After a night in the hell of a tourist paradise, intestinal infections and the morning with a typically bad Colombian coffee, we continue the journey. The actual Panamericana is blocked by a landslide. But there are few roads. We follow “a” Panamericana and marvel at all its aspects, all its faces, all its surprises.
Today we make no stops and drive inland past the towns of Neiva and Villavieja. We continue to traverse the green bush until the landscape changes relatively suddenly.
We cross rivers and smaller rivulets, but the vegetation decreases. Then we pass farmland, the trees are fewer, but the number of scrubby bushes increases. Then cacti join them. Then we get to where there is a stunning – albeit very small – desert to marvel at: the Tatacoa.
Similar to the Canadian Badlands, wind and water have created incredible rock formations here. The high iron content in the soil gives it a remarkable red colour. According to my research, it is one of the most fascinating landscapes in Colombia. Located in the southern part of the country, the desert covers an area of about 330 square kilometers and consists mainly of red clay and rocks. The stunning geological formations of the desert have evolved over millions of years and offer us a spectacular backdrop.
The region is also a popular destination for astronomy enthusiasts as it offers some of the best stargazing in Colombia. The Tatacoa Desert is a unique travel destination that leaves an unforgettable impression with its bizarre rock formations, breathtaking scenery and clear night skies.
We reach the desert for lunch and have enough time to lounge around. Because we’re still tired from last night and it’s still blazing hot. We take some photos and then we lie down for a nap.
Uwe sets up his tent and swelters in the heat under the tarpaulin. There is little wind, which could offer a cooling.
I’m only moderately tired; my sense of adventure is stronger and drives me out among the rocks where I take more photos. While the others vegetate to themselves, I climb up and down the hills to take photos.
The joy at the sight outweighs the tiredness. Only later do I lie down and then it is already evening.
But after a light dinner we start again. We hadn’t had a chance to walk through the labyrinth of stone pillars. We’ll catch up on that now. The sun is slowly sinking towards the horizon.
Meanwhile we explore the Tatacoa from the perspective of its valleys and canyons. This time is significantly better than noon. The temperature is now very comfortable.
We are with the camper at a campsite with an excellent location. We’re the only ones here and we’re standing right on the edge of the Red Valley.
The sunset is a good balance to the messed up day before and lets us forget all the agony. It is wonderful.
The morning is beautiful too. I get up before sunrise and use the hour for photos. The sun finally rises majestically over the sandstone pillars and envelops the country in colour. We don’t rush with breakfast.
To celebrate this beautiful moment, I make good coffee with my espresso pot. Then it’s on to the Valley of the Constellations and a morning “mud” bath.