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Villavieja

Villavieja is a tiny village close to the Tatacoa Desert. There are no real attractions in the village itself, but it is the jumping-off point to the desert. Near Villavieja is Aipe, which is across the river and on the main highway that runs between Neiva and Bogotá. Be aware that villaviejans don’t like residents of Aipe; they believe people from Aipe are thieves. Neither town wants to build a bridge to make transportation easier for each other or visitors to the Tatacoa Desert. Based on the bad blood between these two towns, some say it may be safer to bypass Aipe altogether. That said, it does not feel dangerous.

The easiest way to get to Villavieja is from Neiva (1 hr, $3). Collectivos run hourly from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The closest town to Villavieja is Aipe, which is located across the river and on the main highway running between Neiva and Bogotá. If you’re heading to Villavieja from Ibagué or Bogotá and you prefer not to travel to Neiva and backtrack to Villavieja, you can take any bus to Neiva and get dropped off on the highway in Aipe. Walk through Aipe town and down the hill to the river bank (1.6 km/0.9 mi, 20 min). There is a motored canoe that shuttles people back and forth between Aipe and Villavieja every half hour during the day (15 min, $1). From the drop off point on the other side of the river, it’s a short 10-minute walk to Villavieja center. A morning bus to Bogotá (5 hr, $12) leaves Villavieja at 5 a.m.

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Other places nearby Villavieja: Desierto de La Tatacoa, Ibagué, Neiva and Honda.




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