*Disclaimer: Though this is being written during the COVID 19 crisis, the travel took place in 2019. I merely have the time to write about my past experiences now with the quarantine in place. I do not condone going against the regulations and advice currently in place during the pandemic.
If you read my last post you know I had a rough day of travel dealing with illness. Thankfully, the next day I woke up feeling much better. We had breakfast at our hotel before hitting the road to head down to San Agustín.
Our drives were often adventures, but this one in particular was memorable. We ended up on this small dirt road in the rain heading through a natural park. There were signs to watch out for Tapir and Spectacled Bears. Sadly we saw neither, but it was still quite the adventure heading through what felt like wilderness.
We stopped briefly at a canyon with a beautiful river running through it. We enjoyed taking some photos before getting back on the road again.
After enjoying the view for a bit, we continued on our way. At last we reached paved road again making the drive a little bit smoother.
We finally made another stop at a waterfall. This one we were actually able to see, unlike the one we’d tried to see on our second day. I believe it was Salto del Mortiño from doing a little searching, but don’t take my word on that for sure. I also don’t feel photos really can do it justice. It was beautiful and the canyon it flows into is impressive.
From there we made our way to our main destination of San Agustín. I, like many others, had never heard of this place before coming to Colombia. As it turns out, it’s a pretty impressive archaeological park, actually the largest collection of megalithic sculptures in Latin America. As someone who has a spent a lot of time in Europe, I’ve seen plenty of archaeological sites, but none of them were anything like San Agustín.
The park was spread over a large area of land, with various sculpture and structures as well as a museum and a sort of outdoor statue gallery. All of the sculptures were pretty amazing, though some were in better shape than others. One of the things I found the most impressive was a “fountain” which was where people had carved into the rock of a riverbed, with decorations and various channels and pools. It was beautiful and incredible to see, unlike anything I’d seen before.
We really enjoyed our time at the park. Once we had seen everything, we were pretty tired, especially after climbing a large hill and enjoying the views. However, my dad mentioned there was a really cool carving outside of the park called La Chaquira.
We drove down an incredibly muddy and steep road until we could go no further as a small river was running over the road. We parked and started walking, but it was taking longer than we had expected. We asked a local how much further and he estimated maybe another kilometer.
As we were all pretty tired we opted to turn around and head back. We got in the car and began driving, but unfortunately our rental car had very little horsepower, and only about half way up we started sliding back down the hill.
My mom, my brother, and I all climbed out of the car, hoping a little less weight might make the car able to climb the hill. My dad tried a second and then a third time, with no luck.
A local man showed up trying to get down the road. He stopped and got out of his car to come help us. He gave some directions to my dad while me, my brother, and mom all tried to push the car.
Unfortunately, in the process of getting out of the way as it began to roll back down the hill, my mom slipped and caught her hand on some barbed wire. I pulled some bandaids out of my purse and patched her as best I could.
Two girls who were hiking ran into us next, as did a man on a motorcycle. They all stopped what they were doing and offered to help. My brother was getting a low blood sugar (he’s diabetic) and needed to step aside to rest. But between me, my mom (one handed), the two girls, the motorcyclist, and the local who had first stopped to help we managed to give it a good enough push to get up the rest of the hill.
We thanked our good Samaritans and then climbed back into the car all exhausted and muddy, but very glad to be off of that nasty road.
After all that nonsense we finally went to check into our hotel, a beautiful place called Hotel Estorake. The owner graciously gave us some towels to clean up with and some fruity tea. Once we were settled my dad went to find some antiseptic cream to put on my mom’s injured hand and some soda or juice for my brother’s low blood sugar. We rested and enjoyed the beautiful hotel in the meantime.
Finally, all feeling slightly better after our wild day, we went to grab dinner. We went to a place called Altos de YerbaBuena. I had some steak, though it was a little under-cooked for my tastes (and I’m not usually opposed to pink). Everything else was amazing though, especially the fresh juice.
After we’d finished our dinner we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. We hoped the next day might be just a little less eventful, but at least we’d had an amazing adventure we would always remember.