Saturday, September 15, 2012


Leaving Calí took us to Popoyán, a fine little colonial city that actually would have been a better town to explore than Cali, but what can you do.  Even so, all we did was a moto tour of the downtown area.

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We headed directly out of town to Aguas Hirviendo hot springs, which we heard were hot (seems like they should be given that they are called "Boiling Waters") and had a place to stay.  Turns out when it's not vacation time, this little place all but shuts down.  We decided to rent out a room in a cabin for a few reasons, it included unlimited access to the springs and would be much warmer than trying to camp nearby.

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(Spacious accomodations)

(the water was more sulfury and green than hot)

(dogs loving the milk truck was about the most activity we saw)

Our ride to Tierradentro was cold, wet, and muddy.  For the first stretch, the road was packed enough with rocks that the riding was still pretty easy.  But soon construction work slowed our progress substantially, and turned the road into a mud pit.

But then we got near Inzá and the construction became too much for us.  So we all decided to lay down.  It must have been a hysterical sight to see, which some people did, as we were right next to a group of people.  We came to a stop behind a big truck in deep mud, extremely rutted by heavy truck traffic.  Getting moving again, Mike -- in his proven off-roading style -- managed to get the front wheel in one rut with the back wheel stuck in the other parallel rut.  The attempted correction was the last straw.  So all 3 of us took a nap.  In really deep mud (which actually made for an extremely soft landing).  At basically no speed.  And for the rest of the day our left sides were covered in mud.  We got lots of laughs when we asked directions in Inzá.  No pictures are available for 2 reasons:  our camera, while waterproof, does not have a lens cover so when it's raining pictures don't turn out and more importantly, our hands were so muddy that we did not want to touch the camera.  We looked absolutely ridiculous.

We found a nice little hospedaje, Mi Casita, directly across from the Tierradentro museum for 24000 COP a night (~US$ 13).  The couple running the house helped us clean all of our gear and gave us a good place to dry it out.  They were super nice. Staying down by the museum was better for us than staying up in the little town of San Andres de Pisambala.  It was chill, whereas the places in town seemed a bit more done up.  So chill, in fact, that we only had one place to choose from for dinner and we had to let her know a couple of hours early if we were going to eat.  But at least she was a good cook.

(vino de coca helped fill in the gap between ordering and eating.  This is the only town we saw it in.  Which is too bad.  It was good)

Tierradentro is one of Colombia's 4 archeological parks and is well worth the visit.  It is situated in a stunning valley, the locals are happy to see and talk to visitors, the hiking is great, museum well put together, and tombs really interesting to see.  The tombs date back to around 600-900 AD, are the only type like this found in Colombia, and are even more intriguing because nobody knows what happened to this civilization.

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(the tombs are dug down up to 6m deep)

(up at Aguacate there were tens of tombs found, some in better shape than others, on a leveled plateau)

(many tombs still have red, white and black paintings evident)

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(the hike itself was fantastic)

(an exposed tomb)

(if only chickens could work the coffee grinder)

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(the tombs were generally second burial sites. The bodies would decompose at the first site, the remains would be placed into ceramic urns like these, and then reburied in the deep tombs)

(lots of the tombs had columns. Some of those had faces)

(this little guy was still alive)

From Tierradentro we rode to San Agustín, another one of Colombia's arqueological parks.  On the way, we found some more Colombian hospitality and usual sights.

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(this guy stopped to talk with us as we were taking a road side break.  He was taking this cilantro to market in Pitalito)

(this bus isn't full yet)

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