Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Great mysteries await those who visit San Agustin with the largest set of religious funerary monuments and carved stone statues in South America. Over 500 monumental
statues and megalithic sculptures carved in volcanic stone were discovered and uncovered during the 18th and 19th centuries. San Agustin is accessible from Popayan,
Florencia, Mocoa and Neiva in the south of Colombia. The city streets are pleasant to walk around with good cafes and restaurants around St. Augustine Church and
Bolivar Park area. Walk up the hill from the park and church to see the street of umbrellas!
San Agustin Archaeological Park & Isnos
The biggest archaeological park - San Agustin Archaeological
Park (1931) is located very close to town, around 2kms and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can see the Fountain of Lavapatas which was discovered in 1937.
If you look carefully around the rocks above the water, you can see faces, figures and animals carved and shaped into them. Experts believe these pools and canals
were used for religious ceremonies and bathing. You can also enjoy nature and see butterflies and exotic flowers while walking from site to site within the park.
Other important archaeological parks are located around 45mins by road from San Agustin (the road to Popayan) in San Jose de Isnos - Alto de los Idolos and Alto de
las Piedras. You can come here by car, bus or a mototaxi can bring you, wait for you and return you to San Agustin.
Hidden sculptures can be found in the fields
and valleys outside the main archaeological parks. These being El Tablon, La Chaquira, La Pelota and El Purutal. You can combine a hiking trip, horseback riding or
a jeep tour to visit these special sites in San Agustin.
Villa Real Archaeological Museum
Villa Real Archaeological Museum in San Agustin offers more insight into the history of the area with ceramic
works, paintings, drawings and even a skeleton. The museum is located 2 blocks from Bolivar Park. San Agustin is worth the detour from Popayan
(on the main tourist trail north and south) to enjoy this beautiful area in Colombia.