San Agustín, Colombia – Jaguar men and snake eating owls

San Agustín is an important archaeological site of an early Indigene advanced culture. The area was perhaps populated from 6000 BC on, today’s leftovers origin mainly from 200 BC to 700 AD: statues from lava stone and basalt, burial sites, earth embankments, and aqueducts. Since the San-Agustín-culture didn’t use characters not much is known about them, speculations are predominant. The amount of impressive statues show jaguar men, armed guards, women with babies, and a lot of animal symbolism like owls, eagles, and snakes. The culture carried out human sacrifice and maybe cannibalistic rites.

Most important place for findings is Parque Archeológico de San Agustín, not far from town. Here most statues and graves are located, and a ceremonial bathing place in the rocky part of a river bed. The mysterious civilisation chiselled three bathtubs and symbolic figures like snails, snakes, frogs or faces into the rock, and the water runs through the contours. Access to the park (half day is required) costs 10,000 COP per person for one day, the combined ticket 16,000 (5.50 resp. 9 $). The latter is valid for two consecutive days and for other archaeological sites in the surroundings, which can be reached with a jeep tour or own vehicle.

Camping is easily possible. We decide for Finca El Maco that belongs to Swiss René Suter. There are only two sloping lots for vehicles, but there are enough stones to level them. The shower is hot, the staff friendly, and internet complimentary. For Swiss food on the menu (except Rosti, Swiss sliced fried potatoes) we look in vain. We pay 8,000 Peso pp (4.50 $) per night. In the end of town heading to the archaeological park turn right following the sings to Hotel Yalconia / Piscina / El Maco. Shortly before reaching the swimming-pool a trail turns off to the right to Camping San Agustín (N 01°53’19.6’’ W 76°16’46.3’’), another option. A bit further uphill El Maco follows on the right side (N 01°53’31.4’’ W 76°16’47.8’’).

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