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San José de Isnos - Ruin San Agustín - Colombia

Altitude: 2,075 meters / 6,806 feet, Population: 23,756, City Code: 2

San José de Isnos (Quechua for Sacred Rock) is a small village 26 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of San Agustín. Five kilometers (3 miles) west is one of the most important Agustinian sites, Alto de los Ídolos, consisting of 37 funerary monuments dating from 1st century B.C.-6th century A.D. Some of the sculptures at this crescent-moon-shaped site yet retain their paint.

Five kilometers (3 miles) east of Isnos is Alto de las Piedras, a 9th-century B.C. site that is home to the famed Doble-Yo (Double- or Dual-I) figure. This orchid-adorned place contains nine burial mounds with statuary. Another nine kilometers (5.5 miles) along the same road, just before Bordones village, Salto de Bordones, a 300-meter (984-foot) high, chocolate-colored waterfall, plummets through the jungle. A broken stone trail leads to its base (one hour down).

You can also choose to stay in San José and use it as a base for visiting these sites and others. It has several hotels and restaurants. Major celebrations are the Carnaval Blanco y Negro the first week of January and Holy Week; the patron saint day, in honor of San José, is March 19. Market day is Saturday.


26 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of San Agustín.

Near San Agustín, San Agustín, Colombia

Ruin Types:

Getting There

All-day jeep tours include Alto de los Ídolos, Alto de las Piedras and Salto de Bordones. Alternately, you can try to visit these sites on your own. First go to the crossroads below San Agustín, then to San José de Isnos ($2.10 total). On market days (

Travel Tips:

Signs at both archaeological sites are only in Spanish. You can hire a guide at Alto de los Ídolos (extra charge). Jeep tours do not include the entry fees, the lunch in San José de Isnos, nor a visit to the Museo Etnográfico at Bordones.

Price Description:

Colombians $5.60, Foreigners $8.50. Children 7-17 years old, adults over 62 years $2.80; children under 7 years old free.

Alto de las Piedras: free.

Salto de Bordones: $1.

Relative price: Budget

Open Hours from:Daily 8 a.m.

Open Hours to:Daily 4:30 p.m.

Travel Skills: None

You Need to Bring:

Water, high-energy snacks, sun block, hat, rain gear, sturdy footwear.

Archaeological sites: Parque Arqueológico, El Tablón, El Purutal, La Pelota, La Chaquira, Obando; some lesser-known ones are Alto de las Guacas and Alto del Tigre (del Mortiño). Natural sites: Salto de Mortiño, the Straits of the Magdalena and the caves at Lavaderos.

Currencies accepted
Colombian Peso

Here are other activities in and around Near San Agustín that may be of interest: Obando,

20 Aug 2011

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