Burial Sites & Statues

You can visit all the burial sites in Tierradentro on a full-day, 14km walk. Allow at least seven hours to complete the loop at a leisurely pace. The walk takes you through some spectacular scenery, and it's well worth doing the entire circuit. You can follow the loop in either direction, but it is recommended to head out counterclockwise, otherwise you will have a tough uphill climb at the beginning of the hike. You'll need to pay your admission fee at the entrance to the Parque Arqueológico before setting out.

Only some of the tombs have electric lighting so bring a flashlight (torch) for better viewing. The tombs are open from 8am to 4pm.

Going counterclockwise, a 20-minute walk uphill from the museums is Segovia (1650m), the most important burial site. There are 28 tombs here, and it's believed that another 30-odd tombs remain buried nearby. Twelve of the tombs have electric lighting and are open to visitors; some with extremely well-preserved red, black and yellow geometric designs.

A 15-minute walk uphill from Segovia brings you to El Duende (1850m), where there are 12 tombs, five of which are open to visitors though their decoration hasn't been particularly well preserved. From here it's a 30-minute walk along the road to El Tablón (1700m), which has nine weather-worn stone statues of warriors, women and priests, similar to those of San Agustín, excavated in the area and now protected under a single roof. The site is poorly signposted; it is behind an adobe house with a tin roof perched on a hill on the left-hand side of the road. You can also get to El Tablón via the path off the main San Andrés road.

Continue into town. Next to the guesthouse and restaurant La Portada you'll find the path to Alto de San Andrés (1750m), with seven large tombs; Tomb 5 has remarkably well-preserved paintings, including depictions of human faces, and is considered one of the best in the park. Another of the tombs is closed because of structural instability and humidity, and another has caved in completely.

El Aguacate (2000m) is the most remote burial site, but has the best views. From Alto de San Andrés it's a steep 1½-hour walk up the mountainside, with superb countryside views en route, then downhill another 1½ hours back to the museums. There are 42 tombs, but most have been destroyed by guaqueros (tomb raiders). A total of 17 have been prepared for visitors, although only a few vaults still bear the remains of the original decoration. The best is Tomb 1, with its depictions of salamanders. Nearby, other overgrown tombs may appeal to those looking to discover their inner archaeologist.