This is a detour that is worth it, the multifaceted desert of Tatacoa offers great views and plenty wild camping options.

The easiest access to the Tatacoa desert is via Neiva and Villavieja. There is also a short cut north of Neiva, but keep in mind that this is a 30km dirtroad.

Technically Tatacoa is not really a desert, but a dried out tropical forest. Once you get there, you will immediately see the desert's red section with its impressive red rock formations. Stop opposite of the observatory and walk the little path uphill to the lookout of the Cuzco Labyrinth. The colors become especially nice around sunset.

Once the night falls, head over to the observatory. They  organize daily tours (between 6 and 7pm, depending on the season, one hour, 3 USD pP). They've are very interesting, you get to check out various planets and learn more about how to orient yourself with the help of the stars.

Further down the road and deeper into the desert, you will get to the so-called grey section which offers a very different landscape. You can drive further down until you get to Los Hoyos and its pool in the middle of the desert.

For camping, there are some official campgrounds that you will see along the way. Wild camping is a great option here too, pick your best view, but watch out for cactus spikes. The opportunities for star gazing in the evening are endless!

Make sure you bring enough water and food, there are some restaurants around, but this is a part of the country where you might just want to enjoy the nature far away from any possible light source.

Pack List

  • Wild camp equipment
  • Food and Drinks
  • Camera
  • Cash
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Activities Camping, Photography, Yoga
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Adult Beverages
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole


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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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