Desierto Tatacoa, The Tatacoa Desert, Colombia

We popped open our guidebook and searched for “What’s Next” while we drove south from Bogota.

Lauren found a short blurb describing a strange geological area of Colombia. The Desierto Tatacoa (Tatacoa Desert) is described as one of the “most attractive natural settings” in Colombia.

The guidebook described large sand pillars painted with orange and yellow hues, 30 foot deep eroded gullies, and miles upon miles of open land. It also stated that the Tatacoa Desert is one of the best places in the world for star-gazing due to lack of light pollution and close proximity to the equator, making it possible to view both the Northern and Southern hemisphere constellations. Sounds good!

Volcanoes popping up on the horizon

I spy a thin snaking road on our map to the desert. Bored of the highway the 4Runner is happy to be back on dirtroads.

Some of the scenery along our winding dirt path

After a few hours of back-roads crossing through many small pueblos who probably wondered how the hell these gringos got out here, we finally arrived on the out-skirts of the desert.

Pushing further in, the grey and black sand gave way to some amazingly beautiful orange/yellow/red sandstone formations. It reminded me of similar formations we had seen back on the Colorado Plateau in the U.S.

We also passed by an observatory out here, the stars must be pretty epic for them to build this thing out in the middle of nowhere.

We bounced along through the desert for a few hours searching for the perfect campspot. This being a desert and all it was friggin’ hot and shade trees were practically non-existent. I spotted 1 lone tree way off in the distance, pulled off the road and did some 4×4 adventuring.

We approached the tree and saw the remains of an old busted up corral. I imagine some Colombian cowboy from long ago planted this tree for his cattle. Now we take advantage of the trees wonderful shade. Thanks Colombian Cowboy!

This being literally the only shade-tree around as far as the eye can see, we received lots of visitors. We didn’t mind sharing our space, we were just the guests after-all. We spent around 4 days camped out here.

Our goat friends would come by twice a day, lounge around and eat up some grass.

Occasionally we would get random horses and cattle coming to scope the scene as well.

One thing we never did see were any people, which is fine by me.

Our days were spent lounging around in the hammock, reading books, napping, and doing general chores. It was nice to just be alone in the wilderness once again.

The real show began when the sun went down. Lauren and I would pull out our chairs from under the shade-tree. Post up and stare slack-jawed at the huge expanse of stars that lit up the night sky. Shooting stars, bright planets, sweeping satellites, and new constellations I have never seen before.

I got my first glimpse of the “Southern Cross” out there in the desert. It really sank in just how far south we have actually come. Were sitting on the edge of the Southern Hemisphere!

By the end of the week Lauren said she would kill me if I looped Crosby, Still, and Nash one more time…

This one goes out to you Tatacoa Desert!

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  • Rhonda

    wow….fantastic scenery and campsite. That is what I love about overlanding, finding something truly remarkable in the middle of nowhere

  • James Mom

    So few people really know how to relax and just enjoy being and the beauty of God’s creation. I am very proud that you have chosen the simpler things and life and discovered that they truly are the greatest treasures.I bet that night sky was amazing I would love to go there just for that.