Inside The Tatacoa Desert: One Of Colombia's Most Instagrammable Sites
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inside The Tatacoa Desert: One Of Colombia's Most Instagrammable Sites

Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Oct 8, 2021

Famous for being the second-largest arid region in the country— second only to the peninsula of Guajira— the Tatacoa Desert in Colombia is one of the country’s most photographed areas.

This desert is not as explored by tourists, but it is worth the trip for those who like to see natural landscapes and explore a different kind of scenery.

Located in the central Andean region, the Tatacoa Desert has 330 square kilometers of reddish and gray land, and its landscape is marked by several cacti. The local temperature can reach 100 °F, and the humidity is minimal, that’s why it is important to bring plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Fauna and flora are scarce, but you may see small rodents, snakes, spiders, lizards and cacti that can measure up to 16.40 ft. in height.

It is a place that often surprises in a very positive way.

Visiting the astronomical observatory is a must when you get there. Due to its geographic location and clear skies in the region, you’ll get a truly astonishing view of the stars. There is an entry fee, and there is a staff of lecturers on-site to help with information on astronomy. 

To truly enjoy this experience, you’ll want to stay overnight in the desert. There are several hotels in the city of Villavieja, where it is located. For those who prefer something adventurous, you can camp out in the desert  with tents. Just make sure to choose a safe spot and a good tent to avoid snakes and scorpions.

Another site destination that is worth visiting is El Cuzco. El Cuzco is more than mere rock formations. There, you can hike trails for about 40 minutes. Admission is free, and it is not mandatory to go with a guide.

In the same area, is Los Hoyos, a region that offers interesting rock formations different from the labyrinth. In Los Hoyos, the sand is gray, and you can walk for about 45 minutes until you reach a swimming pool with an incredible view. There is an entrance fee for this, too.

Piscilodo is another spot to be visited in the Tatacoa desert. It has three natural pools with therapeutic mud. It is located inside a small complex with a paid entrance. It can be reached by car or by trail in less than 2 hours, departing from the astronomical observatory.

How to get to the Tatacoa Desert

Tatacoa is just over 186 miles from Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city. To get there, you can hire a tour company or go on your own, by car. If you decide to hire a tour agency, it takes the whole day to get there by bus.

The car option is cheaper and gives you more freedom to take in the destination and be able to stop in some villages nearby. In Villavieja, there are restaurants and small markets. Once there, it is a must to try the local desert foods, such as goats and sweets made from milk.

The roads in the desert are unpaved, but easily accessible, so it’s easy to drive around.

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