of Colombia's archaeological travel highlights, Tierradentro's
principal attraction are the ancient man made burial caves and tombs
that are painted with mysterious geometric patterns of the Tierradentro
Archaeological Park. There are a total of four caves sites to explore,
and hundreds of actual tombs have been discovered. Allow a complete
morning to explore the tombs and their very scenic mountainous
surroundings (14km hike in total), then spend the afternoon in the two
musuems (to avoid the heat of the afternoon). The mountainous scenery
around Tierradentro is very scenic, and one could easily spend a few
extra days hiking or horseback riding in the area, which is also very
good for birdwatching.
Paez Indians live in
this region of Colombia and hold interesting indigenous Saturday
markets at both Belalcazar and Inza. Numerous small indigenous villages
can be visited for those who want to go on off the beaten track
trekking or horseback riding tours.
There aren't many hotels in the area, and all are relatively basic. Residencias Pisimbala is probably the best option.
Tierradentro is about 4-5 hours travel overland from Popayan
(take a bus via Inza). Alternatively, it's about 10 hours from Bogota
(change in La Plata) or 5 hours from San Agustin (again, change in La
Plata). Check the safety situation locally as this part of Colombia has
seen guerilla activity in the past, though it is now frequented by
tourists and considered safe.
Travel tips: it's best to bring a torch when exploring the caves. There's no bank or internet in this region.