While being in Bogota on the job hunt, I decided to move out of town for a few days while expecting some jobs answers. The idea was to get to know some news places, get to see some nature, and have a peaceful environment. Being extremely bored and tired of Bogota. (La Candelaria is a nice place to stay, but it’s far to be the most quiet and chilled atmosphere.
A bit on the spot I took a bus to Neiva, it’s south of Bogota, 5-6 hours bus drive in a very hot town. Huila itself doesn’t even appear on the touristy map, but the closeby village of Villavieja does for it’s unique “Desert of Tatacoa”.
On the bus (Coomotor, which is an OK bus company by the way), they “offer” you a little snack. We all know that chips are far to be healthy, but I think the snack I have received must have won the golden medal of the worst food ever. If you read the content of both Wafers and Trocillo de Pollo you will find just everything chemical and unhealthy and the taste was awful. So you might wonder if the company behind it use the lack of education of local bus travelers to feed them with the worst food ever ?! (and ensures health issues, obesity and so on…)
But let’s go back to the Tatacoa Desert which is not really comparable to the Sahara or anything huge, it’s a tiny one, but the landscape is stunning. It’s the result of million of years of erosion.
To stay for the night, it’s best to be at the Desert itself (4 km away from Villavieja), because there is nothing in Villavieja. Here is the landscape on the way to the Desert.
And here is the desert itself…
The sleeping amenities in the desert itself are not extremely comfortable, your best option might be the Dona Lilia or something alike, basically, the first shelter which is on your left hand side when you have passed the observatory. I would highly suggest that you check the mattress quality, and also what might be under it, I had the chance to meet the brother of this lovely scorpion right under the mattress, anyone would hope of sharing his bed with someone else 😉
I had the chance to meet a great couple of travelers, with whom we decided to discover the desert with a tour guide, so we had a walking tour within the desert itself with a few explanations, and then went to a second part a bit more remote, where the interest lies into the grey shapes built by the erosion.
The big highlight of the place is genuinely the landscape, because even if we enjoyed the desert, the surrounding landscape and views towards the remote mountain chains is breathtaking!
We believe that the tour could be done on your own as everything is accessible if you’re keen on walking a bit.
The place is also well known as having one of the best “night sky” as being geographically well placed close to the Equator and not suffering any big city light pollution or just standard pollution. There is an observatory and a great astronomist who will explain you the sky in details and all the stars you can see. We haven’t seen much apart from the moon, saturn and a lots of clouds, as we got unlucky, it was full moon and the sky was cloudy. Maybe another time
The place is really warm by day time and gets cool only after midnight.
A few last shot of the main desert at sunset.