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San Agustín (2): an amazing piece of horseback riding in Colombia

by Sabine
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San Agustín: the archaeological destination in Colombia. But besides old statues, there is much more to see in this region. Indeed, nature is impressively beautiful. Earlier I wrote about a day trip by car to waterfalls and statues, among others; this article focuses on the fantastic trip on horseback. Horseback riding in Colombia can be done in many places, of which San Agustín is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beautiful. Discover San Agustín on horseback in text, photos and video!

Horseback riding in Colombia: discover San Agustín

Although you can reach the destinations you will visit on a horseback ride also on another way, by horseback is the most popular and beautiful way to explore this part of San Agustín. I am actually not a big fan of horseback riding, yet without a doubt I found the pain and anxiety totally worth it. Unlike in, for example Parque Tayrona or Chicaque, I found this route more doable. There were definitely exciting parts a little steeper downhill and also we rode through deep mud and water a few times, but in the end it was quite fun. What are you going to see during horseback riding in San Agustín?


Stop 1: from Eco-Hotel Restaurante La Antigua to Alto La Pelota and El Purutal

Together with a family from Medellín who was also staying at our hotel, we left for the first stop. The horses came to the hotel, along with the guide. The eight of us rode on the road for a bit before changing to a dirt trail. The area is spectacular with beautiful views and cute cottages. I thought it would be hugely crowded with other horseback riding tours, but thankfully it was not at all.


Alto La Pelota and El Purutal

After more than an hour, we arrive at Alto La Pelota and Alto de El Purutal. Without a doubt the most beautiful images I have seen in all of San Agustín. This is because the color has been preserved on these images, giving a very special effect. The colors come from the trees, which of course is quite unique. Our guide showed us that and of course we all got a little color on our hands. One of these images depicts the sacrifice of a baby, very unusual. What is also special about El Purutal is that the statues you can see here were found in their original locations.


Stop 2: The impressive views and unusual stones at La Chaquira

The second and final stop is La Chaquira. Here we first walk down a bridge and staircase, where we are treated to fantastic views: the most beautiful I have seen in San Agustín. We walk toward the canyon where 200 meters below runs the famous Río Magdalena. At the end we come to volcanic rock where many years ago someone delivered a clever piece of sculpture. A woman can be seen in the rocks with her arms raised, also faces and images of animals. The rocks have great views of the canyon, as do we. Not only can you see the Río Magdalena, but there are also some five waterfalls to discover. Only when we have recovered from this beautiful view do we climb back up to the horses, to continue our way back to civilization.


Watch the video: horseback riding in San Agustín!

While riding, I didn’t take pictures, but Jimmy filmed. I made a fun video of this, and it can be viewed below. See live footage of this trip, including beautiful nature, scenic roads and views, cute cottages and ourselves, of course. Enjoy!


Practical information

The route

I don’t know the exact route, since we went after the guide, but you can see the locations below. You can also walk these destinations, but that obviously takes many hours more time. Part of the route is not accessible to cars due to the poor condition of the roads.


Horseback riding in San Agustín: how to arrange it and what does it cost?

We arranged horseback riding at our hotel, where the guide with his horses came to pick us up. The easiest way is to ask in your ho(s)tel what the options are, or arrange a horseback ride at the helpful information center in San Agustín. It seems that you can also arrange horses at other places in San Agustín, such as the archaeological museum or in the village itself, but always check the condition of the horses and whether they are well cared for. We paid 60,000 pesos (€17.30) per person, in high season.

Do you need to be able to ride horses?

No, you don’t have to. I myself cannot ride a horse either and find it quite scary, but these horses often do this ride and stay calm with the group. Moreover, the guide supervised everyone well. There were also two children along, and that too went completely well. Therefore, also suitable for children.

How much time do you need and what do you take with you?

Our horseback riding tour lasted between 4 to 5 hours. If you want to visit the sights on foot, count on a full day. Bring a raincoat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water and some food. The weather can turn quickly and go from chilly and rainy to very warm. I myself also had a rain cover on my bag to protect my camera, among other things. At the sights you can go to the restroom and buy food and drinks, but in between there is nothing to buy.


Horseback riding in Colombia is fun, especially in San Agustín. Although I was in considerable pain the next day, I saw the most beautiful statues and views of San Agustín during exactly this ride. So absolutely worth it! Also fun to do in San Agustín: a day trip by car. There is so much more to see and do! Check this mini guide San Agustín for more tips and information.

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