Visit Tierradentro Park in Colombia: tickets, prices, opening hours

Parc Tierradentro en colombie

Put on your explorer’s hat! Head to Tierradentro Park for a trip back in time, to discover the remains of a vanished civilization.

Who hasn’t dreamed of following in the footsteps of explorers in search of lost tombs? Like Indiana Jones plunging into the bowels of the earth to discover forgotten treasures. Colombia is the ideal destination to live out this childhood dream. Good news for lovers of history and adventure: a visit to Tierradentro Park gives you the chance to play just that role!

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park stretches across the mountains of the Andes. You’ll find five different archaeological sites featuring tombs dating back almost two thousand years! Despite investigations, very few references are known about the people behind them. One thing’s for sure: a visit to Tierradentro Park will take you back several centuries!

A brief history of Tierradentro Park

Parc Tierradentro tombeaux

Photo credit: Shutterstock / reisegraf.ch

How do you draw up a history of a little-known civilization? It’s a tricky task, and with good reason: archaeologists know nothing about the builders of these tombs! The only information they have is about their period of prosperity. They lived between 600 and 900 CE. One thing is certain: they died out before the 13th century. Modern occupation gradually covered the tombs. They were looted between the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, artifacts are very rare. Here, it is possible to admire numerous tombs, some of which are richly decorated: the paintings and sculptures have remained intact. The sculptures on site are reminiscent of those found in the San Augustin region, clearly indicating a cultural influence from this other civilization.

No social centers were found in the vicinity. It is possible to imagine that the population was divided into small groups of farmers, scattered throughout the mountains of the region. However, the size and decoration of some of the burial vaults suggest the existence of a social hierarchy and political structure within the population.

What to see and do in Tierradentro Park

Colombie Vallée verte de Tierradentro

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Matyas Rehak

Visiting Tierradentro Park is a real adventure. You’ll have to make your way through the jungle to reach various archaeological sites located just a few kilometers apart.

Tierradentro Museums

parc tierradentro artefacts musee

Photo credit: Matyas Rehak via Shutterstock

Before beginning your exploration, it’s important to visit the two museums located at the entrance to the park.

  • The first focuses on the archaeological aspect of the site. It displays a small collection of objects found in the tombs during their exploration.
  • The second is more about the history and culture of the Nasa people who inhabit the region.

The archaeological sites of Tierradentro

Tierrandentro interieur tombeaux

Photo credit: Matyas Rehak, via Shutterstock

When you begin this challenging hike,Alto de Segovia is the first site on the route. This is the park’s most important site, with almost sixty-five tombs. At present, only twenty-five of them are open to the public, but among them are some marvels. You’ll descend to a depth of almost nine meters via narrow staircases, and you’ll be fascinated by so much beauty. Many of the paintings have survived the centuries and can be admired today.

From here, a fifteen-minute walk will take you to theAlto de Duende. Here you can admire five different tombs in the same style as the previous ones, but with much less preserved colors.

Afterwards, a thirty-minute walk takes you to the El Tablon site. Here, it’s not a question of tombs, but of statues. The influence is reminiscent of the San Augustin sites, suggesting a cultural link between the two cultures.

TheAlto de San Andrès is a 20-minute walk away. Here, too, you’ll find seven open tombs and a wealth of preserved paintings.

Finally,Alto del Aguacate is the last site in the park that can be visited. It is over two hours’ walk away. It is less well preserved than the previous sites, but includes forty-two open tombs. You’ll have an Indiana Jones-style time exploring the various vaults with the help of your flashlight.

How to get to Tierradentro Park

Tierradentro is 113 km from Popayan. The park is accessible by bus via a difficult road. The journey takes almost seven hours, but the time spent in transport is well worth it. It will cost you around 30,000 COP, or around 8 euros. If you’re coming from the north, you’ll need to stop off at La Plata and take a pick-up to get to the site. The journey takes two hours and will cost you 13,000 COP, or around 4 euros.

Getting to Tierradentro from San Augustin or vice versa is common. After the Lost City, these are the two most important archaeological sites in Colombia. The route takes you through a sumptuous panorama that you’ll have plenty of time to observe. Once again, the journey takes over eight hours and covers some 100 kilometers. It will cost you around 35,000 COP, or around 10 euros.

Getting to Tierradentro by plane

The nearest airport is in Popayan. You can also take an internal flight from most of the country’s cities. This will save you a considerable amount of time on your trip. Visit our partner Ulysses to find the best deals.

How long does it take to visit Tierradentro?

Once there, we recommend taking two days to visit the Tierradentro park. The best option is to start by visiting the museums at the entrance to the park, before heading off in the direction of the archaeological sites, leaving out theAlto del Aguacate. The second day will be entirely devoted to visiting theAlto del Aguacate during the day: it’s a two-hour walk to get there. What’s more, although the area is secure these days, tourists have been attacked on the way back. As the trail is isolated, we advise you to return before nightfall.

Tierradentro park opening times and prices

The Tierradentro archaeological park is open to tourists from 8am to 4pm. The sites are open every day except the first Tuesday of the month.

To visit the Tierradentro park, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee of COP 50,000 (around 16 euros). The pass is valid for two days, so you can stagger your visit without paying extra.

Although it’s possible to cover the 14 km of trail in a single day, we recommend spreading your visit over two days.

Good to know

  • Bring a flashlight! Some tombs have no electricity.
  • We recommend a two-day visit.
  • The premises have recently been reopened following the easing of conflicts. However, we advise you not to return fromAlto del Aguacate after 4pm.
  • If you arrive at the park at the end of the day, you can visit both museums in the afternoon and activate your pass the following morning.
  • The guardians of the various sites are volunteers from the region who are truly passionate about the area. So don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have, for an even more lively experience!
  • Most accommodations are not available on reservation sites, and you’ll have to come directly to the site to find them. If you’re a forward-thinking person, you can visit this hotel comparison site to check availability.
  • It is forbidden to take photos with a flash inside the graves.

Now you know all the tips and tricks for visiting Tierradentro Park in Colombia. So grab your flashlights and let’s get started!