You need at least 3 days to visit it, our advice: one week.
On the agenda
Archaeological sites, pink river dolphins, 2 coloured rivers, rock outcrops from Guyanese Shield, natural swim pools, waterfalls, lakes, boat rides, hikes, peace tourism… well, it is a long list. Let us try to make it short:
You will find samples of ancient rock art throughout La Lindosa plateau National Archaeological Area, but you cannot miss one of the three greatest sites:
– Cerro Azul: More than 10.000 ft2 of paintings in different walls you can hike. It is a 3,2 km long circuit with two short moments of medium difficulty in an ascending path, crossing by a 650 feet long cave and getting finally to an outstanding viewpoint over the infinite forest.
– Raudal: Besides rock art, you cross the gorge of Guayabero with a refreshing break in a little waterfall inside a tiny cave, then you walk in the forest to reach this unique art wall and go on ascending to one of the greatest viewpoints in the region.
– Nuevo Tolima: The smallest among the highest not lacking of charm. A shorter walk with the same difficulty level as others. Impressive wall with a spectacular viewpoint. This half-a-day trip should complete a day with other destinations in the area or could be barely enough for people with short time to visit.
About the authors, hard to say, we just know there has been occupations in the area around 12.600 years BP, although painting dating is uncertain. During the visit, you will have information about researches results in archaeology, ethnography, biology…
Pink River Dolphins
Sometimes you may see river dolphins in the rivers or when crossing Raudal, but if you want to be sure at 99 % to see them, you must go to Nare Lake.
You can get there by boat or by off-road truck. Visit takes the whole day. Before the lake, you make a hike surrounded by birds and monkeys. You arrive at Pacho’s family house, a rural community sharing with dolphins for decades. Nubia delights you with meals mainly composed with local products. Pacho lead you by boat to visit Tatis (the way they name dolphins). As the boat sails, dolphins approach twirling around, you get then to the “pool” (the deepest spot proper for bathing) and plunge. Good options to interplay with dolphins, It is a call of nature among these completely savage but friendly species.
San Jose del Guaviare hosts a couple of rivers with the Macarena or Rhycholacis clavigera red plant appearing between May and November every year.
– Tranquilandia is the most visited for locals and visitors. It is near the village. Avoid going there on weekends, as it will be probably crowded. There is a very nice spot for bathing downstream.
– Rincon de los Toros is a very well preserved place and much less visited. Owners having decided to close it, they managed to conserve its beauty. Different areas for watching red plants with a natural pool downstream to swim.
Visit to one coloured river take half-a-day and you can complete it with Orion’s Door, Rock Caves, Natural Bridges, Waterfalls or Laguna Negra.
– Natural Tunnels is a private reservation to protect a mixed space of savannas and rock outcrops. New animal’s traces like tapirs or big anteater reappear. Rocks bring to mind an open-air sculpture museum. Some of them even with rock art samples. Visit goes on by galleries and labyrinth-like pathways. It looks like incredible sci-fi scenarios. If you are in a little group, you can finish the visit bathing in the crystal waters of Jacuzzi pool.
– Ciudad de Piedra or Stone Village is another fictional site. Sedimentation tracks resemble an old abandoned city. It is a short visit proper to complete Tunnels, Nuevo Tolima or Natural Well hikes.
– Natural Bridges is another short hike leading you towards a three-arcs-rock formation. A stunning place to complete other visits like Coloured Rivers, Waterfall trail or Laguna Negra.
Wells and Waterfalls…
You have different sites in where it is impossible to say no to a refreshing bath.
– Natural Wells is a path along La Esperanza creek that passes by Love’s Waterfall and continues downstream towards the Pozos, wells on the rock that create natural pools reaching 10 ft deep.
– Waterfall Trail. El Paraiso farm offers an attractive path along a very well preserved forest. During this half-a-day trek, you will visit Guacabo and Rainbow waterfalls.
– Las Delicias Waterfall. A few kms after El Paraiso you arrive to Las Delicias (delights after paradise make sense). You have two different entries to enjoy this beauty waterfall.
… and Lakes
Besides Nare Lake for visiting pink river dolphins, if you are an idyllic-places lover, don´t miss this boat ride near the village. Two families offer it, starting in the stream and flowing to the mysterious waters in Laguna Negra.
Former guerrilla fighters have created two new villages with regional tourism projects, so you can get another approach to this new national transformation period. With interpretive trails and relaxing thermal baths.
People’s warmth broadens large biodiversity. Coming from all over the country, they have colonialized the area since the 50’s. The region has hardly suffered cocaine war effects and with 2016’s peace agreements, people see tourism as a tool for sustainable economic recovery. Indigenous populations have strongly diminished with colonization process and represent only about a 10% of total population now. However, there are three reservations in the surroundings but tourism remains an unadvised activity yet as there are not real analyses about how tourism would affect these vulnerable communities living in precarious conditions.
How to get there?
In our site’s section “The region”, you will find actualized information.
Where to sleep?
You will find hotels for every budget, residences, guesthouses, and more and more offers of housing in surrounding properties.
You have a wide gastronomic offer growing. With meats, fishes, local products, traditional meals, fruits, vegetables and fast food.
Traveling in a group (up to eight people) prices will be more comfortable. One-day activity costs around $45 USD with transportation, lunch, entry fees, travel assistance, water and guides. Some activities probably from $ 30 USD going beyond $ 120 USD when you travel alone or in couple to visit dolphin’s lake.
Marcel Reina +57 3330413934, Professional guide trilingual Spanish/English/French.
Juan Guerrero +57 3115539838, Professional guide.
Cesar Arredondo +57 3134785605 Professional guide, birdwatching expert.
See also @Biodiverso.travel www.biodiversotravel.com