South West Colombia and Cali
South West Colombia’s ancient ruins, colonial majesty and city of Cali, combine into an experience which encapsulate the diversity we love in travel in just a few days.
In the hills around San Agustín are a set of more than 500 statues which were abandoned in 1350AD and rediscovered during the 18th and 19th Century. Looters disturbed many of the tombs, however the statues remained mainly untouched. The mounds and sculptures were the work of early settlers in the region dating as far back as the 1st century AD.
This is one of the most important indigenous sites in South America and our tour spread over two days combines well with a visit to the Salto de Bordones – considered the second highest waterfall in the continent. In a different way it is equally impressive as Machu Picchu.
After a couple of nights at the hospitable Monasterio San Agustín, guests should consider adding to their experience a visit to the remarkable tombs with burial chambers of up 12 metres wide at the National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro.
The drive from San Agustin to Popayan across the mountains is not for the fainthearted. The experience of driving up into the clouds, reaching an altitude of 10000 ft is unmissable for its scenery and the thrill of its challenging road conditions. The route was until recently impassable as this area was controlled by Farc soldiers. You may meet some of them on the journey, but the area is now safe, and you will enjoy a friendly greeting.
Popayan, the “White City”, was founded in 1537 became is considered the second most impressive colonial settlement in the region after Cartagena. It has been the home of seventeen presidents as well as noted poets, painters and composers who have contributed to the cultural richness of this extraordinary country.
For gritty, urban Colombia a couple of nights in Cali is the best way to finish this part of your visit, although the itinerary can be reversed and follows on well from a few days in the neighbouring Coffee Region.
Cali was founded in 1536 and today is the country’s “Capital of Salsa”. With its nickname “Branch of Heaven” it is Colombia’s third largest city and vies for second place with Medellin. Other attractions include the neoclassical San Pedro Cathedral and echoing Rio de Janeiro the “Cristo Rey” a Christ statue, 26 metres tall, with impressive views high above the west of the city.
To discover more about Cali and the ancient history of Colombia, give us a call or send us a message.
Places we love to stay
Monasterio San Agustín
Cosy boutique hotel near the Unesco site of San Agustín archeological park in the Huila region.View details about Monasterio San Agustín
Movich Casa del Alférez
Boutique hotel that is well located in one of Cali’s best residential districts.View details about Movich Casa del Alférez