Posted by: robinson2000 | January 25, 2011

San Agustin land of the Strange Statues!

20th-25th January – The 12 hour night bus was okay and dropped in the centre of San Agustin, a town famous for its archaeological sites, its great beauty of rolling green hills and its strange statues. We found a peaceful little hostel on the hillside overlooking the town where we met a couple from Norfolk. That afternoon Spicer and I hiked off to a waterfall called Cascade Rio which was about an hour’s walk into a huge valley. The landscape reminded me of a scene from the Johnny Depp film Blow where he fly’s to Colombia to buy vast quantities of drugs from farmers. There was virtually no one around and the path took us deep onto the floor of the valley through farmer’s fields and thick undergrowth with plenty of biting critters. I half expected us to stumble upon fields growing marijuana or to come across some militia group guarding their stronghold but the hike was well worth it and we cooled off in the river next to the waterfall. The biggest danger was the rapids and the big spiders on the rocks. On our way back up the valley as we reached the top gasping for water we were greeted by a friendly smiley farmer who offered us opium and cannabis which although very generous was not what we were after.

Over the next few days we slipped into San Agustin’s relaxed pace of life and spent most of the time hiking around to various archaeological sites which contained huge stone statues that they had excavated from the ground. They had found literally hundreds of these things, some up to 4 metres tall displaying either strange looking animals or human acts such as giving birth. Although we visited multiple museums and saw most of the statues, no one could explain where they had come from or why they had been created. On our final day in San Agustin after all the cultural stuff we injected a bit of excitement into the stay with some white water rafting. The rapids were grades 3 & 4 and were pretty good fun. The tour guide seemed to despise Rice and many water fights followed between the 8 of us.

As I write this before moving onto our final destination in Colombia, Cali I am surrounded by black ash which has covered the hostel inside and out. A fire which could be seen from miles away was apparently set off deliberately not far from us and burnt down a couple of houses. Due to the poorly constructed roof our beds are now covered in the stuff. Apparently this happens more often than not due to the tensions between the police and the local guerrilla groups which still inhabit parts of the area. Only last week it was reported that a petrol bomb was thrown at the local police station in San Agustin so there has been a strong military presence in town. Tomorrow we catch an early bus to Cali, Colombia’s third largest city and self declared salsa capital. The book describes it as a sensuous city with tropical rhythms seeping out from every part of the city. It also boasts of the most beautiful girls in the country which is quite the claim. Stay tuned to find out!

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  1. Hi,
    Please check the credentials of the ‘beautiful ladies’ carefully could be ‘lady boys’. Also keep the caps on please !!!!!!!
    Had our jabs for India yesterday, didn’t need yellow fever or malaria tabs so didn’t need to pay. Just as well as I took a paying in book, instead of a cheque book.
    Mick has a ‘home alone week-end’ as I’m off for a spa week-end with my old flat mates in Tenterden.
    take care.
    Dotty and Mick.x

  2. Fantastic blogs, Ben. Enjoy the salsa! Manjinder 😉

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