From Bogota, we headed south towards the Tatacoa Desert. We didn’t know much about this desert besides a few pictures we had seen that looked very similar to Bryce Canyon in Utah. These pictures were enough to inspire us to want to visit this place.
Our first night camping in the Tatacoa we took a walk at sunset that offered some spectacular views of the desert.
The Tatacoa Desert is located about 5 kilometers east of Villavieja. Unfortunately, there is no bridge from the main highway across the Rio Magdalena directly to Villavieja, so you have two options:
- You can drive south to Nieve, cross the bridge, then back-track north on the other side of the river to Villavieja.
- The other (and more direct) option is to take the fork east at Golondrinas, which leads to a small bridge and a narrow dirt road down to Villavieja. We opted for the second option, and really enjoyed the beautiful drive (although it was slower since we were on a dirt road).
This map shows the options for getting to the Tatacoa if you are approaching from the north (Bogota). We opted for option 2, which was more direct and had some great scenery.
Hero on the road from Golondrinas to Villavieja. This is a beautiful drive and a more direct route, but you’re on a dirt road the whole way.
We camped next to this Observatory our first night in the desert. For $5, you can look through a couple big telescopes they have. We saw Saturn, Mars, and a globular cluster (our favorite).
We were just blown away by the colors and beauty of this place.
The light in the later afternoons and evenings brought out the dark red of the rocks.
The following morning we hiked down through the desert and decided to explore. Erica following the trail down.
We got lost multiple times as we hiked around the canyon. Luckily, a hike up to the rim would allow us to reorient ourselves.
These cacti had really interesting flowers that had a chili pepper shaped fruit under them. The goats wandering around the desert loved to eat these.
In the afternoon, we drove from the red desert to the grey desert.
We decided to visit this pool in the grey desert, which had been around for hundreds of years. The pool was a bit of a bust, but we had a great time hiking in this area.
It is very dry in the Tatacoa. One sign claimed they only receive 1mm of rain per year.
We saw some of that 1mm of rain per year while we were on our hike, and it brought about a pretty nice rainbow.
That evening, we opted to camp closer to the red desert. We had a pretty amazing view out the back of the XPCamper.
Yep.. this will do!
The only issue with our epic camp spot was the mob of Colombians who showed up and wanted a peak inside the XPCamper.
This photo was taken at a great Mirador where you can grab a cold beer and enjoy the view.
This is our self portrait in shadows. We are almost that tall in real life.
Great views, hiking, and some really nice camping spots. We’re really glad we took the time to visit the Tatacoa Desert.