The Tatacoa Desert

The Tatacoa Desert

Is the second largest arid zone in Colombia after the La Guajira Peninsula. It is one of the most attractive natural settings in Colombia, with ocher and gray earth with touches of green from the cacti. The Tatacoa Desert has two characteristic colors: ocher in the Cuzco sector and gray in the Los Hoyos area.

La Tatacoa or the Valley of Sorrows, as the conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada called it in 1538, due to the signs of deterioration he noticed in its territory, is not exactly a desert, but a tropical dry forest. Its name “Tatacoa” was also attributed by the Spanish, referring to the rattlesnake and not, as one might think, to the harmless black snakes. As scientists reveal, La Tatacoa, during the Tertiary Period, was a garden with thousands of flowers and trees that gradually dried up until it became a desert.

This semi-arid region is located north of the Department of Huila, 38 kilometers from the city of Neiva and 10 kilometers from Natagaima in Tolima. The Tatacoa desert is a rich fossil deposit and a great tourist destination.

Weather: 26°C, wind from N at 13km/h, humidity 61%

Population: 22,877 (2018)

Area: 435 km²

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Tatacoa Desert map