Around the World in 80 Clicks

inspiring you to travel

Colombia: Archeological Park San Agustín

Mission accomplished image

Archeological Park San Agustín | Colombia | Americas

[Visited: January 2009]

After our gorgeous drive on horseback through the countryside north of San Agustín, we had a quick lunch at the entrance of the Archaeological Park of San Agustín. For our visit to the park, we were to rely on our own legs. While we entered the park, a light drizzle started to envelope us, and by the time reached mesita A, the first cluster of statues, we were quite wet. Here, we saw several groups of sculptures with a flat slab of stone on their heads. The typical set up is one central statue, the biggest one, flanked on both sides by several warriors or guardian angels, often in a row one behind the other.

Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Faces of stone statues at mesita A of San Agustín

From mesita A we walked directly to mesita C, another, smaller group of tombs and statues in the Parque Arqueológico de San Agustín. From here, it was a short walk to Fuente de Lavapatas. This is a sacred site where it is assumed religious ceremonies were held. In the rocky riverbed, figures of humans and animals like serpents and lizards are carved out. Unfortunately, the bridge allowing a good, close view of the area was closed. We stood at the side, trying to spot the different figures amid the small pools and channels. The sound of the water streaming down over this sacred bed of the stream made this a pleasant place to stay. After a while, though, we continued, and walked up to the Alto de Lavapatas, another site with a tomb. This time, on top of a hill, overlooking the neighbouring valleys and mountains.

Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Stone tomb at mesita B of San Agustín

Here, we saw a different kind of statues: higher, some more slender, and with a double representation of a human figure. After we enjoyed the view, we headed down again, and explored mesita B, the most extensive site of the entire Archeological Park of San Agustín. There are several burial mounds, as well as the largest statue of the entire park, the so-called Obispo or Bishop. We also found sarcophagi here, and some finely carved figures among the many statues. At the end of our visit, we also walked the trail in the Bosque de Estatuas, or the forest of statues. Here, we found some fine samples of the famous San Agustín statues. We were so immersed in studying the statues, that we realized just in time that it was getting dark and we needed to be out in time. Despite the several theories about the history, we realized that still much is unknown about the impressive culture of the pre-colombian people of San Agustín and their culture. For instance, some claim the culture is around 5,000 years old, others say it is only a mere 12 centuries old. Without written records, it will probably continue to be shrouded in mystery. Which, at the same time, adds to the attractiveness of visiting the statues of San Agustín.

Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Statue at mesita B
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Detail of a statue of a tomb at mesita B
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Sarcophagus at the mesita B site
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Human figures sculpted in the rocky riverbed of the Fuente de Lavapatas
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Overview of the Fuente de Lavapatas, a ceremonial site in the riverbed
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Animal face made of stone
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Some of the many statues on the path going through the Forest of Statues
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Face with teeth in a statue in mesita B of San Agustín
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Profile view of a statue in mesita B
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Close-up of face with typical teeth in a statue in mesita C
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Statue in the Forest of Statues in the Archaeological Park of San Agustín
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Statue in the Bosque de las Estatuas of the Archeological Park of San Agustín
Picture of Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia): Statue at the Alto de Lavapatas

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Archeological Park San Agustín (Colombia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Archeological Park San Agustín.
Read more about this site.

Follow us