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Colombia: Pueblito Chairama ruins

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Pueblito Chairama ruins | Colombia | Americas

[Visited: April 2009]

It was a sunny, warm afternoon when I started from Cabo San Juan del Guía. Initially, I was walking in the shadow of the leaves on the trees above me, and the path seemed easy enough. I crossed a brook and thought that I was in for an easy walk up to the Tayrona ruins of Pueblito, but not for long. Pretty soon, I found myself crawling under boulders, climbing over huge slabs of stone and roots that had grown around tree trunks, and stepping on stones to cross yet another small stream of water. I was dripping wet when I finally arrived at the mountain top at around 250 metres above sea level - in around 50 minutes. Once one of the main towns of the Tayrona, Pueblito has crumbled under the hands of time. Only a small family currently live on these ancient grounds with a history.

Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Terrace of Pueblito

I directly stumbled upon one of the main terraces of this settlement of Chairama, or Pueblito as it is often called. Stone stairs leading up to the terrace were still remarkably well in shape, but the terrace itself was overgrown by the grass. It provided for a good vantage point from which to enjoy the surrounding area. Descending the stairs, I continued walking to the other side of this ancient settlement, to find more terraces and more basements of what used to be houses. In fact, it has been claimed that there are more than 250 terraces scattered around the area. During my explorations of these ruins, I came across two pretty circular terraces, in an open area in the forest. Two donkeys had chosen one terrace each, and looked a little disturbed by me.

Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Stairs leading up to a terrace of Pueblito

Chairama, or Pueblito, was one of the main settlements of the Tayrona, the original inhabitants of this region of Colombia. It is estimated that in its heyday it had around 4,000 inhabitants. The city was founded in the mid 5th century, and lasted until the 1600s when the Tayrona were definitely defeated by the Spanish. The Tayrona had a quite advanced culture, and Chairama or Pueblito was one of their main towns. I decided that I should go back as the sun was going down. After having explored the ruins for several hours, I realized I should be back before darkness. Fortunately, at that moment I saw the first foreigners I had seen in the previous hours, and thanks to them, I found an alternative way to descend to the coast again. The walk down was much easier, but unfortunately no views over the sea. After arriving at the beach, I continued over the nudist beach before coming back to Cabo San Juan de la Guía. Time for a drink.

Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Slabs of stone are al that remain of this ancient structure at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Donkey resting on a terrace of Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Stairs and terrace at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Outline of one of the structures at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Tayrona ruins at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Stones defining the outlines of ancient Tayrona structures at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Ancient Tayrona wall built on boulders
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Stairs leading up to an old Tayrona terrace at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Detail of Tayrona structure at Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Tree overgrowing the path to Pueblito
Picture of Pueblito Chairama ruins (Colombia): Stone path through the jungle

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