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The El Tablón-El Purutal Circuit - Ruin San Agustín - Colombia

Between San Agustín and the Parque Arqueológico are several quite interesting sites. El Tablón, only 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the village, is El Tablón, said to be dedicated to the Moon Diety, with five statues and an ethnographic museum. A dirt path wends almost 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) through the countryside and across a creek to the Río Magdalena. In a spectacular setting mid-way down a canyon are the massive rock carvings of La Chaquira. Continuing the circuit, you arrive next at La Pelota with statuary (including a warrior, and an eagle with a serpent). On the next rise several hundred meters away is El Purutal, a possible ceremonial site, whose statues yet retain the colorful paints of their creators.

San Agustín, Colombia


Getting There

All the paths are well-signed. The entire 15- kilometer (9-mile) hike takes six to seven hours. To begin at El Tablón, walk up Carrera 14 over the hill to the sign. The preferable direction, though, is to begin at El Purutal, the furthest site (1.5 kilometers / 1 mile), as then it will all be downhill.

Travel Tips:

The paths can be quite muddy. You can break the hike up into two days, visiting El Purutal and La Pelota one day, and El Tablón and La Chiquira (two hours round trip) the other. To save time, you can take a buseta ($0.50) to either the turn-off for El Tablón or El Purutal, or hire horses. Refreshments are available only near El Tablón.

Price Description:

All these sites are free; the Museo Etnográfico at El Tablón costs $1.20.

Open Hours from:Dawn

Open Hours to:Dusk

Travel Skills: beginner/easy.

You Need to Bring:

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

Parque Arqueológico, the tombs and museum at Obando, Alto de los Ídolos, Alto de las Piedras and many other lesser-known sites. If you get “ruined-out,” raft down the Río Magdalena or play tejo.

Currencies accepted
Colombian Peso

Here are other activities in and around San Agustín that may be of interest: Obando, Parque Arqueológico and San José de Isnos.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

19 Aug 2011

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