One of the pearls of Colombia, visit San José del Guaviare, a site far from mass tourism, and yet, what a wonder!

Colombia is a country of great diversity. You have everything in Colombia. This destination offers so many sites to discover….

Some are still little known and isolated. Especially because for a long time, you have sites that were located in guerrilla zones and therefore closed to tourists. San José de Guaviare is one of these sites. It has not been that long since this site was opened to tourism.

It has remained little known and completely on the fringe of mass tourism. At least, for the moment, enjoy it!

San José de GuaviaréThis

small town is located in the north of the department of Guaviare. Here we are in a landscape of plains and small hills. It is hot, at least 25 degrees.

Let’s make it simple, the city itself is not interesting. It is not very beautiful. The hotel offer is also limited, as well as the restaurants.

No, the best is around the city. And there is plenty to do!

Laguna Negra

By canoe, our guide starts to make us visit this first important site. We snake in a lagoon through the forest.

Here and there, hundreds of small turtles take the sun, birds take their flight here and there. You can even see monkeys.

After this journey on this river, we arrive on the laguna Negra, a vast stretch of water. The place is ideal for swimming.

Admire the rock paintings


is the first goal of any trip to San José de Guaviere: to see the rock paintings, among the oldest in the world


And it is magnificent.

Especially since the setting is first-rate. Indeed, these easily accessible paintings were created on the rocky walls of rocky peaks, the famous Cerro in Spanish;

you have several of them near San José de Guaviare. There are an estimated 75,000 paintings in the area.

The most accessible site is the Cerro Azul in the Serrania La Lindosa. Once you reach its summit via a small path, you can admire the paintings on the rock and walk around its summit. Splendid.

A guide is essential to have explanations on this wonder. He will indeed teach you to decipher the drawings in particular. They testify of the beliefs and the way of life of these people.

Further on, we come across a team of scientists studying and restoring these paintings. Indeed, most of them have been restored, hence their very well preserved aspects.

In order to leave, we climb to the top of cerro which offers a beautiful view of the Amazonian forest.

The view from the top of Cerro AzulThe

Cerro in the distance

See the pink dolphinsThey

are here!

As in Leticia, you can see here the famous pink dolphins of the Amazon, if you are lucky. Indeed, it is still necessary that they show themselves.

However, they are quite playful and curious, so you will surely have the opportunity to see them at least in the distance like us.

It is necessary to

that to take the direction of the laguna Damas de Nare. A long day with a rise at dawn. After a drive, we have to make a 2 hours walk along the river. The path is wet at this season and not always easy.

We finally arrive at the HQ of the association EcoNare which develops here a community tourism. Pacho, the founder of the place, bought this farm to change his life. Here, he lives in the nature, far from everything. He will tell you about his life for sure, Pacho is very talkative!

His farm is located near the lake. We then take a lancha to go to meet the pink dolphins or “toninas” as they are called here. They are wild animals, so seeing them is never guaranteed. It depends on their mood of the day.

Very talkative the Pacho

We dive into the water with our life jackets. Sometimes, some of them may come up to you and touch you just to say hello. We don’t have too many chances that day, nothing.

Anyway, the experience is still very nice. And then, we saw them appearing around the boat several times.

We come back to the 4×4 by boat this time. The occasion to savor this sweet trip on this waterway and to observe some curious monkeys.

La Puerta de OrionI

almost crashed my drone by making it go through the top hole…

Another natural attraction in San José is the famous Orion’s gate that you will see on postcards and a little bit everywhere


It is a rock formation that is a bit of a symbol of the city in the end. This 12-meter high formation offers two natural openings, one above the other.

The particularity of this Orion’s gate is that during the summer solstice, Orion’s belt can be observed by looking through the upper opening. It is then completely in alignment, hence the name of the site, you will have understood.

To reach it, you have to take a cab and then take a short walk through the jungle.

Los pozos naturales

This is a river that flows between rock formations. These sometimes form holes in the rock and natural pools.

The water is crystal clear and multicolored. The goal here is to walk down the river, observing the geological formations and the local flora. This is a really nice activity to do in San José de Guaviare.

You will see that the water of the river changes color as it goes down. Here and there, you can take a break to dive into one of the natural pools of the river. An afternoon to put on your agenda if you visit San José de Guaviare.

The Stone City of San José

A mysterious place I tell youA

mysterious place worthy of Indiana Jones. To reach it, you will first walk across a plateau dotted with strange rock formations. It’s almost like being on another planet.

Then, you will reach the stone city which is in fact a labyrinth of caverns, caves and narrow passages between two rocky cliffs. You can get lost there, so a guide is absolutely necessary.


Where to stay in San José de Guaviare?

The offer is not very important in San José. The hotels are in the middle range.

Here you can find all the hotels in the city.

Click here to check the availability of all hotels in the city

Hospedaje Casa Blanca is probably the most interesting offer here.

Click here to check availability for Hospedaje Casa Blanca

A guide to San José del Guaviare?

Marcel, the guy in the…marcel And his driver on the right.

This is a serious question for this destination. Indeed, for all the sites, you will need a car, or for most of them a 4×4. Most sites require a guide. Moreover, what a pity to see these magnificent rock paintings without explanation. It is almost a crime :-).

We hired a guide, the question did not arise for a long time. You don’t have to plan anything, travel, meals etc. Everything is fluid. You can see more things in a minimum of time.

We contacted Marcel, a local guide. He is very pleasant and professional, and he speaks French. I can only advise you to contact him for me.

Here is his nice website :


can find his Whatsapp to contact him directly

Practical InstinctThe

very small local airport, and the plane from Bogota

. –

Count on at least 4 days to do the essentials –

No, it’s not dangerous.

– To reach San José de Guaviare, you have the option of driving, but the trip is long, like 8 hours.

– You can take a flight from Bogota with Sataina, the only ones that fly there. The flight is very early from Bogota in a small aircraft.

– Don’t forget the mosquito repellent, sunscreen and two pairs of shoes. Indeed, the area is humid.

The visit to San José de Guaviare was one of the most beautiful memories of Colombia. And yet, since 2011, I know a little bit about this country. An intense and rich stay in emotions, in colors, in short, you will take a lot of eyes. It is really a place little visited by most of the travelers, because of the lack of time and because it remains unknown in front of spots like Cartagena, Tayrona Park or the coffee area.

It’s a pity, I even wonder if this site should not be on the menu of any trip to Colombia.

No, it’s not a question, it’s a statement!

<![CDATA[if(document.body) {var width = (document.body.clientWidth);} else {var width = (window.innerWidth);}if(width<=479) {ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘ban-intext-simple’, ‘display’, ‘mob-GLOBAL’);} else if(width

Enjoyed this article?

Rate it in 1 click

About the author


I created this travel blog in 2010 after 15 years of travel. Digital nomad since 2011, I live most of the year abroad. Podcaster, entrepreneur, coach, I am the author of the book “Libre d’être digital no

mad “, Ed Diateino, available in bookstores, FNAC etc. <!–

Website of :


Spread the word on the networks! (already 34


Continue reading: