In the southern part of Colombia there is a huge military and police presence with many checkpoints. Often the police or military would be standing by the road patrolling and giving the thumbs up to all the drivers passing by. More often than not we would be pulled over. Our checks were partly official but stemmed more from the officers’ curiosity and interest in our story. We would be parked by the side of the road for 10 plus minutes chatting, answering questions and receiving recommendations for foods we should try or places we should see. At one checkpoint they even wrote a list of these things for us.
The officers are always intrigued to talk with Keira and are so pleased that she can speak some Spanish words. We have always been greeted with a smile and a friendly manner. We have had some fun interactions.
The scenery as we headed into San Agustin was lush and green. We choose a hostel with a nice view and a grassy area to set up camp. A rest day was needed before we had enough energy to explore our surroundings.
San Agustin is known for its archeological sites. The sites are burial mounds that are dotted at various locations around San Agustin. There is not much known about the people of that time. The burial sites were structures made from large rocks. The sarcophagi were covered with a carved rock lid. There were also carved statues at the entrances. The carvings were of animals with human features or vise versa, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic.
The statues were spectacular and some were 3 meters tall.
We were very impressed with the museum and the quality of the exhibits and grounds.
The second largest waterfall in South America is also in this area, called La Chorrera. It is 400 meters tall.
We visited the main weekly market in San Agustin to restock our supplies of fruits, meats and vegetables. It was a very colorful market, with a wide selection of foods. It is amazing how much cheaper food is in Colombia. We found this amazing exotic fruit called Pitaya or dragon fruit. It is like a passion fruit inside and is very sweet.
The next portion of our trip was to take us northeast to Popayan. We heard the city is interesting, and it was also a good place for us to part company with Els and Gerret, as they needed to head back south to Ecuador.
HIGHLIGHTS/CHALLENGES OF THIS AREA:
MOST VALUED POSSESION: tire repair kit
BEST EXPERIENCE: Mike- the statues at San Agustin; Keira- I liked the bird statue, and seeing a beautiful butterfly that may be a new species; Riss- seeing the statues at San Agustin
MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE: Mike-trying to reaccess our emails after Microsoft shut them down; Keira- having my knee cleaned up after I scraped it when I fell; Riss- stomach cramps on a rough and winding road
BEST FOOD DISCOVERY: Mike-fresh red meat from the market, Keira- bubble gum- Els taught me to blow bubbles ; Riss- peanut brittle balls at the market
BEST CAMPING SPOT: in San Agustin
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.