The desert of La Tatacoa is an area of Colombia that attracts thousands of travelers from different parts of the world. Its location and conditions make it perfect to observe the night sky or enjoy a shower of stars. In this article, we provide general information of the place and we indicate you among which accommodation options you can choose.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
The Tatacoa desert is also known as Valley of the Sadness, according to the story, the conqueror Jiménez de Quesada gave him this name when he arrived here in 1538.
As for its geographical location, this desert and dry tropical forest is located in Colombia, specifically in Villavieja, north of the department of Huila. It is located just 40 km from Neiva. It is the second largest arid zone in the country, behind the Guajira peninsula.
Since the weather is warm and dry, it is recommended to wear fresh clothes during the day, as the temperature reaches 43 ° C. However, at night it is softer and should be warm. The rainy months are April, May, October and November. On the other hand, it is located at an altitude of between 386 and 900 meters above sea level.
The most abundant animals are rattlesnakes, eagles, lizards and weasels. As for the flora, cactus and shrubs stand out. However, it is common to find fossils of a varied fauna, which indicates that in the past it was an area of great biodiversity.
This desert reaches its maximum splendor at nightfall, when temperatures drop to 18 ° C. Thanks to its location, its clear sky and the absence of light pollution, it is a perfect place to observe the stars.
Therefore, here we find the Astronomical Observatory of La Tatacoa, considered the best in the country. It is open to the general public and talks are given on most days.
Likewise, a special event is held every year: the Fiesta de las Estrellas or Star party. Colloquiums, routes and various activities related to astronomy are organized there.
This area is also interesting for those most attracted to the mystery, since there are several people who claim to have sighted UFOs from here. It has even built a UFO port in an area where several supposedly landed.
In the desert of La Tatacoa we find several accommodation options of different rates and with enough services for the tourist.
There are numerous hotels in which we can spend the night throughout this area. Among them, we find the following:
- Bethel Bio Luxury Hotel
- Saturn Nights
- Yaraka Hotel
- The Holes
Some of these have natural pool and restaurant, and offer the possibility of sleeping in a traditional cabin. As for the prices, they vary depending on the season and the establishment, since there are from cheap to those that exceed 500,000 pesos (COP) for a double room.
On the other hand, if you are taking a trip as a backpacker or just want to sleep in direct contact with the nature of this unique place, you can also camp in your own tent. In the following photo you can see how wonderful this experience can be:
At 300 meters from the Astronomical Observatory you will find a camping area with services such as restaurant, tour guides, etc. In addition, you can rent a horse, a motorcycle or a bicycle to explore the desert.
How to get
You can go to the desert of La Tatacoa with your own car or motorcycle, since the roads are in good condition. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay several tolls. The distance between this point and some of the most important cities in Colombia is as follows:
- Bogota: 280 km
- Cali: 360 km
- Ibague: 183 km
- Medellin: 570 km
- Neiva: 43 km
- San Agustin: 264 km
There are also buses from some of these municipalities and it is possible to hire vans with drivers from Neiva, San Agustín or Bogotá, among others.
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