Desierto de la Tatacoa, Colombia – The green desert

The Tatacoa desert is a geological and climatic oddity. Surrounded by lush-green fields and a land that consists in great parts of rain, rivers and swamps a 330 km2 / 130 mi2 big dry savannah is situated, which is a bit euphorically called desert. In the dry period temperatures at lunch time can reach 50° C / 120° F, during the short rainy seasons in spring and autumn it is pleasant. On the green steppe grass cattle, horses, goats and sheep graze – like now. In-between cacti, brush and even trees grow. Where the earth is eroded red and light grey sand hills, dunes, and bizarre rock shapes appear. A landscape that looks like the Badlands in South Dakota or the Painted Desert in Arizona – only in mini format.

The observatory that is most of the time closed during rainy periods due to overcast, and its astronomer Javier have a good reputation. Although the proximity to the city of Neiva and the herewith associated light pollution is disturbing, the mostly dry and for Colombia clear air seems to be unique in Colombia. For those who haven’t seen a desert yet Desierto de la Tatacoa is a beautiful experience. For desert experts it is still a pretty landscape and moreover free of charge. Organised camping is offered in different places, free camping is generally possible. Free and guarded is the area around the observatory (bathrooms and cold showers for a small fee): N 03°14’02.2’’ W 75°10’13.5’’.

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