Find here some of the best tourist attractions to visit during your stay in the department of Huila. P>
The main fluvial artery of Colombia, the Magdalena River, gives life to Neiva, the capital of the department of Huila. This city of southwestern Colombia, founded in its current location on May 24, 1612, grows in a fertile valley in stories of fantastic characters created by the popular imagination, in which the drummers of the rhythm of the Sanjuanero define the joyful character of their population.
Archaeological Park of San Agustín
It is an ideal place to enjoy the most beautiful natural landscape, surrounded by valleys mountains, rivers and immense rocks, inhabited by a millenary culture that remains a mystery, and which has been characterized by its magic and sacred charm, where You can experience the best of adventures.
It is the greatest archaeological evidence of the country. There are lithic sculptures of the Augustinian culture, and there are ramparts, monolithic sarcophagi, dolmens, the Fountain of Lavapatas, the Alto de Lavapatas, the Forest of Statues and the Archaeological Museum.
This archaeological site is divided into six zones connected by stone paths, surrounded by vegetation. It has an average temperature of 19 degrees Celsius.
Other places of interest of the park are the Alto de las Guacas, the site of Mortiño, the Plank, the Chaquira, and the Pelota.
During your visit you should have a minimum of four hours to appreciate 130 statues, megalithic tombs, artificial mounds, temples and ceremonial centers of Augustinian culture, exposed and properly classified in the Mesetas called A, B, C and D.
The Archaeological Park of San Agustín is located in the department of Huila, near the municipalities of San Agustín and Isnos, but the archaeological remains extend to Saladoblanco and Pitalito framed in an area that is characterized by a great geographic and environmental diversity.
Among the archaeological remains can be highlighted the great statues and reliefs in stone, funeral mounds, shrines, terraces, roads and embankments.
How to get to San Agustín?
To get to the San Agustín Archaeological Park and the Alto de los Ídolos Archaeological Park you should take the Bogotá - Neiva (420 Km.), Neiva - Pitalito (175 Km.) And Pitalito - San Agustín (38 Km.).
The journey by land lasts approximately 10 hours on a totally paved and perfectly delimited road (Colombia.com, 2017).
Source:Colombia.com. (2017). Parque Arqueológico de San Agustín. [online] Available at: http://www.colombia.com/turismo/sitios-turisticos/huila/atractivos-turisticos/sdi465/78322/parque-arqueologico-de-san-agustin [Accessed 2 Jan. 2017].
Thermal Springs of Riviera
This exotic and renowned Tourist Center is located in Rivera, known as the Green Municipality of Huila.
The Rivera Thermal Springs are a wonderful natural medicinal resource, thanks to the qualities of water that emerges directly from the womb of the earth with factors that act in rheumatic, cardiovascular, atherosclerosis, metabolic processes, muscular system and joints. Its temperature becomes a great sedative and relaxing, ideal to combat the stress and the rhythm of the current life.
It is a source of non-sulfur hot springs, but with a high mineral content, located in the Municipality of Rivera. Three different options are offered: a place with a stone pool in a natural environment, with constructions and adaptations respecting the natural space, causing the least negative impact in the place, the atmosphere is of tranquility and rest.
The waters are blue and transparent because of their high mineral load, which contrasts with the green of the forests and gardens and can be felt coming from the rocks and sand floor of the pool. A recreational center with multiple services installed, thermal pool, cold water pool, slide, restaurant and cabins for lodging, conserves some gardens. The place where the water flows is easily seen, the flow is important and the temperature of the water is very high.
The Tourist Center Las Termales de Rivera is located 27 kilometers south of the city of Neiva and 4 kilometers from the municipality of Rivera (Colombia.com, 2017).
Source:Colombia.com. (2017). Termales de Rivera. [online] Available at: http://www.colombia.com/turismo/sitios-turisticos/huila/atractivos-turisticos/sdi465/78336/termales-de-rivera [Accessed 2 Jan. 2017].
Dam of Betania
It is considered one of the most important energy sources in the region, besides being an ideal place to practice water sports, rest and fishing.
