Getting to San Agustin was not easy, we travelled on a bumpy dirt road for approximatly 4 hours, the only road from Popayan, only 136 km. away. Large commercial trucks also use this same road so at times it becomes quite congested. We were glad when we arrived in town and were met at the small bus station by the town tour guide who directed us to the nearest grocery store, then arranged a special cab to take us to our hostel, high in the mountains where normal cabs don’t go. Most taxi’s are small compact cars that have a difficult time with 4 travellers with backpacks.
Our hostel, Pachamama, turned to be a picturesque location overlooking the valley below surrounded by coffee and fruit trees. I think the ducks and chickens in this country have insomnia, making noise all hours of the night but we had very comfortable rooms with a hearty breakfast each morning.
We could easily walk to town, going down the mountain was OK, coming up we stopped only to be passed by the locals who smiled as they walked by. Horses are the main way to get around and the best to explore the countryside, but walking is also enjoyable in the fresh mountain air.
Five thousand years ago this area was inhabited by two indigenous groups that lived near San Agustin. Very little is known about them, they had no written language and had disappeared before the Europeans arrived.
They left behind more than 500 statues scattered in the hills around here, along with a number of tombs. This is the most important archeological site in Colombia, and the government has done a fantastic job in preserving these locations, and takes pride in displaying them to the world.