Pre-Columbian Underground Tombs in Tierradentro, Colombia

 Tierradentro is an archaeological park in Andean’s central cordillera of Cauca, Colombia. The area is famous for Colombia’s pre-Hispanic culture as it holds several stone statues of human figures and many hypogea (underground tombs) dating from the 6th to the 10th century. Also it has a lot of culture to offer, the area remains somehow off-the-beaten track for tourists. When I took a minibus from Huila’s scorching capital – Neiva, there were barely any minibuses riding to Tierradentro. Most of the drivers asked me if I was heading to San Augustin instead, which is a much more famous archaeological park that features a bigger number of stone statues. I eventually decided to go to Tierradentro because of its ancient tombs and the paintings inside them. Turned out my trip was fantastic, today I take my dear Steemit friends to meet this amazing culture. Local bus in the nearby town, San Andres de Pisimbala, can be super full of people and goods. I thought it was going to the museum so I jumped in but it was actually going to other villages. There were also bigger bus but those mainly leave for the bigger cities. When I left the town, I took one of these bigger regular buses, it was 6 am and many kids already had to squeeze in the bus to school. The area of San Andres de Pisimbala is situated in the mountains, it is full of greenness and tranquility. The town is extremely small, with a couple of houses, one small shop where you can get Papa (a typical tasty Colombian snack with egg, potato and meat inside), an internet cafe and the only hotel and restaurant that arranges some the horse-riding.

Tierradentro has three parts: two museums and the tomb area. They offer a combined tickets for both, tickets are valid for two days so that you can take your time. The museums have a brief introduction to the culture in the area so it’s great to visit the museum first. You get a passport along with each ticket where you can make each tomb you visited stamped, which made it a great souvenir. The museums are close to the town San Andres de Pisimbala, where most tourists stay. The tombs area was a bit far from the museums. The scenery was absolutely serene. I enjoyed the hike around the sites. Hikes had varying levels of difficulties, quite decent not not so tiring. I love the views, especially the unique one with these tombs. There are around 30 such tombs that have been recovered and more are still covered by earth. Of these 30 tombs. some were open, some not, some of the paintings and carvings were better kept than others. . All have a guard/guide who can help you. Most tombs have lighting, but not all. I really enjoyed walking down the spiral stone stairs and discovering the old paintings. You can also rent a horses for an hour and ride them on one side of archaeological site, if you are not in the state of trekking. I tried it and it was cool. The horse guy, also the owner of the only hotel and restaurant in town is humorous and told a lot about the sites. I had my lunch at the square of the town, next to an unfinished church. This little town still had the tradition of cooking and eating together. Some ladies were cooking and serving the food for everyone. Most of the sites on the passport were concentrated in the tomb area and El Tablon which contains a small collection of interesting stone statues. But there were also a few other statues that spread all around the area. I decided to look for them as well. I had some difficult finding them as the area was huge and the statue wasn’t so obvious. Luckily I met a group of local people, I talked to them with my limited Spanish. This lady was so friendly. She lead me there to find some in the neighborhood, including this cool crocodile.



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