The Tatacoa desert is an area of ​​Colombia that attracts thousands of travelers from different parts of the world. Its location and conditions make it perfect for observing the sky at night or enjoying a shower of stars. In this article, we provide general information about the place and indicate which accommodation options you can choose from.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

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Tourism in the desert of La Tatacoa: photos, hotels and campsites

General Information

The Tatacoa desert is also known as Valley of SadnessBecause according to history, the conqueror Jiménez de Quesada gave it this name when he arrived here in 1538.

Regarding its geographical location, this desert and dry tropical forest is located in Colombia, specifically in Villavieja, north of the department of Huila. It is located just 40 km from Neiva. It is the second largest arid zone in the country, behind the Guajira peninsula.

Since the climate is hot and dry, it is recommended to wear cool clothes during the day, as the temperature reaches 43 ° C. However, at night it is softer and you should bundle up more. The rainy months are April, May, October and November. On the other hand, it is found at an altitude of between 386 and 900 meters above sea level.

The most abundant animals are rattlesnakes, eagles, lizards and weasels. In terms of flora, cacti and shrubs stand out. However, it is common to find fossils of a varied fauna, which indicates that in the past it was an area of ​​great biodiversity.


This desert reaches its maximum splendor at nightfall, when temperatures drop to 18 ° C. Thanks to its location, its clear sky and the absence of light pollution, it is a perfect place to observe the stars.

For this reason, here we find the Astronomical Observatory of La Tatacoa, considered the best in the country. It is open to the general public and talks are given there most days.

Likewise, every year a special event is celebrated: the Feast of the Stars or Star party. Colloquia, routes and various activities related to astronomy are organized there.

This area is also interesting for those most attracted by the mystery, since there are several people who claim to have sighted UFOs from here. A ufoport in an area where several allegedly landed.


In the desert of La Tatacoa we find several accommodation options of different rates and with enough services for tourists.


There are numerous hotels in which we can spend the night throughout this area. Among them, we find the following:

Some of these have natural pool and restaurant, and offer the possibility of sleeping in a traditional cabin. As for prices, they vary depending on the season and the establishment, as they range from cheap to those that exceed 500.000 pesos (COP) for a double room.


On the other hand, if you are backpacking or just want to sleep in direct contact with nature in this unique place, you can also camp in your own tent. In the following photo you can see how wonderful this experience can be:

300 meters from the Astronomical Observatory you will find a camping area with services such as restaurant, tourist guides, etc. In addition, you can rent a horse, a motorcycle or a bicycle to travel the desert.

How to get there

You can go to the desert of La Tatacoa with your own car or motorcycle, since the roads are in good condition. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay several tolls. The distance between this point and some of the most important cities in Colombia is as follows:

  • Bogota: 280 km
  • Cali: 360 km
  • Ibagué: 183 km
  • Medellin: 570 km
  • Neiva: 43 km
  • San Agustin: 264 km

Likewise, there are buses from some of these municipalities and it is possible to hire vans with a driver from Neiva, San Agustín or Bogotá, among others.

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