie down on the open ground and gaze up into the night sky to learn about the celestial bodies which accompany us each night, which we can watch either through telescopes or clearly with the naked eye as shooting stars flash by.

Discover for yourself why the Tatacoa Desert is actually a dry tropical forest and not a desert at all, and be prepared for the constant surprises from the amalgam of colours, sights and sensations encompassed in this one place, and prepare for an amazing weekend, enjoying the following activities:

🌵 The Valley of the Xilopalos

🌵 The Astrosur Observatory

🌵 The Cuzco Laberinths

🌵 A canoe trip across the Magdalena river 

roadtrip:info.whatYouWillDo

Day 1

We pick up our travellers very early in the morning to begin our journey to the Tatacoa Desert, eating breakfast on the road and enjoying the changes in countryside as we pass through the regional departments of Cundinamarca, Tolima and Hula. 

We arrive at the town of Aipe, one of the first in the department of Hula, where we will rendezvous with our local guide and who will take us on a short walk through the countryside until we reach the emblematic Magdalena River, where canoes will be waiting to take us on a special trip down and across the river, where our guide will point out to us the various species of birds in the trees and where we are more than likely to find an iguana, lazily hanging out on a branch, their long tails dangling towards the water. The canoe will leave us in the village of Villaieja where we have a delicious lunch and get to know the surroundings a little. As the afternoon approaches, when the hot sun is no longer so oppressive we will start our journey through the red desert towards the Cuzco Laberinths, an ideal place to take the best photos of Tatacoa and finally we will arrive at a watering hole where we will have the opportunity to try delicious sugar cane juice. At nightfall we will go to the Astrosur Observatory, where we will see the stars and learn about the universe, after which we head to the hotel, for dinner and for a free evening to enjoy as we choose.

 

Day 2

We begin the day with a hearty and early breakfast to be able to head off quickly and make the most of the desert. We go through the Grey Desert, characterised by its deep ochre colour caused by the interaction of certain minerals in the substrata, and afterwards we head to the unforgettable Valley of the Xilòpalos and the Maidens Narrows, geological formations which will so impress that you will still remember them clearly years later. While there, our guide will explain how these formations got their names as we walk through naturally eroded stone corridors so enigmatic and enclosing that you will feel that you are walking on the sea bed. Our odyssey through the Tatacoa Desert, where there is so much flora and fauna to enjoy, will end in a wonderful lunch enjoying the hospitality of Donde Chepe, a place where we can enjoy a well-deserved home-brew, a delicious lunch where we can enjoy the culinary delights of the region and bask in our last few hours in this stunning desert before we pick up our luggage and head back to Bogota.

roadtrip:info.whatYouWillVisit

Astronomical Observatory

For amateurs of astronomy, these are the best permanently operational facilities set sufficiently far from urban areas to be free of light pollution in the entirety of Colombia.

Magdalena River

One of the most important navigable waterways of Colombia, on which we will be able to enjoy a river cruise where the various birds, reptiles and plants of the region can be enjoyed from the canoe as we glide by.

Village of Villavieja

This village lies at the entrance to the Tatacoa Desert and houses various museums which hold collections of archaeological finds and fossils recovered in the area, a village where the life of a traditional community in Huila is on full display for the enjoyment of those visitors fortunate enough to go there.

The Cuzco Laberinths

The stunning red colour which characterises the desert in this place is without question one of the best places for photography in the entirety of the Tatacoa Desert.

Valley of the Xilòpalos

A location in which giant cactus thrive against a backdrop of the distant Andean mountain range abutting Huila.

roadtrip:info.whatIsIncluded

Private transport to and from Bogota
Breakfast (2) and Dinner (1)
1 Night at Tatacoa Desert
Guidance and Interpretation of the landscape provided by experienced, certified guides
Entrance Ticket to astronomical observatory
Medical insurance coverage in case of accident or injury
Hiking Tour on the Cuzco Labyrinths and Xilópalos Valley Trails
Tour on Boat by Magdalena River
English-speaking guide can be requested at an additional cost via WhatsApp before making your reservation

roadtrip:info.requirements

Minimum age for this route is 8 years old
The difficulty level of the trails is low; however, you should be aware that the temperatures can get quite high
The entire trip must be paid through the website 5 days before departure.

roadtrip:info.recommendations

😷 Take your Personal Protection Essentials kit with you

💧 It’s vital to have a bottle of water on hand and to maintain good levels of hydration, we will be visiting a place where the heat can be very intense and a steady consumption of water will help you keep up optimal health levels to be able to get the most out of your voyage.

🧢 Take a hat or cap to protect against the sun, if you are particularly sensitive to the sun, we advise you to bring a parasol, not forgetting the importance of a good sunblock or the recommendation to use a mineral sunblock to protect your face for added protection.

👕 Pack light clothing sufficient for two days in a hot territory. We suggest long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt for the second day given that the route contains trees with long roots which can scratch you.

🥾 Use comfortable shoes such as trainers

💊 Take your personal medications and identity documents with you, there are NO automatic teller machines (ATM) in the area to be able to withdraw money so bring whatever cash you feel may be required for such expenses as are not already included.

🎒 Do not bring a suitcase with wheels as the terrain is really not suitable, even at our lodging, and bring a small rucksack to carry personal items, sunblock, water bottle, et cetera… on the hikes.

🔦 We suggest that you bring a blanket to protect against the cold on the route out of Bogota as we are leaving so early, in addition to mosquito repellent and a torch or headlamp for navigating at night.

roadtrip:info.additionalInfo

Relevant Information:

  • Please be aware that you are responsible for your belongings. Protect your electronic devices and personal documents from rain and moisture.
  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, as this will enable you to take photos and use it in case of an emergency.
  • Your safety is paramount. Please be cautious, always keep the group in sight, and follow the guide's instructions.
  • Do not participate in a hike if you are sleep-deprived, intoxicated, pregnant, or have medical disabilities.
  • Strictly adhere to your doctor's instructions regarding any injuries and, if necessary, bring your personal medications.
  • English-speaking assistance can be requested at an additional cost via WhatsApp before making your reservation

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4.84(116 reviews)

Avatar Deyssi
Deyssi
3.20

El servicio es muy bueno, pero me pareció muy costoso y no hay plan B si llueve...

Avatar Antoine
Antoine
5.00

La pase super bien, Gracias Camilo!...

Avatar Ivan
Ivan
5.00

Como siempre excelente los destinos y guíanza de Roadtrip, muy buen acompañamiento de todo el personal tanto local como de quien nos acompaño desde Bo...

Avatar Adriana
Adriana
5.00

Me encantó esta experiencia!...

Avatar María
María
5.00

Me encantó la experiencia :) superó las expectativas que tenía y lo recomiendo muchísimo. Los guías estuvieron siempre muy pendientes de nosotros, y c...

Avatar Lady
Lady
5.00

Fue una experiencia genial. Todo el viaje estuvo muy bien programada y de acuerdo a lo previsto. El guía muy servicial en todo momento. La única suger...

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