- Adventure Fix
- Tatacoa Desert
Colombia's otherworldly rock formations
Welcome to Adventure Fix, the newsletter that helps you discover extraordinary journeys and experiences across the globe.
Today, we’re heading to Neiva, Colombia to explore the Tatacoa Desert.
Despite its name, this vast landscape isn't a typical desert but a dry tropical forest, known for its distinctive rock formations and incredible stargazing opportunities.
Photo: Alee Denham
The Tatacoa Desert is a geologist's paradise that has two distinct regions: the Cuzco area characterized by its red earth and the Los Hoyos area with its ash-gray tones.
Wind and water erosion have sculpted the landscape over millions of years, creating labyrinthine canyons, towering cliffs, and peculiar rock formations that beckon exploration.
The Red Desert (a.k.a Cuzco) is the most popular part, with several viewpoints overlooking the unreal scenery.
The Grey Desert of Tatacoa is about a 30-minute drive from the Red Desert. The landscape in this part of the desert feels even more surreal; it is nicknamed ‘The Valley of Ghosts’ because of its unique shapes. You can also follow a short trail with amazing, moon-like scenery.
With minimal light pollution and clear skies, the Tatacoa Desert is one of the best places in South America to go stargazing.
Because the desert is so close to the equator, you can see the whole of the sky of the north and the whole of the sky of the south.
When the conditions are perfect, you should be able to see the galaxy with the naked eye.
During the day, there are plenty of ways to explore the area.
Trekking through the labyrinthine paths, cycling across the barren terrain, or setting off on a horseback expedition are just a few ways to immerse yourself in the desert's raw beauty and tranquility.
The best time to visit is during the dry season, between December and March.
Photo: Jodi Dejong
If you would like to learn more, here are some links you can check out to get more information about visiting the Tatacoa Desert.
How to Visit the Tatacoa Desert
Reaching the Tatacoa Desert requires a bit of time and effort. The closest town is Villavieja, here you’ll find a few accommodation options. You can also opt for camping under the starry skies in the desert.
Navigating the expanse is made easier by hiring a tuk-tuk driver who can take you to various sights.
Also, consider joining a guided tour to appreciate the desert's geological and astronomical wonders fully.
We hope your travels take you in this direction very soon.
Until then - keep exploring!