San Agustín Archaeological Park in Colombia is a unique archaeological treasure, in which are preserved remains of various tribal groups before the arrival of the Inca here. This monument is a world heritage site, under UNESCO protection, because it is filled with works of art from the pre-Columbian era.
The geographic location of the reserve is only 3 km from town San Agustin in Columbia. It is a part of the province of Huila. The most convenient transportation to the surface her are buses to the National Park which come regularly from the capital Bogota, which is 9 hours away from the city of Popayán and where you will travel two hours less.
To view all archaeological monuments that are scattered throughout the area of preserve, the best option is hiking. The park is about 800 sq. km. and is considered the largest such historical region in South America. Of course, small buses have been provided. There's also an option to get a horse for hire.
Private mini buses can be used by visitors to drive straight to the biggest attraction of San Agustin, Parque Arqueologico, by incorporating several ancient tombs, many statues and a small museum.
Throughout the natural complex about 500 statues are stored, as well as tombs and paintings on stone, located in groups on both sides of the gorge of the Rio Maddalena. Some of the sculptures recreate mythological creatures and real people, as well as gods. Other subjects are animals. There are statues of the jaguar, frogs, eagles, snakes, monkeys and more.
Jaguar was a sacred animal in the local tribes. It is believed that the chief or shaman of the group was able to become a wild beast, to keep harmony between people and nature. Overall sculptures of animals indicate that major tribes had believed in the concept of transformation.
Most of stone sculptures have been discovered during excavations by the 30s of last century. When they were found on them original paint had still been preserved, which was colored - yellow, red and blue.
If you visit the reserve do not forget to sample some local drinks. Drinking coffee is extremely popular. Offered by the local people is a rather exotic alcoholic drink called Chicha guarapo, whose recipe was left by the ancient aborigines.