The Hotel Guru is pretty upscale but fun to look at. Marcie Ellers.
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About San Agustin
A quaint and quiet town in a gorge of the Magdelena River, San Agustin is the ideal destination for history lovers. Sitting in the heart of an archaeological site that spans well over 250km, the town nestles amongst the statues, burial chambers and temples of a mysterious pre-colonial civilisation that once dominated the region. Whether you're exploring the tombs of Obando, marvelling at statues of their primal gods or horseriding alongside archaic painted stones, you will be enchanted by this beautiful and bewildering place. The best places to stay in San Agustin tend to be small boutique properties ideal for an authentic stay.
The archaeological site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the 1990s and is arguably Colombia's most important, albeit fascinating, piece of historical heritage. Partly, this is because the civilisation is shrouded in mystery, but it's also due to the sheer length and breadth of the site itself - spanning over 250km. The nearest site is only 3km from the town and includes a museum and a bewitching forest walk. Allegedly constructed in the 1st century CE, it includes stone statues of strange and alluring gods and animals, burial mounds and great tombs lined with corridors.
Two miles from town is La Chaquira, surely one of the most intriguing sites in the area: a large woman, carved into a rock, facing east, with her arms raised upwards; a short bus ride away north of the town lies the Obando Archaeological Site, scattered with burial sites that visitors can explore freely, as well as an excellent museum displaying ancient pottery and artefacts. Walking distance from San Agustin, you can reach La Pelota, a site made up of ancient painted stones and, nearby, stands El Purutal - a complex of two temples flanked by grotesque statues with painted masks, thought to represent the people who once ruled this ancient and mysterious civilisation.
What not to miss
- Book a guided horse ride tour of both La Pelota and El Purutal, and marvel at the ancient stones and statues.
- Immerse yourself in the material culture of this bewildering civilisation at either the San Agustin Museum or the Obando Archaeological Site.
- Head a few miles north of town to La Chaquira and come face-to-face with the beautiful statue of a woman carved into the rock.
Intriguing, bewildering and beautiful, San Agustin is ideally suited to keen explorers and students of history. Don't miss out, check out our collection of the best places to stay in San Agustin!
The best places to stay in San Agustin
- Akawanka Lodge: a charming rural retreat in a secluded setting outside of town, offering a truly authentic Colombian experience, complete with rooms adorned with hand-painted murals and wooden balconies. The restaurant serves up delicious local produce, and the views are just incredible. Excellent value for money!
For an apartment or villa
- Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.
- The best time to go is during the summer, when there is no rain and the temperature ranges between 19 and 27 degrees.
- Getting to San Agustin can be tricky. Fly to Bogota, from where you can either get a shuttle bus or taxi to San Agustin. The journey takes roughly 5 hours, but it is worth the bother!
- If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in San Agustin
Akawanka Lodge San Agustin (San Agustín) 22 rooms from £81
A charming and homely lodge, set in stunning gardens on the outskirts of San Agustin. The individually decorated rooms feature hand-painted murals, wooden balconies and spectacular views. The on site restaurant uses local organic produce - much of it from the property's gardens. Truly authentic.Local exploring - Immerse yourself in the Andean culture- explore the local town, traverse the countryside and speak with local artistsSights nearby - Explore San Agustin, Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras- all within striking distanceGreat walks - The forests and mountains are filled with nature trails and stunning walksViews - Great views from hotel