The second-largest desert in Colombia after the Guajira Peninsula is one of the most unique ecosystems in the country. It was named the Valley of Sorrows by conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada when he stumbled upon it in 1538. The landscape of eroded cliffs and canyons is home to a rare tropical dry forest that covers some 330 sq. km. Within the desert are a handful of smaller micro-regions like Los Hoyos, which is characterized by gray clay, and the ochre-colored Cusco with its many strange rock formations. Fauna like alligators, eagles, snakes, and scorpions have adapted to the high heat and low humidity here. Cacti can grow as high as 5m. It’s an odd place, but because of the dry, clear conditions and little light pollution, the Tatacoa makes for an excellent place to see the stars of both hemispheres.
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