The Betania Reservoir is a monumental man-made water work, its original function was to give power to the Betania Hydroelectric Power Plant, both works were carried out between 1981 and 1987. In order to build the dam it was necessary to cut off the free flow of the Magdalena and Yaguará rivers, And dam part of its waters in the 7000 hectares that make up the lake.
There are various water activities, such as boat rides or waterworms, you can also practice skiing and swimming with fins. The dam is also the scene of cultural and folkloric events, such as the Water Festival, the Departmental Reign of Tourism, the Royal Parties, fishing championships, nautical motorcycle and artisan meetings.
To cross the Betania Reservoir with family, you can embark on the Ferry Momico, run by Comfamiliar. The ship travels for three hours the most beautiful and representative sites of the gigantic reservoir, during the trip you can enjoy recreational activities, music, bar and fast food. Every Sunday at three in the afternoon, the Ferry Momico begins its journey.
Around the dam there are about 220 rural houses, almost all located on the right bank of the Yaguará - Neiva road.
The Dam or Reservoir of Betania is located 38 km from Neiva (Colombia.com, 2017).
Source:Colombia.com. (2017). Represa de Betania. [online] Available at: http://www.colombia.com/turismo/sitios-turisticos/huila/atractivos-turisticos/sdi465/78344/represa-de-betania [Accessed 2 Jan. 2017].
Desert of Tatacoa
In the municipality of Villavieja north of Huila, between the Magdalena River and the Eastern Cordillera, is the Tatacoa, a place that is not just a desert, but a dry tropical forest.
A very eroded area crossed by dry canyons carved by the violent floods that form transitorily in the winter. This extraordinary desert area and fossiliferous deposit has a total extension of 330 square kilometers.
The most outstanding regions are: Las Lajas, Cuzco, Cardón, Doche, San Nicolás, Los Hoyos and Venta. Curiously, its name is also given in this area of the department to the rattlesnakes, unlike other regions of the country, where they call tatacoas to snakes black and harmless.
This silent, fantastically-looking semi-arid region is inhabited by some families who graze goats and cattle and get water from mojah digging in the ground. The temperature is high during the day and benign at night. The rainy season corresponds to the months of April, May, October and November and the dry season is concentrated in the months of July, August and September. Together with San Agustín and Tierradentro, Tatacoa is one of the most important tourist destinations in Huila.
The predominant vegetation is of the herbaceous and shrub type. The most prominent families are the cacti (the arepo, the cardon, the red pitahaya and the cabecenegro). Under this eroded soil and populated by cacti and thorn bushes, there are deposits of fauna and flora corresponding to species from different periods and geological periods. Due to the current conditions of the area there is a predominantly xerophytic vegetation and the soils have different degrees of erosion
Species include rattlesnakes, arachnids (spiders and scorpions), eagles, lizards and weasels. In times past were tigrillos. The fossils of mollusks, turtles, rodents, armadillos and giant sloths found by scientists have led to the contention that the Tatacoa originally had an exuberant flora, diversified in plant species and strata. Many of these fossils can be observed in the Archaeological Museum that works in the chapel of Santa Barbara, in Villavieja.
The wonders of the cosmos can be seen thanks to the modern Astronomical Observatory, the number of cleared nights and the low humidity of the Tatacoa air or "Valley of Sorrows", as in 1538 the conqueror Jiménez de Quesada called this landscape.
At the moment there is no infrastructure for lodging, the only possible way to stay is to camp on private farms.
There are no restaurants in Tatacoa, but there are some shops where you can get products for your stay. They are from local families, who provide the food service with dishes from the region at favorable costs.
Camping in the vicinity of the observatory and the houses. In Villavieja there are restaurants and stores, such as telephone service.
It is located to the north of the Department of the Huila to 38 kilometers of the city of Neiva and is the second more extensive arid zone of the country. With 330 km2 the desert of Tatacoa offers its visitors a visual spectacle with amazing landscapes (Colombia.com, 2017).
Source:Colombia.com. (2017). Desierto de la Tatacoa. [online] Available at: http://www.colombia.com/turismo/sitios-turisticos/huila/atractivos-turisticos/sdi465/78311/desierto-de-la-tatacoa [Accessed 2 Jan. 2017].